Memories of the Russian Invaders

In Life, Politics on August 20, 2008 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,

I was not alive when Russian and other Warsaw Pact armies invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968. But I’ve heard many stories from those who were.

This unique photo is (c) Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos
Via // Linked for illustration purposes only

When I started to notice them they had been already “settled”. They even had huge headquarters in my home town of Olomouc, the premises now belong to the Czech Army. And not far away there was a no-man’s-land where Russian military tank divisions were headquartered.

Of course they had their buildings in downtown Olomouc in front of which two young and usually very skinny Asian-looking soldiers would stand and guard, and I remember having been to a bizarre Russian department store they would call “Univermag“.

A while ago I found out that some old Russian vehicles are still parked in old and unused Czech Army compounds [see one of the bookmarks above]. And I remember sometimes back in the 1980’s a long rows of trucks and AV’s would go across town, in which case they would send their own, also Asian-looking, military police traffic cops to stop “our” traffic so that “their” traffic could pass. When I recall their regular journey, there were only TWO traffic light intersections, now there are fourteen. There would always be one traffic cop who must have been from Kazakhstan and sometimes us kids would wave at him.

In 1980’s they did not shoot people and they did not drive tanks into buses and shop windows, like they did in 1968 when they arrived. But we knew.

I have never met any Russian kid. They had their own schools. Come to think of it, there was just one in Olomouc which was quite sufficient. Most young soldiers were single and most commanding officers were old and had left their almost-adult children back in Russia.

Some of the buildings the Russians had occupied until 1990 were reconstructed only last year.

And the tanks are still there, parked among rubble and tall grass.


One Response to “Memories of the Russian Invaders”

  1. […] “Memories of the Russian Invaders” – at The Czech Daily Word. Posted by Veronica Khokhlova  Print Version Share This […]

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