The crisis in Czechoslovakia in 1968 was exactly that – a crisis. It was a crisis for the Communist party and the Soviet Union because a wave of reform and somewhat anti-socialist feelings were sweeping across the Soviet bloc country of Czechoslovakia. The Prague Spring as this period was later dubbed, was brought on by creative intellectuals and the student youth calling for “complete cultural freedom, economic reform based on the ‘socialist market’, and restrictions on the secret police” according to the Seventeen Moments module.
The party leaders in Moscow faced a dire situation in Czechoslovakia, which was undoubtedly the most “Western” of the bloc countries. Taking a page out of the American manual on foreign policy, the Soviet Union scrambled to contain the developing political disaster in Czechoslovakia. The Soviet Union along with the Warsaw Pact countries eventually invaded the near-rogue Czechoslovakia with military force and easily ended the reformist sentiment. But in addition to an invasion force to quell a possible uprising, the Soviet Union deployed propaganda (per usual) to contain the spread of reformist ideas. Here is an excerpt from a Pravda article titled “Hostile Campaign over Czechoslovakia found on the Current Digest of the Soviet Press database:
“In the past few days Western bourgeois propaganda has developed its malicious campaign over Czechoslovakia with fresh force. Note is being taken here of the fact that the reactionary press and radio are striving to complicate the situation in Prague, to impede the process of the consolidation and normalization of political life in the country. Pursuing this aim, the bourgeois propagandists are spreading various kinds of lying and provocative rumors and slanderous statements. They deliberately distort events and facts, trying to excite the population and to sow doubts and fears.”
The policy of containment was not only used by the United States in response to the spread of communism, it was also used by the Soviet Union to keep communism within its empire.
Link to Pravda article: