10th anniversary of Dubcek's car accident commemorated

Dubcek's friend and the designer of the memorial, Teodor Banik, photo: CTK

On Tuesday morning a memorial ceremony was held on the D 1 motorway between Prague and Brno to remember the 10th anniversary of the car crash which resulted in the death of Alexander Dubcek, one of the most important figures of Czechoslovak post-war history. Alena Skodova has more:

Teodor Banik, photo: CTK
Dubcek's friend and the designer of the memorial, Teodor Banik said on Tuesday that we now lack this type of politician - a politician capable of uniting people. Mr Banik said that Dubcek's politics were non-partisan - what he respected most were people themselves, and he managed to make people look for positive values.

Dubcek, as the Czechoslovak Communist Party general secretary in 1968, tried to introduce 'Socialism with a human face' to Communist Czechoslovakia, and was one of the leaders of a reform movement known as the Prague Spring. Czechoslovak people's hopes were thwarted by the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia on August 21st, 1968, which later led to a period of 'normalization' when hard-line Communists, with support from the Soviet Union, stood at the helm and Czechoslovakia once again became an obedient Soviet satellite. Dubcek was not only stripped of political influence, but he could only find a menial job, and he and his all family were under Communist secret police surveillance.

After the fall of Communism in 1989, Alexander Dubcek was elected Chairman of the Czechoslovak federal parliament, and when the country was preparing for a split, he was a hot candidate for the post of Slovakia's first president.

The tragic car accident in September 1992, after which Dubcek succumbed to heavy injuries two months later, remains shrouded in mystery, although the Slovak police closed the case two years ago, saying it really was an accident. But Dubcek will always be remembered as a man who made Czechoslovak history.