Last of the signatories of notorious letter to Brezhnev dies

One of the last key figures of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, Vasil Bil’ak has died at the age of 96 in Bratislava. Bil’ak was the last surviving of the five leading communist party hardliners who sent a notorious letter to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev expressing concern about the ‘counter revolutionary’ reforms in their homeland and calling for a military intervention. The letter served as a pretext for the invasion by Soviet and other Warsaw Pact countries at the end of August, 1968. Bil’ak later played a leading role in the post invasion clampdown, or so-called normalisation.

Author: Jan Richter