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HOW SIGNIFICANT WAS ALEXANDER DUBCEK IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF REFORMIST COMMUNISM?

Gustav Husak (before that - the First Secretary of the Slovak Communist Party).

At the same session the CPCS Presidium with its twenty-one members and the Executive Committee with its eight members were replaced by an eleven members Presidium of which Dubcek (but no longer Smrkovsky) was still member. A few days later he was ‘elected’ Chairman of the Federal Assembly with Smrkovsky as his deputy.

On January 28, 1970, the Central Committee plenum ‘accepted the resignation’ of Dubcek from the Central Committee. And finally, on June 25, 1970 at the session of the Central Committee he was expelled from the CPCS. This was the end of his political career. But only until the end of the Communism regime in 1989. At the end of December 1989 he was elected Chairman of the Czech parliament.


Conclusion: Was the Reformist Communism Ever Possible?


The primary goal of Dubcek’s reforms was the creation of the socialism with a ‘human face’. Broadly speaking, the Czechoslovak reformers sought an adjustment of the standard Soviet model of socialism to the realities of what they considered an advanced industrialised socialist country enjoying a tradition of democracy and humanitarianism.32The stated opinions of the reformers could be summed as follows: (1) the CPCS should no longer maintain a monopoly of power and decision making; (2) it should rather prove its goals through equal competition by permitting a clash of ideas and interests; (3) the abandonment of this monopoly would in effect mean a sharing of power and permit criticism, opposition, and even control on the CPCS’s own exercise of power.33Of course, Dubcek was against the creation of the opposition parties, but he was for the pluralism inside the National Front. The essence of his reform conception was not the possibility of pluralism in the accepted sense but, rather, the obligation upon the CPCS to prove that its program was the only valid one for socialism.34

It was very naive to consider that Moscow will remain indifferent to such developments. Gradually the Soviets understood that the reformers are not controlling the reforms, and this led to the invasion. The Soviet interests were threatened almost exclusively by developments inside the Czechoslovakia. In other words, precisely by that ‘human face’ which Dubcek wanted to give Czechoslovak socialism.35

There was one thing which Dubcek considered to be not important, but in fact, this led to the end of the reforms. He underestimated the impact of his own reforms upon Moscow. The Soviet reaction to the reforms was quite logical and inevitable. The Communist power elite would never have accepted conditions which would make the free play of political forces possible. It would never given up the power.36

So, was Dubcek significant in developing the reformist communism? In the short term - yes, but in the long term the practical meaning of his reforms was nil. All the things he reformed were returned back. The only positive impact (in the long term) of the reforms was the psychological impact of the attempt to improve the improvable thing. Communism can not be reformed. The only way to change it is to overthrow it completely. There is no way in the middle. The reformist communism is simply an utopia.


BIBLIOGRAPHY


1. Ames, K., ‘Reform and Reaction’, in Problems of Communism, 1968, Vol. 17, No. 6, pp.38-49

2. Devlin, K., ‘The New Crisis in European Communism’, in Problems of Communism, 1968, Vol. 17, No. 6, pp.57-68

3. Golan, G., ‘The Road to Reform’, in Problems of Communism, 1971, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp.11-21

4. Golan, G., ‘Innovations in the Model of the Socialism: Political Reforms in Czechoslovakia, 1968’, in Shapiro, J.P. and Potichnyj, P.J. (eds.), Change and Adaptation in Soviet and East European Politics (New York, Washington, London: Praeger Publishers, 1976), pp.77-94

5. Lowenthal, R., ‘The Sparrow in the Cage’, in Problems of Communism, 1968, Vol. 17, No. 6, pp.2-28

6. Mastny, V., (ed.), Czechoslovakia: Crisis in World Communism (New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1972)

7. Provaznik, J., ‘The Politics of Retrenchment’, in Problems of Communism, 1969, Vol. 18, No. 4-5, pp.2-16

8. Sik, O., ‘The Economic Impact of Stalinism’, in Problems of Communism, 1971, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp.1-10

9. Simons, Th.W., Eastern Europe in the Postwar World, (2nd. ed., London: Macmillan, 1993)

10. Svitak, I., The Czechoslovak Experiment: 1968-1969 (New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1971)

11. Tigrid, P., Why Dubcek Fell (London: Macdonald, 1971)

12. White, St., Batt, J. and Lewis, P.J. (eds.), Developments in East European Politics (London: Macmillan, 1993)


1Tigrid, P., Why Dubcek Fell (London: Macdonald, 1971), p.17

2Sik, O., ‘The Economic Impact of Stalinism’, in Problems of Communism, 1971, Vol. 20, No. 3, p.5

3Golan, G., ‘The Road to Reform’, in Problems of Communism, 1971, Vol. 20, No. 3, p.12

4Ibid., p.13

5Ibid., p.11

6Tigrid, P., op.cit., p.19

7Ibid., p.30

8Ibid., p.43

9Mastny, V., (ed.), Czechoslovakia: Crisis in World Communism (New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1972), p.21

10Tigrid, P., op.cit., p.48

11Ames, K., ‘Reform and Reaction’, in Problems of Communism, 1968, Vol. 17, No. 6, p.48

12Tigrid, P. op.cit., p.57

13Mastny, V., op.cit., p.37

14Ibid., p.40

15Tigrid, P., op.cit., p.89

16Ibid., p.53

17Ibid., p.69

18Ibid., p.53

19Svitak, I., The Czechoslovak Experiment 1968-1969 (New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1971), p.109

20Mastny, V., op.cit., p.69

21Ibid., p.71

22Ibid., p.76

23Provaznik, J., ‘The Politics of Retrenchment’, in Problems of Communism, 1969, Vol. 18, No. 4-5, p.3

24Svitak, I., op.cit., p.109

25Provaznik, J., op.cit., p.4

26Lowenthal, R., ‘The Sparrow in the Cage’, in Problems of Communism, 1968, Vol. 17, No. 6, p.24

27Simons, Th.W., Eastern Europe in the Postwar World (2nd. ed., London: Macmillan, 1993), p.124

28Devlin, K., ‘The New Crisis in European Communism’, in Problems of Communism, 1968, Vol.17, No. 6, p.61

29Tigrid, P., op.cit., p.138

30Ibid., p.153

31Ibid., p.164

32Golan, G., ‘Inovations in the Model of Socialism: Political Reforms in Czechoslovakia, 1968’, in Shapiro, J.P. and Potichnyj, P.J. (eds.), Change and Adaptation in Soviet and East European Politics (New York, Washington, London: Praeger Publishers, 1976), p.78

33Ibid., p.81

34Ibid., p.87

35Tigrid, P., op.cit., p.66

36Ibid., p.98

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