48 years ago, at dawn on 21 August 1968, the armies of the Warsaw Pact countries (except Romania) crossed the borders of Czechoslovakia and toppled the government of Alexander Dubček. His attempts to reform the Communist regime and aspirations of a Socialism with a human face inevitably put Prague on a collision course with Moscow. The orders from Moscow were brief - the status quo had to be preserved at any cost, the Prague Spring was doomed and the tanks rolled in.

Do you remember the Prague Spring?

Five nations sent their troops, including Bulgaria. Most of the Bulgarian soldiers went via the Soviet Union, where they were briefed. Only a few of them knew the exact destination, though they were all told that their mission was to stop a counter-revolution and prevent a West German invasion. The Bulgarian soldiers stayed in Czechoslovakia till October.

Навършват се 45 години от най-мащабната операция на български войски след Втората световна война, при това не на учение, а инструктирани за бойни действия. Призори на 21 август 1968 г. войските на страните от Варшавския договор (без Румъния) навлизат в Чехословакия. Това е краят на Пражката пролет и на опитите на тогавашния водач на Чехословакия Александър Дубчек за реформи и 'социализъм с човешко лице'.

Бяхте ли с набори 1948-1949 в Чехословакия през лятото на 1968? Знаете ли нещо от вашите родители за тези събития?

Published in Bulgaria

Watched closely by the Kremlin elite, the Yugoslav Communist leader Tito receives the Order of Lenin. It's an unusual piece of visual history - the renegade Marshall had to embrace Soviet customs to receive Moscow's highest award: from the 'brotherly kisses' to laying a wreath at Lenin's mausoleum.

Moscow and Belgrade fell out after after the Kremlin gave orders to crush the Prague Spring in 1968. The moment here shows their reconciliation, and this visit to Moscow in 1972 comes only months after the Soviet leader Brezhnev's visit to Belgrade.

Grudgingly, Moscow acknowledged Yugoslavia's right to chose its own way. This is the time of détente between East and West, when Tito's role in the Non-Aligned Movement became more important for Moscow than what kind of socialism he chose for Yugoslavia. It's time to bury the hatchet.

Converted from 16 mm film, silent.

Published in Balkans