Friday, August 21, 1998 Published at 10:52 GMT 11:52 UK
Remembering the Prague Spring
Citizens of Czechoslovakia make fierce resistance to Soviet tanks
Thirty years after Soviet tanks rolled into Prague to crush the Czechoslovak experiment in "socialism with a human face", there is still ambivalence about the meaning of the event.
As ministers lay commemorative wreaths at the Czech radio building - which has come to be a symbol of resistance - Czechs at either end of the political spectrum disagree about the value of the 1968 reforms.
But the period - that came to be known as the Prague Spring - ended when Warsaw Pact troops invaded on the night of the 20-21 August 1968.
Despite fierce resistance, a protocol was issued within days of the invasion that banned all parties and organisations which "violated socialist principles".
Paying tribute to '68
On Thursday the Czech President Vaclav Havel said the Prague Spring was "a beautiful time because after 20 years it was possible to breathe and speak freely."
Those on the left have accused the right-wingers of trying to deliberately discredit the reform efforts of the 1960s for political advantage today.
But in Russia, President Yeltsin described the Prague Spring as an attempt "to escape from ideological dogmatism and lies."
"Even shy attempts of reform called down terror from those who wanted to preserve the totalitarian system," he said, adding that the new Russia had no intention of imposing its wishes on any other country.