Czechoslovakia–Soviet Union relations

Czechoslovakia–Soviet Union relations
Czechoslovakia–Soviet Union relations
Map indicating locations of Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia

Soviet Union


Czechoslovakia–Soviet Union relations refers to the foreign relations between the former states of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union.


Changes in the interwar relations

At the beginning of the existence of both states, their relation was bad. There was strong animosity sourcing from the armed conflict between Bolshevik authorities and Czechoslovak Legions and from the following participation of the Legions in the allied intervention against Bolsheviks. Moreover, Karel Kramář, Czechoslovak 1st Prime Minister, disliked the Bolshevik regime from personal reasons (his wife came from Russian nobility).

Czechoslovakia recognized the Soviet Union de jure not until 1934. On May 16, 1935 the Czechoslovak-Soviet Treaty of Alliance was signed between the two states.[1] As the consequence of Soviet alliance with France (which was the Czechoslovak main ally).

World War II

After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia and the establishing of pro-German Slovak pupet state in March 1939 Soviet Union quickly recognized new status quo and terminated the diplomatic relations with Czech representatives. Hundreds of the Czechoslovak refugees looking for safety in Soviet Union were sent to the labor camps, except of the Czechoslovak communist who fled to Soviet Union shortly after the Munich Agreement.

However, immediately after the German (and Slovak) attack in June 1941, Soviet government was the first who recognized the leaders of Czechoslovak resistance in London as the allied government and approved the formation of Czechoslovak armed forces from the refugees. In December 1943, new Treaty of Alliance (for next twenty years) was signed in Moscow and the Treaty of Military Cooperation followed next spring. From September 1944 to May 1945 the Red Army with joined Czechoslovak forces liberated most of the pre-Munich Czechoslovak territory, which was crowned by the liberation of its capital Prague on May 9th. However, the easternmost part of Czechoslovakia, Carpathian Ruthenia, was annexed to USSR shortly after its liberation (and ceded officially to Soviet Union in 1946).

As a result of the synchronous annexation of eastern parts of Poland and Rumania, Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia gained common border - for the first time in their history.

Communist regime

After the war the Soviet Union enjoyed a huge credit of the Liberator of Czechoslovakia and had strong influence on Czechoslovak foreign policy and on the rising power of Czechoslovak Communist Party. The non-communist parties in Czechoslovak government were in trap when they tried to stop the rise of Communist and to keep the friendship of Soviet Union, which was widely regarded as the only prevention of future German aggression.

After the February 1948 Czechoslovakia was firmly set into the Soviet sphere of influence and the motto Se Sovětským svazem na věčné časy! (With Soviet Union forever!) represented the essence of the communist's policy. Inevitably Czechoslovakia became another Soviet satellite and any mark of disloyalty was bitterly suppressed in political trials under supervision of Soviet advisors (e.g. Slánský trial). Czechoslovakia was also constituent member of many Soviet-led international organisations, most notably the economic organization Comecon (1949-1991) and the military organization Warsaw Pact (1955–1991).

In two following decades Czechoslovakia was the most faithful Soviet's ally in the Central Europe. While the pro-soviet regimes in other states of Eastern Bloc, such as East Germany, Poland or Hungary underwent deep crisis after Stalin's death and later Khrushchev's criticism of Stalin, the friendship between Czechoslovakia and Soviet Union was undisputed.

The inconsistent changes in the slow process of deStalinization, led to the call for faster reforms among the people of Czechoslovakia. The old leadership of the Czechoslovak Communist Party was withdrawn in late 1967 and the new communist leader Alexander Dubček accelerated the reforms in economical, political and cultural life, as well as the rehabilitation of 50's-era victims. Though Dubček do not intend nothing else than refresh the regime, many people wanted more radical chanes. This so-called Prague Spring in 1968 raised the scepticism and suspicion among leaders of other states of Eastern Bloc, especially in the Kremlin. The Soviet Union, Poland, and East Germany threatened Dubček in order to get him to not go through with the reforms. The threats from the Soviets increased and eventually lead to the August 1968 military invasion of Czechoslovakia.

After the occupation the official policy With Soviet Union forever! was again introduced, but the reputation of Soviet Union among Czechoslovak public was deeply decreased. When Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986 declared the Soviets will no more intervene in the affairs of Czechoslovakia, it was the beginning of the end of communist regime in Czechoslovakia.

After the collapse of Soviet Union and the later dissolution of Czechoslovakia their relations were replaced by bilateral relations of the succession states.


  1. ^ Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the CPCz CC, Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the CPS CC. An Outline of the History of the CPCz. Prague: Orbis Press Agency, 1980. p. 158

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