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Czechoslovaks Helped Suppress 1956 Hungarian Revolution, Polish Unrest

October 20, 1990

PRAGUE, Czechoslovakia (AP) _ Czechoslovak security forces helped suppress the 1956 anti-Communist revolution in Hungary and unrest the same year in Poland, a former interior minister is quoted as saying.

Rudolf Barak, who served as interior minister from 1953 to 1961, was quoted Friday by the military weekly Obrana Lidu as saying Czechoslovakia supplied men and weapons to help put down Eastern Europe’s bloodiest revolution.

Barak’s remarks were the latest in a series of admissions by former officials in Warsaw Pact countries since the anti-Communist revolution swept Eastern Europe last year. The ex-officials acknowledge that their forces helped suppress popular uprisings in other nations in the Soviet bloc.

The Soviet Union and the four other Warsaw Pact countries that invaded Czechoslovakia during its 1968 attempts to create ″socialism with a human face″ condemned their actions last year. Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev said sending tanks to crush the Prague Spring was ″a mistake.″

Soviet troops marched into Hungary in November 1956 to put down an anti- Communist uprising. Many of the revolt’s leaders were subsequently executed. They have been posthumously rehabilitated in Hungary’s democratization process of the past two years.

″We provided immediate help to the Hungarian and Polish securities,″ Barak said, adding that about 30 men went to each country. ″We were also organizing supplies of machine guns and other weapons.″

Excerpts of the interview were carried by Czechoslovakia’s official news agency CTK.

In Poland in 1956, workers in Poznan were suppressed during demonstrations against one-party rule and Soviet domination. A period of liberalization followed after anti-Stalinist Communists staged a bloodless coup.

Barak was a member of the Communist Party’s ruling Politburo, and in 1960-62 he worked as the country’s deputy premier.

In 1962, he was sentenced to 15 years in jail for abusing the powers of public office and embezzlement. He was released in 1968.

Barak said he was actually imprisoned because he had gotten hold of documents that showed then-President Antonin Novotny, Barak’s main rival in the party, had been a paid agent of the Nazi secret police. Germany invaded Czechoslovakia and ruled the country during World War II.

Novotny was general secretary of the Communist Party from 1953 to 1968 and president from 1957 to 1968.

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