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Monday, August 22, 2005

Jaruzelski apologizes to Czechs

Prague Daily Monitor:

Former Polish president apologises for Poland's participation in 1968 invasion
(PDM staff with CTK) 22 August - Former Polish President Wojciech Jaruzelski apologised yesterday on Czech Television for Polish troops' participation in the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 and said he feels grieved and worried over his decision more than 30 years ago.

This May, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded a commemorative medal to Jaruzelski in Moscow. This raised criticism from Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who said he considers Jaruzelski a symbol of the Warsaw Pact troops' invasion of Czechoslovakia and the violent suppression of the democratic movement in Poland.

Jaruzelski, 82, told Czech Television that it was impossible in 1968 to avoid signing the order for the invasion. "It grieves and worries me. I perceive it with enormous sorrow, but I could not act otherwise at the time. It was a politically stupid act," he said.

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