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We Will Bury You

Sejna, Jan

1982, January 1

we will bury you

From the Preface:

I slipped out of Prague one freezing Sunday morning in February 1968 and, with my son and his fiancee, drove as fast as the wintry roads would let me south-east through Hungary and Yugoslavia into Italy; I was fleeing like a criminal from the country I loved, and abandoning the system that had raised me from poverty to power and privilege.

Often I look back across the years and think about my friends and colleagues in pre-Dubcek Czechoslovakia. Most of us were ambitious, some of us were cruel and some were vain, others were corrupt and cowardly, and a few were simply naive. But I am sure that all of us – ministers, generals, commissars, and mere Party members – were trapped in the system, unable to act or move or even think outside it. It has become fashionable in Britain and the U.S., whenever some young delinquent or criminal is brought to trial, to argue that we should lay the blame on society. ‘We are all guilty,’ is the cry. ‘It is the fault of the system.’ But if ever a system totally corrupted its servants, that was and is Communism; and when Communism is imposed by a foreign power as brutal and chauvinist as the Soviet Union, it not only corrupts, it degrades. In these necessarily sketchy and incomplete memoirs I hope to convey something of the atmosphere surrounding a senior Party official in a Soviet satellite regime. I hope, too, that this book gives some insight into Soviet outlook and policy towards the West, not least through the detailed synopsis of the Soviet Strategic Plan for the subversion of the West, which I have included in the second half of this volume.

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