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Alexander Dubcek

Alexander Dubcek (November 27, 1921 - November 7, 1992) was a Slovakian politician and briefly leader of Czechoslovakia.

He was born in Uhrovec[?], Czechoslovakia, and raised in Kirghizia (now Kyrgystan). In 1938 the family returned to Czechoslovakia and Dubcek joined the Communist Party of Slovakia. During the Nazi occupation, Dubcek fought for the underground resistance. He joined the Central Committee of the party in 1951. He was sent to Moscow Political College in 1955, where he graduated in 1958. By 1962, he was a full member of the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party.

Under Communism the Czechoslovakian economy in the 1960s was in serious decline and the imposition of central control from Prague disappointed local Communists while the de-Stalinization program caused further disquiet. In October 1967 a number of reformers took action, they challenged First Secretary Antonin Novotny[?] at a Central Committee meeting. Novotny failed to secure support from either his fellow Communists or from Moscow and was forced to resign, Dubcek became the new First Secretary on January 5, 1968. The period from March to August 1968 is termed the Prague Spring, Dubcek attempted to liberalise the government and allow "socialism with a human face".

Dubcek was careful enough to attempt to reassure the Soviets that he was still friendly to Moscow, arguing that the reforms were an internal matter. The Prague Spring ended on August 21, when Soviet forces entered Prague. Dubcek urged the people not to resist before he and other key reformers were seized and taken to Moscow where they were forced to accede to Soviet demands. Dubcek was returned to Prague on August 27 and retained his post as First Secretary for a while.

In April 1969 Dubcek lost the Secretaryship and was made ambassador to Turkey (1969-70) before being expelled from the party in 1970. During the Velvet Revolution of 1989 he supported the Civic Reform party of Vaclav Havel. Dubcek was elected speaker of the Federal Assembly on December 28, 1989, and re-elected in 1990.

Dubcek died in a car crash on November 7, 1992, and was buried in Slavicie Udolie, in Bratislava, Slovakia.

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