Lubomir Strougal, Czechoslovak communist leader, dies at 98
Lubomir Strougal, a Czechoslovak communist-era leader who served as prime minister for a record span of more than 18 years, has died
PRAGUE– Lubomir Strougal, a Czechoslovak communist-era leader who served as prime minister for a record span of more than 18 years, has died. He was 98 years old.
His death was confirmed to the media on Monday by former Communist Party deputy Jiri Dolejs. No details were given.
Strougal was appointed prime minister in 1970, when the country was ruled by an intransigent communist regime established following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Warsaw Pact troops invaded in August 1968 to crush political reforms and anti-communist protests during the era known as the Prague Spring.
Strougal initially opposed the invasion but later joined the hardliners.
After Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced a reform program known as “perestroika” or restructuring, Strugal was seen as a pragmatic reformer.
But hardliners led by Milous Jakes prevailed, with Strougal resigning from his post in 1988 – a year before the Velvet Revolution led by Vaclav Havel ended more than 41 years of communist rule.
Legal attempts after 1989 failed to hold Strougal accountable for Communist-era persecution and the deaths of people killed on the borders of Czechoslovakia as they tried to flee to the West.
Born on October 19, 1924 in Veseli nad Luznici, Strougal was a member of the Communist Party leadership for three decades and also served as agriculture minister and interior minister before becoming prime minister.
He retired from politics in 1989 and was expelled from the party a year later.