26. novembra 2019

Hans Rätsep

Hans Rätsep for GACY’68

Story of Hans Rätsep

The film presents a narrative of an Estonian youngster conscripted in Soviet Army in 1967. After several months of military drill his unit is being a part of the forces participating in the operation “Danube“. H. Rätsep depicts in details Soviet army activities while preparing the invasion, mobilization of reserves in Estonia. He gives time and geographical coordinates tof his military unit tranfers fromJune 18th 1968 and its spirit. Since his unit was not deployed in the first wave of invasion, he doesn’t mention any contact with local population. He describes only a false alarm caused by a misidentification of a group of tanks and the rumours on „murders“ of Bulgarian soldiers. Among his memories of Soviet troops everyday life in occupied Czechoslovakia (autumn 1968 – spring 1969) his description of rebellions after the ice hockey match between ČSSR and USSR in relation to his regiment is worth of particular attention. The story on his return home is also full of interesting details on the „public meaning“ in USSR.
A distance of an Estonian youngster both towards the „Russian army“ and the Soviet ideology, as well as his negative attitude to USSR living standards can be felt in Rätsep’s narration very clearly.

Are you interested in this story?

If you would like to use the video at school in history lesson, would like to learn more about the possibilities of its critical analysis as a historical source, or would like to get a transcript of the record, please, do not hesitate to contact us via e-mail: info@praguespring68.eu