Czechoslovakia in 1970
Ever since Czechoslovakia became the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic in 1960, it has been a satellite state of the Soviet Union. The Communist Party (KSČ) is in power and the official policy of the state is socialism. The party also controls all media, and no private press is allowed. All publications are reviewed by the government’s Office for Press and Information.
Two years ago, all attempts for economic reforms and Prague Spring liberalisation reforms were crushed by the August invasion by four Warsaw Pact countries. The invasion was supported by the majority of the Warsaw Pact but condemned by western nations. It sparked many protests and a major wave of emigration. Now, in 1970, Soviet armies still remain in Czechoslovakia on a temporary basis.
The new leader of KSČ, Gustáv Husák, promptly began the process of normalisation, which sees the country revert the reform laws, remove reformers from leadership positions, reinstate the power of police authorities, and expand ties with other socialist nations. Czechoslovakia turned into the Federation of Czech Socialist Republic and Slovak Socialist Republic, with KSČ firmly holding centralised power.
Social and economic inequities are slowly being eliminated, and the country is beginning to see economic growth: however, it is still significantly lagging behind western European counterparts. Religion is generally oppressed. KSČ maintains a cadre list and a sizable nomenklatura list, a list of people in key administrative positions in the bureaucracy whose positions are granted only with the party’s approval.
Czechoslovak embassy in Norway
The diplomats are working hard to represent the stable socialist country Czechoslovakia is trying to become once again, as the eyes of the entire world have been on them recently. Even though they don’t have any significant influence here – not that Norway is a politically interesting place anyway – and their main diplomatic interest lies further east with their socialist friends and neighbours, they are trying to deepen relations in Norway through trade, cultural exchange, and shared passion for winter sports.
Positions at the embassy are only given to members of the Communist Party, which has recently seen some significant cleansing. From seasoned diplomats to fresh faces, staff in Norway enjoy not only the popular sauna but also easier access to western goods. In a place so different from the situation back home, sometimes it can be dangerously easy to forget about the scrutinising gaze of the State Security (StB/ŠtB) – even though everyone is wildly aware they have their people everywhere, reporting back on every misstep. And so does the nearby USSR embassy! Are the Czechoslovak staff truly loyal to the system, or is their allegiance just an extremely good facade?
- Ambassador (50s, N) A loyal, trusted diplomat with a love for sauna and a drinking problem. Deeply believes that the Communist Party knows best how to look after their country and its citizens.
- First secretary (>30, N) Enjoys the relatively cushy lifestyle away from the Eastern bloc and easier access to western goods. Their loyalty to the party sometimes seems questionable, however they still remain here in Norway.
- Cultural attaché (any age, N) Working hard to promote Czechoslovak culture abroad. Genuinely interested in art, with a wide international network of connections.
- Press attaché (late 30s – early 40s, N) Spent the last decade in diplomacy on missions across Europe. Often feels lonely and questions their life choices.
- Ambassador’s assistant (late 20s, N) Trying to prove themselves and raise their low self esteem, sometimes in questionable ways. Not too keen on returning back home.
- Administrative clerk (early to mid 20s, N) Young, idealistic and reckless. Their family is well connected within the party.