Sputnik Escalates the Cold War
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Mlynář, Zdeněk (1930–1997)

Czech lawyer, political scientist, and Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (CPCz) functionary. Zdeněk Mlynář, born Zdeněk Muller on 6 June 1930 in Vysoke Myto, attended Lomonosov University, earning a law degree in 1955. During 1955–1963 he worked for the Institute of State and Law, and during 1963–1967 he served as secretary of the Legal Commission of the CPCz's Central Committee.

In 1968 Mlynář was appointed to the CPCz's Central Committee, and he was named a member of the Secretariat later the same year. He was one of the leaders of the 1968 Prague Spring reform movement and helped draw up plans for political reform. Among other achievements, he authored the political section of the CPCz's April 1968 Action Program and became the secretary of the CPCz Presidium in June. A participant in the Moscow discussions between Soviet and Czechoslovak leaders after the August 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, Mlynář resigned from his posts in November 1968. He was subsequently expelled from the CPCz in 1970.

In 1976, while working in political exile in the etymology division of Prague's National Museum, Mlynář became one of the founders of and original signatories to the Czechoslovak human rights organization Charter 77. In June 1977 he immigrated to Austria, where he headed an international research team investigating the prospects for change in Soviet-type systems at the Institute for International Politics. He left the institute in 1989, taking a position as a professor of political science in Innsbruck in 1989. Throughout his émigré years, he continued writing on East European political developments and the Prague Spring, most famously in his memoir of the 1968 events, Nightfrost in Prague. Mlynář died in Vienna on 15 April 1997.

Bradley F. Abrams


Further Reading
Mlynář, Zdeněk. Nightfrost in Prague. Translated by Paul Wilson. New York: Karz, 1980.
 

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