Of all the bloc countries where dissent has surfaced recently, probably nothing irritates the Soviets more than what has happened here.
There will be no uprising among the generally passive Czechoslovak population. Rather, the civil-rights movement here is bothersome to Moscow because it is probably the most skillful of all the protests thus far.
The publication in the West of Charter 77 - a dramatic plea by some 300 Czechoslovak citizens demanding human rights guaranteed under the country's law and international pacts, has attracted great interest and compassion in the West and in Western Communist parties, and growing attention in the East as well.
The Czechoslovaks are probably the most traditionally Western of all the bloc peoples and the Kremlin must feel that the seeds of the despised liberal brand of Eurocommunism of the Italian, French or Spanish parties could find fertile ground here more easily than elsewhere.
The crackdown has been harsh at times but also uncertain, with the critics still not entirely shut off from access to Western outlets. The uncertainty probably reflects several things: split's within the leadership that have made decision-making hard since the 1968 Soviet-led invasion here; the shadow conscience of hundreds of thousands of former Communists from the more liberal Alexander Dubcek regime that was overthrown in 1968; and the coming Belgrade conference.