During the normalisation period in Czechoslovakia in the years 1969-1989, empirical sociology was reduced to monitoring information relevant for Marxist-Leninist ideology. With the exception of politically neutral fields, the data gathered were distorted. Central decision-making authorities, however, needed some information on the opinions of the population. To this end, certain questions were inserted into politically neutral surveys. Data acquired in this manner, however, were only available as a source to the propaganda section of the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party. This article, which draws on a text that the authoress originally wrote under a pseudonym for the exile journal 'Testimony' describes these practices. At the initiative of figures in Czech exile, in 1986 a public opinion research study was secretly carried out using a questionnaire with 85 questions on a sample of 342 people, focusing on a comparison of attitudes towards the USSR, the USA, and NATO, and towards prominent politicians in the late 1980s. The results revealed a surprisingly high degree of awareness about alternative, unofficial, and thus banned culture and publications, and about certain suppressed individuals. The empirical data was sent secretly to Paris and there processed by the sociologist Zdenek Strmiska.
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