The relaxed atmosphere and new relationship towards politicians is symbolised by an article published in the summer of 1968 in the popular Czechoslovak magazine Mladý svět (Young World). It shows First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Alexander Dubček (1921 – 1992) in his free time – at the pool. Dubček became the First Secretary – the highest representative of the Czechoslovak Communist Party – in January 1968, and his election became a symbol of change in the Communist Party and in society. Under his leadership, the Communist Party launched far-reaching reforms. Although Dubček himself was not the most radical reformist, he became a symbol of the Prague Spring for people in Czechoslovakia and abroad. One of the reasons he was so popular was because of his relaxed behaviour, so different from the previous generation of Communist leaders, who would probably never have allowed themselves to be seen in bathing suits.
But this image was also cultivated by the media, which after the abolition of censorship was looking for new ways to reach the public. However, it is not a coincidence that the report from the swimming pool was originally created for the US magazine LIFE (An ideological plunge for a free-form high diver) and was later published in abbreviated form in Czechoslovakia. While Young World emphasises Dubček’s family comfort and his old and ordinary car, LIFE focuses on the apparent contradiction between this comfort and the international tensions during which Dubček was governing Czechoslovakia. He visited the swimming pool on a short holiday before a period of complex negotiations with the Soviet Union.