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Tag: Slovakia

Thirty years of Slovak independence: A roller-coaster country

The war in Ukraine is the latest test Slovakia has had to face since its independence. Despite being vulnerable to Russian disinformation, the country has shown remarkable resilience and unity.

July 18, 2022 - Jozef Hrabina

Ukraine and its discontents

The outcome of the war in Ukraine will be determined by three key actors – Ukraine, Russia and the West. However, all three operate as if they are in different time dimensions. One of the features of this “totally new era” is that clocks are ticking on all sides, but the speed seems different.

Since February 24th, Ukraine has been at the forefront of global media and we have been inundated with both short and long-term predictions about the war as it progresses. It has led to endless analysis, some profound, some superficial, some objective, some ideological, some partisan and much contradictory. We all want to know how this tragic conflict will end, whether Ukraine prevails and remains free or Vladimir Putin’s Russia conquers its neighbour. What would either development mean for the future of the West? What would be the status of the external and internal enemies of liberal democracy that have grown during the last decade and have been somewhat muted since February?

July 15, 2022 - Samuel Abrahám

The EU and the great powers: a stakeholder view from Visegrád

Whilst governments often claim to speak for their countries, the elites that constitute the majority of states’ political systems may take a more balanced approach. This is clear in the Visegrad states, where a recent survey has revealed many nuances regarding foreign policy.

January 4, 2022 - Pavlína Janebová Zsuzsanna Végh

The Central and Eastern European natural gas market 2013-19: trends and implications

Over the last decade, the natural gas market in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has changed dramatically. Today, we are seeing more cross-border pipeline routes that are bi-directional and the possibility of greater liquified natural gas (LNG) imports. These changes will bring increased economic opportunities for the full market chain under EU rules. Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine are emerging as key players in these developments.

Not long after the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, western policymakers began to think about how to reduce European reliance on Russian hydrocarbon resources by expanding Europe’s alternative sources. Much of the energy diplomacy undertaken since then has focused on building pipeline infrastructure designed to bring new sources of oil and gas to Europe that bypass Russia. Of course, this strategy has seen many large successes, with the development of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline and the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) perhaps the most notable examples.

December 2, 2021 - Dwight Nystrom Geoffrey Lyon

Rusyns – the forgotten minority of Ukraine

It has been over 70 years since the essential banning of the Rusyn identity, and to this day these people are still not fully recognised in all of their home countries.

October 8, 2020 - Starik Pollock

The revolution on the periphery and the reflection of 1989 in Slovakia

The developments in Slovakia leading up to 1989 can be interpreted as a belated response to momentous changes in Moscow and, more immediately, in Prague. They could be classified as a “revolution on the periphery” – a phenomenon describing how the wave of change travelled to provinces and distant cities from the centre. Nevertheless these events shaped Slovakia’s development and their interpretation plays a role in politics today.
Looking back now at the precarious post-communist transformation and pondering the turbulent period that we witness today, we might ask to what extent the current condition in Central Europe in general, and Slovakia in particular, were affected by the events of 1989 – that annus mirabilis when the communist regimes of Central Europe fell after four decades in power. Was the current status quo somehow predetermined by the events and developments of that year? Or did the post-communist transformation contain its own dynamics, reflecting the longer-term conditions and political cultures of the countries that now form the Visegrád Group?

January 28, 2020 - Samuel Abrahám

Slovakia’s new wave and its limits

The new Slovak president illustrates that an alternative to Central European populism is politically viable. But her power is tamed by constitutional limits and the lasting and deep political polarisation between liberal democrats and conservative nationalists. The latter can particularly bar her allies from building a stable government after the February 2020 parliamentary elections.

Three days before the June European Council meeting, Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini was still against the target of reaching climate neutrality in 2050. But two days before the summit, Pellegrini met the new Slovak President and made a U-turn the very same day. He said Slovakia was in favour of the EU goal, steering away from the other countries in the Visegrad Group.

November 13, 2019 - Pavol Szalai

In Between Europe #20: Presidential election in Slovakia

This podcasts looks at how progressive newcomer Zuzana Čaputová secured a surprise victory in Slovakia’s presidential elections this past weekend.

April 3, 2019 - Adam Reichardt

An iron will

Prebijem sa! Štefánik. Muž železnej vôle (I shall prevail! Štefánik – a Man of Iron Will). By: Jozef Banáš. Publisher: Ikar, Bratislava, 2018.

“Were we not to follow the path of truth and prove worthy of the good and the work you have done on our behalf, we would kill you. Were we to act selfishly in seeking our own prosperity instead of the nations, we would kill you. Were we to search for the meaning of life in material things, in money, food and physical escapades that are all soul-destroying, we would kill you. Were we to love lies more than truth, were we not to purge our private and public lives of evil, we would kill you. Were we to lose our national consciousness and pride, we would kill you.”

These were the touching words of Evangelical Bishop Samuel Zoch at Milan Rastislav Štefánik’s funeral on May 11th 1919 in Bradlo, close to the general’s native village of Košariská in western Slovakia. The Czechoslovak government in Slovakia – which had to fight for its survival until the Treaty of Versailles would grant recognition of the new state and its southern borders – demonstrated its gratitude with a state funeral and a beautiful sepulchre (mohyla) that was worthy of a king.

March 4, 2019 - Josette Baer

Slovakia and the coming post-Fico era

After a little break the “In Between Europe” podcast is back with a special on Slovakia. In this episode Zselyke and Gergely talk to Milan Nič, a senior fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations. What has happened in Slovakia since the horrific murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancé this spring? How much influence does Russia have in the country? What direction will Slovak politics take once former prime minister Robert Fico decides to fully retire?

August 27, 2018 - Zselyke Csaky and Gergely Romsics

The curse of Ján Ľupták’s duck

Rimavská Sobota is a small town in the south of Slovakia, not far from the Hungarian border. Despite its size, it has seen a lot of changes and tragedies throughout the last 100 years. The story Ján Ľupták and his family woes may be one of the best illustrations of this town’s fate.

It all began with a duck. “Not quite,” Michal corrects me. “Negative emotions were mounting in the family for a while. The woebegone duck was like a snowball. It triggered an avalanche, which has been falling ever since”.

It certainly began in Rimavská Sobota, a small town in the south of Slovakia. In the Ľupták family everything begins in Rimavská. And usually ends there: births, funerals, and weddings, school, work and friends. Few are capable of leaving this place and never coming back. One teacher managed to leave. She ran a theatre group. When she fell into debt, she decided to pretend to be mentally ill in order to avoid repayment. She ran around the square in her pyjamas, singing out load and jumped up on monuments. The court sent her to a psychiatric ward for observation (yes, indeed, Rimavská has a psychiatric ward), but the doctors claimed she was faking it. She ran away to Prague and today she works in a shop and does not want to hear about Rimavská. But such stories are rare.

October 31, 2017 - Dariusz Kałan

Seeking the ties that bind

One would not consider Slovakia and Georgia to have much in common. However, there are some common denominators worth exploring. A visit to both states brought some surprising results, defying our expectations.

October 4, 2017 - Katarina Novikova and Wiktor Trybus

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