Right-wingextremist ideas have been present in Central Europe constantly for more than ahundred years, since around the end of the 19th century. These ideas got a morewidespread publicity before and during World War II. During the socialist era,followers of these ideas were pursued, after the fall of the Soviet Union,however, they started being shared amongst people once again. A few small groups having extremistviews is one thing, sadly in Slovakia these ideas infiltrated even thepolitical life on a higher level. As in other Central European countries, thefollowers of the far right ideology used free speech as a validation for theirextremist thoughts – stating that they can say these things solely because theyhave a right for free speech. Extremists first got into seriouspolitical levels with the so called party Slovenskápospolitos? – národná strana around the year 2005.
This party got quicklyflagged by the media as extremist for a good reason. They worshipped thenazi-led Slovak state that existed during World War II, while often calledtheir president Vodca, which is theSlovak translation of the german word Führer.Their main goals were to “… buildan independent Slovak statarian state based on nationality, religion andsociety, to get the Slovak republic out of NATO and announce war neutrality,.
..to build a closer relationship with other Slavic countries and get Slovakiaout of IMF and any other organizations and treaties that undermines ordemolishes the Slovak nation and state.” The party was ensuring their ideaswith their looks as well, often making public appearances in the uniforms ofthe Hlinka Guard (a paramilitary group of extremists between 1938 and 1945). Intheir public speeches they often deemed the Slovak National Revolution (aimedagainst the nazi occupation of Slovakia during World War II) as a “…
anti-Slovak bolshevist coup and aninternational action of traitors.” They criticised parliamentary democracyand often threw slurs as “Gypsyparasites”, “Hungarian chauvinists” or “Zionistlobby”. Their paroles included such as “Wewon’t give Slovakia!”, “Long live Tiso!” (Jozef Tiso, leader of the nazioccupied state during World War II) and “Longlive the leader!” or even “HeilFührer!” After the Slovak media and NGOsraised their voices against the party, the supreme court of Slovakia banned theparty in 2006. The ideological heir of Slovenskápospolitos? became ?udová strana NašeSlovensko, which exists and works up to this day. The president of theparty is Marián Kotleba, formermember of Slovenská pospolitos?,member of the Slovak parliament and former county chairman of the county ofBánska Bystrica. According to their own words, their main goal is “.
..to make an independent Slovakia on threepillars: national, religious and social.
” This is one of the clear exampleshow the party continues what their banned predecessor started. They are oftenflagged as extremists and even as nazis for praising the nazi-led country ofSlovakia during World War II, as well as for many of their members sympathizingwith Hitler and his regime. Not surprisingly, the supreme court startedinvestigations about the party in 2017.
In the elections for members of the parliament in 2010,LSNS got only 1.33 percent of total votes, while in 2012 1.58 percent.
However,in 2016 they gained as much as 8.04 percent of the total votes, becoming thefifth most popular country in Slovakia and getting 14 mandates. That was whenthe first slap was given from the moderate left: president Andrej Kiska invitedall the presidents of the parties that made it to the parliament, exceptKotleba, saying he “did not see a reasonto meet extremists.” Two days after the votes a rally was organized bystudents from Bratislava called Anti-fascistmobilization. The students took an open letter to the head of the supremecourt, asking them to ban LSNS. A similar rally was held in Bánska Bystrica,where Kotleba was the chairman of the country at that time, two days later. In 2017 in the county votes, Kotleba did not succeed tokeep his position as the chairman of the Bánska Bystrica county, even thoughhis party got more percent of the votes as they did in 2016 in theparliamentary elections. This was because every party and candidate, fromgovernment to opposition, decided to join their forces against extremist, whichbecame the main motive of their campaigns.
Those voting for LSNS said they werenot voting for their political programme or promises, but because theysympathise with their leader. This is even further evidenced by the fact thatthe party is often called Kotleba-LSNS, in order to make a ‘brand’ out of theirpresident’s name. Kotleba and the other members of the party, or ratherKotleba’s followers, got a whole lot of coverage in the mainstream media thanksto their scandals. The first one of these events was when Peter Krupa, memberof the parliament, brought a pistol with him into the building of theparliament. Even though he was carrying it legally and he gave the gun to theguards willingly, the guards of the parliament are not allowed to search themembers of the parliament, so he could have brought the gun inside anytime. Thestory got connected with Marian Maga, another member of LSNS and candidate forthe post of chairman of Žilina county, for illegally owning a firearm. It wasat the same time that Kotleba wanted to submit a proposal to the parliamentabout forming a paramilitary group, as he called them, a national guard, thatwould serve somewhat like the police, keeping the peace and order all around thecountry. Some time later, Stanislav Mízik, member of the parliamentand LSNS, got arrested in his office in the parliament for sharing anti-Jewishposts on social media and sharing nazi ideas to the public.
He blamed AndrejKiska for awarding a Jewish man with the Medal of the President of theRepublic. Another big atrocity has happened last december, whenKotleba was formally stepping down as chairman of the County of BánskaBystrica, during the inauguration ceremony of Ján Lunter, his successor. Two men,supposedly the followers of Kotleba and LSNS, stood in the doorway of the roomthe ceremony was held, and tried to keep the crew of Rimava TV outside. Nobodypresent intervened, not even the city police that came to assure the event, butZsolt Simon, member of the parliament and of the party Most-Híd. Of course it was not just the members of the party, Kotlebahad his big scandals as well. The first one was, when still the chairman of thecounty of Bánska Bystrica, he helped his family and friends gain higherpositions and jobs at state firms.
However, this was only a scandal in themedia, with no investigation following after. Last december he was put toquestion for selling 103 industry vehicles for a symbolic 1€. While hisopposition says the vehicles were functioning and that this might be considereda crime of stealing, Kotleba states these machines were not used anymore andeverything useful was taken out of them before the sale. The biggest scandal, however, happened in July 2017, whenthe Slovak police raised charges against Marian Kotleba for spreading extremistideas. In march, Kotleba gave 1488€ to a poor family in Bánska Bystrica. Notethat 14/88 is a fascist symbol, 14 representing 14 words written by David Lane(“We must secure the existence ofour people and a future for white children”), with H being the 8thletter of the alphabet, therefore HH=88 pointing to Heil Hitler. Kotleba is charged with taking advantage of charity inorder to share and propagate fascist ideology, which can be punished from 6months to 3 years in prison.
The investigation is still in process. As the above mentioned examples show, the Slovakfar-right-wing managed to get some political success, even though they proudlyshare their extremist beliefs. Fortunately, their political opponents quicklyrealized the danger in their empowerment and joined a forces, an action thatwill hopefully last for the upcoming votes into the European Union’s and laterinto the Slovak parliament, so the spread of extremism will come to an end.