Roots of Robert Fico’s taking pictures lie in Slovakia’s bitter divides – POLITICO

So how did Slovakia get the place it’s at this time — so riven between liberals and traditionalists, democrats and thugs, tolerance and its reverse — that political variations are actually being settled with weapons?

Social whiplash

Social division was at all times going to bedevil politics in Slovakia. Following the 1989 revolution throughout Jap Europe, the previous Communist nation all of a sudden plunged right into a ruthless model of capitalism — earlier than being abruptly divorced by the Czechs, who had been a steady nationwide accomplice of 75 years inside the former Czechoslovakia.

The social whiplash these sudden transformations brought about turned metropolis towards village, younger towards outdated, Slovak patriot towards Czechoslovak internationalist, as all searched for his or her footing in unfamiliar terrain.

Social division was at all times going to bedevil politics in Slovakia. | Vladimir Simicek/AFP by way of Getty Photographs

For a younger Robert Fico, who was simply 25 when the Communists misplaced energy, the 1989 revolution will need to have come as a shock: He had solely simply accomplished regulation faculty and joined the Communist Celebration, when the Warsaw Pact broke up together with the social order he had educated himself to achieve.

Fico later claimed he “didn’t discover” 1989 as on the time he had been working on the Justice Ministry and getting ready for a examine journey to the U.S. — thereby from the outset aligning himself with a big a part of the inhabitants who felt nostalgia for Communism and indifference towards the democratic West.

Younger and proficient, Fico joined the successor social gathering to the Communists and was elected to parliament in 1992. Though he spent many of the Nineties in Strasbourg working on the European Courtroom of Human Rights, he saved sufficient of a foot in home politics to begin a profitable “third-way” socialist social gathering, Smer (Path), in 1999. It went on to dominate Slovak politics for the subsequent quarter century.

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