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Mečiar: US offered me political asylum

Three-time former Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar told a reporter from Slovakia's Playboy magazine that he had been offered asylum in the US. When asked by a reporter for TV Markíza who specifically had extended the offer, he said he did not remember.
When contacted by The Slovak Spectator April 2, US Embassy press attaché Paul Oglesby said "the US government did not offer political asylum to former Prime Minister Mečiar". Asked if Mečiar currently held a visa allowing him to travel to the US, he said: "The US Embassy cannot answer any questions in regards to who holds a visa."
The following are exerpts from Playboy's interview with Mečiar, which appeared in the magazine's April, 2001 edition:


Former PM Mečiar calls himself his biggest asset and liability.
photo: Spectator archives

Three-time former Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar told a reporter from Slovakia's Playboy magazine that he had been offered asylum in the US. When asked by a reporter for TV Markíza who specifically had extended the offer, he said he did not remember.

When contacted by The Slovak Spectator April 2, US Embassy press attaché Paul Oglesby said "the US government did not offer political asylum to former Prime Minister Mečiar". Asked if Mečiar currently held a visa allowing him to travel to the US, he said: "The US Embassy cannot answer any questions in regards to who holds a visa."

The following are exerpts from Playboy's interview with Mečiar, which appeared in the magazine's April, 2001 edition:


Playboy: You are probably the most controversial personality in Slovak history.

VM: I'm not controversial. The picture which was created of me is controversial. They made a demon out of me, and attributed deeds to me which never happened.


Playboy: They never happened?

VM: Ninety-nine percent of what they wrote about me never happened, especially the negatives. But the image of me remains, making people think that they should hate me. And they don't know why.


Playboy: Let me quote from a book you wrote [Slovak Taboo]: "It's better to live at home in prison than abroad in luxury."

VM: I could go abroad. I got an offer for political asylum after they blew down my door [at Mečiar's Elektra villa in Trenčianske Teplice in April 2000, when he was arrested for allegedly granting illegal bonuses during his last government -ed. note].


Playboy: Really? In what country?

VM: In the US. What happened [to me] is grounds for being granted political asylum. But I'm at home here. After three days of any trip abroad, I have always begun to feel nervous, unhappy and homesick. I have had offers to hold lectures abroad but refused. My roots are here. Anywhere else I could only stay for a short visit. But I only feel at home in Slovakia.


Playboy: In 1990 you were a completely unknown figure, yet you became popular immediately. How do you explain this?

VM: I had one eye among the blind. In the leadership of the VPN [Public Against Violence political party created during 1989 Velvet Revolution - ed. note] there were very few people who had a clear idea of what needed to be done. There was an awful lot of helplessness. So when someone came up with an idea of what had to be done, [current Justice Minister Ján] Čarnogurský said I must be a KGB agent because I couldn't have learnt such information anywhere else. Others said, 'he can solve things, we have to hang on to him, he can push things forward'.


Playboy: What is your best quality?

VM: Myself.


Playboy: And the worst?

VM: Myself.


Playboy: What do you mean?

VM: Everything I've done in my life, both good and bad, came from somewhere inside myself.


Playboy: Are you capable of compromise?

VM: From 1992 to 1994, I was a minority in parliament and the state functioned well. Every single law passed in parliament was a compromise. Every government decision was a matter of compromise.


Playboy: What is Vladimír Mečiar's biggest mistake?

VM: (Thinks) I'm searching... (Pause). The biggest mistake is one which is fatal. And I am... thinking... hmm... I can't judge that yet.


Playboy: Is your political career over?

VM: I don't think I've finished, and I don't think I ever will.

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