In light of the uproar surrounding the Bratislava General Prosecutor charges of high treason against Vasil Biľak, the former secretary general of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, The Slovak Spectator approached the chairman of the current Slovak Communist Party (KSS) Jozef Ševc on April 12 for his party's reaction. Ševc, who is also Biľak's son-in-law, presides over the party, established in 1992 as a 'new' communist party and currently boasting some 22,000 members.
The Slovak Spectator (TSS): Less than three years after the fall of the communist regime, you decided to revive communist ideals by establishing the KSS. Do you see yourself as followers of the former communists?
Jozef Ševc (JŠ): We created the party as a response to all those political subjects which appeared here after 1989 and were not able to find answers to the aching social and economic questions in society. They promised a better life but nothing has changed for the better.
Although we stress that we are a new communist party, we minimalise the good things achieved by our communist predecessors. If you look at modern Slovakia, everybody is trying to accumulate the wealth that was produced during communism. We are a Marxist-Leninist party and we will remain as such. Everybody would like to see the communists on the periphery. But I know that socialism has a big future in this world.
TSS: But the communist regime caused the deaths of many innocent people and denied basic human rights. Don't you think that the ideology is obsolete and that it discredited itself by what it did to the common people?
JŠ: I don't agree that it was discredited, I don't know about any 'discrediting'. Just look at the people in power today and what they're doing. They haven't helped anyone. Our society is now worse than it was in 1989, not better.
Let history judge the justification of communism. People know very well what they had before and what the revolution took away from them - jobs, houses and flats, while families are breaking down. The Communists secured all for the common man, they built houses for them and factories, constructed streets and dams. This is all gone now.
TSS: What is your opinion of the establishment of centres documenting communist crimes and the efforts to punish people who betrayed the interests of the country?
JŠ: These initiatives are done by people who are unable to cope with their own problems. We admit that mistakes were made in the past and that our predecessors should have done some things differently. But we must stop looking for people we want to blame for these mistakes. We should learn from them. Digging up the past only traumatises society and spreads nervousness among our citizens.
TSS: How do you perceive the preparation of the trial of Vasil Biľak? Is this more personal for you because you are his son-in-law?
JŠ: Everybody is somebody's son-in-law. The process with Biľak is not the communist's problem but the problem with those who initiated it. They haven't been able to think about anything more constructive than this for the past ten years. The trial is a complete fabrication and based on unsubstantiated accusations which does no good for society. These people are just trying to compensate for their own inability and complexes.
TSS: How is the KSS accepted by the current parliamentary parties. Do you keep any particular contacts with any of them?
JŠ:We do have good and quite lively contacts with members of the [former communist] Party of the Democratic Left (SDĽ) on a regional level. But high profile SDĽ members like [Finance Minister Brigita] Schmögnerová and Peter Weiss don't want to have anything in common with us because they are trying to forget their roots. It is shocking that they are friendly with the Christian Democrats who are open enemies to communism.
17. Apr 2000 at 0:00 | Martina Pisárová