Entry into the European Union in May 2004 crowns the chart of events of historic importance for Slovakia according to a survey by the Institute of Public
Affairs (IVO) and Focus from the first half of October on a sample of 1,036 adults, the SITA newswire wrote. The poll shows that Slovak citizens give more importance to the Slovak National Uprising of 1944 that placed second on the chart than to the Velvet Revolution of 1989 as the beginning of the fall of the communist regime in the country that placed in third spot.
IVO's Zora Bútorová ascribes the survey result to massive support for the EU in Slovakia. People perceive membership in it unambiguously positively. Moreover, they do not associate with the EU the necessity to adapt themselves to all those fundamental and difficult changes that they had to go through since the beginning of the nineties, Bútorová told SITA.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents are positive about the November 1989 revolution compared with a mere 14 percent who hold the opposite stance. The euphoria evoked by the revolution probably went with the first economic reforms. As time passed, opinions were changing and a sharp difference between supporters and opponents of the political change became more evident only in 2006 when tough economic reforms occurred.
When asked to compare their situation with lives of similar people twenty years ago, a considerable majority praised the possibility to study, work and travel abroad (78 percent), free access to information (70 percent), more space for expressing one’s own opinion (63 percent) and freedom to participate in public life (62 percent).
Of those polled 48 percent think that their current living standard is better than before the revolution while 18 percent see no difference. One in three respondents perceives it as worse. Respondents were most critical of job opportunities, with 25 percent finding them better and 9 percent seeing them equal. Sixty-one percent view them as worse.
Slovaks think those who benefited most from the revolution were businessmen, dissidents, Christians, and young people. Elderly people with low education, farmers and unqualified workers are on the other side of the spectrum. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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