Some 57 percent of Slovaks view the events of November 1989 (the Velvet Revolution) as a positive change, according to a survey conducted by the Public Affairs Institute (IVO) and the Focus agency published on November 19. The Velvet Revolution is simultaneously seen in both a positive and negative light by 21 percent of respondents and solely negative by 14 percent. Only Slovakia's entry into the EU (viewed positively by 68 percent) and the Slovak National Uprising (61 percent) surpass November 1989 in the eyes of the respondents.
The majority of respondents (55 percent) knew that the Public against Violence (VPN) movement spearheaded the Velvet Revolution in Slovakia. People recognised mainly Milan Kňažko (55 percent of respondents) and Ján Budaj (46 percent) as the most visible faces of the Revolution, followed by Václav Havel (30 percent), Alexander Dubček (20 percent), Fedor Gál (17 percent) and Ján Čarnogurský (15 percent).
“This was not a test regarding the roles played by individual personalities. It was about the continuity and public presence of these revolutionary figures in the media. Hence, the role of November 1989 overlaps with other roles some of these people played in the following period,” explained Zora Bútorová of the IVO to TASR.
The change in social conditions apparently has benefits more for the younger generation, people with higher education, those in qualified professions, businessmen and people who live in larger cities. On the other hand, the older generation, people with low education, manual workers, pensioners and the unemployed feel rather disadvantaged by the changes since 1989.
In comparison with the communist regime, the majority of respondents appreciated the possibility to study, work or travel abroad, free access to information, more options in expressing their opinion and the possibility to participate in public affairs. Working life is viewed less positively, however. More than half of respondents claim they live in better conditions than before 1989. The survey was carried out in October on a sample of 1,036 respondents. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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19. Nov 2009 at 10:00