The Svätopluk statue installed in the courtyard of Bratislava Castle represents an example of bad taste rather than fascism, Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic said on Wednesday, July 21, the TASR newswire reported.
Lipšic was speaking in reaction to claims that the double-barred cross motif displayed on the figure’s shield is identical with the emblem of the fascist Hlinka Guard. He said police would not investigate the statue.
“It would be bad to have politicians meddling in the roles of heraldry experts, historians and other experts,” said Lipšic, adding that the statue must be evaluated first and foremost by historians, artists and the public. The fate of the statue will be decided by Speaker of Parliament Richard Sulík. Lipšic said that he wholeheartedly champions freedom of speech, and as a great advocate of this liberty he would be saddened to see any art criminalised just because someone did not like it.
Sulík has already said that he will establish a panel of experts to pass judgment on whether it is appropriate to have the Svätopluk statue remain at Bratislava Castle or not. The committee will be headed by historian Marína Zavacká, with its professional opinion expected to be published within weeks.
The statue has attracted criticism from activists from the art organisation UM! They are calling for its removal, arguing that the double-barred cross motif violates the Slovak Criminal Code.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
22. Jul 2010 at 10:00