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Slovaks proud of historical figures, ashamed of current politicians

While Slovaks take pride mainly in figures from the past, current politicians are a source of shame, according to a recent Public Affairs Institute (IVO) survey on historical awareness.

While Slovaks take pride mainly in figures from the past, current politicians are a source of shame, according to a recent Public Affairs Institute (IVO) survey on historical awareness.

Politician, aviator and astronomer Milan Rastislav Štefánik (1880-1918) and 1968 Prague Spring leader Alexander Dubček are the two figures that Slovaks are most proud of, with 32 percent choosing each of them, the TASR newswire reported, citing the survey. In third place was Slovak-language codifier and fighter for the unification of Slovaks into a nation Ľudovít Štúr, followed by popular bandit Juraj Jánošík, politician Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk – though he is normally regarded as a Czech, he had a Slovak father and was the leading figure in the foundation of Czechoslovakia in 1918 – and poet Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav.

Only 17 percent of respondents were unable to name someone that they were proud of, while 9 percent claimed that no such person exists. IVO noted that the results mark a shift since 1990, when nearly 40 percent of respondents in a similar survey stated that no national figure made them feel proud.

Conversely, the list of shame was headed by Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) leader and former prime minister Vladimír Mečiar (chosen by 19 percent), closely followed by head of the Nazi-allied Slovak State during World War II Jozef Tiso (16 percent) and current Slovak National Party (SNS) leader Ján Slota (14 percent).

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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