Monument of deceased communist leader sparks emotions

FORMER communist-time leader Vasil Biľak who died less than a year ago had a commemorative monument revealed in his home village, Krajné Bystré, on February 21. During the following night, it was painted over with the word Sviňa / Pig. Police are investigating the act.

The monument commemorating Vasil Biľak was painted over in red.The monument commemorating Vasil Biľak was painted over in red. (Source: SITA)

Former secretary of the communist party of (then) Czechoslovakia, Vasil Biľak, was hailed by Krajné Bystré natives as a man who did a lot for the municipality when in power.

“In the name of the Nation’s Memory Institute (ÚPN), I express a strong protest against Slovakia starting to build monuments for unpunished members and officials of criminal organisations, as evidently were the communist parties of Bohemia and Slovakia, 25 years after the end of the communist totalitarian regime,” chairman of the Board of  ÚPN, Ondrej Krajňák, wrote as quoted by the SITA newswire.

Krajňák added that he does not deny Biľak’s merits for his home village, but he still perceives the effort with disappointment – as Biľak is mostly considered the person responsible for the invasion of armies of the Warsaw Pact in August 1968 and the ensuing occupation of former Czechoslovakia. “I see it as a taunt for victims of the communist regime, and a provocation for all citizens with democratic views,” Krajňák said.  

The commemorative plaque outraged and shocked also artists Peter Kalmus and Ľuboš Lorenz – who admitted for the Sme daily it was them who sprayed it. Police are investigating this event.

Slovaks seem to like building and making monuments commemorating doubtful personalities of their history: in 2011, a bust of Ferdinand Ďurčanský, a Slovak wartime-state politician, was placed on a square in the town of Rajec in northern Slovakia. Ďurčanský had been sentenced to death for high treason and collaboration with Nazis after World War II.

Unlike him, Biľak was never tried for his deeds during the communist regime and died peacefully in February 2014 as a pensioner, aged 97. 

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Top stories

Teachers trust conspiracy media, they think the government is not handling the pandemic well

One-third of teachers think the coronavirus vaccination is a preparation for implanting chips, recent poll shows.

The school in Trenčianske Stankovce.

News digest: Security Council will meet to discuss nationwide testing

Overview of news from Monday, October 19, 2020.

PM Igor Matovič announcing some details about nationwide testing on October 18.

PM wants to test everyone, Kotleba already positive in neo-Nazism

Nationwide testing is less utopian than the blackout but it is driven by the same ambition.

PM Igor Matovič shows the antigen testing kit that should be used in the nationwide testing project in Slovakia.

The best concert I have ever heard was in Bratislava, says Dutch ambassador

Ambassador Henk Cor van der Kwast cycles with Slovakia's mayors and loves the Slovak capital for its rich music history.

Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok, centre, with the Embassy team, including Ambassador Henk Cor van der Kwast, left of the minister, on March 15, 2019.