Respect for the soldiers who perished during the liberation of Bratislava and the whole of Slovakia is one of the basic pillars of national policies, said Prime Minister Robert Fico at the Slavín memorial in Bratislava on the occasion of the 71st anniversary of Bratislava’s liberation. The memorial was constructed to pay tribute to 6,845 Red Army soldiers who fell in liberating Bratislava and the surrounding areas.
“Irrespective of whether I’m part of the executive or legislature, I’ll keep supporting this pillar,” Fico said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “You’ll always find me at these events honouring the memory of those who came here but weren’t able to leave.”
Many Red Army soldiers died when liberating Bratislava, Fico noted.
“I reaffirm that we’ll show great interest in preserving all memorials attesting to these events,” the PM continued. “You’ll find us everywhere.”
He also stressed he has great respect for all those who were killed in WWII.
Bratislava Mayor Ivo Nesrovnal said in his speech that the tragedies of WWII should serve as a warning on how dangerous it is to ignore racism, xenophobia and intolerance.
“It’s important to recall this especially now, at times of growing support for those who introduce hate, animosity and rudeness to our society,” said Nesrovnal, as quoted by TASR.
He also said that people in Bratislava will care for the graves of foreign fallen soldiers as if they were their own.
“Nevertheless, we also remember a different period of lack of freedom – the communist one,” Nesrovnal added, as quoted by TASR. His criticism of communism was booed by some of the attendees, however.
The commemorative event at Slavín was also attended by President Andrej Kiska, members of government and parliament, ambassadors, Supreme Court President Daniela Švecová, Judicial Council Chair Jana Bajánková, Bratislava Region's Governor Pavol Frešo, and Martin Krno from the Regional Committee of the Slovak Association of Anti-fascist Fighters.
Krno apologised in his speech for having “figures in brown shirts in Bratislava again”, who “even need to conquer it by force”.
“Society itself has opened the door for them,” said Krno, as quoted by TASR, referring to the presence of 14 MPs from the far-right People’s Party – Our Slovakia of Marian Kotleba in parliament following the March general election.
5. Apr 2016 at 13:11 | Compiled by Spectator staff