Kiska: We cannot tolerate fascism while celebrating SNP

Slovakia marked the 72nd anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising

SNP veterans attended the ceremony marking its 72nd anniversary. SNP veterans attended the ceremony marking its 72nd anniversary. (Source: SITA)

Slovakia should not celebrate a state holiday marking an uprising against fascism while at the same time tolerating any displays of fascism, said President Andrej Kiska at the main national commemoration event marking the 72nd anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising (SNP) during WWII in Banská Bystrica on August 29.

The event was also attended by Speaker of Parliament, Andrej Danko, Prime Minister Robert Fico, several other members of the cabinet, former president Ivan Gašparovič, European Commission Vice-president Maroš Šefčovič and representatives of more than 30 embassies among others.

President Kiska added that the state should not just take up an indifferent posture towards the opinion that August 29, 1944, the date on which the uprising began, was a black day in Slovak history.

It was the govenor of the Banská Bystrica region (BBSK) Marian Kotleba, who is now also a member of the Slovak parliament representing far-right extremists from the People’s Party – Our Slovakia (ĽSNS) who in the past described the SNP as a “black day” in Slovakia’s history and a rebellion against one’s own state.

“We can’t play tactically,” said President Kiska as cited by the TASR newswire. “It isn’t possible to come to this site, endorse this brilliant chapter in our modern history with head held high, lay wreaths at memorials to the fallen, but at the same time indifferently overlook opinions that August 29, 1944 was allegedly a black day in Slovak history. We can and must come to understand the causes of open support for neo-Nazism, fascism, racism and ever more open displays of hatred.”

Read also:Bratislava honours victims of national uprising

Prime Minister Robert Fico at the ceremony said that he will never allow antipathy into Slovak-Russian relations, and he refuses to create a new enemy. He stated that it seems that there are efforts to find an enemy on which to lay all the blame. He stressed that the Red Army played an indisputable role in the liberation of Slovakia during WWII and that this fact mustn’t be forgotten.

At the same time he stated that he’s been disturbed internally because certain political parties have been spreading hatred and making it part of their official doctrines. There’s a need to erect a barrier to this, he said.

“Hate means a path to hell,” said Fico. “If hate governs this country, may God protect Slovakia.”

The armed resistance of the Slovak nation against inhumane Nazi oppression will forever remain a big opportunity for pride among Slovaks, said Speaker of Parliament and the head of the ruling Slovak National Party (SNS) Andrej Danko in his speech. In his opinion it is immoral and utterly loathsome to dare to desecrate in any way the memory of those who fought in the SNP.

“We’re standing at the SNP Memorial, which has received a symbolic name, ‘cracked heart’, from the people [in loose reference to its shape - ed. note],” said Danko. “Nevertheless, the Slovak heart didn’t crack in August 1944. It was full of pain and anger. Our forefathers rose up, however, because they sensed the iniquity committed by the inhumane fascist regime throughout Europe. They didn’t betray our national principles, quite the contrary. They raised the Slovak flag in order to halt evil.”

Opposition parties Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) and OĽaNO-NOVA stressed that SNP has huge value for Slovakia’s democracy, and it should serve as a model in our current fight against the enemies of freedom.

SaS chairman Richard Sulík in a statement made the link between the SNP, the Prague Spring of 1968 and the Velvet Revolution of 1989.

“We view the Uprising as a revolt by the people against totalitarianism,” he said.

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