1989 in Slovakia: Between Reform and Radical Change Cover Image

1989 in Slovakia: Between Reform and Radical Change
1989 in Slovakia: Between Reform and Radical Change

Author(s): Juraj Marušiak
Subject(s): Post-War period (1950 - 1989), History of Communism
Published by: Ústav pro studium totalitních režimů
Keywords: Slovakia; Velvet Revolution (Sametová revoluce); dissent; nationalism; negotiated transition; Alexander Dubček; Charter 77 (Charta 77); Communist Party of Slovakia (KSS); normalisation;democratisation;

Summary/Abstract: The author elaborates on the political development in Slovakia at the end of the 1980s; namely in 1989; which was crucially influenced by a document entitled Bratislava/ nahlas (Bratislava/Aloud) published by a group of Bratislava-based environmentalists in 1987; and the so-called Candlelight Demonstration; which demanded that freedom of religion be respected; organised by the so-called Christian dissent activists in Bratislava on March 25; 1988. Both events were also a certain momentum for those active in independent initiatives in Bohemia. One other key moment in the consolidation of the opposition was the trial with a group of dissidents from Bratislava; the so-called Bratislava Five; arrested in August 1989. This paper tries to uncover the factors which made the situation in both parts of the former joint Czechoslovak state similar and how the story of the “fall of the communist regime” in Slovakia differed from that of the Czech lands. It outlines the “lines of conflict” which had a decisive influence on the development of events in the political course. It also analyses how prepared the agents of the November 1989 events were for the political changes; their “politicisation”; but also uncovers specific conflicts that resulted from Slovak-Hungarian relations and the question of the position of Slovakia within the Czechoslovak Federation. The paper tries to answer the question of the extent to which the development at the time influenced the political processes immediately after the fall of the communist regime. One specific aspect of the changes in Slovakia was the relatively permeable boundary between the “official” and “unofficial” discourse; which provided room for a non-realised model of negotiated transition. The political transformation in Slovakia was principally influenced not only by nationwide events but also local impulses.

  • Issue Year: 2020
  • Issue No: 36
  • Page Range: 82-122
  • Page Count: 41
  • Language: English