The Government condemned the recent murder of a 50-year-old Romany woman in Žilina, Central Slovakia. The mother of eight, Anástazia Balážová, died two days after being beaten by three assailants at her family home on Sunday 20 August. She and her children were struck with baseball bats and kicked. Two of the children were also injured. According to reports, Mrs Balážová was a valued member of the local community. The Government resolution described the attack as "strongly contradicting the principles of a civilised society and a law-abiding state."
The murder was also condemned by Congressman Christopher H Smith, who chairs the Helsinki Commission of the US Congress. "This murder proves that much remains to be done in the fight against injustice towards Romanies," he commented. In a separate development, the United Nations Committee Against Racial Discrimination criticised Slovakia for its treatment of the Roma ethnic minority. Whilst welcoming certain government initiatives in the area, the Committee drew attention to the inability of the police and prosecutors offices to deal quickly and effectively with racially-motivated attacks on Roma and other ethnic minority citizens.
President Rudolf Schuster's announcement on whether or not to hold a referendum on early parliamentary elections is scheduled for Tuesday 5 September. Supporters of the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) collected around 600,000 signatures in favour of holding such a referendum. President Schuster is convalescing at his home in Košice, eastern Slovakia, following an operation for a perforated colon which almost killed him. This week he received a private visit from his Polish counterpart Alexander Kwasniewski.
The Democratic Union (DÚ), a small liberal party which forms part of the ruling coalition, voted itself out of existence at a conference on Saturday 26 August. The party is to merge with premier Mikulaš Dzurinda's new Social Democratic and Christian Union (SDKU). Delegates at the conference in Žilina voted in favour of the merger by 112 votes to two, with one abstention. Opponents of the move are planning to set up their own party, the Liberal Democratic Union (LDÚ).
Bailiffs representing the creditors of the SLK shipyard in Komárno entered the yard on Wednesday 30 August to seize computers and cars. The move followed a distraint order issued at the request of the Žilina-based company Globetrade, which is owed almost SKK 4m (USD 85,000) by the shipyard. The SLK yard, which stands on the banks of the River Danube, saw its revenues tumble as a result of the blocking of the river during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia last year.
The fifty-sixth anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising was marked on Tuesday 29 August by a ceremony in Bratislava attended by war veterans and members of the Slovak Parliament. Speakers paid tribute to the thousands who took part in the 1944 revolt against Nazi occupation in the mountains of central Slovakia. The uprising played a legitimising role in the ideology of the Communist Party in Slovakia, and few towns in the country are without a "Square of the Slovak National Uprising." The Communists' claims to have inspired and led the campaign have been increasingly questioned in recent years.
Robin Sheeran, 4 September 2000
- Archive of Slovakia news reviews
- Archive of articles on Slovakia in CER
- Browse through the CER eBookstore for electronic books
- Buy English-language books on Central Europe through CER
- Return to CER front page
TASR (Press Agency, Slovak Republic)
SITA (Slovak News Agency)
ČTK (Czech News Agency)