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Miroslava Germanova

Bratislava, Slovakia
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About Miroslava
Miroslava Germanova is a journalist based in Bratislava, Slovakia.
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Czech English Slovak
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He Was a Penniless Donor to the Far Right. He Was Also a Russian Spy.

20 Apr 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Bohus Garbar, a Slovak man with no clear income, donated thousands of euros to far-right political parties and contributed to a website spreading Russian propaganda. His activities were part of a broader Russian effort to influence politics in Eastern Europe. Garbar was arrested and charged with espionage and bribe-taking, and is cooperating with investigators. The Russian spy he worked with, Sergei Solomasov, was expelled from Slovakia. The case highlights the extensive clandestine network Russia has developed to sway political dynamics in the region.

Democracy Digest: Battle of the Budget Has Poland and Hungary Claiming Victory

11 Dec 2020  |  Balkan Insight
The European Council reached a compromise on the EU budget and recovery package, delaying the implementation of the rule-of-law mechanism until Hungary and Poland can challenge its legality. This deal is seen as a victory by the Polish and Hungarian governments, while opposition figures criticize it as a means to preserve power. The article also covers reactions from other EU member states, including the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and highlights ongoing judicial reforms in Slovakia aimed at combating corruption and increasing transparency.

Pandemic Disrupts Southeast Europe Labour Flows

25 Nov 2020  |  Balkan Insight
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted labour flows in Southeast Europe, affecting both the import and export of workers. Countries like the Czech Republic and Hungary, which rely on foreign labour, have seen a decline in migrant workers, while nations such as Croatia and Bulgaria have experienced a return of their citizens from Western Europe. The pandemic has led to increased unemployment and reduced remittances, impacting local economies. Experts predict that the situation will continue to evolve, with potential long-term consequences for labour mobility and economic stability in the region.

Slovakia Works to End the Corrupt Era of “Our People”

24 Nov 2020  |  Balkan Insight
Slovakia is undergoing a significant anti-corruption drive, arresting top police officials and a special prosecutor linked to organized crime and political corruption. The crackdown follows the 2018 murder of journalist Jan Kuciak, which exposed deep ties between law enforcement and criminal networks. The new government, led by Prime Minister Igor Matovic, is committed to judicial reforms and transparency, aiming to restore public trust in the justice system. The efforts have led to the detention of numerous high-ranking officials and the dismantling of a widespread criminal network allegedly controlled by oligarch Norbert Bodor.

Democracy Digest: Rule of Law Showdown Approaches

06 Nov 2020  |  Balkan Insight
The article discusses the ongoing rule of law issues within the EU, particularly focusing on Hungary and Poland, and the potential impact of a Joe Biden presidency on Central European politics. It highlights the EU's efforts to link funding to adherence to rule of law principles, the Hungarian government's response to Islamist terrorism, and the political dynamics in Poland and the Czech Republic in light of the US elections. The piece also covers the COVID-19 situation in Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, detailing government responses and public sentiment. Additionally, it addresses Huawei's challenge to Poland's 5G stance and recent police corruption investigations in Slovakia.

Democracy Digest: A Week of Protests, Curfews, Deaths and Arrests

30 Oct 2020  |  Balkan Insight
The article covers a tumultuous week in Central Europe, focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic's impact and political responses. In the Czech Republic, Prime Minister Andrej Babis faces criticism for his handling of the pandemic and political scandals involving top officials. Slovakia prepares for mass COVID-19 testing amid logistical challenges and judicial corruption investigations. Poland grapples with a severe pandemic situation, women's rights protests, and government crackdowns on protest organizers. The article also touches on Hungary's flu vaccine shortage and the European debate on minimum wage policies.

Pandemic Pushes Slovakia to Finally Target Disinformation

20 Oct 2020  |  Balkan Insight
Slovakia has been grappling with disinformation and hybrid threats for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the urgency to address these issues. The new Slovak government, in office since March, has prioritized countering disinformation in its manifesto, yet concrete actions remain limited. The Health Ministry has taken steps to debunk COVID-19 hoaxes, while the Foreign and Defence Ministries have bolstered strategic communications. Despite these efforts, disinformation continues to challenge public trust and government measures. Experts emphasize the need for a coordinated, whole-of-society approach to effectively combat these threats.

Central Europe: From Pandemic Exemplar to Pariah

15 Oct 2020  |  Balkan Insight
Central Europe, once praised for its initial handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, now faces severe challenges with surging infection rates and overwhelmed healthcare systems. The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary are experiencing significant increases in cases and deaths, with governments struggling to implement effective test-and-trace systems and maintain public trust. Populist and conservative administrations are criticized for their simplistic and paternalistic approaches, leading to public confusion and discontent. Economic priorities and corruption have further exacerbated the situation, with healthcare systems strained by a lack of capacity and medical staff. The prognosis for the region remains bleak as both capacity and trust in government are in short supply.

Harsh Words on EU Rule of Law but Will Action Follow?

30 Sep 2020  |  Balkan Insight
The European Commission's Rule of Law report criticizes Poland, Romania, Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, and Croatia for various issues related to judicial independence, corruption, and media freedom. Poland's Law and Justice (PiS) party is accused of undermining judicial independence, while Romania's current government is working to reverse controversial reforms by the previous Social Democrat (PSD) government. Hungary faces criticism for lack of judicial independence and media concentration. Czechia is praised for ongoing reforms but criticized for high-level corruption. Slovakia is noted for efforts to reform its judiciary but faces challenges in fighting corruption. Croatia has made progress in reducing court backlogs but still struggles with judicial independence and corruption.

Slovak Businessman and Associate Found Not Guilty of Ordering Murder of Journalist

03 Sep 2020  |  Balkan Insight
A Slovak court acquitted businessman Marian Kocner and his associate Alena Zsuzsova of ordering the 2018 murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova, despite substantial evidence. The verdict, which has been described as shocking by local media, has significant political implications, having previously led to mass protests and the resignation of then-Prime Minister Robert Fico. Tomas Szabo, a co-defendant, was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison. The prosecution plans to appeal the decision.

Slovak Women Journalists Take on Corruption, but Ignore Own Sexual Harassment

21 Aug 2020  |  Balkan Insight
The article discusses the issue of sexual harassment faced by female journalists in Slovakia, highlighting a study by Simona Mikusova that reveals over 60% of women in the Slovak media have experienced harassment. It details specific incidents involving prominent figures like Maros Kramar and Stefan Harabin, and criticizes the culture of acceptance and lack of accountability within media organizations. The article also addresses the broader societal issue of sexism and the need for media organizations to adopt zero-tolerance policies towards sexual harassment.

Democracy Digest: Belarus Blame Game and Region with Little Apparent Clout

14 Aug 2020  |  Balkan Insight
The article covers the aftermath of the Belarus presidential election, highlighting the EU's condemnation of the election as neither free nor fair and the subsequent protests and violent crackdowns. It discusses the involvement of various countries, including Poland, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania, in supporting Belarusian democracy. The article also touches on the EU's limited response and Poland's diminished influence in Brussels. Additionally, it reports on Slovakia's crackdown on neo-Nazi activities and its expulsion of Russian diplomats, emphasizing Slovakia's firm stance against Russian interference. Key figures such as Alexander Lukashenko, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, and various EU and US officials are mentioned.

Jan Kuciak: A Murder That Changed Slovakia

05 Aug 2020  |  Balkan Insight
The murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova in 2018 exposed deep-rooted corruption and organized crime in Slovakia, leading to the largest protests since the Velvet Revolution. The case, investigated with Europol's help, implicated businessman Marian Kocner and others in a web of criminal activities. The public outcry forced political changes, including the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico. The movement 'For a Decent Slovakia' emerged, demanding justice and transparency. The case has had lasting impacts on Slovak politics, highlighting the struggle for a fairer society and the ongoing fight against corruption.

Domestic Violence Treaty Falling Victim to Political Obtuseness

04 Aug 2020  |  Balkan Insight
The Istanbul Convention, aimed at combating violence against women, faces significant opposition from far-right and conservative forces in Central and Southeast Europe. Turkey, the first signatory, is considering withdrawal, influenced by Islamist groups. Poland's government has initiated steps to withdraw, citing ideological concerns. Similar resistance is seen in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria, where conservative and nationalist rhetoric frames the treaty as a threat to traditional values. Despite some countries like North Macedonia ratifying the convention, the overall trend shows a conservative backlash against it. The UN and Amnesty International emphasize the increased need for such protections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Democracy Digest: Fight for Media Freedom and LGBT Rights as COVID-19 Spikes

31 Jul 2020  |  Balkan Insight
The article discusses the resignation of journalists from Hungary's leading independent news portal Index due to threats to editorial independence, highlighting the political rivalry between opposition parties and the ruling Fidesz party. It also covers the Hungarian government's controversial buyback of the outdated Matra Power Plant and the financial implications for taxpayers. In Poland, the radical queer feminist group Stop Bzdurom's rainbow makeover of famous statues sparked a heated debate amid rising homophobia. The article also reports on the spike in COVID-19 cases in Poland and the Czech Republic, with both countries implementing measures to control the spread. Additionally, it touches on the Slovak government's spy scandal and the virtual Rainbow Pride event in Bratislava, emphasizing the ongoing struggle for LGBT rights in the region.

Democracy Digest: Visegrad Four Leaders Claim Victory at EU Summit

24 Jul 2020  |  Balkan Insight
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban claimed victory at the EU summit, securing significant funds while opposing rule-of-law conditionalities. Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski announced plans for a new civic movement following his narrow presidential election loss. Poland considers withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention, criticized by conservative groups. Hungarian media remains divided over the EU summit results, and concerns grow over media independence following the firing of Index.hu's editor-in-chief. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis declared the EU summit outcome favorable for the Czech Republic, while Slovakia faces a series of plagiarism scandals involving top politicians. The trial for the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée nears its conclusion, with significant public and media attention.

With EU Rescue Funds, Slovakia Eyes Economic Reinvention

20 Jul 2020  |  Balkan Insight
Slovakia faces a significant economic downturn exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a forecasted 10% shrink in GDP and rising unemployment. The country is eyeing an eight-billion-euro EU rescue package as a chance for economic reinvention, focusing on reducing dependency on the automotive industry and investing in clean energy and other sectors. However, Slovakia's poor track record in spending EU funds and existing corruption issues pose challenges. The political landscape is shifting, with rising support for radical movements and declining trust in traditional institutions. The government plans to outline a strategy for the EU funds by autumn, aiming to use most of the money by 2022.

Right Power: Slovakia Mulls New Laws Limiting Abortion

13 Jul 2020  |  Balkan Insight
Slovakia's parliament is debating four new proposals to restrict abortion laws, ranging from extreme measures similar to Poland's to softer laws extending waiting periods and changing information provided by doctors. The debate has polarized society, with women's rights activists and experts opposing the changes, citing Slovakia's already low abortion rate and more pressing issues like the economy and COVID-19. Conservative and Christian parties argue the laws are necessary to protect unborn children. The proposals are part of a broader conservative shift in Slovak politics following the February 2020 elections.

Democracy Digest: Eastern Europe Wobbles Between US and EU

26 Jun 2020  |  Balkan Insight
The article discusses various political and social issues in Eastern Europe, including the inconclusive meeting between US President Trump and Polish President Duda, the tight Polish presidential race, and the impact of homophobia in Poland. It also covers Czech Prime Minister Babis' conflict of interest with EU funds, the tolerance of corruption in Czech and Slovak societies, and the arrest of a Slovak police official for illegal surveillance of journalists. Additionally, it highlights the plagiarism scandal in Slovak politics, concerns over a second wave of COVID-19 in Slovakia, and threats to media freedom in Hungary, particularly involving the news portal Index.hu and the opposition-led municipalities' financial struggles against the government.

China Calling: Slovaks Wonder What’s Behind Beijing’s Media Offensive

15 Jun 2020  |  Balkan Insight
China has intensified its media presence in Slovakia, particularly through the Chinese embassy's social media activities, as part of a broader global strategy to reshape public perception amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Slovak Defence Ministry has identified China and Russia as key sources of disinformation. Public opinion in Slovakia has shifted significantly, with many now viewing China as a helpful ally in combating the virus, a change influenced by both Chinese media campaigns and the Slovak government's promotion of Chinese aid. Experts suggest that China's efforts aim to bolster its global image and maintain internal stability, while some believe these actions could undermine Slovak foreign policy unity. The article underscores the need for a cohesive European response to such disinformation campaigns.

Global Focus on Police Brutality Strikes Chord in Southeast Europe

12 Jun 2020  |  Balkan Insight
The article discusses the prevalence of police brutality in Southeast Europe, with a particular focus on Turkey, which has the highest number of cases before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). It highlights the issue of impunity among police officers and the challenges victims face in seeking justice. The article also covers specific cases of police violence in North Macedonia, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and other countries, noting that Roma communities and migrants are frequent targets. Experts link the reduction in police violence in some countries to their EU membership or aspirations. The article underscores the role of the ECHR in providing a legal recourse for victims and criticizes the lack of effective local investigations and accountability.

COVID-19 Lockdown of Roma Villages Creates Unease in Slovakia

09 Jun 2020  |  Balkan Insight
The article discusses the 16-day quarantine imposed on Roma villages in Slovakia during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting mixed reactions from the local community. While some residents felt the lockdown provided protection, others viewed it as discriminatory, as only Roma settlements were targeted. The involvement of the military and the change in lockdown criteria drew criticism from human rights organizations. Despite the challenges, the community organized to support each other, and no major issues were reported. The quarantine raised questions about the government's approach and its impact on marginalized communities.

Question Marks over Slovak Quarantine App Fuel Privacy Concerns

20 May 2020  |  Balkan Insight
Slovakia, with one of the lowest COVID-19 death rates in Europe, is introducing a quarantine app developed by Sygic to monitor those in home quarantine. The app's launch has been delayed for further testing, and concerns about data privacy and transparency have been raised by data rights activists. The Slovak government, led by Igor Matovic, faces criticism over quarantine conditions and poor communication, which has fueled misinformation and conspiracy theories. The Constitutional Court recently halted a contact-tracing app due to privacy concerns. Human rights organizations emphasize the need for vigilance to prevent privacy abuses as digital solutions are implemented to combat the pandemic.

Testing Times: Slovak Schools Chalk Up Life Lessons

29 Apr 2020  |  Balkan Insight
Slovakia's education system is undergoing significant changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with schools closing and a shift to homeschooling. Education Minister Branislav Grohling sees this as an opportunity to reform outdated practices, emphasizing less testing and more interactive learning. The crisis has highlighted disparities in access to education, particularly for Roma children. Parents and teachers are adapting to new methods, though challenges remain, such as inconsistent online education and varying home environments. The government and education bodies are advocating for reduced workloads and more equitable evaluation methods during this period.

In Slovakia, Politics Is Still a Gentlemen’s Club

13 Apr 2020  |  Balkan Insight
Slovakia's political landscape remains male-dominated, with women holding only a small percentage of parliamentary and ministerial positions. Despite the election of Zuzana Caputova as the first female president and the centenary of women's suffrage, gender equality in politics is still lacking. The recent parliamentary election saw no female-led parties, and the new government has only three female ministers. Experts suggest that societal attitudes and outdated policies hinder women's participation in politics, while some advocate for gender quotas to improve representation. The article highlights the challenges and slow progress towards gender equality in Slovak politics.

Democracy Digest: Slovakia’s Infectious ‘Infodemic’

03 Apr 2020  |  Balkan Insight
In Slovakia, a significant portion of the population believes in conspiracy theories and distrusts state institutions, leading to a surge in disinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Far-right political figures, particularly from the Kotlebovci – People’s Party Our Slovakia (LSNS), have spread false narratives blaming migrants and the US army for the virus. Efforts by civil society and cyber security experts to combat this 'infodemic' are ongoing. The recent election saw a rise in far-right influence, with social media playing a crucial role in spreading disinformation. The liberal democratic order faces challenges from both far-right and far-left elements, with liberal democracy itself being undermined.

Slovakia’s New Government Faces Unprecedented Crisis

Democracy Digest: Slovakia’s Political and Judicial ‘Storm’

Slovakia Wakes Up to a ‘New Era Without Fico’

02 Mar 2020  |  Balkan Insight
Slovakia's parliamentary elections have ushered in a significant political shift, ending the long-standing dominance of the populist-left SMER-SD party. Igor Matovic's OLANO party emerged as the major new force, winning 25% of the vote and promising to form a democratic government focused on fighting corruption. The elections also saw the decline of far-right extremism, with the People's Party Our Slovakia (LSNS) performing worse than expected. The new parliament will include a diverse mix of MPs, including conservatives, Roma politicians, and public figures against corruption. Analysts predict a focus on strengthening the rule of law and improving healthcare, while avoiding divisive cultural issues.

Journalist’s Murder Puts a Tycoon, and a Nation, on Trial

28 Feb 2020  |  www.nytimes.com
Marian Kocner, a Slovak businessman, is on trial for the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova, which led to the largest protests in Slovakia since 1989 and the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico. The trial coincides with parliamentary elections that could see Fico's party lose power after eight years. The case has captured national attention and comes amid a broader public frustration with corruption.

Kotleba: Slovak Extremist Who Made Far Right Fashionable

26 Feb 2020  |  Balkan Insight
Marian Kotleba, a Slovak far-right extremist, has gained significant political traction by promoting nationalist and xenophobic ideologies. Despite facing criminal charges and widespread criticism for his extremist views, Kotleba's party, LSNS, has become a notable force in Slovak politics. The article details Kotleba's rise, his controversial actions, and the broader implications of his political influence, highlighting the persistent threat of far-right extremism in Slovakia.

Anti-Roma Rhetoric Under Scrutiny Before Slovak Election

03 Jan 2020  |  Balkan Insight
The article examines the use of anti-Roma rhetoric in Slovak politics, particularly by the SMER-SD and LSNS parties, ahead of the February general election. It discusses the societal and political implications of such rhetoric, including the indictment of former Prime Minister Robert Fico for inciting racial hate. The piece highlights the historical and ongoing use of Roma as scapegoats in political campaigns, the rise of far-right extremism, and the challenges in combating hate speech. Experts warn that mainstream politicians' adoption of extremist rhetoric could further entrench prejudice and distrust in society.

‘November Child’: Why Freedom Matters for Generation ‘89ers

04 Nov 2019  |  Balkan Insight
The article reflects on the legacy of the fall of the Iron Curtain and the significance of freedom and democracy for the generation born around 1989. It recounts personal and historical events from the author's family, highlighting the transition from communism to democracy in Slovakia. The author discusses the challenges faced during this transition, including organized crime and corruption, and contrasts the experiences of different generations. The article emphasizes the ongoing struggle against neo-fascism, populism, and propaganda, and underscores the importance of continuing the fight for democracy and the rule of law.

Slovak Reporter’s Murder Puts Justice on Trial

28 Oct 2019  |  Balkan Insight
The investigation into the 2018 murder of Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak has revealed deep-seated corruption within the Slovak justice system, involving high-profile figures such as businessman Marian Kocner and several judges. The scandal has exposed the judiciary's vulnerability to manipulation and bribery, leading to public outrage and calls for systemic reform. President Zuzana Caputova and legal experts like Eva Kovacechova emphasize the need for transparency and accountability within the judiciary to restore public trust. The case has also highlighted the long-standing issues within the Slovak justice system, which have persisted across various governments.

Slovakia’s Progressives Put Extremists in the Shade

27 May 2019  |  balkaninsight.com
A coalition of Slovak progressive parties, PS/SPOLU, triumphed in the European Parliament elections, signaling a shift in the political climate after the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak. Winning 20.11% of the vote, they surpassed the ruling SMER-SD and far-right campaigns. The victory reflects growing pro-EU sentiment, with a notable increase in voter turnout to 22.7%. The far-right LSNS gained seats but did not meet expectations, while Peter Pollak of OLANO became the first Slovak Roma in the European Parliament. Analysts interpret the results as a rejection of fear-mongering and an endorsement of the EU.

Zuzana Caputova Is Elected Slovakia’s First Female President

30 Mar 2019  |  www.nytimes.com
Zuzana Caputova, a lawyer and activist, was elected as Slovakia's first female president, defeating Maros Sefcovic. Her victory, driven by a campaign against corruption and for decency in politics, signals a potential shift away from populist and nationalist movements in the region. Caputova's win follows widespread protests against corruption, sparked by the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak. Despite her liberal views, including support for gay rights, she managed to gain significant support, though the country remains divided with notable backing for extremist candidates.

Eight arrested in Slovakia in journalist’s slaying

27 Sep 2018  |  bostonglobe.com
In Slovakia, eight people were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova. The arrests occurred during an early-morning raid in Kolarovo, seven months after the couple was found shot dead at home. The case had previously led to mass protests and the resignation of the prime minister. Authorities believe one of the detainees may be the hit man responsible for the killings, but have not released names or further details to avoid compromising the ongoing investigation.

Slovaks Meet the New Bosses. They’re Not Much Different From the Old Bosses.

22 Mar 2018  |  www.nytimes.com
Following the assassination of an investigative journalist and his fiancée, mass protests in Slovakia led to the resignation of key government officials, including Prime Minister Robert Fico. Despite demands for new elections, the existing three-party coalition remains in power with Peter Pellegrini as the new prime minister. President Andrej Kiska, a critic of Fico, expressed skepticism that merely reshuffling the cabinet would restore public trust, emphasizing the need for a change in governance.

In Slovakia, a Wine Region Waiting for the Spotlight

21 Aug 2016  |  nytimes.com
Slovak Tokaj, a small wine region, is overshadowed by Hungary's more famous Tokaj area. Post-Communist winemakers like Jaroslav Macik Jr. are cultivating a reputation for quality, particularly with naturally sweet puttonyo wines and dry varieties like furmint. The region offers a personal visitor experience with affordable accommodations and regional cuisine at local wineries. Tokaj's history dates back to Roman times, with a resurgence in the 13th century, and its wines were once favored by European royalty. Despite challenges, the region aims to revive its former glory, focusing on high-quality, premium-priced wines with intensive marketing.

Bratislava: A Hidden Gem for the High-End Traveller

06 Jul 2016  |  spectator.sme.sk
The article highlights Bratislava as an underrated destination for high-end travelers, emphasizing its modern capital with luxurious hotels, exquisite restaurants, boutiques, and spas along the Danube River. It describes the city's central European charm and compares its standards to Western cities. The article suggests activities such as romantic walks, café visits, spa relaxation, and enjoying local cuisine, golf, and polo. It features specific places like Zion Spa, UFO restaurant, and fashion stores M.ONA and Slávica that showcase local designers. The article also mentions the convenience of walking distances in the Old Town and the availability of high-quality entertainment and wellness experiences, suggesting that Bratislava offers luxury comparable to major European cities with unique Slovak charm.

A documentary for Dispatches (Channel 4) about the lives of LGBTI people in Slovakia and other parts of the world.

Vigilantes Patrol Parts of Europe Where Few Migrants Set Foot

11 Jun 2016  |  www.nytimes.com
The article discusses the rise of nationalist groups in Eastern Europe, particularly in Slovakia and Hungary, who are taking measures to confront what they perceive as a threat from migrants. These groups, such as People’s Party-Our Slovakia and Vzdor Kysuce, are engaging in activities like patrolling trains and organizing paramilitary groups, despite the current low number of migrants passing through these countries. The leaders of these groups express a desire to protect their national identity and resist the resettlement of asylum seekers, with some making controversial historical comparisons to actions taken in 1930s Germany.

Vigilantes Patrol Parts of Europe Where Few Migrants Set Foot

11 Jun 2016  |  www.nytimes.com
The People’s Party-Our Slovakia has initiated patrols on passenger trains to protect citizens from perceived threats posed by migrants and minorities, despite the low number of migrants and crime incidents in Slovakia. This action is part of a broader trend of extremist groups in Central and Eastern Europe exploiting the migrant crisis to further their agendas and gain support.

Robert Fico Retains Power in Slovakia With New Coalition

18 Mar 2016  |  www.nytimes.com
Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico retains his position despite his center-left party losing its majority, as he forms a new coalition with three other parties, securing a slim majority of 81 out of 150 seats in Parliament. The coalition includes a center-right party, a Slovak nationalist party, and a Hungarian minority party. Fico's tenure has seen corruption scandals, but he avoided a potential six-party right-wing coalition by bringing on board two parties that had previously criticized him.

Robert Fico Retains Power in Slovakia With New Coalition

18 Mar 2016  |  www.nytimes.com
Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico retains his position despite his party, Smer-Social Democracy, losing its parliamentary majority in the March 5 election. Fico formed a new coalition government with a center-right party, a Slovak nationalist party, and a party for the Hungarian minority, securing a narrow majority with 81 seats. His tenure has been tainted by corruption scandals, but he avoided a right-wing coalition led by the Freedom and Solidarity party by bringing two critical parties into his government. The election also saw the rise of the far-right People’s Party-Our Slovakia, which won 14 seats but was excluded from coalition talks due to its extremist views.

Slovakia’s Governing Party Loses Majority as Far Right Makes Gains

07 Mar 2016  |  www.nytimes.com
In the recent parliamentary elections in Slovakia, the governing party, Smer-Social Democracy, lost its majority and will now have to seek coalition partners to form a government. The party, led by Prime Minister Robert Fico, secured 28 percent of the vote. The elections also saw significant gains by far-right extremists. These results come ahead of Slovakia's upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union and could influence discussions on the migrant crisis and the Schengen agreement. The outcome reflects a complex and dynamic political landscape in Slovakia.

Seven Die as Planes Carrying Parachutists Collide Over Slovakia

21 Aug 2015  |  www.nytimes.com
In western Slovakia, two small planes collided mid-air, resulting in the deaths of seven individuals, including four pilots and three parachutists. The collision happened during a practice session for an upcoming air show, with each plane carrying 17 parachutists and two pilots. Fortunately, 31 parachutists managed to parachute to safety, although five sustained minor injuries. The incident took place near the village of Cerveny Kamen, with debris scattered near the town and in the White Carpathians. Witnesses and local media suggest the collision was caused by one plane flying beneath the other and striking its tail. The parachutists were preparing for an Aviation Day event aiming to set a local record.

Seven Die as Planes Carrying Parachutists Collide Over Slovakia

20 Aug 2015  |  www.nytimes.com
Two small planes carrying parachutists collided over western Slovakia, resulting in seven deaths and five minor injuries. The collision occurred at about 5,000 feet near Cerveny Kamen, with 31 individuals parachuting to safety. The planes, each with two pilots and 17 parachutists, were practicing for an air show. Debris was scattered near a town and in the White Carpathians. Witnesses reported one plane hitting the tail of the other. The parachutists were preparing for an Aviation Day event to beat a local parachuting record.

A Ukrainian Border Town Once Fenced by Soviets Blossoms Into a Shopper’s Paradise

11 Aug 2015  |  www.nytimes.com
The article describes the transformation of Mali Selmentsi, a once decrepit village in Ukraine, which has seen significant development following the opening of a border gate with Slovakia seven years ago. The main street, previously in poor condition, is now a smooth asphalt road, and the village boasts a variety of new shops offering luxury items such as Gucci tank tops, Chanel perfume, and even a large wedding dress store. The border crossing, described as a 'gate', has glass-and-metal buildings and is manned by uniformed guards who check the documents of shoppers traveling between Mali Selmentsi and Velke Slemence in Slovakia. The presence of a decaying Soviet watchtower serves as a reminder of the area's past.

Empty Nest? In Slovakia, It May Begin When the Child Is 35

21 Apr 2015  |  www.nytimes.com
The article discusses the social trend of adult children, like 29-year-old Jozef Izso in Bratislava, Slovakia, living with their parents. Izso, a computer programmer, enjoys the financial benefits and convenience of staying in the city center without paying rent, especially after his sister moved out. However, he also experiences downsides, such as being treated like a child, exemplified by his mother rearranging his clothes after he has put them away. The phenomenon of grown children living at home is not unique to Eastern Europe, but the region has a notable prevalence of this trend.

Oligarchs of Eastern Europe Scoop Up Stakes in Media Companies

27 Nov 2014  |  www.nytimes.com
The article discusses the trend of local oligarchs and investment groups, some with political ties, acquiring media companies in Eastern Europe, which is causing concern for press freedom. This trend is compared to similar situations in Russia, where power and wealth are being consolidated in the hands of a few individuals who are also gaining control over media outlets. Specifically, in Slovakia, a German media company sold a significant share of the country's last independent newspaper, SME, to Penta Investments, an investment group previously investigated by the paper. The article highlights the staff's reaction to this sale as a notable aspect of the situation.

Reverently and Defiantly, Czechs Honor Velvet Revolution’s Anniversary

18 Nov 2014  |  www.nytimes.com
Marta Kubisova, a Czech singer, reflects on the Velvet Revolution and her role in it during an interview at the Lucerna Cinema in Prague. Kubisova, known for her 1968 song 'Prayer for Marta,' was banned by the Communist authorities in 1970. During the revolution 25 years ago, she was invited by Vaclav Havel to perform the song to a crowd in Wenceslas Square, marking her first public performance in nearly two decades. She notes that the younger generation may not fully grasp the significance of those events, which she considers a personal resurrection, while they see it as a historical episode.
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