Bahna: Widespread Perception of Corruption Benefits Radicals

SAV sociologist Miloslav Bahna on talk show Ekonomika Tu a Teraz

Bratislava, February 9 (TASR) – People are more sceptical about democracy today than they were six years ago, which plays well into the hands of radicals, sociologist Miloslav Bahna said for Tablet.TV on Thursday.

Bahna presented the results of the autumn survey CSES and ISSP Slovensko, which was conducted on behalf of the Slovak Academy of Sciences’ Sociology Institute by TNS Slovakia. Overall, less than one-third of Slovaks are happy with democracy in Slovakia (29 percent), whereas two-thirds (68 percent) stated their displeasure with its state. Furthermore, the belief that improvements can be brought about by voting in elections has dropped in comparison to 2010.

Political scientist Pavol Babos ascribes the growth in scepticism also to the unhappiness of people with their living standards and the development of the economy. “News of corruption, scandals and embezzlement, when it comes to top politics, jumps at them from every direction. People then blame democracy for it,” said Babos.

According to the survey, tolerance for radical views in society has grown significantly, as the 38.2 percent of respondents in 2008 who declared that they would allow a public forum to people willing to overthrow the Government through revolution swelled to 60.8 percent of respondents in 2016. “A significant shift has occurred regarding this issue,” warned Blaha.

It’s the people convinced that politicians are corrupt who display the most tolerance to radicals. Almost half (49.5 percent) of respondents who harbour the conviction that almost all politicians are involved in corruption would allow radicals to organise public gatherings. “Believing that a great deal of politicians are corrupted, they think that the time has come to give the floor to radicals. Back in 2008, such links between corruption and society’s radicalisation were pretty much non-existent,” said Bahna.

The political scientist is convinced that this radicalisation of society is driven by the loss of balance between the strata of society who earn their living with their labour and the capital owners. “If nothing changes and political elites won’t genuinely redress their behaviour, a growing portion of society will perceive politicians as nothing but figures in cahoots with bad corporations, banks and oligarchs. The intensifying struggle between those who benefit from the changes and those who are on the losing end will lead to a growing demand for even more extreme solutions,” warned Babos.