Fico: You’ll Never Make Me Say There Was a Black Hole Here before 1989

Fico during Question Time on socialism (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, May 11 (TASR) – Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) will never let himself be forced into calling the period before 1989 a black hole, he said during Question Time in Parliament on Thursday, adding that the violation of human rights was a big mistake, but people were creating a lot of value.

“Should I spit on people’s faces? Should I tell a pensioner he has not done anything and that he should be ashamed for the regime he lived in? I’m talking about value that was created, which you could distribute to the West for a crown [the former Slovak currency],” Fico answered to a question raised by Opposition MP Ondrej Dostal (Freedom and Solidarity/SaS).

Dostal asked the prime minister as part of the Question Time about his position in the previous [socialist] regime. Fico said on May 1 in Nitra that he is not one of those people who claim that “there was a black hole here before 1989”. Dostal wanted to know from him what the main cause was that prevented Slovakia after WWII from developing like countries in the democratic West did.

Fico noted that he cannot be blamed for the after-war arrangement of Europe. “Maybe I would like to have had an influence in it; however, what happened after 1945 was out of my control,” stated Fico, adding that the past is assessed by historians and that this period has already become a part of secondary-school textbooks. “A black and white vision of the world seems to be not very helpful in efforts to understand history,” assumes Fico, adding that both groups, those glorifying as well as those execrating the regime before 1989, are extreme. “Spreading half-truths uselessly polarises society and diverts attention from addressing current hot issues,” stated the prime minister.

Fico explained that when saying he does not see a black hole here before 1989, he means in respect to work and the generations of people who are pensioners today and added that if this was not the truth, there would have been nothing to privatise in Slovakia.

Meanwhile, Dostal believes we should not relativise the crimes of fascism and communism, but take a clear stance on totalitarian regimes. “What would you tell a person who does not perceive the wartime Slovak state as a black hole, but as a time when people worked, too?” asked Dostal.

Fico told Dostal he is an extremist in his opinions. The prime minister believes that reasonable people draw a lesson from positive things and refuse and condemn negative ones.