SZSZ: Kotleba’s Party Politicising Environment of Slovaks Living Abroad

World Association of Slovaks Living Abroad (SZSZ) chairman Vladimir Skalsky. (Stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, April 2 (TASR) – The Kotleba-People’s Party Our Slovakia (LSNS) has attempted to politicise the environment of Slovaks living abroad by setting up a Club for Slovaks Living Abroad, with the party’s vice-chairman for foreign relations Martin Belusky as the organisation’s head, World Association of Slovaks Living Abroad (SZSZ) chairman Vladimir Skalsky has told TASR.

“As the chairman of the SZSZ, i.e. the umbrella organisation of Slovaks abroad, I’ve received with embarrassment the news that the Kotleba-LSNS party has set up its Club for Slovaks Living Abroad, with a party vice-chairman appointed as its chairman,” said Skalsky, who described the move as a dangerous precedent.

According to Skalsky, Slovaks who live abroad profess respect for human rights, including the rights of minorities, as they themselves live as members of minority ethnic communities throughout the world. “So it’s logical that we have to object against entities that have intolerance, hatred against minorities and xenophobia as fundamental components of their ideology,” said Skalsky.

Meanwhile, LSNS vice-chairman Milan Uhrik reacted to the statement by claiming that his party decided in late March to set up the association in order to accommodate a demand by Slovaks living abroad themselves.

“We take Mr. Skalsky’s objections on board, but we protest against them. Mr. Skalsky seems to have distorted information on LSNS’s activities, otherwise he’d know that our fundamental political motto is ‘Equal standards for all’,” said Uhrik, adding that LSNS has never had anything against any ethnic minority as such. He stressed that individual people’s decency and honesty matter for LSNS instead, pointing out that the party has members from among various ethnic minorities.

At the same time, many Slovaks living abroad have welcomed the setting up of the LSNS organisation. “We got hundreds of e-mails for membership applications within two days of setting up the club,” said Uhrik, adding that the opinions of some functionaries are viewed by LSNS as irrelevant.