MINELRES: Rusynmedia: Protest of Slovakia's Rusyns

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.delfi.lv
Tue Nov 11 13:14:53 2003


Original sender: Richard Custer <rcuster@erols.com>


>From http://www.rusynmedia.org/Documents/misc/Svidnyk.html

DECLARATION
of the Rusyn-speaking towns' mayors in the district of Svidnik and
the representatives of non-governmental organizations striving to 
preserve the Rusyn language, cultural and religious identity

We, the undersigned representatives of the town governments and NGOs,
hereby declare our affirmative support for the open letter to the
members of the Parliament of the Slovak Republic. At the same time, on
behalf of our citizens as well as involved NGO members, we express a
deep concern and resentment against the effort of the part of the
Government of the Slovak Republic to deprive Svidnik of its status as
the regional administrative and cultural center of the Slovak citizens
of the Rusyn nationality living in the northeast of Slovakia.

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that disestablishing of
governmental, legal and judiciary institutions (district authority,
district police forces directorate, district court of justice,
attorney's office, labor office etc.) in an ethnically mixed area with a
high percentage of Rusyn-speaking population is a highly unfortunate
decision as well as a negative signal for the European Union and its
member states. We firmly believe that the members of the Parliament of
the Slovak Republic will present their state-wisdom and will not support
the resoulution of the government which goes against any rational
principles of public administration reform, and only intensifies ethnic
tension in the northeast of Slovakia.

OPEN LETTER

from the citizens of Rusyn nationality in the District of Svidnik

to the Chairman of the Parliament of the Slovak Republic,
JUDr. Pavol Hrusovsky,
and to the Members of the Parliament of the Slovak Republic

Dear Mr. Chairman of the Parliament,
Dear Members of the Parliament,

we have awaited the final resolution of the Government of the Slovak
Republic concerning the future seats of district authorities before
submitting the draft of the Act on regional authorities, district
authorities, and on amending and supplementing several other laws to the
Parliament with an anticipation and uncertainty.

The "bicycle visit" of Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda in the district
of Svidnik on August 8, 2003 stirred a great hope amongst our citizens
that the decision would be, after all, honest, reasonable, and compliant
with the governmental principles of the Concepts of organizing the state
administration on local levels. We have followed the aspect of economic
efficiency as well as our conviction that the Prime Minister and the
Government of the Slovak Republic want to act with respect to
solidarity, integrity and viability of the regions and the state, in the
interest of Slovakia and all of its citizens, so also people on the
periphery, where the only alternative for young and educated people is
their migration to other parts of Slovakia or abroad.

Nowadays it is clear to us that Svidnik as an important cultural and
social center of the Rusyns – an ethnic minority living in the
north-eastern Slovakia presents a severe pain in the neck for some
politicians, mostly for those from the current government coalition. An
extreme case of injustice can be seen in the fact that Svidnik is the
only city of the original 38 district seats existing up to 1996 to have
been deprived of this status.

Unfortunately, we cannot but conclude that the cynical and
discriminatory resolution to deprive Svidnik of its status as the
regional administrative seat is the result of party politics. As of
January 1, 2004 the District Police Forces Directorate should be
canceled (Vladimir Palko), the disestablishing of the district court of
justice is well under way (Daniel Lipsic) as well as the disestablishing
of the attorney’s office and even the seat of the district labor office
(Ludovit Kanik).

State and public administration bodies have always determined – and
always will determine – the course, character and growth rate of the
region, the more so of the regions on the peripheries. In the current
rather complex socio-economic circumstances of the Dukla region, a wise
Slovak government should help to bridge the present critical period of a
town and regional development with the perspective of development within
united Europe by preserving governmental and public institutions intact.

Svidnik is located on the strategic European road corridor E 371 North –
South (Moscow, the Baltic states, Warsaw – the Balkans, Turkey, Italy)
and boasts unique attractions of European and global format (wooden
churches, authentic Rusyn folk and religious culture, museum of
ethnology, open-air museum, gallery, military museum with open-air
exhibits, national folklore festival of the Rusyn culture).

Anti-Rusyn activities of several extreme nationalist representatives of
Stropkov which, unlike Svidnik, is the home to predominantly Slovak
population, are well known. Characteristic of these is the glorification
of the Slovak state (1939 – 1945) when Stropkov used to be the district
seat. For decades, they have been menacing the whole region, inhabited
mostly by Rusyns. During the so-called war-time Slovak state it was not
only the Rusyns, but also other non-Slovak ethnic groups that suffered
ethnic oppression. The Rusyn teachers – our spiritual fathers – their
education disregarded, were forced to pass Slovak-language examinations
to be allowed to perform their professions. “Slovakness” and loyalty to
the Fascist state were the primary criteria for social recognition.
It is these individuals who, claiming to want to “undo past injustice”
from the communist era, have been finding wider political support among
the nationalist-oriented politicians and directing it against Rusyns and
their administrative and cultural center, Svidnik. 

In a democratically run system of public administration, is it possible
to substitute social harmonization and integration of an ethnic minority
for the creation of new injustice in the form of total annihilation of
that minority?
Is this the intended result of the reform in public administration?

------------------

Letters / documents in Slovak original and in English translation can be
downloaded from:
http://www.rusynmedia.org/Documents/misc/Svidnyk.html