Far right a threat to Slovakia's culture

In his capacity as governor of the Banská Bystrica Region Marián Kotleba, the leader of the neo-Nazi LS-Naše Slovensko party which has just gained seats in the Slovakian parliament, had a theatre production stopped in the city of Brezno simply because he didn't like it. Is Slovakia facing the prospect of Nazi-style enforced cultural conformity?

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Denník N (SK) /

Slovakian neo-Nazis copying Goebbels

The behaviour of Marián Kotleba of the neo-Nazi LS-Naše Slovensko party reminds the liberal daily Dennik N of the forcible-coordination policy pursued by the Nazis under propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels:

“The closure of theatres and the suppression of all cultural activities that don't conform to the criteria of national 'purity' have been seen as threats for some time now. Fascist parties have always carried out a 'cultural cleansing' operation once they were installed in power. Theatres and actors were the first victims of the National Socialists under Goebbels. The final goal was the 'forcible coordination' of society. The burning of books and propagandist exhibitions of supposedly decadent art followed. … Kotleba is now planning to carry out a very similar process of cultural 'cleansing'. He must not be allowed to succeed.”

Sme (SK) /

Don't leave cultural policy to extremists

The liberal daily Sme fears that the disinterest of the other parties will give right-wing extremists like Kotleba free rein to determine Slovakia's cultural policy:

“Culture plays a marginal role in the new coalition's draft programme. The statement that 'new sources of financing' must be found for it means nothing but that the state is passing on its responsibilities to others. The Sieť party has only dedicated 16 of its working groups to culture. … The nationalist SNS talks of the need for an 'enlightened culture strategy' for society, whatever that may be. If [Prime Minister Robert Fico's social democratic] Smer party gets the cultural affairs portfolio it will no doubt be led by MP Ján Podmanický, who campaigned for the rehabilitation of Jozef Tiso, the leader of First Slovak Republic - a client state of Nazi Germany. So clearly only Kotleba and the people close to him will be taking care of cultural policy.”