Petra Burzova:Towards a new past: Some reflections on nationalism in post-socialist Slovakia

By analysing two commemorative events organized shortly before and after the 2010 parliamentary elections in Slovakia, this article demonstrates how the Prime Minister Robert Fico and his collaborators exploited these ceremonies to promote a more inclusive definition of political community than their right-wing counterparts. Although commentators have interpreted the continuous political success of the political party Smer-SD in terms of negatively connotated nationalism and national populism, Fico’s discursive framework allows him to address those who have been stigmatized by post-1989 neoliberalism, especially former communists and people unable or unwilling to adapt to the rapid changes brought about by post-socialist social, economic, political as well as cultural transition(s). Instead of backwardness, Fico’s anti-elitist and anti-capitalist rhetoric opened a new symbolic universe to these groups. The history narratives that formed an important part of this universe were not used to exclude the Other, but rather to create a meaningful future for those who have been ignored by (neo-)liberal ideals. This paper argues for an interpretation of post-socialist populist parties that would take into account culturally relevant symbolic structures advanced by these parties.


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