Setbacks and Advances
Setbacks to societal democratization in post-independence Slovakia concern mainly the country's ethnic minorities, which have complained about discrimination. In addition, Slovak women endure prejudice in public life that compromises their well-being. In addition, there has been a disturbing resurgence of anti-Semitism, apparently part of a continuing nostalgia for Slovakia's fascist past that seems incongruous with and subversive of the new democratic environment that most Slovaks seem to enjoy and want to preserve. Finally, the Slovak public has become worried about a decline of personal security as a result of increasingly frequent outbreaks of crime and violence, especially in neighborhoods where economic hardship has had the greatest impact. While these problems have roots in the Communist past, they became more dangerous to the stability and harmony of Slovak society in the post-independence era of the mid-and late 1990s.
Balanced against these negative aspects of post-independence Slovak society are some advances that augur well for democratization. The Slovak Catholic Church has been willing to speak out against the government's authoritarian style. Another development is a new civic activism in which increasing numbers of Slovak citizens are getting involved in politics to articulate issues of special interest to them, especially government policies that seem to badger and coerce them in ways reminiscent of the Communist dictatorship. Also, a conspicuously nonpolitical military has been an advantage for Slovak democratic development.