Slovaks are asking for ‘normalcy'
The Christian Science Monitor Weekly|April 23, 2018

Ten years of EU membership have not eased Slovakia’s woes

Sara Miller Llana

BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA – Marian Kulich is one of tens of thousands of protesters on the streets of Slovakia in the biggest show of people power since the Velvet Revolution.

What began as an outcry over a young journalist’s murder has in the past month morphed into a mass general movement to end cronyism in this post-communist state.

The call “For a Decent Slovakia,” as the protests have been dubbed, has already taken down three-term Prime Minister Robert Fico and his administration. But Mr. Kulich is determined not to stop there.

On Friday, March 23, he joined 25,000 protesters in a candlelight vigil in downtown Bratislava in a display of discontent that could be a turning point for the region.

“I have to be here. I can’t stop,” he says, as he passes around a petition calling for a referendum on fresh elections. “When I look at what is happening in this region, I feel very worried about the future.”

As Russia exerts its power and influence over the West and the European Union struggles to overcome populism and anger at the political establishment, it’s the newest post-Soviet members who have posed some of the most complex challenges to Brussels in recent years.

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