The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 caused the Soviet empire to lose its internal logic even for the communist faithful, writes Samuel Abrahám, who bore witness to the events. Yet today, the naivety of the reform communists of the 1960s serves as a pretext for the cynical dismissal of any vision of a better political system.
The Bush-Putin summit in Bratislava could make one think that Slovakia is a country without spirit and influence. But Samuel Abrahám turns the attention to another meeting at the eve of the summit. There Slovakia is a shining example. Not because of the Velvet Revolution of 1989 or the peaceful break-up of Czechoslovakia of 1993, and not because it hosted Bush and Putin. It is because of 1998, when Slovakia voted out its own autocrat.
In order to decide whether liberalism is the right course for Slovakia, Samuel Abraham first looks at the true meaning of the term. He finds liberalism’s greatest strength in its ability to open up public discussions and encourage tolerance.