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This was a status of this twin country for several years till 1993... But the changes were continuous and even after the splitting the progress and the transformation continuously amazed the visitors.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN IN SLOVAKIA BEFORE FIVE YEARS, YOU MUST PAY A VISIT AGAIN ... IT HAS JUST CHANGED AGAIN :).
Since the beginning of the 90's the city of Bratislava, mostly, but also many smaller cities around Slovakia, have been developing and upgrading to an extent of which many governors around Europe should be jealous.
The cities, the structures of governing, the investments, the markets, the cultural level (that was always high in the Slovak Population) prevailed and managed to blend with all the foreign "powers", that started infiltrating the markets and the lives of the people and finally they seem to be in the spirit of Europeanism in just, not even, 10 years. [Maj 2004 -Maj 2014 yet to come].
The point I would like to make in this blog is that we all remember the period where the only goods to be bought where found on the shelves of PRIOR and soon after K-MART and finally TESCO... It seems like yesterday 1990, 2000, 2010... and today we need to check for the best offers on our I-Phones 5 or Android Applications so that we don't loose any money on a bad deal... !!! We can even order our groceries to be brought home through online sites and apps, if we don't want to drive three minutes to one of the closest huge "Malls of the neighbourhood" !!
An article by Robert Percival in ALUMNI NEWSLETTER, FALL 1994, University of Maryland at Baltimore, describes even more the 'NATION IN TRANSITION - The View from Bratislava'.
Of course the transition was more successful than anticipated, and the country has neither transformed into an American State nor into a German/Austrian protectorate, the Slovaks have managed to get the best out of all the foreign influences !!
The crime was high during transition but "everybody knew everybody" and when the time came certain "dark characters" just "disappeared"... The economy was dividing the community into two categories of people "The Rich and the Poor", but this has also changed radically in the major cities, but again somebody would say the salary is not enough for Free Market and Democracy to be justified as a good change for Slovakia. Well... this has, probably, been the case until the CRISIS struck Europe and the West in whole, because after what happened in HELLAS (Greece) and what is happening in SPAIN, ITALY and soon in several of the Northern European countries, the salary of a Slovak employee is actually closer to the REAL salaries that our economies can afford. Slovakia will be able to give a raise, when citizens from other countries will have to expatriate in order to survive...
The second and final point of the blog will be the following...
What makes Slovakia different from US and clarifies the European Spirit of the country is the Social Welfare structures of the country. Half of the population is one way or an other involved in the nurturing of the weak, they take care of the ones that don't know or "don't want" to take care of themselves, a fact in which several EU countries are also failing to succeed. The "patronage" as a term in Slovakia is actually working, probably because of the successful and "tight" Financial governance, but nevertheless people know how to sponsor their money on Cultural, Athletic, and Social Welfare Events, especially in the beginning of Winter ;). It's a trend in Slovakia to watch on TV broadcasts the "bold and the beautiful" being engaged in good acts in Social Welfare. It's obvious to an observer that several generations of Slovakians 'remember' where they come from and what they want to achieve. There are more achievements expected in the future... and the ONLY certainty is that the Slovaks will succeed and the so-called-developed countries will be looking at them with frustration !! ;)