Slovakia as a Safe Country – The Perspective of the Slovak Community Members of Vojvodina

Juraj Marušiak 1  and Sanja Zlatanović 2
  • 1 Institute of Political Science of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, , Dúbravská cesta 9, 841 04, Bratislava, Slovakia
  • 2 Institute of Ethnography of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, , Knez Mihaila 36/IV, 110 00, Belgrade, Serbia

Abstract

This article explores the current migration of the Slovak community members of Serbia to Slovakia, focusing on their perception of safety and risk, in the period since 1990 when the post-Communist transition began both in Serbia and Slovakia. The authors attempt to analyse how the members of the given community, who migrated to Slovakia during the reference period, perceive Slovakia today from the point of view of their safety, understood as the search for freedom from threats. They focus on individual safety factors (life, health, status, wealth and freedom). After 1990, Slovakia became not only a country left by migrants, but also a country of destination for migrants. One such migrant group is the members of Slovak communities abroad, in particular Serbia, Romania and Ukraine. The first wave of migration of Slovaks from Serbia took place in the early 1990s in connection with the violent ethnic conflicts in former Yugoslavia, and the next one as a result of the global financial crisis in 2008, which intensified after 2015. The main push factors of the migration of Vojvodina Slovaks to Slovakia in the 1990s included attempts to avoid mobilisation and participation in combat operations; after 2008, the key role was played primarily by material issues which they perceived as an existential threat to themselves and to their families. The main pull factor in favour of choosing Slovakia comprise of the relatively small administrative barriers and linguistic proximity. While our interlocutors regarded their concerns about the impacts of the 1990s war conflicts as short-term threats, they perceived the social impacts of the economic transition and uncontrolled global financial crisis after 2008 as long-term or even permanent threats. In this context, they consider Slovakia a safe country. The article is based on extensive multi-sited fieldwork – in-depth interviews with the members of the community – and on other available sources (legal documents, statistical data, media, etc.).

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