Odveta (English: Retaliation), is a system of laws, practices, and administrative actions designed to contain and subdue Pollona's ethnic German population. As the name suggests, Odveta itself was designed to punish Pollona's ethnic German community for supporting multiple terrorist organizations, an armed insurrection, and the massacre of Pollonan Czechs in the 1930s. Motivations for implementing the policies were, at the time, influenced by nationalist elements in the government, fears of a fascist Coup d'état, outright racism, and instability in the young republic.
It was, upon implementation, a severely apartheid regime. Odveta was built on three pillars: identification, de-certification, and separation: Pollonans Germans were categorized and monitored, given reduced political and civil rights, and constrained by segregationist codes. Though still technically citizens, Odveta effectively demoted Pollonan Germans in the wider society. In the following decades, the more restrictive laws were successively watered down or repealed.
Odveta is still highly controversial in Pollona, viewed as a third rail in domestic politics. Opponents, from both the German and Czech communities, claim the laws are unnecessary and violate basic human rights. Most supporters, and the general public, fear social turmoil from full integration and see the present separation as desirable. Internationally the regime is wholly unpopular in Maredoratica's democracies, though some states take more nuanced views. A large part of Pollonan Foreign Policy is catered to national positions on Odveta.
During the Pollonan Revolution, regions in modern day Silgadin and Borgosesia clamored for independence. In Borgosesia, confrontations descended into open warfare, leading to the Borgosesian War of Independence. The severance of such large areas of Pollona sparked secessionist fears in the country. Privately, many worried the German Pollonan population would clamor for its own state. Some of the staunchest advocates for the Republic were ethnic-Germans. German Pollonans comprised over 10% of the National Assembly, and supported the Basic Law by a margin of 4:1.
Following a series of ethnic riots the early 1930s, many Pollonan Germans feared their position in a majority-Czech state. Many formed political and civil rights societies like the National Congress for the Rights of German Peoples (Nationalen Kongress für die Rechte der Völker Deutsch or simply the Congress. More radical organizations, such as the All-German Defense League (formed in 1931), Gesamtdeutschen Verteidigungsliga, or simply GV, endorsed armed resistance. Federal agents clashed with GV supporters in the Siege of St. Lucius in 1932, killing 6 Federal Agents and at least 32 GV supporters.
Červená Jaro (Red Spring)
The Seige of St. Lucius drove much of the GV and its affiliate paramilitary groups into hiding, where they proceeded to conduct terrorist bombings on government buildings, military bases, and police stations. After a series of attacks in February 1933 the Federal Government sent in troops to quell unrest. A confrontation known as The Weslitz Massacre lead to the deaths of several dozen Pollonan German citizens. The attack galvanized the Pollonan German population against the government, and open civil war precipitated. The clash is often referred to as the Červená Jaro (Red Spring).
Rebellions within the Armed Forces, and (alleged) support from Styria brought military arms to the GV and its paramilitaries. German nationalist forces were implicated in ethnic cleansing against Czech civilians. In the ensuing mass hysteria on both sides, the government ordered the elimination of all paramilitary and "terrorist" organizations. Government forces were ultimately successful in rooting out "terrorist elements", but at a high cost to the country. Including the brutal counterinsurgency from 1933-1937, approximately 100,000 nationalist paramilitaries, government troops, and civilians died (almost 60% were Czechs).
Given allegations of Styrian and Questarian involvement (still hotly disputed), the fall of the Seso Republic, and the instability in Berry, mass hysteria propelled fears the Republic would collapse, unless action was taken on the "German Question".
Various draft proposals which addressed "The German Question" surfaced in Parliament on the eve of the Red Spring. The first, titled the Unity Act, was submitted by the Caucus of National Integrity andcalled for the immediate expulsion of all ethnic Germans to neighboring countries, with suitable compensation. After the formation of the Red Spring Unity Government, other ideas emerged from the Internal Affairs Committee, which eventually drafted the bulk of 'Odveta' legislation.
A Social-Democrat Representative, Koloman Yedlicka, was considered the first to explicitly use the term "odveta" during debate.
Debate over Odveta was short and relatively uncontroversial, with multiple political figures expressing support. Even the First President of the Republic George Ruziska weighed in, "wish[ing] with his heart that an alternative existed". The parties decidedly opposed, the Pollonan Liberal Party and the Free Voters Block, abstained.
During the Red Spring Unity Government, the following statutes were ratified into law.
- Emergency Census Act of 1935
-> A mid-term census conducted to identify Pollona's "ethnic composition" and the demographic status of Pollonan Germans within the country. More broadly defined who was a Pollonan German based off of name, recent ancestry, first language, and cultural heritage. Also provided census data for the rest of the population for the further census in 1940.
- Internal Security and Terrorism Act
- Made it a capital offense to be an "Ethnic Terrorist," a definition that broadly targeted those Pollonan Germans who were either in militias or paramilitary groups active in the Red Spring; it specifically was targeted by actions of Pollonan Germans against Czechs. The specific terms were so broad that it could be used even against relatives or associates of known members. The state sponsor of the German language and culture was removed and prohibited. It furthermore prohibited any political party, pressure group, charity, or organization from supporting German separatism or a distinct German identity. . The act was used to arrest over 50,000 people in the 1930s. 25 death sentences were carried out under the terms of the Act.
(Act amended in 1955, 1981, and 1984. "Ethnic Terrorist" offense repealed.)
- Identity and Registry Act of 1937
- Declared those ethnic groups which contained "Ethnic Terrorists" (essentially Germans only), had to carry government sanctioned ID Cards on their person at all times. Those carrying ID Cards were assigned to a special citizenship class.
- Clarified the position of those with "clashed allegiance" (mixed ancestry), as those with at least one parent and/or two grandparents who were required to carry Identity Cards. Those with mixed ancestry were exempt from other Odveta legislation but could still be prosecuted for "Ethnic Terrorism".
(Act amended in 1974 and 1996. Identity Cards updated, certain information requirements repealed)
- Foreign Security and Terrorism Act
- Assigned punishments to foreign nationals for inciting "Ethnic Terrorism" or giving aid to prohibited organizations.
- Specified a list of countries whose passports would not be accepted at entry: Styria, Schaumberg and Jumièges. Additional passport restrictions imposed on citizens from Borgosesia, Silgadin, and Questers.
(Restrictions on travel gradually relaxed. All provisions repealed by 1955 except for the prohibition of Styrian nationals, which remains in effect).
- Electoral Adjustment Act of 1938
- Declared those with Identity Cards were officially prohibited from voting in any state or national election.
- Modified existing political boundaries to minimize Pollonan German influence in any one community.
(Act amended in 1941, 1955, 1962, 1968, and 1982. Card holders can now officially vote, but are subject to restrictions; Literacy tests and poll taxes are the most common. In effect, fewer than 5% can vote.)
- Cohabitation Act
- Made any marriages between Czechs and "Identity Card Holders" illegal, any such further marriages would be invalid under existing civil law. Those of "Mixed" ancestry could not marry I.D. Card holders.
(Declared Unconstitutional in 1960; Reintroduced with different language in 1972. Provisions against "Mixed" ancestry repealed in 1981)
- Accommodations Act
- Mandated separate public accommodations for ID Holders and regular citizens. Established petty fines for those who violated separate accommodation rules.
- Specifically mentioned there should be a separate system of public schools for ID holders. ID holders and their communities would be in charge of the schools under supervision by the state. Universities were exempt from the Accommodations Act, but state grants would be reduced for those institutions accepting ID holders. ID holders would not have their degrees officially recognized.
- Specifically mentioned there should be a separate housing or communities for ID holders.
- Allowed states and communities to list their own prohibitions.
(Act amended in 1961 and 1982. Separate public accommodations now had to be Equal. Petty fines eliminated. ID holders now have their degrees recognized. Housing provisions fully repealed. )
- Legal Addendum Act
- Created a separate code of legal rights for I.D. holders. Legal provisions for warrants and mass surveillance were eliminated in the interest of "protecting domestic security". Public assemblies of I.D. holders had to be approved by local authorities ahead of time. I.D. holders had a limited right to appeal, and were not allowed to sit on a criminal jury.
- Eliminated original jurisdiction from the courts regarding any lawsuits against the acts listed above.
(Amended in 1955, 1962, and 1982. Warrants and Surviellance procedures for I.D. holders brought up to par with existing law. Assemblies of less than 100 I.D. holders no longer have to be pre-approved. I.D. holders may now sit on a criminal jury, provided an I.D. holder is not present in the case.)
- Enforcement Act of 1938
Odveta's enabling legislation never specifically mentioned any ethnic group by name, making only implied references as each statute builds on one another. However, the legislation was obviously targeted against the Pollonan German population, which is the same view held by most of Maredoratica's human rights organizations.
The Basic Law's guarantees of civil rights and personal liberties contradict the Odveta system so extremely the Maredoratic Bar Association has called Odveta "blatantly and unquestionably unconstitutional". But for activists, overturning Odveta has proved frustrating if not impossible given its entrenchment in Pollonan Law. The Legal Addendum Act prohibits judicial review of all Odveta legislation, making it impossible for a court of law to render a binding judgement. For all practical purposes, Odveta can only be overturned by an act of Parliament or in a national referenda.
Institutions of Odveta
Racism and Public Attitudes
A primary rationale for the exclusion of German-peoples from public society was that it was for their own protection. Nationalists in the 1950s argued having Germans in the same accommodations as Czechs would "constantly subject them to hatred and insecurity", which might lead to more "racial unrest". This perspective acknowledged anti-German sentiment in the aftermath of the Red Spring, because bigotry and suspicion against Germanic peoples was widespread in the immediate decades after the insurgency. This paternalistic argument is frequently rejected by Pollonan German intellectuals as "deeply cynical."
Public feelings toward Pollonan Germans has relatively shifted over time; in public opinion surveys conducted in the 1960s, the primary reaction to the Red Spring was one of anger. The 1980s showed shifts towards sympathy, as younger generations without attachment to the uprising reached maturity. Yet today, the general public expresses little interest in abolishing or reforming Odveta: many leading public figures accept the necessity of the system to maintain social harmony and prevent counter-strikes against Czechs.
History Since and Modification
[Tyranny carries along for a while]
[Politicians realize Germans are actually people (!)]
[Various Reforms over the years, finally in 80s Liberals do the right thing and public hates them for it]