The Co-operative Movement of the Russian Far East
1796-1873 a pioneer of Slovak (European) cooperation
By foundation of "Farmer's
Guild" in February, 9, 1845 in Sobotiste , he
laid the basis of cooperation in Slovakia.
"Farmer's Guild is a voluntary society of journeymen,
founded with the aim that wealthiness, farmership
, crafts and anyhow better status of farms could
A quotation from
the Farmer's Guild Statutes
"Since such an institution despite established and organised in a small number was for many people during that times prosperous and usefull - so this has to be admitted also by those who used to benefit from it. And let man says what he likes and how he likes, certain unswerving true is being hidden in cognition that our so little and disseminated nation urgently needs such institutions in order to promote itself materially and intelectually. So only then it will stand on his own feet if brings together its forces". From the speach of S. Jurkovic at the last ordinary assembly of "Farmer's Guild" in 1848
History and current situation
In 2003, it
has been already 10 years when simultaneously
with the establishment of the independent Slovak
Republic, the Cooperative Union of the Slovak
Republic, was founded by its member associations
as the highest coordinative body representing
interests of and promoting the development of
cooperative movement in Slovakia in new conditions
arising after 1989 and 1993. The cooperative
movement in Slovakia during its more then 158
years old history has all the time significated
the important phenomenon of both economic and
social life. It has contributed to the development
of villages and towns as well as to the whole
regions. Thus it accomplished one of its main
objectives, namely satisfying not only the needs
of its members, but also those of other citizens
One can say that nowadays the cooperation is the important element in the development of the independent Slovak Republic. After the great transformation changes undergone after the 1989 and 1992, at present the situation is being step by step stabilized and the gradual further development of cooperative societies and whole cooperative systems , distinguished of course according to the individual coops and systems which we are intention to present in this information
The current situation of the Co-operative Union of the Slovak Republic comes out from the approved Rules of the CUSR. The Rules were adopted by the General Assembly of the CUSR and came into effect as far of the 14 December 1993. The Co-operative Union was established as an association of the legal entities (SUHC- Slovak Union of Housing Coops, SUCC, SUPC and Association of the Agricultural Coops of the SR) within the Civil Code. At the same time it is the legal entity and according to the disposition of Ò¯ 20,letter i) is registered in the Register of legal entities.CUSR may adhere to other associations and to other national and international organisations which in turn may affiliate to it. This regulation is being used in practice as well when the CUSR has been the member of the ICA in Geneve since 1993 and at the same time , its associated member is the ICOSI, based in Paris, a body we collaborate actively with on the preparation and handling the issues of the co-operative development in the Slovak Republic.The work of the Co-operative Union comes out from needs and intersts of its members. Its influence is being applicated within the fundamental questions of development and defence of the co-operative movement accordingly the Rules and decisions of its General Assembly.
The Union's basic tasks are concentrated mainly on:
representing the member's interests and requirements towards the state and other authorities at the national level within the process of preparation of fundamental provisions , legal and other proposals concerning cooperation
representing the members in the international relations, coordination of member's participation in the ICA bodies and in the representation towards the partner's organisations abroad, promotion of cooperation abroad, dissemination of information and experience from co-operative movement abroad
establishing the foundations aimed at the development of the cooperation
support of the human thoughts and objectives in the activities of the co-operative movement
education and training of co-operative workers and officials, organisation of research activities on the fundamental theoretic and practical co-operative movement issues in collaboration with the research centres and universities
fulfillment of the entrepreneurial activities, creation of the entrepreneurial subjects and participation within other entrepreneurial indoor or outdoor subjects
coordination of rights and duties execution of members within subjects in which the Union participates by property together with its member organizations
Union creates the mutual information system in the fields of common interest agreed with members and for their need, it issues information publications
The Co-operative Union's bodies are:
At the General Assembly as the CUSR supreme body, members are delegated by their member organisations in accordance with adopted key. Members of the CUSR's Control Commission, unless delegated by the member organisations, participate at its deliberations with the consultative vote. The term of office of delegates is four years. The Board is the executing body of the CUSR. It consists of chairmen of the members unions, the president of the KooperatýÆ¨, and one member per member organisation. The Board elects the president and vicepresident of the CUSR. Members of the Board of Directors are nominated by member's organisations for the period of four years. The president is usually elected among the chairmen of the member unions for the period of one year. After the termination of its term of office he/she is replaced by the vicepresident. The office of the president and vicepresident is not vacant. In order to execute its tasks, the CUSR has created the staff. Its activities are managed by the executive director, nominated by the Board. As resulting from the Cooperative Union's Rules, it is and should be multileveled not only concerning the representation of interest and requirements of members towards the National Council / Parliament, government of the SR, state and other authorities in the Slovak Republic, but also in the multilateral and bilateral foreign collaboration and representation of its members.
The first co-operative in Slovakia (then part of Hungary) was the Union of Farmers. It was founded by a Slovak teacher, Samuel Jurkovic (1796 - 1873) on February 9th, 1845, in Sobotiste village. This happened two months after the foundation of the Society of Equitable Pioneers in Rochdale.
The Union of Farmers was a credit and financial co-operative. At the time of its foundation it had 12 members; by the end of the year it already had 60. The majority of its members were peasants and craftsmen, some of whom were descendants of Swiss Anabaptists who left Geneva and emigrated to West Slovakia in the 16th Century in order to escape persecution.
The Union's regulations set out the rights and duties of members, and stated the principle of voluntary membership without regard to religious or national allegiance. In order to prevent pub visits, members' meetings were always organised on Sunday afternoons. Each member was required to plant two trees and two shrubs every year. Membership was not open to anyone who indulged in alcohol, was a convicted thief, or whose lifestyle was considered to be immoral.
Samuel Jurkovic wrote that the Union's original orientation was purely materialistic - to collect money and to help one other. However, he pointed out that in good hands even clay can be transformed, so the orientation of the Union became moral and spiritual. Members grew to be more and more generous, moral, diligent, and conscientious in their occupation, and began to exercise prudence in their dealings with money.
After the foundation of the Union of Farmers, similar co-operatives began to appear in Slovakia. When co-operatives started to be founded according to the Schultze-Delitzsch and Raiffeisen principles elsewhere in Europe, Slovakia already had 20 co-operatives which adhered to the principles of the Union of Farmers. Whilst the Schultze-Delitzsch and Raiffeisen schools of thought influenced the development of co-operatives also in Slovakia, to this day Slovak co-operators acknowledge their indebtedness to Samuel Jurkovic . Even 40 years of a totalitarian regime was not able to eradicate these traditions.