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Syldavia: Could it be in the EU?

#1 · Posted: 25 Jan 2022 06:29
Since Syldavia is somewhere from Eastern Europe, Could Syldavia be in the EU?
#2 · Posted: 28 Jan 2022 18:12
You'd imagine it could well be. The postwar political situation in Syldavia is a bit undefined in the Moon books (with a lot of military police and no sign of the King) and seems positively murky in the Calculus Affair, with its secret services behaving with ungrateful thuggery towards Tintin and Calculus in a way that seems no better than Borduria's. But like the real life Balkan ex-Yugoslav countries (following the awful civil wars of the 1990s) you'd hope Syldavia might by now be moving towards peace and democracy under recent membership of the EU. Maybe Borduria would have joined too, though you could imagine it might be a more controversial member with a democracy-challenging leadership like Orbán's in Hungary; or maybe it would remain resolutely outside the EU, with a Neo-Kurvi Tasch/Plekzy Gladz regime propped up by Putin's Russia, like Lukashrnko's regime in Belarus.
#3 · Posted: 22 Feb 2024 22:56
I think Syldavia is a mix of both Central European and Balkan influences, not Eastern Europe really. The Syldavian language, some names, some aesthetics and architecture remind me of Czechia, Austria or Hungary. However, there are clearly some Balkan vibes, like minarets in the travel brochure and Syldavian folk costumes.

Like many have said, Yugoslavia is probably the closest thing to Syldavia, as it was a kingdom first and after the war was ruled by the rather benign dictator Josif Broz Tito, who was nominally a Communist but had pretty good relations with the Western countries and hostile relations with the Soviet Union and other Communist regimes. Lands of Yugoslavia/Serbia had been under the rule of both Ottoman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire/Austria-Hungary.

Borduria, in that case, might be Romania in disguise. Romania had a prominent Fascist party called the Iron Guard in the interwar era, just like the Bordurian-backed Syldavian Fascist party is called. After the war, Romania was ruled by hardline Stalinists, and beginning in the 60s, by the dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, who came a bit too late to influence Hergé's depiction of Borduria but certainly fits the role of Plekszy-Gladz.

The irony is that Romania is nowadays a member of the EU, while Serbia, the successor state of Yugoslavia, is not. So maybe Borduria experienced a revolution in 1989 and later joined, while Syldavia only had a bitter civil war, the conflict hampering its prospects of joining the EU?
#4 · Posted: 27 Feb 2024 03:35
Yeah, I've always taken Syldavia to be in the western Balkans: nowadays Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia.

More specifically, Jean-Marie Embs writes in the Feuilleton intégral (vol 8 p 410): 'All the landscapes, the settings and the way we are introduced to Klow (which recalls Sarajevo), clearly show that Hergé placed Syldavia in the Dinaric Alps, along the coast of the Adriatic, in a region that corresponds to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Allusions to the region are not lacking'. He then gives a list of allusions. One of these is 'the name of a little fishing port on the south coast, Dbrnouk, which recalls Dubrovnik'. Bosnia-Herzegovina is actually separated from the Adriatic by a thin strip of coast that belongs to Croatia and includes Dubrovnik. So perhaps what Embs means is that Syldavia is based on Bosnia-Herzegovina plus this neighbouring strip of coast.

Croatia is the only western Balkan state that is currently in the EU, though the others are all in the waiting room and will probably be admitted eventually. Maybe Syldavia would be in the waiting room too.

At the same time, Embs points out that the Syldavian language sounds more like Polish than like the South Slavic languages from the western Balkans (p 411). And his observations are of course just based on geography and culture. If we instead look at the plot, Hergé uses Syldavia to tell stories that parallel first the Anschluss and later the Cold War. So I agree that it also evokes central Europe.

In that sense I guess there's no definitive answer. Syldavia is probably in the western Balkans but the details are adapted as needed by Hergé ...

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