As Slovakia gears up to elect its fifth prime minister in just four years, a candidate with Kremlin sympathies is taking the lead in the polls, raising alarms in the West.
Slovakia Braces for a New Leader
The political landscape in Slovakia is rapidly changing, and it could severely affect its relationship with the West.
Slovakia’s Unknown Stance on Ukraine
Since Russia invaded Ukraine last February, Slovakia has stood as a staunch ally of Kyiv, but this solidarity might be challenged if the Kremlin-friendly candidate assumes power.
Shocking Slovakian Poll Revealed
In a recent poll, it was revealed that only 40% of the Slovakian population believe that Russia is at fault for its invasion of Ukraine, the lowest of any Central European country.
Sympathies for the Kremlin Unveiled
Robert Fico, the leading opposition figure, has openly shown sympathies towards the Kremlin, a concerning factor for Slovakia’s international alliances.
Hiding Support for Russia
A Slovakian political analyst said, “They are saying ‘there will be peace if we stop sending weapons to Ukraine’ because if we don’t the conflict will end sooner. So, in essence, they are not pro-peace, they are pro-Russian.”
Fico’s Justifications for Russia’s Invasion
Fico has echoed false narratives propagated by Putin, blaming Ukraine for provoking Russia’s invasion, sparking fears of a shift in Slovakia’s stance.
Fico Frames Support for Moscow
Fico and his supporters frame their stance as a push for “peace,” which would only be achieved if Ukraine gave up its territory to Russia.
A Controversial Comeback
After a tumultuous political journey, Robert Fico, a former prime minister, has re-emerged as a frontrunner, capitalizing on recent governance failures.
Ousted After Protest and Unrest
His last run as Prime Minister ended in 2018 when he resigned due to mass protest over the murder of a journalist, Jan Kusiak, and his fiancé.
Vulnerability to Propaganda
Slovakia finds itself vulnerable to propaganda, with the Kremlin choosing Slovakia as a potential ally due to the government’s previous support of Putin.
Concerns of Far-Right Influence
Due to Slovakia’s complicated political system, if Fico’s party won the election he would most likely choose the Republika party for a coalition, who have recently claimed Kyiv are the aggressors towards Russian minorities in Ukraine.
Public Debate on Ukraine’s Support Costs
Fico and his allies are tapping into public concerns over economic costs, arguing that supporting Ukraine comes at Slovakia’s expense, “They say it is too expensive and that we should worry only about ourselves,”
What Does This Mean to NATO?
This means that NATO could have its first pro-Russian anti-American leader, breaking NATO’s significant support towards Ukraine and causing a divide among the current pro-Ukrainian stance.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Alexandros Michailidis. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.