On list of the Ukrainian Anti-Disinformation Center of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, there are 75 academics, military officials or politicians who reported that Ukraine and NATO provoked Russia and spread other Russian narratives. One of them is one of the constants of Slovak political life.
“Ukraine’s Office for Disinformation called me a disinformer because I have a different opinion about the war in Ukraine than the Slovak government. More precisely, anyone who has a different opinion than the Ukrainian president is a criminal,” the ex-prime minister wrote on his Facebook profile. “Such is liberal democracy in Slovakia as well. When you have a different opinion, they first try to silence you in the media and compromise you, if that doesn’t work, they lock you up.”
Fico facing accusations of founding a criminal group, abuse of authority and endangering tax secrecy. The leader of the strongest Slovak opposition party repeatedly rejects the suspicion, saying that it is an attempt to politically eliminate him for his views.
In his Facebook response, the ex-prime minister reiterated that there is actually a war between the US and Russia taking place in Ukraine and that “Ukraine is under the total control of the US.” The claim that Ukraine is a puppet in the hands of Washington is repeatedly made by Russian officials. “I am not on the side of the USA or Ukraine, I am on the side of Slovakia, common sense and truth,” adds the ex-prime minister.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Fico has opposed Slovakia helping Ukraine, saying that it is economically disadvantageous for him. He also claimed that Russia was responding to NATO expansion with war, a common argument cited by the Kremlin for launching a “special military operation”.
The deputy chairman of Smer, Ľuboš Blaha, who is considered one of the loudest supporters of Russia in Slovakia, defended his boss. According to him, Fico is only defending Slovakia’s interests and wants to ensure that Slovak citizens do not face a gas crisis and record price increases due to “meaningless sanctions”.
“If, according to the Zelensky regime, this is Russian propaganda, it only confirms how arrogant and aggressive it behaves towards Slovakia. It does not respect our sovereignty and freedom to evaluate geopolitical disputes in accordance with Slovakia’s national interests,” he wrote to the newspaper Truth. He accused Ukraine of “offending a significant part of the Slovak nation, which perceives the dispute between the US and Russia on Ukrainian territory exactly like Robert Fico.”
While Czechs in public opinion polls express unequivocal support for Ukraine in principle, the opinion of Slovaks is much more divided. According to a survey by a Slovak non-governmental organization Globsec among the states of Central and Eastern Europe, Slovaks, along with Bulgarians and Hungarians, rated Zelensky the least positively, and only 51 percent of them think that Russia is responsible for the war in Ukraine (in the Czech Republic, 78 percent of respondents think so).
Other active or former politicians on the list include Italian MEP Francesca Donatová, US senator Rand Paul and French presidential candidates Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour, who have long been blame from pro-Russian ties.
The Czech track is also partially on the list. Ukraine also included in the list an American journalist working in Prague, Bradley Blankeship, whose opinion articles are published by the Chinese state media Global Times and CGNT, which takes over the Russian narrative. In one of his articles, for example, he stated that the war in Ukraine is a “convenient excuse for Russophobia” in the Czech Republic.