Slovakian media is reporting on meetings between the Hungarian Foreign Minister which included the Slovak opposition leader, Robert Fico (Smer) and Andrej Danko, Chairman of the Slovak National Party. According to the Slovak Spectator report, both Fico and Danko are strongly pro-Russian:
December 6, 2022 The Slovak opposition leader, Robert Fico (Smer), met with Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó on Tuesday in Bratislava, where the Hungarian official also held an official meeting with his counterparts from Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic. Szijjártó used the opportunity to meet not only with Fico, but also Finance Minister Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) and former speaker Andrej Danko (SNS). Matovič recently considered going against the EU’s plan to block sanctions against Hungary. Moreover, Fico and Danko, hold strong pro-Russian views, something that resonates with the Hungarian government. Szijjártó said at a press conference that Fico deserves the respect of Hungarians and Hungary. He added that when Fico was prime minister, Slovak-Hungarian cooperation reached another level. Fico criticised anti-Russian sanctions and added that he would suspend the delivery of weapons to Ukraine if his party were to form another government. Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, Fico also uttered. While the Hungarian minister sees no problem in meeting with ruling or opposition politicians, a Hungarian minority political party slammed Szijjártó for meeting with Fico.
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Andrej Danko is a Slovak politician who was the Speaker of the National Council from 2016 to 2020 and Chairman of the Slovak National Party (SNP) since 2012. The SNP has been described as based on a “blend of nationalist and populist appeals” and has been in and out of the parliament over the past three decades. In 2018, Danko was embroiled in controversy over accusations he had plagiarized his doctoral theses. UK media reported that Danko’s blog was closed down in March 2022 for spreading disinformation about Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
European media had reported last March that Fico was also accused of spreading Kremlin propaganda and that his future plans includes cooperation with the SNP:
March 8, 2022 The Party of European Socialists has stood by Former Slovak prime minister and Smer party leader Robert Fico after he announced he would pursue a coalition with the far-right Republika movement and likened NATO soldiers to Nazi troops. European socialists face repeated calls to take action against their Slovak member party Smer-SD. In an open letter, Slovak MEPs point out that its leader Robert Fico “assists the spread of Kremlin propaganda”. Fico has recently likened the arrival of NATO soldiers in Slovakia to “welcoming of the Wehrmacht” and described the war as “a conflict between the United States and Russia”. Fico has also publicly admitted to seeking a coalition with the extreme far-right. “We have absolutely no problem with them,” said Fico of the movement Republika, led by a non-attached MEP Milan Uhrík, who refused to condemn the Holocaust on account of “not being a historian” and whose speech on the Ukrainian war was booed in the European Parliament. Smer-SD was the first party to have their Party of European Socialists membership suspended for ten months in 2006 in response to their governing coalition with the Slovak National Party, with whom they also want to cooperate after the next election.
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In February 2022. Slovak media reported on the disnformation campaign Russia has led in Eastern Europe:
The voters have been subjected to eight-years-long massive disinformation campaign that Russia has been leading against NATO and the EU, spending hundreds of millions of euros every year on it. Although it is also aimed at people in Czechia, Hungary or the Balkans, the campaign seems to have the strongest effect on people in Slovakia. Last year, Globsec put Slovakia in the group of the most pro-Russian states in central and eastern Europe, the so-called bear huggers.
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The Global National Conservative Alliance (GNCA) is described in a GIOR report as follows:
Russian President PUTIN has expressed an interest in Russia becoming the ideological center of a new global conservative alliance, and European far-right leaders have taken pro-Russian positions based on a similar ideology. Hungary is at the center of a developing alliance between European far-right nationalists and American conservatives that Russia could potentially exploit for use in information warfare. This alliance operates under the rubric of “National Conservatism,” centered on national sovereignty, cultural identity, and opposition to global institutions and representing a potentially radical change for the US conservative movement away from long-held Reagan-era philosophies.
Read the full report here.
Opposition to “gender ideology” is a central issue for the GNCA, and GIOR has also reported on the role played by the Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC), a Hungarian education facility supported by the Orban government, in disseminating Russian-style anti-LGBTQ propaganda. In 2019, Balkan media reported that the Slovak National Party has long dismissed LGBT rights as “gender ideology” imported from the decadent West. According to the Balkan Insight report:
Slovak society is divided when it comes to equality issues. On the one hand, opposition to LGBT rights is a rallying call for populists, conservatives, the Catholic Church and extremists. Parties such as the SNS or the far-right People’s Party Our Slovakia put anti-LGBT slogans on billboards and in ads, while former Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who is still leader of the ruling SMER-SD party, often pits LGBT rights against “traditional” family values, especially before elections. Such voices say that same-sex partnerships threaten the institution of marriage, which is defined in the Slovak constitution as “an act between one man and one woman”. Meanwhile, cyberspace is awash with anti-LGBT propaganda and hate speech, boosted by disinformation campaigns from pro-Russian media networks, experts say.
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