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02 Okt. 2023


A pro-moscow party won the elections in Slovakia. What does this mean for Ukraine?



A pro-moscow party won the elections in Slovakia. What does this mean for Ukraine?

Former Prime Minister Robert Fico's anti-Ukrainian party, which opposes military aid to Ukraine, will lead the Slovak parliament. Find out what consequences this may have for Ukraine and the EU

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On September 30, parliamentary elections were held in Slovakia. After the votes were counted, it became known that the pro-russian SMER-SD (Course - Social Democracy) party of former Prime Minister Robert Fico received almost 23% of the vote. The second place with almost 18% of the vote went to the liberal pro-Ukrainian party Progressive Slovakia, headed by Vice President of the European Parliament Michal Šimečka. The center-left Golos party of former Prime Minister Peter Peligrini came in third with 15% of the vote. Four other parties overcame the 5% threshold.

Negotiations to form a government are now underway. However, the election results are disappointing for Ukraine, Slovakia, and the EU as a whole.

"Today we woke up to the changes brought by the early general elections. They were free, democratic and created a real image of our society," Slovak President Zuzana Chaputova wrote on Facebook.

Why do the parliamentary elections in Slovakia have an impact on the war in Ukraine?

First of all, Slovakia is not only a partner of Ukraine, which actively provided weapons and advocated for sanctions after the full-scale invasion of russia, but also an important logistics chain for the supply of aid from other Western countries, which connects Ukraine and the EU by rail. 

The head of the SMER-SD party, Fico, had already stated on the eve of the election that their victory would stop the supply of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine. After the victory was announced, he confirmed that his position had not changed. 

Moreover, Robert Fico considers the hope for the de-occupation of the territories captured by russia and Ukraine's victory "naive", citing russian propaganda narratives.

"I say it loud and clear and I will continue to do so: the war in Ukraine did not begin yesterday or last year. It began in 2014, when Ukrainian nazis and fascists began killing russians in Donbas and Luhansk," he said during a rally in Topolchany in August.

It should be noted that Slovak defense companies have been actively working to meet Ukraine's military needs. According to Euraktiv, during this time they increased their profits by 4 times. In addition, Slovakia provided Ukraine with Zuzana-2 howitzers, M-17 helicopters, MiG-29 fighters, S-300 air defense systems, and tanks.

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Pro-russian Slovakia: does the population support Ukraine?

Slovakia has received more than 100,000 refugees from Ukraine, but according to polls, a significant portion of the local population (about 42%) is against continuing to support Ukrainians. Moreover, about 28% of respondents said that their lives had deteriorated since the arrival of refugees and called Ukrainians "a threat to our society."

At the same time, according to a survey by GlobSec, a Bratislava-based security think tank, only 40% of Slovaks believe russia is responsible for the war in Ukraine. This is the lowest figure among eight countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. The same poll showed that about 50% of respondents consider the United States a security threat.

Implications of Robert Fico's SMER-SD victory for Ukraine

Experts believe that only "persuasion from Western countries" and the interests of the Slovak defense industry can convince Robert Fico to continue military support for Ukraine. And now the election results are causing concern among members of the European Union and NATO, as Fico may not only stop supplying weapons from Slovakia, but also block aid from other countries. In addition, if Robert Fico becomes prime minister, Slovakia risks becoming a "second Hungary." 

At the same time, Slovak authorities believe that the victory of SMER-SD is bad news not so much for Ukraine as for Slovakia itself. Thus, former Slovak Finance Minister Ivan Miklos notes that "Fico's victory is very bad news for Ukraine. But it is also bad for the Slovak economy, for Slovak companies, because they will be excluded from the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. Therefore, Fico's victory is even worse news for Slovakia itself."

It is too early to talk about the consequences, as the government has not yet been formed. However, Robert Fico's coming to power should alarm not only Ukraine but also the leaders of the EU and NATO, as another country with pro-russian views could further undermine the situation in the West.

We remind you! During his speech at the first International Defense Industries Forum in Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the creation of the Alliance of Defense Industries and the Defense Fund to localize the production of weapons and military equipment. Read more about the prospects of this decision for Ukraine in our previous article.

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