Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, a former communist with a penchant for Vladimir Putin

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot several times on Wednesday, has ended military aid to Ukraine and advocated peace talks with Russia since returning to power last year.

Slovakia, a member of the European Union and NATO, had previously provided substantial defense assistance to the Ukrainians. And this, from the start of the Russian invasion, in February 2022.

Before returning to his role as head of the Slovak government in October, this man, now 59 years old, had promised that his country would no longer send “a single bullet” to Ukraine.

In this regard, he assured that the war there had “started in 2014”, when “Ukrainian fascists” had killed “civilians of Russian nationality”, taking up unproven allegations from Russia.

In January, he said Ukraine was “not an independent and sovereign country” but was “entirely under the influence and control of the United States.”

However, he was more conciliatory in April, when he called for a peaceful solution that respects Ukrainian “territorial integrity and sovereignty”. “The use of military force by Russia in Ukraine is a gross violation of international law,” he also insisted.

A former communist

Born September 15, 1964, Robert Fico began his political career within the Communist Party just before the “Velvet Revolution” of 1989 swept away the regime of the former Czechoslovakia.

Its relations with Russia are historically determined by the socialist motto “With the Soviet Union for eternity”

In 1999, he left the Democratic Left Party (SDL), the political heir of the PC, to found Smer-Social-Democrat (Smer-SD).

According to Slovak sociologist Michal Vasecka, Robert Fico admires the authoritarianism of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Its relations with Russia are historically determined by the socialist motto “With the Soviet Union for eternity”,” adds Mr. Vasecka in a book he dedicated to him.

Robert Fico also affirmed that he would not authorize the arrest of Vladimir Putin, under an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, if he ever visited Slovakia.

Links with the far right

A lawyer by profession, fluent in English, he built a European reputation as Slovakia’s representative at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg from 1994 to 2000.

In 2006, the Smer-SD largely won the legislative elections, catapulting Robert Fico to the head of government, two years after Slovakia’s accession to the EU.

He then formed a coalition with the far-right Slovak National Party (SNS), which shares his anti-refugee rhetoric and populist leanings, then took advantage of the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 to boost his popularity by refusing to impose austerity measures.

Returned to the opposition in 2010, he won elections two years later after the fall of a center-right coalition amid allegations of corruption.

Italian Mafia

This racing car enthusiast suffered a disappointment in 2014 when his presidential ambitions collided with the victory of a political novice, the philanthropist Andrej Kiska.

During the migration crisis in Europe in 2015, Robert Fico opted for firm stances towards migrants, refusing to “give birth to a distinct Muslim community in Slovakia” and criticizing the European quota program aimed at redistributing wealth. refugees.

Smer-SD won the 2016 elections, but his premiership ended two years later, after the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée.

The crime sparked a wave of protest actions across Slovakia, with Jan Kuciak denouncing links between the Italian mafia and the Fico government in his latest posthumous article.

An anti-corruption coalition took power after the 2020 legislative elections, during which Mr. Fico managed to preserve his seat in Parliament.

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