Slovakia, a NATO member since 2004 and neighbor to Ukraine, is on the verge of a significant political shift.
The country is heading to the polls tomorrow, and Robert Fico's opposition party is leading in the pre-election polls. This development has raised concerns in the Western world.
Slovakia has been supportive of Ukraine, especially since Russia's invasion. The country was the first to send anti-aircraft systems to the Ukrainian military and has welcomed tens of thousands of refugees. However, this stance could undergo a radical change if Robert Fico wins the election, becoming Slovakia's fifth Prime Minister in just four years.
Fico's alignment with Russia
Robert Fico has been open about his pro-Russian stance. He has accused "Ukrainian Nazis and fascists" of provoking Russia into invading Ukraine and consistently echoes Russia's narrative of the conflict.
CNN reports that Fico has urged the Slovak government to stop supplying weapons to Kyiv, stating that Slovakia "will not send more ammunition" if he becomes Prime Minister.
Grigorij Mesežnikov, a political analyst and chairman of the Slovak think tank Institute of Public Affairs, suggests that Fico's alignment with Russia is not about peace but about supporting Moscow's initiatives. He argues that Fico and his allies claim that stopping weapon supplies to Ukraine would end the conflict sooner, but in reality, they are siding with Russia.
Fico's political history
Robert Fico has served as Slovakia's Prime Minister twice before, first from 2006 to 2010 and then from 2012 to 2018. He was forced to resign during his last term following massive protests triggered by the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée, who were reporting on corruption among the Slovak elite.
Current poll standings
As of now, Fico's social-democratic party Smer is leading in the polls with 19.4%, followed closely by the social-liberal party Progresivne Slovensko at 18.2%.
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