Relations with Russia Put Slovakia Under Fire

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.03 - 2024 12:31 PM CET

Slovakia finds itself increasingly entangled in controversies surrounding its relations with Russia.

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Slovakia has been caught in a growing web of controversies regarding its dealings with Russia.

This includes recent actions by the United States extending sanctions to a Slovak company, the Slovak Interior Ministry granting protection to a pro-Russian actor, and a Slovak parliamentary official engaging with Russian media to spread pro-Kremlin narratives.

US Sanctions and Wider Crackdown

On Wednesday, the US expanded its anti-Russian sanctions to include hundreds of individuals and entities, among them a Slovak company.

Carovilli Trading SRO, according to the US, sells computer equipment and software to Russian companies. Allegedly, within a few months in 2023, Carovilli made over 350 shipments of electronics, including electronic modules, circuits, and microprocessors.

These sanctions also target 20 companies based in China and Hong Kong, as well as 60 entities in Russia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

The US accuses them of facilitating Moscow's acquisition of technology and equipment used in the conflict in Ukraine.

State Protection for Pro-Russian Ukrainians

Reports emerged on Tuesday that the Slovak government granted protection to pro-Russian actor Artyom Marchevskyy, who faced investigations in Ukraine for alleged cooperation with Moscow.

The Czech newspaper Deník N reported that Marchevskyy had tried to influence EU elections before relocating to Slovakia, where the Interior Ministry granted him temporary protection.

His lawyer confirmed his presence in Slovakia, while Interior Minister Matúš Šutaj Eštok refrained from commenting further, citing an ongoing investigation.

Marchevskyy and pro-Russian Ukrainian businessman Viktor Medvedchuk were allegedly part of a network that financed the Voice of Europe media platform and provided funds to certain EU politicians.

Controversial Comments on Russian TV

Progressive Slovakia (PS), the main opposition party, accused Ľuboš Blaha, the deputy speaker of parliament, of spreading pro-Kremlin propaganda in an interview with Russian state television RT.

Blaha, known for his anti-EU and pro-Russian stance, made controversial statements linking the war in Ukraine to NATO expansion and Adolf Hitler's birthday.

“The war in Ukraine is here for the expansion of NATO and its American allies to the Russian borders,” Blaha stated.

“We can see that the House of Representatives passed a $61 billion (€56.9 billion) bill for Ukraine on the same day, 20 April, when Adolf Hitler was born,” he hinted, adding that he does not “think that is a coincidence.”

“Hitler’s Russophobia was so strong that he attacked the Soviet Union. So, I do not think that is a coincidence. I think there is an interest in American liberal circles to push this war against Russia more and more."

PS Chairman Michal Šimečka condemned Blaha's remarks as scandalous and demanded an apology.

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