Slovakia has often been called a bastion of pro-Russia forces. Yet, the former administration under PM Eduard Heger leaned heavily towards the West, aligning with NATO’s counsel. This pro-West stance was evident in Slovakia’s provision of weapons to Kyiv and aiding Ukrainian migrants during challenging times.
However, the political landscape has shifted, and Slovakia is reverting to its original pro-Russia orientation, marking a return to its previous geopolitical alignment. Fico, the Ukraine hater is back in Bratislava. But, do you know why Robert Fico hates Ukraine so much?
Following the recent Slovakian general elections, former PM Robert Fico has returned to power. Although a two-time former prime minister, his party’s vote share necessitates coalition partners for governance. Slovakian President Zuzana Čaputová adhered to political tradition, inviting Fico to form a government.
In his victory speech, Fico reaffirmed his commitment to initiating Russia-Ukraine peace talks while declaring a halt to providing further aid or weapons to Ukraine. This stance was so resolute that even pro-Western President Čaputová ceased Ukrainian assistance.
Fico’s return, marked by his pro-Russia sentiments, hasn’t elicited hope or neutrality from the US, allies, or the West. His strong stand has shaped a decisive shift in Slovakian foreign policy, challenging previous pro-Western inclinations.
And of course, how can Fico take a pro-Ukraine stance? He has officially been accused of inflicting pro-Russia sentiments.
Fico’s Russia Love: Everyone knows it
The Fico government’s close energy ties, notably the Nord Stream gas pipeline have not gone unnoticed. He has consistently sparked concerns about Europe’s energy dependence on Russia. In addition, Fico’s statements on conflicts like Ukraine and Crimea were seen as downplaying Russia’s actions.
Even in 2014, when Russia claimed Crimea. Fico openly questioned European Sanctions on Russia.
Despite Fico’s affinity for Russia, this sentiment didn’t always define him. Behind his pro-Russia stance lies a backstory: his strained relations with the West and Ukraine stem from a personal insult in 2009.
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Well, the year was not very kind for Eastern Europe, tensions between Ukraine and Russia were brewing, and suddenly, Slovakia came into the limelight. A gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine caused a crisis in Slovakia, costing €100 million daily as factories shut down due to halted gas flows to EU countries. Prime Minister Robert Fico’s efforts to restart the gas supply led to humiliation.
When Kyiv made Bratislava Rumble: Fico’s 2009 Insult
During a meeting in Kyiv, Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko berated Fico in front of the press, accusing him of siding with Moscow. This incident led Fico to adopt an openly anti-Ukrainian stance, criticizing Ukraine for not valuing its relationship with Slovakia.
Even Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič’s meeting with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko ended in humiliation when promised gas flows weren’t restored. Fico openly accused Ukraine of deliberately delaying gas restoration due to worsening ties with Russia.
These negative experiences bred deep distrust of Ukrainians in certain Slovakian political circles. In 2023, Fico’s stance towards Ukraine shifted during the election campaign. He advocated for EU negotiations for peace instead of sending weapons, blaming Ukraine for the ongoing war.
Fico’s candid admission of Putin’s commitment to ensuring Slovakia’s energy security sheds light on his stance.
Now that he is back in power. He is all set to confront Ukraine without hesitation, promising to engage in the conflict head-on. As the Ukraine war unfolds, Fico’s resolute stance is surely going to add new twist to the narrative.
It remains to be seen how Ukraine, led by Zelensky, responds to this unwavering determination and pure revenge tune of Robert Fico.