State-funded Anti-Fascistic Union spreads pro-Russian propaganda

Interior Ministry investigates activities of the Union of Anti-Fascistic Warriors.

Also communists give speeches at Union of Anti-Fascistic Warriors events.Also communists give speeches at Union of Anti-Fascistic Warriors events. (Source: TASR)

American monopolies want to initiate a third world war and only Russian President Vladimir Putin can prevent it. A fascist junta governs Ukraine and the International Monetary Fund wants to reduce the country’s population to enslave it.

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The bi-weekly Bojovník [Warrior] of the state-funded Union of Anti-Fascistic Warriors has been spreading such news and opinions for three years, using Russian websites and conspiracy portals as sources.

The Union is funded by the Interior Ministry which publicly declares that Russian propaganda is a threat to the West. The ministry sent the Anti-Fascistic Union €350,000 in 2017. The union uses that money for publishing magazines, organising commemoration events, overseeing of monuments, and providing social care for people that participated in the anti-fascist uprising during World War 2.

The Interior Ministry considers the questions of The Slovak Spectator as a motion which it will investigate.

“The Interior Ministry will deal with your monition,” the ministry’s press department responded to questions of The Slovak Spectator.

Head of the union, Pavol Sečkár, confirmed that the ministry has already approached him, but he stated that he stands behind the content of the magazine.

“Even April’s session of our editorial staff confirmed that Bojovník’s direction is right,” Sečkár told The Slovak Spectator.

Everyone, including Bojovník’s editorial staff, has the right to their opinion until it violates the rights of others. However, none has the right to spread lies, according to Alexander Duleba of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association.

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“There is a lack of legislation which should deal with it,” Duleba told The Slovak Spectator. “For example, Germany introduced heavy fines for media spreading factual lies.”

Read also: Kiska: We must use all lawful means available against extremism Read more 

Criticising the West

Bojovník, in the past, has been a typical magazine of a state organisation informing about union activities, historical events and even offering soft news content. In March 2014, the editorial staff completely changed, as did the content of the magazine.

“The magazine’s circulation significantly decreased,” Vladimír Mikunda, Bojovník’s Editor-in-Chief told The Slovak Spectator. “We managed to stop that and now we are working on increasing circulation again.”

World news emerged on the first few pages mostly attacking the West, NATO and the European Union. They also highlighted the activities of so-called fascists in Ukraine.

For example, in its April issue, the magazine mostly criticises the US bombing of a Syrian airport following the sarin gas attack in Idlib Province. Moreover, one of its adopted pieces claims that white helmets arranged the corpses of people to fabricate the entire sarin attack.

It also published a statement by Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Ryabkov saying Washington’s rhetoric tends to be “primitive and loutish”.

Bojovník acts like conspiracy media spreading pro-Russian propaganda, constantly criticising the West or the EU and praising Russian policy, according to Juraj Smatana, an activist battling hoaxes.

“It cannot even be called bias; it is a selective view of the world,” Smatana told The Slovak Spectator. “You cannot find news criticising Putin there.”

Read also: SIS: Foreign countries try to impact public opinion Read more 

Nazis in Ukraine

In its February issue, the editorial staff adopted a piece from the Russian economic news website, comparing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the Nazis. The story says that the IMF suggests Ukraine to reduce state employees and increase the retirement age because it wants to reduce Ukraine’s population just like the Nazis did in the past.

In 2016, one story stated that the government in Ukraine is a “junta” and “terrorist” organisation.

The claim concerning a neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine is part of Russian propaganda that seeks to question the legitimacy of the Ukrainian revolution called Maidan and justify the occupation of Crimea. In fact, the support for far-right groups in Ukraine is very low, according to Duleba.

“There should be news about extremist activities, but we cannot reduce Maidan, with seven million participants, to the rule of fascists,” Duleba said.

Both Sečkár and Mikunda stated that the magazine mostly re-publishes content from other media in such cases. Mikunda stated that the magazine uses original sources and refused to call them “conspiracy media”.

In its March issue, however, Bojovník magazine copied a text about measures by Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi depicting him as a great leader, without naming a single source of such information.

“It can happen that even we overstep,” Mikunda said. “The internet was my source.”

Read also: Legitimising fake news Read more 

Communists in management

Anti-western opinions can be found not only in the union’s magazine – also its representatives publicly spread such sentiments.

Head of the Trenčín Office of Anti-Fascistic Warriors Union Ján Holička said in a 2016 speech that Slovakia has become a colony for western countries. He supports his claim by pointing out that people need to speak English to get a good job.

Holička was a candidate for the Communist Party in the 2012 parliament elections.

When Chief of General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces, Milan Maxim stated that the Slovak Army prepares for a possible threat coming from Russia, most of the union’s representatives participating in Bojovník’s poll condemned such actions.

Václav Homišan, who represents the union in Stará Ľubovňa, stated that NATO is an aggressive pact, the USA is an expansive country, and Maxim wants to please them.

“It is old propagandistic feint,” Smatana said. “Non-democratically oriented people take credit for defeating Nazism and anyone who is against the Kremlin is automatically fascist for them.”

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