Defence minister clears the army of Slovak Levies

Minister Gajdoš ordered that professional soldiers who were active in the paramilitary group are excluded from the Slovak army.

Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš during the May 17 cabinet session.Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš during the May 17 cabinet session. (Source: TASR)

Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš (junior coalition party, SNS) ordered the exclusion of professional soldiers who were active in the paramilitary grouping Slovak Levies from army ranks, without stating the precise number.

The minister pointed out, as quoted by the Aktuality.sk website, that the group is trying to replace the state's role in defending the nation. “Professionals take part in these activities and pass on their experience to civilians,” Gajdoš explained, as cited by the website. He also informed that the ministry will “adopt all possible legislative measures to limit such activities”.

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He added that a professional soldier must behave so that they do not jeopardize the public's trust. “We won’t allow the Armed Forces to lose citizens’ trust after individuals’ failures,” Gajdoš summed up.

Democracy in jeopardy

In Slovakia, “activities are formed which can be abused for non-democratic purposes, be it to the benefit of an individual or a small group of people who don’t act in compliance with foreign-policy orientation of Slovakia but rather violate the security interests of our homeland”, Gajdoš noted, as quoted by the Sme daily.

The minister stressed that it's a big problem that some of the professionals involved in the Slovak levies hold top ranks within the paramilitary organisation, and are authors of strategic and training documents, thus abusing the knowledge and skills gained during training in the Slovak army.

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Gajdoš also said, as quoted by Sme, that he finds it alarming that Slovak Levies publicly present themselves with military hierarchy, unified terminology, army training and elements, while also using army equipment and various types of arms. Moreover, Slovak levies have publicly questioned the tasks and roles of state security bodies repeatedly when protecting state interests, “thus trying to replace the security functions of the state, Gajdoš added, as cited by Sme.

This, in turn, increases the risk of radicalism and extremism in Slovak society.

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