Real threat vs bogeymen. Slovaks are confused about whom to fear

Ruling politicians never had a better opportunity to live up to their foreign policy pledges.

Smer-organised protest in Bratislava.Smer-organised protest in Bratislava. (Source: TASR)

Welcome to your weekly commentary and overview of news from Slovakia. Ukraine, NATO troops and a row over a defence deal expose Slovaks’ confusion. The latest on Omicron in Slovakia. The census reveals Slovakia is ageing – and fast. Slovakia improves its standing in a corruption perceptions index. The pandemic prompts more people to seek help from mental health specialists.

Find the PDF of the January issue of The Slovak Spectator below.

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‘NATO or Russia?’ question confuses Slovaks

Faced with the threat of a conflict involving its immediate neighbour and efforts by the government to sign a defence deal with an important ally, Slovaks are displaying their usual level of geopolitical bewilderment. Unfortunately, this is not a good time to be confused.

Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO) and Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok (SaS nominee) are scheduled to travel to Washington this week to sign the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) with the US government.

Even after it’s signed, the deal has a long way to go before coming into force. The Slovak parliament needs to approve it, which means the disinformation-fuelled campaign against it by opposition leaders, which has already been going on for weeks, is set to continue throughout February.

If it wasn’t for the latest developments on Ukraine’s eastern and northern border, where around 100,000 Russian troops are now massed, this would be just another opportunity for the far-right to peddle anti-Americanism, and for Robert Fico, leader of the opposition Smer party, to test just how far he can use anti-system rhetoric to push up his popularity.

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