News digest: Opposition leader Fico might have endangered the S-300 transport

Criminal complaint submitted against former PM. War in Ukraine seems not to impact political preferences. Carmakers stop production lines again.

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Monday, April 11, 2022 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes.

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Ex-PM Fico faces criminal complaint for a video with S-300 transport

Ján Benčík, MP for the junior coalition party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), has submitted a criminal complaint against Smer chair and former three-time prime minister Robert Fico.

Fico published a video showing the transport of the the S-300 anti-aircraft missile defence system to Ukraine, and demanded that PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) give an explanation. Fico published the video on the evening of April 7, i.e. a day before the Slovak media reported on the decision of the Slovak government to give the S-300 system to Ukraine, and the official state representatives officially confirmed it.

Benčík now claims that by doing so, Fico might have threatened the lives of soldiers and the railwayman who assisted in the transport. He says that the Smer chair might have committed the crime of espionage and a threat towards classified information, or a threat towards confidential information.

Meanwhile, Heger’s spokesperson Ľubica Janíková commented on the information spread by Russia that the S-300 system from Slovakia had been destroyed. She denied the claim, saying that Russian propaganda is spreading lies and the published videos and pictures have an older date. Moreover, the Ukrainians told Slovakia the information was fake.


For a deeper insight into current affairs, check out our Last Week in Slovakia piece published earlier today. You can sign up for the newsletter here.

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War has not much impacted the preferences of parties

A month and a half of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has not significantly changed support for Slovak political parties.

The only more significant change occurred in the case of the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party, whose support dropped from 12 percent in February to 10.3 percent in April.

SaS voters could negatively perceive the criticised statements of Richard Sulík, chair of the party and economy minister, who said that if necessary Slovakia should pay for gas in rubles as Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded, opined head of the Focus polling agency, Martin Slosiarik.

The poll was conducted by Focus for Na Telo , a political talk show broadcast by private television channel Markíza, between March 30 and April 6 on 1,007 respondents.

The poll showed that Hlas still has the strongest support, 19 percent, and that second is Smer with 15 percent.


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Quote of the day

“Russia has no chance of taking control of and keeping Ukraine with any military today; its only chance is propaganda. There is no doubt it is finding allies in Slovakia, also among politicians – hatred attracts hatred, lies understand lies.”

President Zuzana Čaputová has warned against Russian propaganda concerning the war in Ukraine, and cited events in several Ukrainian towns and cities, like Bucha and Mariupol, that offer proof of war atrocities.


Picture of the day

Slovak PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) met with his Belgian counterpart Alexander De Croo in Bratislava on April 11. The two discussed mutual relations, as well as the situation in Ukraine and the energy sector. De Croo appreciated the existing cooperation of the two countries and Slovakia’s key contribution to the collective defense on NATO’s Eastern Flank. He also thanked Slovakia for the help provided to refugees from Ukraine, as reported by the SITA newswire.


Feature story for today

The Russian propaganda machine that used to be sophisticated and efficient is broken, says Viktor Tregubov, who has been analysing the issue for a long time. The journalist and blogger who co-founded a non-parliamentary political party now serves in the Ukrainian army, mostly engaged in information warfare.

There are better ways to counter Russian propaganda than the laborious debunking of each hoax, he says: one is to closely follow what Russian government-controlled media are telling Russian audiences and to make sure the Slovak public hears about it.

The Russian propaganda machine is broken, it used to be much more sophisticated Read more 

In other news

  • 1,024 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 2,954 PCR tests performed on April 10. The number of people in hospitals is 1,687; and 22 more deaths were reported on Sunday. The vaccination rate is at 51.28 percent; and 2,820,621 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Despite most of the anti-pandemic measures being dropped so far, the duty to wear FFP2 respirators inside buildings and workplaces remains in place. The group of experts, serving as an advisory body to the Health Ministry, admitted that the further relaxation of measures might come after Easter.
  • Altogether 3,379 people crossed the Slovak-Ukrainian border on April 10; 330 asked for temporary protection. In total, 321,607 people have crossed the border since the war in Ukraine started; of them, 65,222 people have asked for temporary protection and 168 for asylum.
  • Slovakia is negotiating the potential sale of its Zuzana howitzers to Ukraine, said Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO) on the political talk show broadcast by the public-service RTVS on Sunday. He has not specified which version it would be.
  • Two carmakers will suspend their production this week due to the lack of components: the Nitra-based Jaguar Land Rover and the Bratislava-based Volkswagen Slovakia. The companies also had problems in the previous weeks.
  • The state-run railway passenger carrier ZSSK will add 17 more trains during the Easter holiday. Moreover, starting today, passengers can use the commercial InterCity trains on the track between Bratislava and Košice.
  • The minimum value of meal vouchers will increase from May, from the current €3.83 to €4.50. The Labour Ministry said that it is a tool to compensate for high prices.
  • Industrial production in February 2022 reached a slightly lower level than a year ago; it declined by 0.2 percent year-on-year. After three months of growth, the dynamics of development slowed down – it dropped 1.5 percent in monthly terms, according to the Statistics Office.

More on Spectator.sk today:

I wanted to stay and help my dad Read more 

European flight ticket prices grow as does interest in travelling Read more 

The snows of March: Baranec Read more 

If you have suggestions on how this news overview can be improved, you can reach us at editorial@spectator.sk.

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