News digest: Jill Biden has left "beautiful" Slovakia

President Zuzana Čaputová condemned Russia's invasion on Victory in Europe Day. Why do Slovaks call a Ferris wheel a Russian wheel?


Good evening. The Monday, May 9 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes.

Slovaks’ unwillingness to defend Slovakia

Slovak people would not rush to fight an aggressor if Slovakia were attacked, a Focus poll for TV Markíza has shown.

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In fact, a third of inhabitants would leave. Nearly half the population would stay in the homeland, but would refuse to face the aggressor in military action.

Only 13 percent would be willing to fight with weapons in their hands. Looking at people’s political preferences, supporters of extremists are most determined to defend Slovakia.

Military training: The Defence Ministry has opened an application process for voluntary military training after a two-year break due to the pandemic. The training will last 11 weeks. Each participant will receive €1,300.

Military aid: Slovakia is considering the deliveries of infantry fighting vehicles (BVP) or T-72 tanks to Ukraine, but the country must first have adequate compensation for them, according to Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO).

Russia’s invasion condemned on Victory in Europe Day

This year, Slovak political leaders marked May 8 – the day when the Second World War ended in Europe with the help of the Soviet Union’s Red Army – amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and a day ahead of Victory Day celebrations in Moscow’s Red Square at which Vladimir Putin sought to gather more support for his invasion.

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“On this day we cannot close our eyes to the bitter truth,” President Zuzana Čaputová posted on social media. Russia’s attack on Ukraine, she continued, is “the betrayal of all the fallen who were fighting against actual Nazism”.

The president, unlike most Slovak politicians who preferred to share social media posts to mark the red-letter day this year, honoured the fallen Soviet and Romanian soldiers, who liberated Slovakia from the influence of Nazi Germany, at the military cemeteries in Badín and Zvolen, central Slovakia.

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.


U.S. First Lady Jill Biden ended her tour of Slovakia on Monday, May 9, with a meeting with President Zuzana Čaputová. In a guestbook at the Presidential Palace, Biden described Slovakia as “a beautiful country” that shares the same values as the USA. “We stand with Slovakia,” she also wrote in the book.

Read what the First Lady did in Bratislava on Saturday and on Sunday in eastern Slovakia.


Russian wheel, Russian egg, Russian ice cream

Along with ham, mayonnaise, and hard-boiled sliced egg, caviar is one ingredient of a delicacy known as Russian egg.

After the Russian invasion, Slovak producers renamed the food as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine, and no longer use caviar. However, caviar remains the only clue as to whether Russian egg had anything to do with the country at all.

“Until the 1876 World's Fair no one ate caviar. At the exhibition the Russian delegation introduced three varieties of caviar, black, red, and pressed. The French dailies called it 'Russian crap',” says historian Vladimír Tomčík who wrote several books on the history of gastronomy. In his opinion, such a connection of Russian egg with caviar and caviar with Russia might coincide, but at best is an indication, not proof of Russian origin.

Several food companies in Slovakia and Czech Republic even stopped calling food products Russian. The Ryba Košice company started selling the picnic egg instead, the Ryba Žilina company introduced an alternative food called the delicacy egg. The Czech producer Bidfood renamed Russian ice cream as Ukrainian ice cream.

What is the origin of names such as the Russian egg, Russian ice cream, or Russian wheel? Factually, their Russian origin is either debatable or absolutely untrue.

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  • Smer leader Robert Fico will not be present in the parliament during the virtual address of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday, May 10. Fico will “not listen to a person who lies on a daily basis”, he said.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová bestowed state awards on 25 people coming from different areas of life on May 8. The president posthumously awarded, for example, three members of the Christian anti-communist movement sentenced to death during political processes in the 1950s, as well as nurse Margita Kosturiková, who died of Covid-19 in January 2021. Athletes Marián Hossa and Matej Tóth were also given an award. Alžbeta Göllnerová-Gwerková, a translator who fought in the Slovak National Uprising and was killed by the Nazi police gestapo in the biggest mass killing in Slovakia, in Kremnička, was also honoured.
  • 3,414 Ukrainian refugees crossed the Slovak-Ukrainian border to enter Slovakia on May 8. 91 applied for temporary protection.
  • Ryanair will renew flights from Bratislava to Rome on October 30.
  • The non-parliamentary party Progressive Slovakia elected Vice-President of the European Parliament Michal Šimečka as its party leader on May 7.
  • A total of 53 new Covid-19 cases were reported on May 8.

More on

TRAVEL Hundreds head to little-known Brdárka in May Read more  POLITICS Legal aid centre assisting Ukrainians to hire new head Read more  |CULTURE Getting an idea of former life on the Slovak and Austrian sides of the Iron Curtain Read more 

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