Will Russia try to influence the upcoming election?

Long story short: it already has.

Smer chair Robert Fico.Smer chair Robert Fico. (Source: SME - Jozef Jakubčo)

Welcome to your weekly commentary and overview of news from Slovakia. A former defence minister claims Russia is meddling in elections in Slovakia. Prime Minister Ľudovít Ódor meets the “completely determined to win the war” President Zelensky in Moldova. French President Macron visits Bratislava, just as it experiences a cyber attack.

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If you have a suggestion on how to make this overview better, let me know at michaela.terenzani@spectator.sk.

Rigged election narrative gains momentum

You don’t need artificial intelligence to generate images of what can happen when you convince enough people that they’ve cast their votes in a rigged election. We have actual pictures, taken of actual events in what is supposed to be one of the bastions of liberal democracy – and most of us still vividly remember what we saw on our television screens on January 6, 2021.

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In Slovakia, more than half of the population appears to believe that the upcoming parliamentary elections may be rigged – no wonder, given that it is one of the main stories that Smer, which according to opinion polls is currently the strongest party on the political scene, has been pushing in the last few months. By doing so, Smer is adopting yet another technique that neo-authoritarian leaders worldwide have adopted, one which continues to erode people’s already deteriorating trust in public institutions.

Over the last week, however, Smer’s leaders have themselves faced allegations that they may be involved in rigging the elections – after former defence minister Jaroslav Naď, who is now an MP, claimed in a debate with former Smer minister Robert Kaliňák on live television that, according to intelligence, a Slovak citizen had travelled to Moscow to collect funds for the manipulation of the general election for the benefit of Smer.

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What we know about the claim by Naď

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