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Is Russia Really Standing Behind Assassination Attempt On Prime Minister Fico?

Is Russia Really Standing Behind Assassination Attempt On Prime Minister Fico?
GRIGORIJ MESEŽNIKOV

The opinion of a Slovak political scientist.

Exactly a week ago, on May 15, an assassination attempt was made on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, as a result of which he received gunshot wounds. The shooter was 71-year-old writer Juraj Cintula.

What are the main versions of the attack being considered in Slovakia? The Charter97.org website spoke about this with the Slovak political scientist and president of the Institute of Public Problems (IVO) (Bratislava) Grigorij Mesežnikov:

— The Slovak media immediately began writing about polarization and confrontation as the reason for this assassination attempt. The atmosphere, of course, contributed to this, but I think that Cintula’s action was due to the fact that he considered himself unrecognized. He tried in different environments — both right-wing extremist and some more liberal ones —to participate in events and publish his materials, but they did not arouse any interest.

I think he suffered from a feeling of insufficient recognition; it is quite possible that the prevailing atmosphere gave him some additional aggressive impulse. Cintula said that he did not like the policy in the field of media, in the field of the rule of law, but there are many such people in Slovakia. If he wanted to protest, he could go to demonstrations, he could protest, he could write, since he was a writer.

But Cintula decided, as they say, to use the opportunity. After the retreat, when members of the government go out to meet with their supporters (usually the current government held such events in cities where they have support), he entered the crowd that was welcoming Robert Fico and shot him five times.

— Immediately after the assassination attempt, a version about a “Russian trace” was expressed. What are they saying about this now?

—This version died, in fact, before it began. Cintula spoke at a rally of a paramilitary right-wing extremist pro-Russian organization in 2016. Although in his speech he praised these young extremists, it did not contain any praise for Russia.

It is generally difficult to characterize Cintula in any understandable way, if we talk about his ideological views and convictions. It is generally difficult to include this person in any category, because he spoke or took part in completely different events. Most likely, he really considered himself insufficiently recognized and thus wanted to attract attention to himself.

There are some other versions that he had accomplices and so on, but none of this has been confirmed yet. No trace of accomplices was found, nor was it confirmed that certain figures of this government coalition began to blame the opposition for the assassination attempt, that it was supposedly they, the opposition politicians, who incited Cintula to do this. There was nothing like that.

Again, there are hundreds of thousands, if not several millions of people who have antipathy towards Robert Fico, but this does not mean that they should have acted this way.

— What are the current forecasts for Fico’s health? When will he be able to return to duty and will he be able to do so at all?

— He is already on the mend, although the injuries are serious; while he is not even being transported from the hospital in Banska Bystrica to Bratislava, there are fears that the transport may be associated with some complications. Fico’s condition is stable, he has already come to his senses, communicates with his colleagues and even gives them some signals that we need to continue in the same spirit, “our policy of change.”

But this is a policy of changes for the worse; in fact, this is a restriction of the functioning mechanisms of the rule of law state, this is pressure on the media, these are attempts to limit the activities of non-governmental organizations. Apparently, they will continue all this. And if they do, then protests and disagreement in society will arise again.

It’s clear what kind of politician Robert Fico is, but still he didn’t deserve anything like that. However, this assassination attempt has not yet had any deterrent effect on the government coalition; they are not yet thinking about softening their position.

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