Assassination Attempt on Slovak PM Highlights Dangers of Constant EU Demonization of Project Ukraine Opponents and Hypocrisy of ‘Misinformation’ Crackdown

It has been four days since Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot five times, and mum’s the word over months of misinformation from the corporate media, which has relentlessly labeled him as some sort of Russian stooge for the sin of opposing Project Ukraine. I suppose that’s their right even though the information appears inaccurate, but when these official media channels are supposed to be the source of supreme truth and counterpoints are silenced, the hypocritical house of cards that is the EU effort to supposedly combat misinformation falls apart.

As far as I can see, there has been no reflection on this since the assassination attempt; instead media like AFP and the Financial Times subtly suggest “divisive” and “toxic” politics of Fico and others in Slovakia are to blame.

It’s interesting that the EU censorship-industrial complex doesn’t appear inclined to take a deeper look at this considering it’s been hellbent on rooting out what they label misinformation in recent years. Consider that while the shooter is being described as a lone wolf, he was motivated – at least in part – by the Fico government’s opposition to Project Ukraine. Here’s CNN:

He said that the suspect told law enforcement officers that he disagreed with Fico’s policies and that he decided to act after the recent presidential election, which saw a Fico ally – Pellegrini – emerge as the winner.

“The reasons (the suspect gave) were the decision to abolish the special prosecutor’s office, the decision to stop supplying military assistance to Ukraine, the reform of public service broadcaster and the dismissal of the judicial council head,” Šutaj Eštok said.

That means European officials and media who have been relentlessly hyping the Russian threat while simultaneously labeling Fico as pro-Russia, created an environment where Fico’s opposition to supplying military assistance to Ukraine is treated as some unholy act and apparent motivation for the assassination attempt. Even the other issues that allegedly  the shooter gave almost certainly received outsize negative media attention largely due to Fico’s opposition to Project Ukraine.

Fico is a relatively standard center-left politician. The one difference – and it is a major one in today’s Europe – is that he opposed Project Ukraine. His party, Smer, for example, was recently suspended from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group in the parliament for questioning NATO and its focus on bread and butter issues over identity politics. Why the opposition to Project Ukraine? It has been a disaster for Slovakia, which initially suffered from the biggest GDP growth revision in the entire EU –– dropping from five percent to 2.3 percent. More from the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies:

Industry and automotive production have been badly affected and are in decline. Industrial production fell by almost 4% in the first seven months of 2022. The main manufacturing industry in Slovakia – the automotive sector – fared even worse, suffering a 6.3% decline in the same period. It is troubled by the continuing shortage of chips and the disruption of its supply chains: the Russian invasion of Ukraine has affected supply chains since March…

The damage to households is similar, according to Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung:

Rising energy prices have been challenging not only for households (where there is a risk of increased energy poverty), but also for industry (due to risk of suspension of production or of higher costs) and municipalities. While financial compensations of high energy bills could be among short-term solutions (financial compensations for industry, households, and municipalities were agreed by the government by the end of 202225), it is unsustainable from the point of view of long-term public finances. Well-targeted measures and policies to protect vulnerable consumers on the one hand and decreased energy demand on the other should be among the key solutions. In December 2022 the government had debated the materials drafted by the Regulatory Office for Network Industries, which proposed a definition of energy poverty,  pointing out that nearly one out of four Slovak households live in energy poverty.

Slovakia is still dependent on Russian nuclear fuel, but is being pushed by the EU to diversify options; the problem is there aren’t options readily available.

Slovakia has been unable to figure a way out of the mess without severe pain for its citizens or blowing holes in the national budget. The government set aside 1.25 billion euros for this year in an effort to prevent a 20 percent hike in household electricity charges, but that leads to other problems. From Euractiv:

The European Commission expected Slovakia will put an end to the energy aid but in 2023, the net budgetary cost of these energy measures was projected at 2.1 %. Even with the prediction counting on these measures to be phased out, the general government deficit is expected to increase to 6.5 % of GDP in 2024, the highest in the EU, according to the latest EU economic forecast.

Meanwhile the European Commission is insisting on stricter fiscal rules for European nations, which will likely only worsen the economic pain already being felt by millions across the bloc largely due to the economic war against Russia. In February, a last-minute agreement between the European Commission and Parliament will force EU member states to slash debt ratios and deficits while maintaining investment in “strategic areas such as digital, green, social or defense.”

At the same time, according to Bloomberg, EU officials and investors are using the fiscal rules to push for an EU-wide bond program that would bring the investors big time profits while allowing the bloc to ramp up military spending without individual nations incurring more debt.

After years of using the escape clause in order to deal with the economic fallout of the pandemic, the return of fiscal rules in the form of the new “economic governance” framework might help the EU get its coveted war bonds, it will also mean more austerity. – especially for those nations with high public debt ratios, which now includes Slovakia.

Despite all that, it’s the questioning of the NATO line and opposition to digging the Project Ukraine hole even deeper that got Fico and Smer in hot water with the Atlanticists that run Europe nowadays.

Fico and Smer are relentlessly labeled pro-Russia for nothing more than their belief that Project Ukraine is not good for Slovakia. Not that there’s anything wrong with being pro-Russia, but since when does not wanting to go to war with Russia make one “pro-Russia”? And when Putin is compared to Hitler on a daily basis, these become dangerous charges to repeatedly level against a politician like Fico.

So we find ourselves in a situation where in Europe you now need to use a VPN to access Russian news sites like RT and Sputnik, which have been banned to save minds from misinformation. Meanwhile, our trusted sources have been peddling this de facto Fico=Putin=Hitler line for the better part of a year. A brief sampling, but the examples are near endless:

Robert Fico: Who is Slovakia’s pro-Russia prime minister? Reuters. May 16, 2024.

How Robert Fico turned Slovakia into one of Russia’s only allies The Telegraph. May 15, 2024.

German Defense Chief Compares Putin to Hitler at Churchill Event Bloomberg. April 11, 2024

Putin Is ‘Losing Control’ in Russia: Dictator Expert Newsweek. March 27, 2024.

Slovakia’s Fico cheers as pro-Putin biker gang boss is removed from EU sanctions list Politico. March 13, 2024.

Hitler didn’t quit in 1938 and Putin won’t stop at Ukraine, Lithuanian leader warns Politico. March 13, 2024

Author Timothy Garton Ash: ‘Vladimir Putin is the Adolf Hitler of our day’ France 24. January 25, 2024.

Slovak PM decries Western strategy on Ukraine, says Russia ‘also needs security guarantees’ Kyiv Independent. January 10, 2024.

Slovakia: Is populist PM Robert Fico a threat to EU, NATO? Deutsche Welle. November 3, 2023.

Why Slovakia’s Fico hates Ukraine. Politico. October 19, 2023.

EU Socialists urged to kick out Slovakia’s pro-Russian election winner Robert Fico Politico. October 3, 2023.

Who is Robert Fico? Slovak leader’s ties with Russia exposed in hacked files Euromaidan Press. October 3, 2023. What was “exposed” was that Fico as PM took an interest in Slovakia’s deals with Russia for natural gas and nuclear energy as one would hope any responsible PM would do.

Slovakia Appears Set to Join the Putin Sympathizers After Election New York Times. October 3, 2023

Pro-Russian politician wins Slovakia’s parliamentary election CNN. October 2, 2023.

Who is Robert Fico, the pro-Russian leader poised to head Slovakia’s coalition government? The Guardian. October 2, 2023.

Robert Fico doubles down on pro-Russia stance after Slovakia election win The Guardian. October 1, 2023

Slovakia’s Fico, populist ex-premier with penchant for Putin. AFP. September 26, 2023.

What Putin learned from Hitler The New Statesman. September 12, 2023.

Leaving the comparisons of Putin to Hitler for another day, there is no evidence that I’ve been able to find that Fico has any sort of connection to Russia aside from being a head of state that interacts with Russia.

The fact is he’s a politician who campaigned on what he believed were in the best interests of Slovakia, which included ending support for Project Ukraine and all the economic harm that has meant for Slovakia, Europe, and especially working class Europeans, and he was elected on that platform.

One would think that an EU so concerned with misinformation would be going after all these media outlets that parroted this pro-Russia line. Obviously, that isn’t going to happen, though, and we all know why.

Crossing Red Lines on the Homefront

For the past few years the EU and individual countries have been destroying democratic rights at home in their quest for “freedom” for Ukraine. Events airing any Russian point of view (or Palestinian) are frequently banned and the crackdown on online speech continues to pick up steam.

This nonsensical and repressive climate is maybe best summed up by the following lines from  the Washington-based Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), which argues that no one can be allowed to hide behind quaint ideas like freedom of speech:

Organizers of pro-Russian events meanwhile invoke democratic rights and freedom of speech in response to criticism…Allowing Kremlin disinformation agents to operate freely has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

In fact, it has everything to do with freedom of speech because what CEPA labels “Kremlin disinformation agents” are simply individuals that dare question the official line on Russia and Ukraine. And the EU Digital Services Act is coming for what’s left of freedom of speech, as Nick Corbishley recently described:

The goal of the DSA is to combat — i.e., suppress — mis- and disinformation online, not just in Europe but potentially across the world, and is part of a broader trend of Western governments actively pushing to censor information on the Internet as they gradually lose control over key narrative threads.

Or here’s European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen salivating over these new tools at her disposal:

These are acts of scared people who know their reasons for war are bogus, and they’re afraid the plebs will realize that and punish them for their epic malfeasance. So instead it’s become commonplace to hide behind misinformation or disinformation – blanket terms for anything that tries to tap the brakes on war with Russia. Facts, opinions, warnings – they’re all dangerous and should be banned.

It has become so pervasive it’s almost difficult to pick out the most egregious examples of inconvenient facts being labeled Russian misinfo. Here’s one that was true before it became untrue and fell under the Russian misinfo umbrella: that neo-Nazis are a major part of the government and armed forces of Ukraine. Nowadays, here’s the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community listing Russian disinformation and “the facts”:

They are in fact neo-Nazis, and they’re neo-Nazis in a country where the government is[checks watch] no longer democratically elected as the president’s term is up today but elections were cancelled. And they’re neo-Nazis who might be looking for a new home soon as Ukraine continues to lose the war, and they potentially flee the country. Who knows what kind of mischief the Ukrainian Nazis and those they inspire throughout Western Europe will get up to, especially in an environment where the shooting of Fico is treated as divine justice. We now have Sky News basically saying Fico got what he deserved:

There’s a lot of talk about red lines in Ukraine laid down by Russia or the other side, but increasingly the West is speeding past lines that only a few years ago would have been considered dangerous to cross – and they’re all at home.
The EU placed all its bets on Uncle Sam, Project Ukraine, and the dream of plundering Russia; and now has nowhere to go and no power to do anything except become more repressive, destroying it’s supposed ideals, its working class, their standard of living, destroying welfare states and social cohesion.

The crackdown on democratic rights is coming so fast now it’s almost difficult to keep up. The Fico assassination looks like a byproduct of this climate of fear, and in hindsight might serve as a milestone on the road to a Europe at war with itself.

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    1. Ignacio

      Thank you gk. Recently, Italian antifacists burned Azov flags in Genoa.
      The research on the Italian Azov group started in 2019. And it is known, from at least 2015, and by no other than the Euro-parliament that Azov has been committing atrocities. Watch the question directed to Mogherini, then High Representative of the EU:

      Does the High Representative think that the Azov battalion’s position as part of the state structure will contribute to greater democracy in Ukraine?

      A posture that has been turned upside down now.

      1. gk

        While the Grayzone has done a lot of original research, in his particular case it was all taken from mainstream Italian sources. They are one of the few that bothered reporting it in English.

        Azov has tried to redeem themselves by visiting Israel, where they made a pilgramage to the memorial to the perpetrators of massacre of Ein Gedi.

    2. CA

      May 19, 2024

      ‘Socialism leads to slavery and death’ – Milei and Meloni speak at far-right Madrid rally
      By Ken Browne

      Madrid — Argentinian President Javier Milei was the headline act at a global far-right summit on Sunday organized by Spain’s VOX party called ‘Viva 24’ in Madrid.

      Milei followed the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni who joined via videolink, the Argentine President focusing on economic ideas. He gave an impassioned speech that drew a standing ovation from around 10,000 people in the Vistalegre stadium in the Spanish capital.

      The Argentine firebrand said “socialism leads to slavery and death,” as part of an anti-state, ultra-liberal, pro-market speech where Milei used Argentinian history as an example.

      “When I see Europe and the U.S. today I see the signs of the terrible path that we as Argentinians went down when socialism destroyed Argentinian capitalism.”

      ‘To open the door to socialism is to invite death in’ – Milei

      Milei blasted: “Socialism in Argentina and across the world has been a failure, a cultural failure, an economic failure, a failure that has left a massive number of corpses, to open the door to socialism is to invite death in.”

      “We have to remove the parasitic state from people’s lives,” Milei said, extolling the virtues of unfettered capitalism: “Free markets create prosperity” he insisted.

      The speech came as a continuation of a controversial visit during which Milei ignored Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and the King of Spain, speaking to Spanish business leaders and accepting the invitation of Santiago Abascal, leader of the VOX far-right party, to participate in Sunday’s summit.

      The visit mirrored his United States trip where Milei met with Trump and Elon Musk, ignoring President Joe Biden.

      Meloni: ‘It’s time to raise the stakes’ …

  1. Divadab

    It sure looks like the EU is fully on board with continuing the Hitler project in Ukraine. I mean, doesn’t the EU look rather like Hitler’s Europe under one flag? (Except for being a vassal of the USA, which apparently took over the Hitler project after WW2).

    At least Hitler promoted actual benefits to the German people- the EU, like the USA of which it is an instrument, hates its people, hates people in general, and is devoted to the parasite’s ethos.

    1. sarmaT

      Yea right, Hitler promoted actual benefits to the German people, and Netanyahoo is promoting actual benefits of the Jewish people. Even if we were to leave all the morality and humanity aside for the sake of argument, he was the one that directly caused current situation you are complaining about by doing “his thing”. Actual benefit of German people would be making strategic alliance with Russians, just like Chinese are doing nowdays. The problem is that it would require accepting Slavs as equals, and Germans tend to struggle with that for some reason.

      1. ambrit

        I remember an hour program by Bill Moyers comparing the early administrations of Roosevelt and Hitler. Up until the Anschluss of Austria in 1938, the two leaders carried out very similar domestic policies involving State backed welfare and work programs. Early on, Hitler really did improve the living standards of “average” Germans. The “Jewish Question” was another matter.

        1. sarmaT

          How about the Slavic Question, or the WWII Question? Why didn’t he just stop at that 1938 level, and continue to live in peace? Or he could just Anschluss Austria, and stop there. Or he could just “solve” The “Jewish Question” inside his country, and stop there. He didn’t.

          The plan was much bigger. You don’t put a country on a war path in the name of welfare. Empires are never about the welfare of the citizens, and neither was the 3rd Reich. The idea of exceptionalism is just the tool for manipulating the plebs.

          Right now we can see Zelensky sending his citizens into their deaths, in spite of knowing that the war is lost. Hitler did the same. If he cared about the welfare of the German people, he would have killed hmself earlier, much earlier. I have no idea who Bill Moyers is (not being from USA) , but I bet he can also make an hour program about Zelensky being great in the early years of his presidency, and loving and caring about welfare of his people. He won elections by promising peace. Now, he is all about Volkssturm and Wunderwaffe.

          1. hk

            I think we suffer from a bit of 20/10 bias (We see more in retrospect than would have made sense to the contemporaries and wind up trying to see paths from the past to what did eventually take place, because those events were inevitable.) Ultimately, in addition to his ideologies, Hitler was a politician and he wanted to curry favor with significant interests in Germany who did not place war and antisemitism high on their priorities. Some potential conflicts were popular–e.g. against Poland and to a degree, Czechoslovakia, but the problems Germany had vis a vis these countries were of long standing (at least since Versailles–but, in practice, probably older: as Bismarck said, (I’m paraphrasing) he loves Poles, but a Poland is not acceptable to his idea of Germany, and the Poles who want a Poland are his enemies–but even then, it is not clear that there were many in Germany who would have placed wars against them above economic and social questions, much closer to their lives. So, whatever happened, whoever that would successfully rule Germany had to meet the demand for addressing economic and social problems, and for it’s worth, Hitler did meet them reasonably successfully.

            I suppose one thing that stands out about Netanyahu that’s different from Hitler (for worse, ironically) is that his plans for Gaza and West Bank are inextricably tied to his domestic politics. Housing in Israel is expensive. Subsidized (illegal) housing in the occupied territories is quite cheap–practically the only way for many Israelis to own homes (I am fairly sure Alastair Crooke made this observation in one of the podcasts I listened to.) So Israeli state is providing for Israelis literally by stealing land from the Palestinians and this is central to their state policy. Eventually, Hitler did provide welfare for Germans by squeezing the conquered (food was expropriated at gunpoint in the East; food and consumer goods were extorted in the West via forced currency manipulation and “reparations,” all to improve the well-being of the German civilians so that their support for the regime would not wither.) But much of these was not explicitly planned–well, I suppose the Lebensraum did feature this sort of expropriation as a more explicit goal, ironically, not too different from the Israeli “land policy” in occupied territories…

          2. Victor Sciamarelli

            It’s not simply the abuse of Hitler’s image but the abuse of basic facts of the world prior to WW2.
            Hitler, undoubtedly, rearmed Germany and invaded numerous countries. The WW2 narrative, however, is that these were sovereign countries, like Belgium, basically minding their own business.
            The fact is these countries, England, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands were empires and, together with the US which was also an empire, they controlled at least 75% of the world’s vital resources and nearly all of the world’s investment capital. They controlled all the productive areas of Africa, the ME, South Asia, SE Asia, Indonesia, China, and Latin America: That’s four small countries plus the US.
            Germany was the strongest country in Europe in 1900. Yet, with the Treaty of Versailles, reparations, losing its colonies, and losing land to the newly created Poland, Germany would forever be reduced to foraging for scraps as long as these empires existed; in fact, most of the world faced the same fate.
            Germany’s attack meant these empires were no longer able to defend their colonies which opened the door for the Japanese to replace them in Asia while Germany removed them from Africa and the ME.
            This is not an apology for Germany because many astute observers of WW1 and Versailles predicted the so-called peace would lead to another war. Moreover, the Nazi’s final solution and hated of Communism was crucial to their own downfall.
            Furthermore, when people think today of tiny, they wouldn’t hurt a fly Belgium, it’s easy to forget that Leopold II’s rule over the Congo was one of the cruelest and barbaric episodes in human history. IMO, Netanyahu and his government, with their total lack of empathy and abject cruelty toward the Palestinians, have more in common with Leopold II than Nazis. Yet, nobody is compared to Leopold II.
            Before we go too far with the Hitler comparison, bear in mind that Putin views the US as an empire and Western Europe as its vassals, and he will do whatever it takes to protect Russia from the machinations of this hegemonic empire.

    2. BillS

      At least Hitler promoted actual benefits to the German people

      This is a revisionist myth that far right types trot out regularly in Italy about Mussolini. When the war turned against the Nazis, Hitler and his minions were quite content to drag Germany and its people into the abyss with them. The stories of SS reprisals during the final weeks of the war make one’s blood run cold! The Nazis were in it for themselves and they destroyed anyone who they thought would stand in the way of their black-hearted death cult.

      1. Yves Smith

        Ahem, Dividab is correct. One of the reason Hitler had a fanbase in the US and England prior to his march across Europe was that he had pulled Germany out of its economic ditch. Capitalists were keen to see a muscular-looking alternative to communism.

        1. BillS

          Hello Yves. I agree with dividab’s comment in general. The Nazi government pulled Germany’s economy out of the post Versailles rut, but not out of any love for the German workers. It wanted to build up its war machine.. The Nazis loved the idea of pan-Germanism, but when push came to shove, they killed Germans without hesitation as well as the usual state defined undesirables. As long as German men went quietly into the army and the women dedicated themselves to Kinder, Küche und Kirche , they were not persecuted. No totalitarian regime can be said to be acting in the interest of its people. It is a regime built on mistrust and the ever present threat of violence if you step out of line (or are denounced).

  2. A. Shahadat

    I live currently in Switzerland. But when I called my mother last week in Czech Republic, she talked to me about the shooting :

    1) she said that “a 71 year old writer shot Fiko in the belly at close range”

    2) That Fiko wanted to shut down democracy like others of his kind (she cited Victor Orban)

    3) that Fiko is pro-Russian

    4) so that makes the agressor a hero, defending democracy

    She is also 100% certain that Russians want to take over the western Europe and when I tried to talk to her about the economic damage and factories closing down in Germany and in Italy she told me I was brainwashed by Russians. And that from an old lady who takes cold showers and had to turn off heating since mars because of the electricity price hike.

    1. sarmaT

      This nicely illustrate the difference between Czechs and Slovaks. Slovaks voted Fico in spite of media being against him, because they understand what’s going on. Czechs have replaced their top-notch beer with Kool-Aid.

      P.S. Did she pronounce it Fiko, though?

      1. The Rev Kev

        It was only several weeks ago that the Czechs sanctioned the Slovaks because of their antiwar stance.

  3. Ignacio

    Thank you Mr. Galagher. Even as it is painful to read how bad are going things in Europe and the incessant drift to autocracy in the continent. In the best of cases Fico is labelled by the media as a “divisive figure” and that for stopping weapon deliveries to Ukraine. Beyond that, all the links provided here by Conor. The toxic atmosphere and hate speech is the monopoly of the “atlanticists” in charge. They are trying to ensure there is no way out of this nightmare. No alternative, and if there is one, assassination is the “logical” outcome.

    1. Alena Shahadat

      You are right, in Czechoslovakia we had that “tradidion” of immolating oneself on the main square of the capital city in protest. Since when assasination became a way of defending democracy – or what we THINK is democracy ?

      1. Ignacio

        Yes Alena. I make myself the very same questions. I have read with interest your former comment on the dialogue with your mother. This is all too sad.

      2. gk

        Are you suggesting that Fico should have been defenestrated instead of being shot? Or is that a Czech tradition, not a Czechoslovak one?

        1. ambrit

          I believe that defenestration is a Protestant Tradition.
          “OK Mr. Regent. And it’s Father, Son, and out the window!”

  4. Detroit Dan

    Logical fallacy of Zelensky being Jewish, so there couldn’t possibly be any neo-Nazis working with his government in Ukraine. This is somewhat similar to saying that being against Israeli policies is anti-Semitic. It’s ethnic reductionism — one’s ethnicity explains one’s actions, right or wrong. It’s a variant of the free world versus dictatorship meme that is the modern version of Christiandom versus uncivilized cultures — Borrell’s garden versus jungle.

    It’s time to recognize that other cultures and civilizations (e.g. Russia, China, Iran) should not be casually demonized. If van der Leyen or other western politicians want to make the case for war with Russia, they should make their case and take it to the public. Instead, they circumvent public discourse by adopting the Schmittian (Nazi) attitude toward the political enemy.

    the political is no less and no more than distinguishing between one’s friends and one’s enemies…Schmitt would forever maintain that his mission had merely been to protect the constitutional state and to “save Europe from the Russian danger”

    [The Temptations of Carl Schmitt]

    Schmitt adapted to focus, with the Nazis, on the demonization of Jews over and above Russians. The point is that demonization of the other is central to the philosophy, as opposed to genuine concern for the health of one’s own country. Ethnicity and nationality are used to distinguish friend from enemy. Inconvenient facts and opinions are to be suppressed in favor of these overriding considerations. As with the village in Vietnam, liberal democracy must be destroyed to save liberal democracy.

    It may seem a stretch to equate van der Leyen’s behavoir with Nazism, but look at the results in Ukraine. Men are afraid to walk in the streets because, in the quest for freedom, they are being gang pressed and sent to the front in a deadly war. It’s us vs them, and Ukraine is being sacrificed because the Russian leadership is evil and must be defeated at any cost. Those who, like Fico in Slovakia, question the party line are beyond the pale. The lines have been drawn, however, on a non-democratic basis.

    1. bwilli123

      “Men are afraid to walk in the streets because … they are being gang pressed and sent to the front in a deadly war.”

      Is it not evidence of a failure of the western value system (introduced with much ballyhoo into Ukraine) that they are not equally press ganging females? Why are women still being treated like 2nd class citizens?

      1. Detroit Dan

        There was a lot of woke talk before about females serving in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but that seems to have died down as the reality of a losing war hits home.

  5. NN Cassandra

    Accusing opponents of working for foreign enemies is nothing new, the Nazis could give a couple pro-tips about whipping up scare of red menace taking over Europe. It’s frankly astonishing how much all of this is re-run, right down to dumb racist tropes about primitives from steppes who will be easily defeated, but instead of three months and a few millions men army, this time it will take two weeks and some heroic banker blocking accounts. Even the Jews are reprising their classical roles, albeit in somewhat awkward fashion, like Zuckerberg manipulating Western minds with Russian propaganda for monies.

    BTW, the latest development is that the assassin may not be lone wold after all. The police is basing it on the fact that somebody deleted his computer history hours after the assassination, when he was in custody.

    1. schmoe

      Well said and I would add the decrepit UK is also fulfilling its traditional role.

      An interesting aspect of this is the fairly wide diversity among the populace on certain issues relative to the local MSM. For example, in one survey probably six months ago, only 28% of Germans favored sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine, but I assume that 110% of their MSM is.

      Sweden has become incredibly belligerent and others have noted that it has massive media ownership concentrated with this family: . The absolutely never-incorrect Wikipedia has them controlling ~ 1/3 of Sweden’s GDP, so media ownership seems plausible but was not specifically noted.

    2. Kouros

      Wipping up things and smear tactics and ad hominem attacks has a very long tradition, especially among oligarchical and merchant classes.

      Some of the accusations brought against the Roman kings were likely fabricated. Definitely accusations against Julius Caser prior to his assasination.

      The smear campaing started by the German merchants in Transylvania against Vlad the Impaler, for curtailing their lucrative business in Wallachia (raw products, etc) for the benefit of Wallachian merchants and producers, reached Spain…

      The smear campaigns of the Parliament against the English King, during the English Revolution are also notable.

      What is also notable about oligarchy is how they cultivate silance when their crimes are in play:

  6. Morincotto

    If the assassination of political leaders inside the EU who do not toe the line is NOT “official” policy yet, it probably will be very soon.

    If anything it seems the lesson learned will be to not leave such things to amateurs, especially if Fico not only survives but manages to return to his post and continue his previous path.

  7. Jamie

    Speaking of assassinations, I wonder if Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi’s recent death was an accident . . .

    1. Terry Flynn

      We can’t rule out foul play but the evidence at this stage strongly points towards cock-up not conspiracy.

      Lots of more experienced NC people have already pointed out that this simply doesn’t look at all like foul play. The worry is that certain people might take this as an opportunity to do “other stuff” under a “fog of war” pretext.

  8. Terry Flynn

    FWIW my dad’s most important employee is Slovakian. She is pretty apolitical but has expressed amusement that we westerners accept MSM (which is generally demonstrably false) when she as a kid knew that all MSM in Eastern Europe was propaganda and most people instantly “assumed the opposite” whenever Pravda or local equivalent proclaimed something.

    I’ve asked dad to ask her about what local Slovak sources say about all of this…. She is in no hurry to answer because I gather there is polarisation between relatives regarding whether the EU is force for good or bad.

    Maybe the “EU is good” relatives know the Yves critique that the Euro is a hotel you can never check out of.

  9. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Conor.

    The BBC has been particularly poisonous, often saying that Fico’s leadership has been a challenge, due to his pro-Russian views, and that he was a senior EU leader, so smearing the EU, too.

    It’s not just Timothy Garton Ash, above. Over the week-end, Tim Snyder was going on about Putin is the new Hitler, Ukraine is the new Czechoslovakia and 2024 is the new 1938.

    1. ilsm

      And USA is the France of 1940! Huge military, fractured politics not up to any task!

      It seems shooting holders of unacceptable opinions is a thing in EU, in USA with terror charges and lawfare!

      1. redleg

        More like Japan in 1937 or so- a militaristic culture with high tech weapons, limited critical resources, nowhere near enough industrial capacity to prevail in a war of attrition, and leadership that is unable to change tactics or strategy when conditions change.

  10. DG

    The famously democratic EU

    European Commission

    We welcome the
    decision to suspend the broadcasting activities of four media outlets dedicated to supporting and justifying Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine ↓

    ▪️ Voice of Europe
    ▪️ RIA Novosti
    ▪️ Izvestia
    ▪️ Rossiyskaya Gazeta

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, DG.

      In addition, a Dutch Socialist MEP is calling on the EU to sanction Georgian MPs who vote for the “Russian” law, a law that exists in the UK and US.

      From 2007 – 16, I often worked in / with Brussels. I’m not surprised by what has come to pass, having had doubts about these institutions from the summer of 2008 onwards.

      1. digi_owl

        Speaking of Georgia. Glenn Diesen tweeted that the president of Georgia, who vetoed said law, grew up in France and was the French ambassador to Georgia previously. I am getting increasingly fed up with the outright hypocrisy from France.

        1. R.S.

          > the president of Georgia … grew up in France and was the French ambassador to Georgia previously.

          She did and was. She became a dual national only in her fifties, and AFAIR didn’t renounce her French citizenship until 2018 or so.

          Her statement wrt this law is a bit bizarre
          Today, I vetoed the Russian law. This law, in its essence and spirit, is fundamentally Russian, contradicting our constitution and all European standards. It thus represents an obstacle to our European path.

          What does it mean for a law to be “fundamentally Russian in essence and spirit”, anyway? And did she mean Russian as in “the state of Russia”, or as in “the Russian ethnicity”?

          1. vao

            When she became a minister in the government of Mikheïl Saakachvili in 2004, I remember having read in an article discussing her background that, although fluent in the language, she spoke a variant that appeared superannuated to Georgians.

            No surprise: she was born in France from Georgians fleeing the revolution in the 1920s, and she only ever had contacts with Georgians from the diaspora. When she returned to the country of her parents, she was talking their version of the language — the one that was practiced almost a century earlier.

        2. The Rev Kev

          But wait, it gets better. Salome Zourabichvili had a long career with the French Diplomatic service and not only worked at the UN mission in New York but also the French Embassy in Washington. She was also appointed First Secretary to the Permanent Mission of France to NATO in Brussels and all sorts of other “interesting” posts. She is as good as a French spook and should be regarded as one. She only renounced her French citizenship 2 months before her election as dual-citizens cannot hold the leadership post-

          I would not be surprised to learn that all those NGOs with their secret funding had a hand in her election.

          1. hk

            I’m pretty shocked that someone like her actually got elected. In practically every other country, I’d imagine that modt people would refer to her as “the French woman” or “the foreign woman,” which, in her case, is true, and she’d never hold a significant office, let alone be the head of state.

            1. Ratimir

              And you are not shocked about all the Pashynyans, Sholzes, Macrons, and all the other “leaders” that got elected? USA can make anyone get elected. That’s why the fuss about the NGO law in the first place. I believe Hungary has it too.

    2. digi_owl

      IF only they applied the same kind of rules against the likes of Radio Free Europe…

    3. gk

      Thanks for the list. I should get links for them, and mailing lists for when they disappear. I’ve done Voice of Europe already, but they might not very through about eliminating them. I can still get RT in a lot of places.

  11. The Rev Kev

    I can’t see these campaigns of hatred against leaders that do not align fully with the EU to cease any time soon. It is too effective as can be seen with the campaign in Georgia to keep the funding of the 10,000 plus NGOs secret. The past two years has confirmed that our media is useless and nearly always works for the interests of our government-corporate overlords. The odd thing is that people like Fico and Orbán are giving logical, provable observations for example with the war in the Ukraine but the leadership of the EU is too emotionally involved and cannot bear such discord, hence their unleashing of their media lapdogs as well as other attacks. But once you have one political assassination attempted, how long until you have a copycat attempt? And maybe this time on a western leader?

  12. JohnnyGL

    Awesome, western elites are using stochastic terrorism to consolidate their power and crush dissent.

    I think there are parallels along the lines of how the militarists in imperial Japan gained power. The Taisho democracy era in that country saw timid, inexperienced moderates who were elected, trying to run the country while under constant threat of assassination by followers of the wild, crazy nationalist factions who were itching for war.

    When one particular assassin went on trial, it turned into a court room drama where a sympathetic, war-mongering media played up his selfless, rage-fueled patriotism. He was lionized and got off easy. The precedent was set and anyone else who dared to govern the country had to try to placate the whackos.

    To be clear, the whackos weren’t winning at the polls, at least not at first, but they effectively gained control of the country over time.

  13. Christopher Smith

    Maybe Fico should fight fire with fire. Declare the pro-Russia smears as disinformation leading to “stociastic terrorism” (i.e. the assassination attempt), and bring some indictments against offending journalists or foreign officials. I’m sure the would be assassin can be convinced to rat out anyone Fico and his people want ratted out. I am against this sort of crooked practice, but frankly if the EU leadership insists on playing dirty then a strong dose of their own medicine might be what’s needed to bring them back to the straight and narrow.

    “Keeping the peace” doesn’t work when the other side won’t reciprocate.

  14. Detroit Dan

    Thanks for that.

    I’m noticing the similarity to Christia Freeland in Canada..

    Ursula’s family seems to have a ton of Nazi, colonial, and slave-holding baggage, and she got to where she is today based upon the family heritage.

    1. Kouros

      Crystia worked her way up, bringing illegal nationalistic materials in Soviet Ukraine, etc. Grandad being a credentialed Russophobe just got her bonus points. For CIA, being a Nazi was never a bad thing…

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Dan.

      Plus South Midlands English gentry, so the area where the Spencer / Spencer Churchill, Washington and, for Carolinian, Drayton families come from. All were royalist in the civil war.

  15. Miroslav

    I wonder if Mr. Gallagher is ignorant, stupid, or worse (paid by somebody to advance their agenda).

    The main premise of his article seems to be that the recent shooting of the Slovak prime minister is a result of Western media’s pro-Ukraine propaganda. What a load of garbage!

    As much as the Western mainstream media is almost entirely one-sided in its coverage of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, it has nothing to do with the shooting.

    The author chooses to completely ignore several important facts, which put the incident in a very different context.

    For example, for Fico winning the elections was existential. If he had lost, he and his cronies would be facing prison time for a host of stuff ranging from corruption to organized crime, which took place over his previous 3 terms in office.

    In order to win, he took a page from Hungary Orban’s book: find an outside enemy that cannot defend itself, blame everything on them, make his opposition synonymous with this enemy, and then somehow convince people that by not supporting Ukraine, he is securing peace for Slovakia (yeah, right!).

    Guess who put him in the office: the elderly and uneducated (the most gullible of the electorate), just like in Hugnary.

    What did Fico do right after taking office? He abolished the very institution that was investigating him and his cronies (reduncancy, they said). The second thing he did was to start dismantling the state-owned media (the coverage wasn’t objective enough, they said). Add to the mix his openly combative attitude to anything that isn’t in line with his viewpoint, and you have a recipe for a super-polarized society, where it’s only a matter of time until somebody goes mental.

    I absolutely condone the shooting, but Fico himself is to blame for his misfortune.

    1. Conor Gallagher Post author

      Miroslav, you give yourself away with your slip(?) that you “absolutely condone the shooting.” That fits with the rest of your comment, which I think is very valuable because it is representative of the very issues detailed in my post that you claim played no role in the shooting.
      By smearing someone (me) you disagree with and implying that the votes of certain individuals are somehow tarnished due to their IQ or age (while conveniently ignoring the economic reasons listed in this piece that explain why they may have voted for Fico and against the war in Ukraine) you could stand for anti-democratic turn across Europe.

      With your Orwellian take on war and peace [“convince people that by not supporting Ukraine, he is securing peace for Slovakia (yeah, right!)”] you sound like the Atlanticist war mongers running the EU nowadays.

      And by legitimizing the assassination attempt, you sound just like the media across Europe you claim plays no role people’s attitudes.

      Additionally you do a sloppy job of it, to the point presumably even “the elderly and uneducated (the most gullible of the electorate)” can see through it – another point of resemblance. You state that “the Ukraine-Russia conflict…has nothing to do with the shooting.” How do you square that with the fact the shooter said Fico’s decision to stop supplying military assistance to Ukraine was one of the reasons he shot him?

      Lastly, you state that “the author chooses to completely ignore several important facts,” which are allegations of Fico corruption and issues with the state-owned media. They are not ignored; they are mentioned in the 5th and 6th graphs. To add on to that, even if we accept all these allegations at face value ignoring the possibility they were exaggerated due to Fico’s opposition to Project Ukraine, if those are reasons to gun down politicians, we aren’t going to have a whole lot left. As a thought exercise, compare the amount of attention Donald Tusk’s takeover of Polish state TV got with Fico’s state Tv issues.

    2. CA

      “I wonder if — ——— is ignorant, stupid, or worse (paid by somebody to advance their agenda)…”

      No wonder there, rather false and manipulative and abusive assertions. The posted essay is entirely necessary and superb.

    3. Ratimir

      Some may wonder if you are ignorant, stupid, or worse (paid by somebody to advance their agenda). Others may wonder who else is on your deserve-to-be-shot list, though it’s not hard to guess.

      Hungary Orban’s book is a new thing. MSM has been repeatedly talking about Putin’s book. Maybe all the pages have been taken out of it, and now Orban’s is next. No one is taking pages out of Xi’s book, probably because it’s in Chinese.

      Western mainstream media has noting to do with anything. All they want is a World peace, and to enslave all the Slavs. Sadly, there have always been many that hate their own kind the most.

  16. eg

    If this is representative of the European “values” we hear so much about, um, no thanks.

    No wonder the global majority is so tired of their lectures and thinly veiled racism.

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