Robert Fico’s Policy Towards Russia at the Expense of EU

Robert Fico is a Slovak politician presently serving as the Prime Minister of Slovakia since 2023. Earlier, from 2006 to 2010 and from 2012 to 2018 also served as PM. He is known for his friendship with Russia; before coming to PM’s office, Fico was against any disciplinary measures aimed at Russia and Ukraine’s entry into NATO. He advocates reducing military assistance to Kyiv. Compensating for his lack of immediate political allies within the EU, Fico aimed to bolster relations with several non-EU countries, such as Russia. 

He esteems both Vladimir Putin, stating he would not allow the Russian president’s arrest under an international warrant if he arrived in Slovakia, and Hungary’s illiberal leader, Viktor Orban, “who supports the interests of his country and his people.”

In reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Fico voiced resistance to supplying arms and ammunition through Slovak territory. He also resisted Ukrainian membership in NATO, claiming that Ukraine’s accession to the European Union by 2025 was a romantic scenario. Further, During a demonstration on 30 August 2023, Fico stated that the War in Donbas began in 2014 when “Ukrainian Nazis and fascists initiated murdering the Russian population of Donbas”.

In 2022 and 2023, Fico was a vociferous criticiser of the Von der Leyen Commission and her foreign and military policies concerning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He also voiced disagreements with the Commission on questions of immigration. On 29 August 2022, during the festival of the Slovak National Rally, Fico requested the Russian diplomat Igor Bratchikov to talk on the stage.

After coming to power in 2006, Fico expressed that Slovakia’s relations with Russia would enhance after eight years of “neglect.” Fico directed to “Slavonic solidarity,” a central article of the Slovak National Awakening. On April 4, 2008, during a visit by Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, Fico stated: “In Slovakia, there have been efforts to ignore Slavonic solidarity deliberately. Further, Slovakia updated Russian MiG fighters in Russia and did not purchase new jets from the West.

Additionally, Fico blamed Georgia for provoking Russia when striking South Ossetia in the 2008 Russo-Georgian war. Under his premiership, the Slovak foreign ministry denied the Crimean referendum, which integrated Crimea into Russia. Fico himself, regardless, remained silent on the matter.

He commented that the Ukrainian recapture of Crimea would not solve the Russo-Ukrainian War. Concerning the EU sanctions against Russia in 2014, Fico condemned them as “senseless” and a “threat to the Slovak economy.” He also condemned European sanctions against Russia, owing to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

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