Ukrainian political scientist links attempt on Fico to swift emergence of Russian propaganda narratives

Slovak PM Robert Fico communicates with people shortly before he was shot
Slovak PM Robert Fico communicates with people shortly before he was shot

Russia began to conduct its cynical propaganda campaign simultaneously with an attempt on life of Slovak PM Robert Fico, political scientist Oleksiy Koshel told when commenting on this unprecedented, first in 30 years attack, in an interview with Radio NV.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned such acts of aggression, but Russian Telegram channels and Russian propagandists began to look for a Ukrainian trace in the incident. What is it?

It is enough to cynically speculate on the threat to human life, but we can see that there were a number of key statements in the evening [May 15]. These are not only statements at the level of [propagandist Margarita] Simonyan and propaganda talk shows.

Leonid Slutsky's statement was revealing to me. He is the chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee in Russian State Duma. He clearly linked Fico’s being assaulted because of political views, because of the Western hegemony and hinted at the issue of the war in Ukraine.

Russia promptly began its propaganda abroad – taking, for example, the French politician, former presidential candidate Florian Philippot, who promptly declared that the reason for the attempt on Fico was the supply of weapons to Ukraine.

The wave of these statements immediately subsided – as soon as it became known that the Slovak PM has a chance to stay alive.

That is, Russian propaganda worked quite quickly – it sounds cynical, but it worked quickly enough to use this tragedy against Ukraine.

This is a huge problem for the democratic world, because I do not remember such terrorist attacks against high-ranking officials, at least, since 1986, since the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme.

Assumptions  about some radical groups’ trace have already appeared - there is already information from an investigative journalist named Pani Sabolch, who posted a photo of the Slovenský Branci group. This 71-year-old gunman was allegedly a member of this group or was connected to this paramilitary group – it might have cooperated with the Slovakian branch of Russian bikers Night Wolves, its members were trained by former Russian special forces. They have already started investigation in that direction. An uneasy conscience betrays itself? The Russians were the first to spread the story that it was related to Ukraine, and everyone began to look to see if there was a Russian trace there. This logic already seems to be working.

They didn't just start spreading the story, they did it extremely quickly. It was a matter of minutes after the information about the attempt appeared, and propaganda narratives automatically began to appear in the Russian media. This was done simultaneously.

I do not rule out the fact that the Russian trace can be quite noticeable.

Slovak Prime Minister Fico, all the more, is (let’s forget about his anti-Ukrainian rhetoric, pro-Russian position) an extremely bright personality. It is natural that an attempt on him can cause and has already caused a sufficiently large resonance.

He is a politician who, despite everything, is popular in Slovakia. I think that it is primarily due to his populist steps. But he really belongs to the category of bright politicians.

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I remember he even held a demonstration a few weeks ago. He worked the night shift at one of the factories in Slovakia overnight on May 1, Labor Day. He really advocated the night shift at the factory to draw attention to the fact that there is a problem in Slovakia: night work, low wages. He as the Prime Minister, took such a demonstrative step, and held a press conference after that in the morning.

His entire public, political life consists of just such bright, demonstrative steps. An attempt on him, his death could attract attention.

We will know Slovak authorities clear position today – so we’ll see. They at least stated that the attempt had a political basis.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine