Fears Grow of the Anti-Russian Alliance Crumbling in Europe
Although opinion polls in Slovakia had indicated that the left-wing nationalist Social Democrats of Robert Fico might win the parliamentary election, the result of the vote on Sept. 30 sent a shock through geopolitical circles in Europe. With nearly 99% of the electoral districts counted by early Sunday morning, Fico’s party “Direction – Slovak Social Democracy” (Smer) had 23.3% of the vote, clearly ahead of the centrist Progressive Slovakia (PS) party with 16.8%, headed by Michal Šimečka, Vice President of the European Parliament.
Robert Fico now has the mandate to form a new government, and the Smer will need a coalition partner to reach a sufficient majority. Its surprise showing confirms that the popular discontent with the current government’s pro-Ukrainian policies has grown massively during recent months. Fico made clear that, if elected, he would improve relations with Russia again, and stop military aid to Ukraine, but continue humanitarian aid. Almost all the other parties elected to parliament want to continue the anti-Russia policy. Slovakia, a small EU and NATO member state that borders directly on Ukraine, has been a leading venue for western military assistance to Kyiv and one of the most firm political and military supporters of Kyiv.
Among foreign leaders congratulating Fico was Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who welcomed the election victory of a “true patriot”, which will be beneficial to Europe. Orban, of course, has long been a thorn in the side of the EU Commission.
But Slovakia is not the only problem for Western geopoliticians. In the neighboring Czech Republic, 100,000 demonstrators gathered in Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Sept. 16, to protest against NATO and the continuation of the war in Ukraine. The crowd chanted: “Stop NATO! Stop the War!” and demanded a peaceful resolution. They also demanded the immediate resignation of the Fiala government, portrayed as a puppet of NATO and the European Union. The demonstration was organized by the PRO party, led by Jindřich Rajchl, a respected lawyer. He had also taken part in the huge demonstrations against the high energy prices, due to sanctions on Russia and speculation, that took place last autumn and earlier this year.
Finally, they fear that Poland, another leading transit point for assistance to Ukraine, may be the next domino to fall, if the extreme anti-Russian government of the PiS party is replaced by the opposition PO, following the Oct. 15 national elections. Led by former Prime Minister Donald Tusk, the PO held a forceful mass rally of “one million hearts for Poland” in Warsaw on Oct. 1. A previous march on June 4 had put 500,000 on the streets of the capital, and since then, the party has gained ground in the polls.
Tusk stressed the need for unity of forces against the repressive policies of the PiS government. Another speaker was radical farmers leader Michał Kołodziejczak, who is running on the PO ticket. The farmers have organized fierce opposition to the current government for accepting the EU Commission’s decrees on flooding Europe with Ukrainian grain, at the expense of Polish producers.