A Cautionary Tale

Pro-Kremlin Narratives and Challenges to Slovakia’s Information Sovereignty

18 December 2019

Aliaksei Kazharski

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Slovak cultural and educational institutions are long-established and supposedly apolitical. However, some legitimise and promote pro-Kremlin narratives. Free speech risks being undermined by an anti-Western counter-culture anchored in the political and intellectual environments of Slovakia.

In recent years, Slovakia has been referred to as “a pro-European island” in the Visegrad Four, a country whose democracy is stable and whose Euro-optimism remains strong, in particular against the background of recent developments in neighbouring countries. While there is indeed much truth to that, the actual picture is rather more complex.

The country saw a surge of right-wing radicalism and anti-systemic populism in 2016 and 2019 parliamentary and presidential elections respectively, and some of its leaders have demonstrated open sympathies towards the Kremlin and other authoritarian leaders.

Despite being firmly anchored in the Western-led international order, Slovakia also has a thriving counter-culture of Russophilia and pan-Slavism, which tends to generate anti-Western and anti-liberal narratives.

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Aliaksei Kazharski

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Visegrad Insight Fellow. Researcher at the Institute of European Studies and International Relations of the Comenius University in Bratislava and a lecturer at the Department of Security Studies of Charles University in Prague

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