Slovakia’s Direct National Security Threat

Pro-Kremlin and Revisionist Narratives in Fringe Media

10 December 2020

The Slovak social media landscape is flooded with pro-Kremlin narratives and content, often disseminated and multiplied by domestic actors, including fringe media, influencers and politicians. Recent research tells the story of how a small country of 5 million, which has existed as an independent state less than 30 years, is so open to the Kremlin’s toxic narratives and vulnerable to its sharp power.

Slovakia is and always has been very sensitive to any notion of territorial revisionism due to its history, small size and geographic position. The Trianon Treaty, agreed after the First World War, is seen as a cornerstone of modern-day Slovakia. The fear of territorial revisionism by Slovakia`s southern neighbour – Hungary – and irredentism by Hungarian national minority living in southern Slovakia has been a dominant factor driving the support for nationalist sentiments and political parties since the formation of independent Slovakia.

While the peaceful breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1992 has been widely celebrated as a role model of a democratic political transition, the bloody ethnic wars and ethnic cleansing of the 1990s in the Balkans served as a constant reminder how easy nationalism bound territorial politics could spiral out of control.

Slovakia has never in its recent history expressed any territorial demands nor did it mourn any loss of territory since the formation of Czecho-Slovakia in 1918. Therefore, it comes as a surprise that according to the Pew Research Center survey, 46 per cent of Slovaks consider that part of the neighbouring country should belong to Slovakia.

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Daniel Milo

Daniel Milo, JUDr. is a former Director of Centre for Countering Hybrid Threats at Slovak Ministry of Interior. Daniel Milo studied law at the Comenius University in Bratislava and holds a Doctor of Law degree in criminal law. His main fields of expertise are hybrid threats, extremism, paramilitary groups and use of disinformation by foreign actors. He published or co-authored several publications on these issues including a study on the vulnerability of CEE countries to Russian influence, GLOBSEC Trends, analytical reports mapping the connections between Kremlin and far-right political actors.

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