Politician Known for False Statements about Ukraine May Become Slovak Foreign Minister

Thursday, 19 October 2023

Juraj Blanár, the former mayor of Žilina who was known for his odious statements about Russia's war against Ukraine and who is not a diplomat, may become Slovakia's foreign minister in Robert Fico’s government.

The Aktuality article states that Blanár’s candidacy as the new Slovak foreign minister has been discussed for a long time.

Juraj Blanár
Credit: Dennik N

Aktuality said that he was considered for this position back when the government negotiations were still at the initial stage. The candidacy of diplomat Miroslav Lajčák was also considered, but he did not accept the offer of the Smer-SD party, which is headed by Fico.

Marek Eštok, who previously served as Slovakia's ambassador to France, was also considered.

It was reported earlier that Fico himself was supposed to temporarily head the Foreign Ministry, but in the end, he managed to convince Blanár, who was initially reluctant to accept the offer.

Juraj Blanár is a former engineer with no diplomatic experience. After the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he regularly made outrageous and sometimes false statements about the war.

In particular, he called the war in Ukraine a "conflict between Russia and the United States".

Like Robert Fico, Blanár opposes the supply of weapons to Ukraine, claiming that it "weakens Slovakia's defence".

He argued that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine had already radically deepened "during the so-called Maidan in 2013, and its devastating consequences continue to this day".

Blanár said that Ukraine's leaders are "silent about extreme Ukrainian nationalism" and added that the result of the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 "was the fragmentation of Ukraine and civil war".

In 2014, when Russia occupied Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, Blanár stated that "Ukraine is fighting against its own people". He also said that Ukraine should focus "on ensuring the rights of Russian-speaking residents".

On 11 October, Fico signed a memorandum of coalition with the Voice party and the pro-Russian Slovak National Party.

As part of the coalition agreement, Smer-SD will have the right to appoint the prime minister and six other ministers, paving the way for the anti-Ukrainian Fico to lead the Slovak government for the fourth time.

The Voice party will get the post of parliamentary chairman, which is likely to be party leader Peter Pellegrini, and seven ministerial positions in the government, while the Slovak National Party will get three ministerial positions.

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