Slovak Interior Ministry and media named possible motives for assassination attempt on Fico

Slovak Interior Minister Matúš Šutaj Eštok stated that the attempted assassination of Prime Minister Robert Fico was politically motivated. This was reported by CNN.

“This assassination attempt was politically motivated, and the suspect decided to do it shortly after the presidential election,” the minister said.

At the same time, Slovak Deputy Prime Minister Tomáš Taraba told the BBC that Robert Fico’s surgery was successful and that the prime minister was no longer in a dangerous condition.

Also, Defense Minister Robert Kaliňák said that Fico “suffered multiple wounds” but did not provide any details when journalists asked if the prime minister was shot in the stomach.

Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová, the president-elect Peter Pellegrini, and other politicians strongly condemned the attack on the Prime Minister. State and government leaders in Europe and around the world also condemned the assassination attempt.

Earlier, Slovak media and social networks spread a video in which a man resembling the writer Juraj Cintula, who allegedly attempted to assassinate Prime Minister Robert Fico, claims that he did so because he disagrees with the government’s policies, in particular, with pressure on the media.

Pravda and Aktuality reported this. Denník Plus Jeden Deň claims to have received an exclusive video of the attacker’s words.

“I do not agree with the government’s policy. They are eliminating the media. Why is RTVS being attacked? Judge Mazak, why is he being dismissed from his post?” In the video, a man resembling Cintula says this:

On May 15, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot in the city of Handlova, near the building where the country’s Cabinet of Ministers was meeting. According to the official Facebook account, he was in a life-threatening condition after the assassination attempt. The bullet hit Fico in the stomach and arm, affecting important organs.

The suspect in the assassination attempt was immediately detained by law enforcement. The police have not yet officially disclosed his name, but according to local media, the attacker may be a 71-year-old resident of Levice and a member of the Slovak Writers’ Association, Juraj Cintula. He has published three collections and a novel.

In 2016, Cintula allegedly worked for a private security service, which is why he had a permit to own a weapon. The media claim that Cintula hated Robert Fico and repeatedly spoke out against the prime minister in a hostile manner on social media.

Subsequently, Slovak investigative journalist Szabolcs Panyi reported that Juraj Cintula could have been linked to the pro-Russian paramilitary group Slovenskí Branci. On his Twitter account (X), the journalist posted two screenshots of posts from the Slovenskí Branci Facebook page, which show the same man who shot Fico.

RTVS (Radio and Television of Slovakia) is a Slovak public broadcaster. On April 24, the coalition government led by Robert Fico approved a reform that could be approved by the parliament, where Fico’s supporters have a majority, as early as June of this year. This reform could lead to full government control over the media.

The reform project was initiated by Culture Minister Martina Šimkovićová. The changes she proposed mean that the public broadcaster RTVS will cease to exist, and a new structure called STVR (Slovak Television and Radio) will be created instead. The initiator of the “reform” explains the changes, in particular, by the fact that the letter S (meaning “Slovakia”) at the end of the old name is “disrespectful to the nation” and should be moved to the first place.

This initiative was criticized by journalists, the opposition, international media organizations, and the European Commission. On April 25, RTVS employees held a symbolic funeral procession for the public broadcaster, and their website published several reports in black and white. On May 2, thousands of people rallied in the center of Bratislava to protest against the reform of the public broadcaster RTVS.

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