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More than a week after being shot in an assassination attempt, Slovakia’s prime minister was still hospitalized in serious condition on Thursday, as calls for political unity after the attack have given way to a resurgence of hostility in the polarized Central European nation. Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot multiple times at close range on May 15 in the town of Handlova in central Slovakia. The attempted assassination — the most serious attack on a European leader in decades — sent shock waves through Europe. Mr. Fico has undergone several surgeries since the shooting, and on Thursday the government said his condition “remains serious but stable” at a hospital in the central city of Banska Bystrica. Even before Mr. Fico was shot, Slovakia was deeply divided between backers of his right-wing nationalist and anti-immigration policies, and opponents who accuse him of eroding democracy.
Persons: Robert Fico, , Fico Locations: Handlova, Slovakia, Europe, Banska Bystrica
Reuters —Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is no longer in immediate danger but still in a serious condition, his deputy said on Sunday, four days after an assassination attempt that sent shockwaves through Europe. “We are all a little calmer,” Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak told a news conference outside the hospital where Fico is being treated in the central Slovak town of Banska Bystrica. The prime minister, 59, was hit by four bullets on Wednesday in an attack that raised alarm over the polarized state of politics in the central European country of 5.4 million people. Kalinak told journalists that Fico’s condition was still too serious to consider transferring him to hospital in the capital. Local news media say the suspect is a 71-year-old former security guard at a shopping mall and the author of three collections of poetry.
Persons: Robert Fico, Robert Kalinak, Kalinak, Juraj C Organizations: Reuters, Slovak Locations: Europe, Slovak, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia
More than a quarter century has passed since the United States called Slovakia a “black hole in the center of Europe” — an island of autocratic malaise surrounded by spry new democracies. The insult, leveled in 1997 by Secretary of State Madeline Albright against a country that has since joined NATO and the European Union, still stings. “We are back in a black hole; I’m not sure we ever got out of it,” said Roman Kvasnica, a prominent Slovak lawyer who denounces a political culture in which threats and personal insults are routine. In his own legal work he has faced numerous threats, including a warning that he would get a “bullet in the head” from a tycoon charged with ordering the 2018 murder of an investigative journalist digging into government corruption. Mr. Havel served as the first president of post-communist Czechoslovakia, the state that in 1993 split amicably into the Czech Republic and the Republic of Slovakia.
Persons: spry, Madeline Albright, Robert Fico, Albright, , Roman Kvasnica, Vaclav Havel, Havel Organizations: NATO, European Union, Central, Mr Locations: United States, Slovakia, Europe, Central European, Slovak, Czechoslovakia, Czech Republic, Republic of Slovakia
He wrote dark, erotic verse and poems featuring torture and pain. He also self-published a book that railed against Roma people and asked why Slovakia had not produced a homegrown version of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist. And what if he has been?” he asked in the book. I told myself — I’ll write a book.”Then on Wednesday, the 71-year-old former coal mine worker, onetime stone mason and lifelong malcontent was charged with opening fire at point-blank range on Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia. As soon as news broke that an unidentified man had shot Mr. Fico in central Slovakia, it was obvious to Milan Maruniak, a retired coal miner, who must be responsible.
Persons: Anders Behring Breivik, Breivik, , — I’ll, malcontent, Robert Fico of, Milan Maruniak Organizations: Roma Locations: Slovakia, Norwegian, Robert Fico of Slovakia, Fico, Milan
A Would-be Assassin Stirs Europe’s Violent Ghosts
  + stars: | 2024-05-18 | by ( Roger Cohen | ) www.nytimes.com   time to read: +1 min
Dmitri A. Medvedev, the former Russian president and regular forecaster of a third World War, had no hesitation in comparing the would-be assassin of Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia to the young man who ignited World War I. Europe, he suggested, was once more on the brink. It was on many levels a wild association to make. The Europe of empires that unraveled between 1914 and 1918 is long gone, as is the Europe that replaced it and produced Auschwitz. In their place the painstakingly constructed European Union of 27 members, including Slovakia, has been put in place with the overriding goal of making war impossible on a long-ravaged continent. Yet, with elections to the European Parliament just three weeks way, ominous indications of brewing violence go well beyond the shooting of Mr. Fico, whose condition remains serious.
Persons: Dmitri A, Medvedev, Robert Fico, Fico, Mr, Princip, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Churchill Organizations: Bosnian Serb, of Locations: Russian, Slovakia, Europe, Russia, Bosnian, Sarajevo
Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, was in improving health on Saturday morning, the country’s deputy minister said, after having a second surgery on the wounds he sustained when he was shot in an assassination attempt on Wednesday. “Several miracles happened,” the deputy minister, Robert Kalinak, told reporters. He added of Mr. Fico, “He is conscious, with all the limitations of this serious injury.”Mr. Kalinak made the remarks in front of the F.D. Roosevelt University Hospital in the central city of Banska Bystrica, where Mr. Fico was taken after he was shot multiple times by a lone gunman. Earlier Saturday morning, in a different part of the country, the 71-year-old suspect in the shooting, a man identified by the authorities only as Juraj C., was presented to a judge, who ordered that he would remain in custody until trial.
Persons: Slovakia’s, Robert Fico, , Robert Kalinak, Fico, ” Mr, Kalinak, Juraj C Organizations: Roosevelt University Hospital Locations: Banska Bystrica
Questions were swirling in Slovakia on Friday, as shock over the attempted assassination of Prime Minister Robert Fico began to give way to trepidation over what comes next for the deeply polarized country. The authorities have kept details about the attack, the assailant and even who is leading the country while the prime minister is hospitalized to a minimum. Officials say they will provide more information soon but that the situation is sensitive. They have called the shooting politically motivated, while urging the public and politicians to dial down political rhetoric and hatred as investigations play out. The police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Persons: Robert Fico Locations: Slovakia, Slovak, Levice
“Fico was shot.” The message arrived in one of my group chats shortly after 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Information was limited, and headlines like “Robert Fico Was Shot After the Government Meeting in Handlova” seemed absurdly matter-of-fact. But could he really have been shot multiple times on a weekday afternoon in May? Slovakian politics are deeply polarized in ways that have tipped into rhetorical and even physical violence. We reassure ourselves that those who write threatening messages online are not usually the ones who carry them out.
Persons: “ Fico, Robert Fico, Handlova ”, Fico, brawled Organizations: Lawmakers Locations: Handlova
View more opinion on CNNCNN —It was a carefully choreographed show of force in Beijing Thursday as Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived for yet another meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. Frida Ghitis CNNOn Wednesday, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot multiple times and gravely wounded in an assassination attempt. Russia’s lightning assault, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who cancelled all his foreign travel, aims to force Ukraine to stretch its defenses. Security officers move Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico in a car after the assassination attempt in Handlova, Slovakia, on Wednesday May 15. Every day, the stark reality that what began in Ukraine will change Europe for years to come becomes more inescapable.
Persons: Frida Ghitis, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Robert Fico, Fico, Putin, , Volodymyr Zelensky, Donald Trump, Joe Biden’s, David Cameron, , Fico —, Radovan Stoklasa, Sergei Shoigu, Andrey Belousov, laughably, Rishi Sunak, Mark Rutte, Russia's, Alexander Ryumin, Emmanuel Macron, , Mikko Heiskanen, Xi Organizations: CNN, Washington Post, Politics, CNN CNN, Frida Ghitis CNN, Wednesday, Slovakian, Kyiv, British, Putin, Kremlin, Moscow, European Union, Reuters, Europe, Russia, Republicans, Russian, West, NATO, Institute for, Locations: Beijing, Europe, Ukraine, Kharkiv, Russia, Georgia, Soviet Republic, Moscow, Moldova, Slovak, Slovakia, , Handlova, Iran, North Korea, China, Norway, London, British, Netherlands, , Germany, Berlin, Finland
Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia was shot five times on Wednesday, in the most serious attack on a European leader in decades. Officials said the act was a politically motivated assassination attempt, stoking fears that Europe’s increasingly polarized and vitriolic politics could tip into violence. Mr. Fico, a veteran populist politician, underwent hours of emergency surgery after being critically wounded in a town in central Slovakia. Here is what we know about the shooting. Videos from the scene indicate that Mr. Fico was shot in Banikov Square, in the center of the town of Handlova, where the prime minister had held a government meeting.
Persons: Robert Fico, Fico Organizations: Hospital Locations: Slovakia, Handlova
Calls are growing in Slovakia for political parties to suspend campaigning for the European Union elections, just three weeks away, in the wake of the assassination attempt on the prime minister in the sharply polarized country. The president-elect of Slovakia, Peter Pellegrini, and others say the step is necessary to avoid further inflammatory political discourse, which has escalated further since the shooting that left Prime Minister Robert Fico badly wounded. At least one party, the opposition Progress Slovakia party, said it would immediately suspend its campaign, to help “end the spiral of attacks and blame.”The local news media reported that another party, the Christian Democratic Movement, had also paused campaigning. It is not clear how long such suspensions would last or what that would mean for Slovakia’s participation in the E.U. Voters across the European Union will elect 720 European Parliament representatives, with polling scheduled to take place in all 27 of the bloc’s members from June 6 to 9.
Persons: Peter Pellegrini, Robert Fico Organizations: European Union, Slovakia, Christian Democratic Movement Locations: Slovakia
Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico walks during the European Council summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on April 18, 2024. Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico is expected to survive a multiple-shot assassination attempt following surgery, according to the country's deputy prime minister. The Slovakian premier's condition has stabilized but remains serious, Reuters cited a hospital official as saying on Thursday. "The shooting of the prime minister is first and foremost an attack against an attack on a human being – but it's also an attack on democracy," she said in an officially translated video. Fico has served as prime minister of Slovakia for around 10 years across three mandates, heading the Smer (Direction) party.
Persons: Robert Fico, Tomas Taraba, Šutaj Eštok, Zuzana Caputova, it's, Fico Organizations: Slovakia's, EU, BBC, Reuters, CNBC, Slovakian Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Slovakian, Sky News, Russia, RTVS Locations: Brussels, Slovakian, Slovak, Handlova, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, Ukraine
CNN —The horrific scenes in Slovakia following the assassination attempt on Prime Minister Robert Fico are a stark and brutal reminder of the dangers facing those who seek public office. Security personnel apprehend a suspected gunman after Slovakia's Prime Minister was shot in Handlova, Slovakia on May 15, 2024. President Zuzana Caputova appoints Robert Fico the new Slovakian prime minister at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava, Slovakia, on 25 October 2023. In 2022, Giorgia Meloni became Italy’s prime minister after running on an anti-immigration, socially conservative ticket. Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead in July 2022 as he gave a campaign speech.
Persons: Robert Fico, Fico, Zuzana Čaputová, , George Soros, Čaputová, Fico’s, Zuzana Caputova, Jakub Gavlak, Giorgia Meloni, Covid lockdowns, Jo Cox, DANIEL LEAL, David Amess, Shinzo Abe, Fernando Villavicencio –, Organizations: CNN, Slovakia's, Getty, Fico, Slovakian, Parliamentary, Parliament, Political, Hamas, British Labour, AFP, Conservative, ISIS, Japanese Locations: Slovakia, Russia, American, Europe, Ukraine, Gaza, Handlova, AFP, Bratislava, Netherlands, Israel, London, Britain
To the government that charged him, he was a “lone wolf,” an off-kilter individual representing nobody but himself when he pumped at least four bullets into Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia. The assassination attempt on Wednesday, however, has put a spotlight on a far wider collective malfunction in Slovakia. The Covid-19 pandemic, he said, hardened previously fluid lines into what have since become hostile camps, with little room for nuance. Roughly half the population welcomed vaccines and half rejecting them. Do you believe or not believe?” Mr. Milo said.
Persons: Robert Fico of, , Daniel Milo, “ I’ve, Mr, Milo, Covid Locations: Robert Fico of Slovakia, Slovakia, Central Europe, Ukraine
CNN —Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, is out of danger after being shot five times and undergoing surgery, officials say, following an assassination attempt that rocked the central European country and sparked global condemnation. Footage from the scene showed the injured prime minister being bundled into a vehicle by his staff, before it speeds away with him inside. undefined — Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico walks during the European Council summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on April 18, 2024. Unlike the president, whose role has limited scope, the prime minister holds rank as the decision-making head of government. Fico previously served as Slovakia’s prime minister for more than a decade, first between 2006 and 2010 and then again from 2012 to 2018.
Persons: CNN —, Robert Fico, Fico, Tomáš Taraba, , Zuzana Čaputová, Kenzo Tribouillard, Šutaj Eštok, ” Fico Organizations: CNN, EU, Getty, Ukraine, Kyiv, NATO, Reuters Locations: Handlova, Banská Bystrica, Brussels, AFP, Slovakia
PinnedA day after Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, was critically wounded in what his government called a politically motivated assassination attempt, attention focused on Thursday on the security breaches that had allowed the attack to occur. Mr. Fico’s condition stabilized overnight, and doctors were carrying out more procedures in hopes of improving his condition, Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak told a news conference on Thursday morning outside the hospital where Mr. Fico was being treated. Political tempers in the deeply polarized Central European nation rose after Mr. Fico’s shooting, and the interior minister, Matus Sutaj Estok, said an initial investigation “clearly points to a political motivation” behind the assassination attempt. Filip Kuffa, a state secretary, said early Thursday on Facebook that Mr. Fico was in stable condition. It said that cellphones had been taken from many staff members at the hospital to prevent them communicating information about Mr. Fico’s condition.
Persons: Robert Fico, Robert Kalinak, Fico, Matus Sutaj Estok, Mr, Filip Kuffa, Organizations: Facebook Locations: Bratislava, Handlova, Slovakia, Slovak
Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA-EFE/ShutterstockUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg and other European leaders are condemning the attack on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico on Wednesday. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: "Shocked and appalled by the shooting of Prime Minister Robert Fico. My thoughts are with PM Fico, his family,” she said on X.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: "The attack on Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico is appalling. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni: "I learned with deep shock the news of the cowardly attack on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez: “Horrified and outraged at the attack on the Slovak Prime Minister.
Persons: Volodymyr Zelensky, Zuzana Caputova, Sergey Dolzhenko, NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg, Robert Fico, Jens Stoltenberg, Ursula von der, , Fico, , state's, Zelensky, Viktor Orban, ” Orban, Giorgia, Pedro Sanchez, ” Sanchez Organizations: Slovak, NATO, European, Slovakia’s, Spanish, Slovak Prime Locations: Kyiv, Ukraine, Slovakia, Hungarian, Spain
CNN —Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico was in a life-threatening condition in hospital Wednesday after he was shot multiple times in an assassination attempt. Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico attends a European Council summit in Brussels, on April 18, 2024. Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images/FILEFico previously served as Slovakia’s prime minister for more than a decade, first between 2006 and 2010 and then again from 2012 to 2018. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, tweeted: “I strongly condemn the vile attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico. My thoughts are with PM Fico, his family.”And Hungarian Prime Minister Orban added: “I was deeply shocked by the heinous attack against my friend, Prime Minister Robert Fico.
Persons: CNN —, Robert Fico, Fico, Zuzana Čaputová, “ I’m, Roberto Fico, ” Čaputová, upend, , , Vladimir Putin, Viktor Orban, Kenzo Tribouillard, Jan Kuciak, Martina Kušnírová, Kuciak, Ursula von der Leyen, Orban Organizations: CNN, CNN — Slovakia’s, Facebook, Ukraine, NATO, Kremlin, Hungary’s, European Union, Slovakia's, Getty Locations: Handlova, Banska Bystrica, Bratislava, Slovak, Ukraine, Brussels, AFP, Hungarian
Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico attends a press conference during a Special European Council Meeting on April 18, 2024 in Brussels, Belgium. Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico on Wednesday was shot multiple times in an assassination attempt that has sent shockwaves across the continent. The 59-year-old has been transported by helicopter to hospital in the central Slovakian city of Banska Bystrica to receive treatment. A post on Fico's official Facebook page said the prime minister was "shot multiple times and is in a life-threatening state" after an "attempted assassination." Slovakian President Zuzana Čaputová "strongly" condemned the "brutal and ruthless attack" in a Google-translated Facebook post, without supplying further details of the nature of the attack.
Persons: Slovakia Robert Fico, Robert Fico, Fico, Zuzana Čaputová Organizations: NBC, Reuters, CNBC Locations: Slovakia, Brussels, Belgium, Slovakian, Banska Bystrica, Bratislava, Handlova
Robert Fico, 59, has played a pivotal role in Slovakian politics in the years since it gained independence in 1993 and has served as prime minister longer than any other leader. The country gained independence amid the so-called Velvet Revolution, a series of popular and nonviolent protests against the Communist Party in what was at that time still Czechoslovakia. Mr. Fico, who had been a Communist Party member while it was in power, founded the Smer party in the late 1990s and began the first of his three terms as prime minister in 2006. The Smer party, which started out on the political left but has increasingly embraced right-wing views on immigration and cultural issues, has always governed as part of a coalition. Much of the international focus on Mr. Fico’s leadership in recent years has focused on his ties to President Vladimir Putin of Russia and to Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, Slovakia’s southern neighbor.
Persons: Robert Fico, Fico, Vladimir Putin of, Viktor Orban of Hungary Organizations: Communist Party Locations: Czechoslovakia, Slovakia, Vladimir Putin of Russia
Slovakia’s populist prime minister, Robert Fico, was shot and seriously wounded on Wednesday in what the government called an assassination attempt. A post on the prime minister’s official and verified Facebook page said that Mr. Fico was in “life-threatening condition” after sustaining “multiple” gunshot wounds. Local media reported that the attack unfolded in the central Slovak town of Handlova, where Mr. Fico, a veteran politician, had been meeting with supporters. Mr. Fico has aligned with the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, in opposing aid to Ukraine and challenging mainstream opinions within the European Union. On Wednesday, Mr. Orban was quick to send well wishes to Mr. Fico, whom he called “my friend.”“We pray for his health and quick recovery,” Mr. Orban wrote on social media.
Persons: Robert Fico, Fico, , Zuzana Caputova, , Caputova, Viktor Orban, Orban, Mr, Ursula von der Leyen Organizations: Local, Facebook, Reuters, European Union, European Commission Locations: Slovak, Handlova, Russia, Ukraine, United States
Slovakia, which was left reeling on Wednesday after an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Robert Fico, is a relatively young country whose history is closely intertwined with that of its central European neighbors. Slovakia is one of two nations born out of the former Czechoslovakia amid the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the waning years of the 20th century. Czechoslovakia was a multiethnic nation established at the end of World War I that endured dismemberment by the Nazis and more than four decades of Communist rule. After several years of economic and political upheaval following its independence, Slovakia joined the European Union and NATO in 2004, and adopted the euro in 2009. As the country navigated the establishment of its national identity, some tensions remained with the Czech Republic, its richer and larger neighbor, which has roughly twice Slovakia’s population of five million.
Persons: Robert Fico Organizations: European Union, NATO Locations: Slovakia, Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, Czech Republic
A gunman shot Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia, who is known for defying his fellow leaders in the European Union, multiple times at close range on Wednesday, in the most serious attack on a European leader in decades. Mr. Fico was shot after emerging from the House of Culture in Handlova, a town in central Slovakia, as he greeted a small crowd in Banikov Square. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, then airlifted to another hospital for emergency surgery. Hours later, the deputy prime minister, Tomas Taraba, told the BBC that Mr. Fico’s situation was no longer life-threatening, and he expected the prime minister to survive. The gunman, identified by Slovak news outlets as a 71-year-old poet, was immediately wrestled to the ground by security officers.
Persons: Robert Fico of, Fico, Tomas Taraba Organizations: European Union, Culture, BBC Locations: Robert Fico of Slovakia, Handlova, Slovakia, Slovak
(Reuters) - Slovaks vote in a presidential election on Saturday that could strengthen Prime Minister Robert Fico's grip on power as he seeks more control over public media, softer anti-corruption laws and a dissenting voice to EU support for Ukraine. Polls are open in the first round of voting from 7:00 a.m. (0600 GMT) until 10:00 p.m. (2100 GMT). A run-off between the top two candidates is due on April 6 if no one wins a majority this weekend. Pellegrini, a former prime minister and member of Fico's leftist, ruling SMER party and now the head of junior coalition partner HLAS, is hoping to duplicate that success. Caputova won the last presidential election in 2019, riding an anti-corruption wave aimed at Fico's party, which was in power then.
Persons: Robert Fico's, Fico's, Peter Pellegrini, Zuzana Caputova, Fico, Pellegrini, HLAS, Ivan Korcok, Caputova, Korcok, Jason Hovet, Angus MacSwan Organizations: Reuters, Ukraine, EU, Constitutional, RTVS Locations: Ukraine, Moscow, Russian, Kyiv, Prague
CNN —Populist firebrand Geert Wilders has conceded that he will not become the next prime minister of the Netherlands because his potential coalition backers have refused to back him. “I can only become Prime Minister if ALL parties in the coalition support it. Similarly, Swedish Prime Minister Ulif Kristersson relies on the votes of the increasingly Euroskeptic, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats. Despite admitting defeat this time, Wilders pledged to continue his push to become prime minister in the future. “Don’t forget: I will still become Prime Minister of the Netherlands.
Persons: Geert Wilders, Wilders ’, , Wilders, ” Wilders, , Mark Rutte, Pieter Omtzigt, sanitaire, Jean, Marie Le Pen, Marine, Lionel Jospin, Jacques Chirac, Petteri Orpo, Sanna Marin, Ulif Kristersson, Robert Fico, “ Don’t Organizations: CNN, Democracy Party, Social Contract Party, European Union, National, Socialist, Socialists, Finns Party, Swedish, Sweden Democrats, Georgia Meloni Locations: Netherlands, Europe, Ukraine, Finland, Sweden, Georgia, Italy, Slovakia
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