People & Power examines what Robert Fico’s return as Slovakia’s prime minister means for human rights and the Ukraine war.

In December 2022, Robert Fico, Slovakia’s former prime minister, was facing a slew of criminal charges which, if proven, would have seen the populist firebrand put behind bars.

However, the charges were dropped, and in an election which observers say was fuelled by hate speech and pro-Kremlin conspiracy theories, Robert Fico was returned to power in September 2023.

Fico has been accused of frequently insulting the country’s minorities, so many of those groups are now fearful of what the future holds. Over the border, conscious of Fico’s promise to block sanctions against Russia and veto a European Union package of military support for Kyiv, Ukrainians are bracing themselves for the inevitable consequences of a pro-Kremlin neighbour his critics say is bent on breaking the EU consensus on support for Ukraine.

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