The Hungarian investigative journalist, Szabolcs Panyi, wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that Juraj Cintula, who shot the Slovak Prime Minister, Robert Fico, on Wednesday, May 15 was associated with the right-wing, pro-Russian extremist group Slovenskí Branci (Slovak Conscripts).

According to a 2019 report by the VSquare investigative website the organization, which was set up around 2012 as a right-wing neo-Nazi group, had become increasingly linked with Russian bodies and had collaborated with the nationalist Russian motorcycle gang funded by the Kremlin – the Night Wolves.

Russian President Vladimir Putin pictured riding with the Night Wolves. Photo: Kremlin.ru

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VSquare said a number of the Slovakian extremist group members, including its leader, Peter Švrček, had received training from a former Russian special forces operative.

Constantly compared in the media with the Nazi youth organization Hitlerjugend, Švrček said that under his leadership Slovenskí Branci was distancing itself from “the sick ideals of Nazism and fascism.”

In 2016, Cintula, a self-described poet, writer and publicist wrote a diatribe on the “selfless enthusiasm” of Slovenskí Branci and encouraged young men to enlist in the face of “the thousands of immigrants coming to Europe.” He said the group was not preparing for war but were “preparing to protect the inhabitants, the country, tradition, culture – they are patriots.”

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He ended by saying: “I believe in these young boys and girls and express my public support for them.”

In 2022, the group announced that it was disbanding but it is considered likely that some of its members, including Cintula, retained the new pro-Russian ideology and may have considered Fico’s more conciliatory tone towards Ukraine since his election tantamount to treason.

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Posting on X / Twitter  Mariska den Eelden, a Netherlands-based Erasmus student voiced her view that this could have been the motive:

Some individuals on social media thought the gunman’s motives strange. A Latvian commentator Janis said:

Of course, several users of social media were ready to point the finger of blame directly at Kyiv, such as Bubba 3030, who described himself as a “God loving American” and whose posts indicate a strongly pro-Republican, pro-Trump, pro-MAGA outlook on life, said:

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Which AnnaOdesa MD, a OBGYN trained in Kharkiv and London, retorted with:

The German news site Zeit Online drew parallels between this attack and the arrest of two Germans with Russian roots who were arrested in Bavaria in April on suspicion of espionage and planning sabotage. According to its report one of those arrested had fought against Ukraine in the Donbas and the other also had links with the Night Wolves.

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