What is known about the author of the attack against Robert Fico?

The alleged perpetrator of the assassination attempt against the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico, who left him seriously injured after shooting him at point-blank range on Wednesday, has confessed his motivations, in statements recorded with a mobile phone after his arrest, which were released this week.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 May 2024 Wednesday 16:22
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What is known about the author of the attack against Robert Fico?

The alleged perpetrator of the assassination attempt against the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico, who left him seriously injured after shooting him at point-blank range on Wednesday, has confessed his motivations, in statements recorded with a mobile phone after his arrest, which were released this week. Thursday on social media.

“I do not agree with the policies of this government,” Juraj Cintula says before the camera, visibly bruised and with his hands cuffed. This confirmed the political motivations that the Minister of the Interior and the police had indicated hours before.

Cintula, a 71-year-old man from the town of Levice, is a former supermarket security guard, who had regularly criticized Fico on his political blog. His son confirmed that he has a weapons license, due to his employment, and denied rumors suggesting that Cintula was a patient at a psychiatric hospital. In 2016, the suspect founded the “Movement against violence” and announced it that year in a manifesto recorded on video.

“The world is full of violence and weapons. It seems like people have gone crazy. There is a flood of immigrants to Europe. “European governments do not offer any alternative,” he stated in his speech. “Our goal is to unite people, preserve peace and restore democracy,” he added.

He is also the author of several books of poetry and an essay about the Roma people in Slovakia, where he praised the program of the far-right People's Party Our Slovakia. Cintula has also frequented events organized by the pro-Russian paramilitary group Slovenki Branci (Slovak Recruits, in Slovak), which he praised on his social networks highlighting his anti-immigration stance.

“They attracted me because they do not depend on state orders, which is practically incomprehensible in a passive society like ours (Slovakia),” he wrote on Facebook after learning of their existence in 2015. Apparently this group, which was related to a club of Russian motorcyclists called Night Wolves, received training from members of the Russian special forces Spetsnaz. It was dissolved in October 2022.

In his recorded confession, Cintula adds that his actions were also motivated by being against the closure of public media. “The mass media have been liquidated and removed from their function,” he assured, and expressed in particular his disagreement with the controversial reform of the Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS).

The Fico government's plan is to change the name from 'RTVS' to 'STaR' (Slovak Television and Radio) and fire most of the channel's management, including the general director. Its detractors, including 600 workers, claim that the changes endanger the independence of the country's public television.

The country's largest opposition party, Progressive Slovakia, yesterday canceled a protest against the controversial reform of the state-funded public broadcaster. “We absolutely and strongly condemn the violence and shooting against Prime Minister Robert Fico,” said party leader Michal Simecka. “At the same time, we ask all politicians to refrain from any expression or step that could contribute to further increasing tension,” he added.

The shooter waited for Fico in front of the House of Culture in the town of Handlová, where the prime minister had met with members of his coalition government. The president was greeting a small group of citizens outside, one of them holding an anti-government banner, when the attacker shouted: “Robbery, come here,” calling the prime minister by the colloquial form of his name, according to local media reports. . He then shot him.

While such an attack on a politician in Slovakia is unprecedented, the country has seen high-profile gun violence before. Fico was ousted after the mafia-style murder of an investigative journalist reporting on corruption and his fiancée in 2018.