07---Slovakia

In the 25 years since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe have developed an uneven set of relationships with Moscow. Slovakia, for example, suffered a history of brutal repression under communism, yet in recent years has strengthened its ties with Moscow.

In 2008, it was Robert Fico, Slovakia’s then (and current) Prime Minister, who openly supported Russia in the war with Georgia. Most recently, the Ukraine-Russia crisis risks driving a wedge between the countries of Eastern and Central Europe.

While Poland has demonstrated that it wants a clear dividing line between ‘Europe’ and ‘Russia’, Slovakia has been reluctant to accept economic sanctions, and the government has been pushing for dialogue instead.

Why has Slovakia been so reluctant to damage its ties to Russia during the Ukraine crisis? We put this question to Miroslav Lajčák, Deputy Prime Minister and Slovakia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. What would he say?

To get another perspective, we also put the same question to Edward Lucas, a senior editor at The Economist, responsible for coverage of energy, commodities and natural resources, and an expert on Central and Eastern Europe.

In his book The New Cold War, Lucas investigates some of the reasons why former-socialist states might be reluctant to distance themselves from Moscow. We asked him what he thinks is driving Russian-Slovak relations:

According to Lucas, Russia is using its “common Slavic history” with Slovakia – as well as its gas policy – as a political tool.

The Visegrád countries are all dependent on Russian gas, but Slovakia even more than the others. With Russian gas transported to Slovakia via Ukraine, Slovakia has been one of the EU Member State most impacted by the Russian-Ukraine conflict. And with the Nabucco pipeline cancelled and plans for the South Stream put on hold, it doesn’t look like Slovakia will have suitable alternatives anytime soon.

Earlier this year, the European Commission filed an anti-trust case against Gazprom, saying it is “concerned that Gazprom is abusing its dominant market position in upstream gas supply markets.”

In fact, it is estimated that Gazprom’s gas prices in some former socialist states is 40% higher than the market price.

To understand if there is a link between gas dependency and relations with Russia, we asked Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Miroslav Lajčák, about the impact of the Gazprom case on energy security in his country. What would he say?

We then put the same question to Edward Lucas. What impact does he think the case may have on Slovakia?

Has Slovakia been too reluctant to damage its ties with Russia following the Ukraine crisis? And, if so, is this because of economic dependency or due to their common heritage? Should Europe be worried? Let us know your questions and comments, and we’ll take them to policymakers for their reactions!



146 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Niko Kosev

    Because we want to be friends both with the EU and with Russia. We see Russia as a partner, not as the enemy. Maybe the EU can try having partners sometimes.

    • avatar
      Radu

      You can not be a partner with someone that violates laws and treaties at will, my friend.

    • avatar
      Filodor

      I don’t remember there being a time when a modern EU country (or the EU as a whole) has physically violated the internationally recognised borders of a sovereign European state. Plus, may I add that most EU countries have minorities in them; what would our continent look like if say Hungary used physical violence and attacked Slovakia so as to steal part of its territory based on unsubstantiated accusations that the Hungarian minority “might be in danger” – as Russia claimed in Crimea. We have mechanisms in place in Europe to deal with ethnic minorities and military violence hasn’t been one of them for 60 years.

      Ukraine thought they could be partners with Russia, and now a huge chunk of their country is in their “partner’s” hands.

      Also, you have to understand that the EU and Russia have opposing interests in almost all spheres of politics and economics. From energy, military matters and all the way to diplomacy with third party states, the EU and Russia cannot be “partners”, merely competitors. This is in large part because Russia still thinks Eastern Europe (and other neighbouring countries) is/are part of its “buffer” zone and within its sphere of influence. This is something that most Eastern EU States abhor and fear. Not to mention that this type of mentality belongs firmly in the 20th century.

      If you want to look at what a somewhat more functional partnership looks like, and also living proof that the EU can have partners, then have a glance at the EU-US relationship. Not only are the two blocs deeply integrated (due to compromise on both sides) but also looking to become even more so (see TTIP).

      The EU can never accept Russia’s argument that it’s eastern flank should be somehow subservient to its interests. For example, Russia should not be allowed to dictate what defensive military assets are deployed in countries like Romania and Poland. Only a madman could ever fathom that 50-100 US tanks stationed in those countries could ever mount a successful invasion of Russia?!?! Not only are the populations of those countries not willing to engage in a suicidal attack on a nuclear power, but also it would not serve anyone’s purpose. But when the vice-PM of Russia threatens bombing these countries with nuclear enabled bombers, then one can say anything about Russia except that it has good intentions to be in “partnership” with EU countries.

      It is beyond obvious that Russia is attempting to recapture some of its old glory when it was still known as the USSR. It is operating along the same lines and at eastern countries’ expense. The people of Eastern Europe have the God-given right to chose their own destiny and to govern themselves (and in partnership with whomever they want) without having to fear or abide by Russia’s interests.

    • avatar
      Adrian Limbidis

      “Friends” with someone whosse only policy is ASSIMILATE and conquer?
      You slovaks are delusional.

    • avatar
      AJ

      @Filador, there are many problems with your argument. One: “I don’t remember there being a time when a modern EU country (or the EU as a whole) has physically violated the internationally recognised borders of a sovereign European state.” It is interesting that you restrict your comment to ‘European state’ because you know full well it wouldn’t hold true otherwise. Meaning you do not speak from principle but purely self-interest. If your measure of good morals is how you treat Europeans and none else, then I would say everything Russia is doing is perfectly acceptable.
      Two: “unsubstantiated accusations”. While the accusations may have been exaggerated, they are not at all ‘unsubstantiated’. Your view is typical of most people in the EU that oppose Russian actions. You only look at it through the info provided to you by your own side. An elected government was overthrown in Ukraine. A government appointed itself in war conditions. It branded as terrorists people who behaved in the exact same manner that it itself did and which brought it to power. The government lost legitimacy when the coup leaders were reappointed to said government after an election whose freeness and fairness is in question.

      Three: “and now a huge chunk of their country is in their “partner’s” hands.”. You talked about using unsubstanciated accusations for fear-mongering. And then you do the exact same thing.

      Four: “If you want to look at what a somewhat more functional partnership looks like, and also living proof that the EU can have partners, then have a glance at the EU-US relationship.” I believe evidence has just surfaced that this ‘partner’ was and is behaving in a manner that is neither expected from a partner, nor acceptable. But you seem to disregard that entirely, guessing from the tone of your statement.

      Five: Just how much do you know about the TTIP?

      Six: “Only a madman could ever fathom that 50-100 US tanks stationed in those countries could ever mount a successful invasion of Russia?” If the stationing of these weapons in eastern Europe is futile, then why go through with an exercise in futility? As you later state again, that these countries are not suicidal and that any reaction on their part against Russia is pointless (allies not included), then why engage in such behaviour? Surely it’s unnecessary provocation?

      Seven: “The people of Eastern Europe have the God-given right to chose their own destiny and to govern themselves (and in partnership with whomever they want)”. If that is what you believe, then why do you deny this same right to the people of Crimea? Was it not in a referendum that they chose to part ways with Ukraine and ‘reunite’ with Russia?

      Lastly, I’d like to clarify that I am not a Russia fan but I do have a problem with your argument, which is the same I hear from most people in the EU. You have no qualms about pinning everything on the Russian government but conveniently ignore the behaviour of our governments in the EU. “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” I think this holds true in more ways than one. Ukraine did not end up where it is today because Russia woke up one morning and decided to screw over the country. The country is the rope in a tug of war between East and West. And neither side is willing to let go, even when the rope is frayed and they are all on their knees, bleeding.

  2. avatar
    Marian Sasaran

    Because the left wing is the left wing no matter if it is from former communist countries or from EU. The left in Europe have always been financed and used by Russia.

  3. avatar
    Rui Jamp

    Because unmeasured unregulated and greedy capitalism is destroying what could be good for all. Greedy bankers with no social understanding took over governments with their permission. Russia might not have it also, but it is in human nature to keep changing till you find the better way… It has been done for centuries. And this Democracy regulated by central banks and for the companies and not the people, is not the right one.

    • avatar
      Borat

      “Democracy regulated by central banks and for the companies and not the people, is not the right one.”

      How is this any different to how Russia or even China operates? The only difference between the US and China for example is that the US government regulates the economy to look at private enterprises whilst the Chinese government regulates the economy to look after government owned enterprises.

      Russia is basically in the middle between the two.

    • avatar
      Borat

      I might add further to my original comment. The countries that really look after the people are largely capitalist countries anyways (i.e. Sweden etc). Countries that are “regulated by central banks for the companies”. No country anywhere regulates only for the people. Not even the socialistic paradise of Nth Korea does that lol.

    • avatar
      Filodor

      Remind me, but as far as I’m aware in all EU countries it is relatively simple and cheap to set up your own political party and participate in free elections. If you think that the established parties are somehow embroiled in a conspiracy theory against the people, and the people are aware of this, then please set up your own party and win a landslide victory in the next elections!

      Also, to my knowledge, only communist and/or military authoritarian regimes (thus not liberal democracies with free market capitalist systems) do not allow a plurality of parties to participate in elections. I’m sure you would love that!

      Lastly, my friend, should I remind you that all EU governments have been put in place by voters. So if you want to blame anyone, blame the people. Or are you suggesting that the citizens of your country and those of others are too dumb to understand what is going on? Then the problem is with the educational system and/the genetic make up, rather than with the capitalist system.

  4. avatar
    Ivan Burrows

    .

    They will be friends with both Russia and the EU because both are antidemocratic and dangerous, except of course Russia has an elected president.

  5. avatar
    Steve Patriarca

    Thank you for this discussion and reminder that Edward Lucas is, alongside Anne Applebaum, one of Europe’s most astute and important voices. He speaks, as those who spoke against the appeasement of Nazi Germany, on behalf of those who care about the future of liberal democracy in Europe.

  6. avatar
    Su La

    As many citizens of these countries want to have socialist system and not to work hard to pay for mortgages to get luxury houses as they want and to have all free of charge. They want the wealth of materialism with no payment what so ever. If you are against capitalism so why you use its facilities, getting mortgages and riding western cars? Better ride a Lada … They have values duplication.

  7. avatar
    Vladis Dri

    I would correct the question: why not? Russia is an entire part of Europe and has a lot of cultural similarities with that countries.

  8. avatar
    Max Berre

    I’d say it’s mostly a vote of confidence in how institutionally incompetent the EU institutions have demonstrated themselves to be. It even says in Machiavelli’s The Prince that incompetence is basically met with this sort of sucessionism.

  9. avatar
    Rick Wilmot

    Could it be that their dream of capitalist utopia hasn’t turned out as they expected? They should have followed the Gorbachev reforms!

  10. avatar
    Maia Alexandrova

    Is that the aim of EU? To artificially damage ties with another European country and a partner? Such immature, childish behaviour! Who will benefit from that? Not European citizens! Is there a rule that the former socialist countries must break all ties with an economic partner or a neighbour, also a former socialist country? This is an example of bullying smaller EU nations to adopt views against their national interests with the purpose to establish long-term division in Europe, only because USA wants it. This is a disgraceful himiliation!

    • avatar
      Filodor

      Sorry, but I think the memory of the Red Army occupying your country, raping women and children and stealing your treasures is a bit too distant of a memory for you.

      Maybe you can be reminded by the only violent territorial theft committed by a country in Europe since the end of WW2. Remind me how many EU countries have done that ever since? As an Eastern European I am very much concerned that Russia will do the same to my country, and history tends to prove me right.

    • avatar
      Maia Alexandrova

      I think you are talking about the Ottoman army – they did those atrocities to us in Bulgaria. We will never forget that it is to Russia that we owe our freedom and the fact that our country is now called Bulgaria, not Turkey. If it wasn’t for the help of the Russian army, now we would have probably be sharing the fate of the Kurds.

      Regarding violent territorial thefts since WW2, we cannot class Crimea as such because there was no violence there. It was not a theft because people themselves wanted to re-join Russia, after being artificially separated from it and annexed to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic by the unilateral decision of the communist dictator Khruschev in 1954. What happened in 2014 was rather a reunification like East and West Germany in 1989. This doesn’t mean that there have been no violent occupations and annexations of land – remember Northern Cyprus in 1974? However, we don’t see sanctions or any attempts to exclude Turkey from the international community until it returns the grabbed territory to Greece. Turkey is not a democracy, it is a dictatorship but strangely, no one seems to care, they have even invited it to join EU???? Also, let’s look outside Europe – Israel illegally occupied and annexed Palestine after WW2, USA did the same with Alaska and Hawaii, both of which became American states after WW2. Is there any criticism of the actions of those countries and any attempt to isolate Israel and USA until they return the stolen lands to their legal and indigenous owners?

      The paranoia from a supposed Russian invasion is not healthy for Europe. EU is suffering from its own aggressive behaviour, coupled with ignorance about Russia and its people. At the moment there are countries and militant groups who are extremely aggressive, occupy and annex foreign territories and present a serious threat to world peace. Better focus on them and their crimes against humanity. Russia is not doing those things and is not your enemy.

    • avatar
      Filodor

      By violent I mean not diplomatic. Flooding a foreign territory with “little green men” ,as the cloaked Russian troops are called, is not peaceful. Unless you also consider that holding a gun to someone’s head and asking them to sign away their house to you is also a “peaceful” process? The fact that there was no killing is not important.

      And as regards your argument relating to an alleged “reunification”, I simply say that you misunderstand the nature of modern European politics! Almost every country in Europe has minorities living inside its borders, and significant ones at that! How would Europe look like if large parts of Transylvania where there is a majority of ethnic Hungarians residing decided that they wanted to “reunify” with Hungary through unconstitutional and thus illegal means?! How would Europe look like if the Germans living in France decided that they wanted to leave the German federation and join their French brothers? What about the Austrians living in Northern Italy? If every minority in Europe decided to leave its current state and take the territories with them, then there would be a never-ending shift in Europe’s borders.

      As far as Khrushchev’s decision, it was his to take. He was legally the “dictator” of Russia and countries have the legal international right to dispense with their territories if they wish to do so. It’s not like the Ukraine stole Crimea from Russia, rather Russia’s legally named leader at the time decided to gift it away. You can’t keep changing your mind and expect people to be ok with it when you decide to give away a territory – what kind of certainty in international affairs would we have then?

      The problem you and people like you have is that you are too narrow-minded and short-sighted. The problem is not with Crimea, or Russia. It’s with the precedents they create which history has taught us will be used time and time again to effect revisionist interests. Russia has already been the first to cast the stone, and surely now others will follow unless the international community severely punishes Russia for breaching the peace Europe has known for decades.

      Btw, there are plenty of Romanians living in Buglaria. How would you feel if Balcic and Southern Dobruja was annexed by Romania seeing as “at some point” it was ours and was ceded to Bulgaria as part of the treaty of Craiova? I don’t want it back, but im sure there are plenty of Romanians that do. Are you ok with returning that to us? If so, speak up!

    • avatar
      Maia Alexandrova

      How many of the ethnic minorities you are citing have had a referendum for independence? None, including the Romanians in Bulgaria. In Crimea there were two. In 1991, parallel to the Ukrainian referendum for independence from USSR, there was another one held in Crimea where 94% of voters said “yes” to separate from Ukrainian SSR. At that time there were no “little green men” or people voting “under the barrel of a gun” which is the excuse you are giving for invalidating the second referendum in 2014, yet the results are the same. There is no justification for ignoring the will of people who had never accepted to be Krushchev’s gift to Ukraine. Imagine your prime minister waking up one morning, feeling generous and deciding to give a chunk of your country to a neighbouring country, without anyone’s approval. Why do you think this would not be possible now? What if this sick joke really happened like it did with Crimeans? Will you be as happy as you are suggesting they should be in the same situation? Why are you defending a communist dictator who trampled on people as if they were cockroaches? Are these your European values? Not mine! Crimeans clearly voted for independence from Ukrainian SSR in 1991, just like Ukraine voted to be independent from USSR the same year. By what rule is one ethnicity respected and another ignored when their starting point is the same? In this context, what justifies the independence of Kosovo and the violation of Yugoslavia’s sovereign territory, if the principle of territorial integrity stands above human rights? Why was the opposite principle applied here? Kosovo was the precedent, not Crimea. You certainly cannot claim that some ethnic minorities have more human rights than others, so why wasn’t the voice of Crimeans heard in 1991 and what were they expected to do for this to happen? To wage a war with Ukraine? No, they just confirmed their desire to be who they are – Russians, in 2014 with the same overwhelming majority as in 1991. It is very immature to think that the absence of war is not important. It shows that you do not understand what war means and what it does to human lives. Probably the death of thousands of innocent people in Eastern Ukraine, all the destruction and a million refugees is not important for you, either. It is just sad that so many people think like that and want another war in Europe, forgetting all lessons from the past.

    • avatar
      Yvetta

      Maia, sorry, I appreciate that Russia has helped Bulgaria gain its independence from the Ottoman Empire and throw out the Muslim Sharia rule, which was VERY harsh to the Bulgarians, but I find your views on the role that Russia is playing currently deluded and a bit naïve. Russia may be friendly towards Bulgaria but that is just one part of its foreign policy and it comes at the expense of it being hostile towards other countries. I have lived in Bulgaria for a few years and I understand where you are coming from and how you feel. But the picture that we are getting here in the West is a completely different one. Russian forces were occupying Poland and perhaps other countries (I am not sure which) imposing Russian interests and culture in the country. Bulgaria has not experienced this. So, I think, out of respect for what those countries have been through it is best to stay neutral.

    • avatar
      Maia Alexandrova

      By “neutral” you mean saying either bad, or nothing about Russia, hiding the truth about the positive contributions that Russia has made, vilifying the country and its democratically elected leaders… This doesn’t sound very neutral to me but more like propaganda and I don’t agree with it. This is the distorted picture that the West has about Russia and it does not correspond with the truth. I cannot speak about the Polish experience but the Bulgarian experience should also be respected. In fact, your freedom from the Nazi is also owing to Russia defeating them for which 8.6 million soldiers paid with their life (more than the whole populations of many European countries!) It seems you are simply irritated because I dare to say that Russians are actually human beings with compassionate hearts and as long as I don’t believe that they are evil monsters, then I am deluded and naïve? Again, this is preaching propaganda and hate simply based on nationality, i.e. if something is Russian, then it is definitely bad and if something is bad, then it is definitely connected to Russia. There is no basis on facts, just hate speech, similar to that of Islamic fanatics, only here they are anti-Russian fanatics. It is very primitive and wrong. I think the main mistake of Western countries is that they do not understand selfless sacrifice on a massive scale but only selfish aggression. One look at their colonial history will explain this.

    • avatar
      Yvetta

      This is what you are saying. Not what I have said. It would seem you do not understand neutral. And just to be clear there have been a number of election scandals surrounding Mr Putin and his friend Medvedev. So, democratically elected is not exactly what he is. Besides, Hitler also was democratically elected. Doesn’t say much. You can’t get ahead based on emotion, Maia.

    • avatar
      Maia Alexandrova

      Election scandals? 90% of Russians support their president, so there is no doubt about the democracy here. It is the EU that is disrespecting the will of Russian people, not Putin.

      Talking about emotions, anger and hatred are also emotions and they dominate the Western attitude towards Russia. As you can see, no one can be completely free of emotions, this is why we are human beings. Only it is better to allow the positive ones because they lead to progress. Negative emotions bring destruction and suffering. You can certainly not win an argument with those. The Ukrainian conflict is a glaring example of this, we can also include the futile sanctions regime against Russia.

    • avatar
      George

      Hi Maia, please, could you provide evidence of 90% of Russians supporting Putin as well as explain to us how the EU does not respect the will of the Russian people. Russia is not an EU member, so I am struggling to see what the EU has to do with it…

  11. avatar
    Peter Grom

    Russia invaded us and occupied us for 20 years, shooting innocent people on the streets. They are an enemy indeed. “Slavic brothers” my a**, look what they do (and did in the WW2) to another slavic nations. You can find the reason why our current government supports Russia in CVs of its members; Fico and both Lajcak went to Moscow university for international relationships (MGIMO), a recruiting office of KGB, during the communist dictatorship. I believe they obey orders received via direct line from Putin or FSB. This is a too complex topic to be discussed by written text in a Facebook discussion. But long story short, they are Russian agents receiving orders from Moscow since they were 20.

    • avatar
      Lina Kolesnikova

      According to your logic all graduates of American Universities have orders from CIA; former British students work for MI6? It seems you are still in Cold War mentality, Peter.

    • avatar
      Filodor

      The only country with a Cold War mentality here is Russia. Russia is the one who has drawn red lines regarding what the West can do economically and politically in the East and has threatened and even sued military force to enforce them (see Crimea).

      That is the essence of a Cold War mentality, thinking that you have the right to dictate to other nations what its legally constituted political bodies can and cannot do.

    • avatar
      Yvetta

      Filodor, I have to disagree with you. Apparently, Russia tried to join NATO 2-3 times but was told that it would never happen. And it all went down from there…

  12. avatar
    Josephine Cassar

    Are they? Yesterday I read that Bulgaria, a poorer country than Slovakia is making sure it breaks all ties and dependency on Russia re energy; more fools they and EU is not appealing then, IF true

  13. avatar
    ironworker

    It’s a slav thing I guess. Just picture it,”Mother Russia” in her wisdom decide in a quiet and sunny morning to send as a “token of love” few thousand tanks over Slovak border, to “protect” the little daughter against herself.

  14. avatar
    Dacii Sunt Stramosii Mei

    Because “Democracy” is stealing richness of many countries…like forests, gold, oil, gas. Because to pay a house now u need 50 years and u are not sure for a job. They are not looking to Russia. They are looking to their past. And many former comunist coutries weren’t rly friends with Russia.

  15. avatar
    hans van veen

    I can`t imagine one single working person with common sence ( ruling out politicians) who actually wants the join the common European mess called EU.
    Unfortunatly we depend on politicians who think otherwise and only have the large amount of European taxmoney in sight, to use in their own country.

  16. avatar
    catherine benning

    Because Russia is more conservative. They don’t insist the peoples of their nation change their moral compass overnight. Russia appears to be run by someone, Putin, who has not gone mad. His people appear to go along with his leadership.

    Their attitudes have not changed to coincide with the politically correct whims of the madhouse we, Europe, have become. And the people of the states that lean toward this form of conservatism feel safer with Russia. Wheareas Europe in with the immoral USA and its NATO freakism frightens them to death.

    What a surprise.

    Let me draw your hideous European top brass to what happened in Iran under the Shah. He tried to ‘modernise’ his people too rapidly and with what they felt were sick changes to their natural sense of a decent life, and as a result he fell. Europe is going to fall under the same tension for the same reasons. Too much change, too much perceived immorality, and overwhelming financial fraud. This medieval stance on our way of life and our expectations is what has brought Europe into the mess you created.

    • avatar
      Filodor

      Sorry, but I feel you are misguided in your approach.

      To my knowledge, it is only in Russia where pro-homosexual behaviours and symbols are punishable by prison.

      In the EU there is no law which states that if you go into the biggest square in your city and shout your opposition to homosexuality you will be prosecuted and sentenced to a long jail term.

      So, using your logic, it seems that Russia is the one that INSISTS that its people follow its leaders views of the world.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      @ Filodor:

      Actually what I wrote concerning the interpretation of immorality of the West not perceived as such by those who favour Russia, was not primarily to do with homosexuality. However, as you raise the idea that you cannot be punished by incarceration in European countries for speaking out against such practices, I think you should rethink that belief.

      You can and will be arrested and perhaps incarcerated in the UK, and, I’m sure in other European contries as well for voicing your disapproval of this kind of lifestyle.

      Read this link carefully, it is called ‘hate crime’ and that is a crime considered worthy of being banged up. Go over it line by line. And if you think it will end there, think again. Those who are making money out of this kind of legislation have to promote more ‘anti free speech’ to stay in business. And they will find any way they can to inhibit our right to freedom of thought or speech. It has already happened over and over in the UK.

      http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/anti-gay-pastor-facing-federal-lawsuit-for-crimes-against-humanity.html

      An very elderly couple who ran a Christian bed and breakfast business from their home was sued and fined for refusing two homosexual men the hospitality of their family bedroom as they used that home as a ‘part time business.’ The man in the couple collapsed and almost died of a massive heart attack. The gay couple, after winning a substantial sum of money from the pair, wanted to go at them in court again, for more money. The bed and breakfast couple were just ordinary people who had clearly advertised their home as a Christian centre for Christian believers. Their freedom of thought and belief was snatched from them overnight. And the act to sue was pre meditated to impoverish them for their beliefs.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10477636/Christian-BandB-owners-lose-Supreme-Court-battle-over-gay-discrimination.html

      Likewise a family bakery in Ireland, again Christian, was sued in a court of law for refusing to bake a cake that celebrated gay marriage. The cake incidentally cited Bert and Ernie, childrens puppets, as a pair of homosexuals who lived in a gay marriage. The law again found in favour of the homosexual customer as the bakery was said to have no right to their belief in a business of baking cakes. Whether they liked it or not, it was considered a ‘hate crime’ to object to having to participate in celebrating something they felt offended by.

      http://www.rte.ie/news/2015/0519/702111-ashers-cake/

      And as far as going out in a square to oppose homosexual marriage and adoption in the UK, and not being arrested for it. Are you kidding me? You could be and would be arrested simply for leaving leaflets giving verses in the bible that condemns such acts as sinful. And more importantly, you could be and more than likely would be arrested and charged with hate crime of you held a rally in a public square.

      So, you need to catch up on the rapid changes taking place in our ‘Christian’ society if you want to stay a head of the times. And one more observation, note these Stonewall and Civil rights agencies never ever try this on in an Islamic bed and breakfast hotel or bakery. Now I wonder why that is?

  17. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    What is this question for? Do you expect ANY COUNTRY to damage its relations with Russia to help a fascist putchist rule over Ukraine?

  18. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    I don’t know if they are.. but it makes some sense. Europe has become a dictatorship of 1 and a half men. Sad…

  19. avatar
    nando

    Why are some former socialist countries looking to Russia once more?
    – Because it makes no sense to continue with the Bush Era dogma of “you are with us or against us”, which is completely ludicrous unless, unless we want to continue fostering antagonism instead of cooperation.
    – Because the EU may have started to look like a less than completely desirable club!
    Brussels politicians beware!

  20. avatar
    Nando Aidos

    Why are some former socialist countries looking to Russia once more?
    – Because it makes no sense to continue with the Bush Era dogma of “you are with us or against us”, which is completely ludicrous unless, unless we want to continue fostering antagonism instead of cooperation.
    – Because the EU may have started to look like a less than completely desirable club!
    Brussels politicians beware!

  21. avatar
    Jonathan Hibberd

    And disrespectful to their own historical memories (Czechoslovakia 1968 and Hungary 1956). Short memories where there should’ve been solidarity.

  22. avatar
    James Campbell

    By chance, I am on holiday in Slovakia at the moment and have talked a lot about this issue with a Slovak friend who has a deep political insight.

    He says that many Slovaks are suspicious and jealous of American power. Those who are Catholic are inclined to blame the EU and USA for the decline of morals in Slovakia.

    The other issue is Russian propaganda. There is a strong engine of propaganda from Russia spawning all sorts of online media outlets across Europe. In Slovakia the propaganda takes the form of making common cause with Slovaks in the fight against the gay agenda, and the defence of Christian values.

    The current Slovak PM Fico is also an effective populist, handing out goodies before elections and appealing to people’s desire for strong leadership. Sympathy for Putin follows closely.

    My friend strongly believes that Slovaks are easy to manipulate, not having the democratic maturity that comes with decades and centuries of stable democracy. He lived in the UK for 4 years and so has a good perspective.

    • avatar
      Yvetta

      I agree with this comment. The West has not helped these countries in their transition to “democracy” and Western politics but is somehow expecting them to learn everything about it overnight. They would get enough…anyone would in their place. The latest example is Ukraine.

    • avatar
      hans van veen

      @Mr Campbell
      You`re judging PM Fico being an effective populist.
      Being Dutch native, I don`t know the man, unable to judge.
      But explain to me Your definition of an populist politician?

  23. avatar
    Eiza Jean-Jacques Descayrac

    This is all manipulation from US slowly building basis and market in the middle of Europe, and selling their products both in Russia and in Europe to compensate the lobbied sanctions on both sides :D!!! How long are we remaining so blind and stupid about the geopolitical division strategy about trade from both US and NSA?

  24. avatar
    Rudi Spoljarec

    Because their population became old, so they are voters for nostalgic old life with no competition . How could they compete , if they are old and tired and sick. They want everything should be agreed and insured through the statal and social policy. It’s been happening right now in ex-yu countries , the same as in ex soviet.

    • avatar
      Maia Alexandrova

      In Western European countries people’s wellbeing is ensured through generous social policies of the governments. Why do you think former socialist countries have to be different? People everywhere want the same.

  25. avatar
    Marcel

    I’m getting really tired of the belligerent attitude of the Polish and Baltic governments. For so long they complained about having Moscow dictate everything, but now they are dictated by Brussels and Washington yet think that they have ‘freedom’.

    • avatar
      sari

      Moscow illegally occupied Baltic countries and then dictated, while they chose to join EU themselves.That’s freedom of choice for you.

  26. avatar
    Nick Knight

    POland is Slavic, and we do not bend. Slovak’s are just weak, and need to be held to the fire. Weak countries, need to start to be held accountable or removed from the EU.

  27. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    Because the E.U and IMF so called Trojka has brought even worse “dictatorship” of what they expected! If the east European countries won’t be let to have a better life and the world financial elite is just using them for more profit, they will make a new alliance with Russia, which thus time won’t be based on communism like in Soviet times, but on true and equal partnership with Russia, China and the BRIC countries!

  28. avatar
    Ricco Vicont

    We have seen what you have for us already , perhaps we should try something more familiar :) !

    • avatar
      Mihai

      Adriana they invaded Ukraine, we all can demonize Russia now, thounsands of people died and keep dying, this is Europe, we all know what happens when europeans go to war, lets try to go over nationalistic pride, out future is in trade and prosperity.

  29. avatar
    Sarah EsEs

    Bcause east european countries hv slavic culture very close culture to russian.

  30. avatar
    Danny Valev

    ‘Cause it is hard to change the minds of the slaves… To change one is easy, but to change the all. Many people doesn’t know anything about the free life befor the comunism… And the russian propaganda spendin’ millions to save the deception in people’s minds. Those who has never lived under the comunism can’t imagine the disaster of this poison…

  31. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    Because EU failed to integrate some of the ex comunist states in Europe. As long as EU and some europeans believe that solidarity is taking from the poor(ex- communist statets) and giving it to the rich(greeks, italians, spains and etc) then this whole thing is comming an end.

  32. avatar
    Jason Picci

    Because they do not want to accept the Kalergi plan for the bastardisation of their race.

  33. avatar
    Rüdiger Lohf

    The former “satellites” could be a bridge between Russia and the EU. The russian people are much more closer to Europe as its government.

  34. avatar
    Ibrahim Uzun

    EU has become bureaucratic power instead of economic power,
    for example the Greek situation is a mess,
    the Ukrainian crisis start with the EU not knowing the Russia /Ukraine relation.
    England is another EU member wants to go OUT from the EU,
    Another question ?
    What’s the relation EU Turkey today ?
    Till yesterday Turkey was begging to join the eu today is sayin No.
    Even China’s economy is moving faster than the EU country’s.

  35. avatar
    Fernando De Rojas Parets

    Because EU has become another different thing… not of course a democratic, social, ecologic and progressive Europe, european valours she left some years ago and changed by bureaucracy, oligarquics, banks and neo-liberalism.

  36. avatar
    Joey Stack

    The EU hasn’t done enough to integrate all its member states properly; these countries feel neglected and unwanted by the EU and turn to those who offer comfort and friendship; the EU is dying a slow and painful death and it only has itself to blame

  37. avatar
    Georgi Tashev

    Because the EU has never had an interest in helping people and countries of the Union.
    We see what is happening in Bulgaria enslavement, and now Greece.

    And why not make cuts and eliminate bonuses in the EU administration.
    Or should we be slaves to have to pay thousands of euros, and bonuses for its administration

  38. avatar
    Paul Reichberg

    I think that the former central european states feel that the EU is to much under German/French control and that they desire a more nationalistic approach.

  39. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Simply because the EU failed to live up to their expectations. Look at what is happening in the Union. When the crisis hits and the leaders are failing to deal with it and make the citizens lives easier, people want to go back to what they had before and felt comfortable with it… In Slovakia, Britain, Greece, Austria.. Wherever… In Greece some people even are dreaming of the “good days” of the junta. In Croatia about the same days of the Tito and Yugoslavia… It is not the fault of the people, rather the leaders who made false promises.. Capitalism has its weaknesses and faults too. Don’t sugarcoat it. In Greece the government promised the people that once we joined the euro, we would be rich, as rich as Germany. Of course they failed to mention all other, important details! Is it any wonder that people now want out? Finally, we should also stop seeing Russia as the boogeyman! The country has long and strong ties with the rest of Europe.. The people is not the problem, its leadership is. The more the Russia bashing, the more people both inside and outside Russia will support Putin.. He and his ilk are the problem not Russia as a nation, which we should look to have closer ties with. And as someone else above mentioned, these countries such Slovakia, can play the role of the bridge!! So don’t bash them!

  40. avatar
    Christiane Vermoortel

    Why should Slovakia damage its ties to Russia ? Why could a EU country not be friends with Russia ? You seem to have less problems with EU countries that are friends with the US.

  41. avatar
    Ivan Burrows

    .

    Because the mask as slipped and people are beginning to see the antidemocratic EU for what it really is.

    The race to the exit as begun.

  42. avatar
    Nicola Antonopoulos

    European Union is a vision, is a culture is a practice in life and is an idea principally which is coming from the West! Eastern European Countries they didn’t had this idea. They where prepared to joint the EU because they couldn’t go elsewere after the financial colupse of the URSS. People in Eastern Europe wher looking more to USA as an opportunity in life then the EU and all young generations are speaking American. They received considerable financial support throught the PHARE and ISPA programs from the EU to bring their legislatives requirements in line with the EU “acquis”and hencence their structural capacity in the areas of transport and environment. Their accession on 1st may 2004 was a political decision because they were not ready at all to joint the EU respecting the EU requirements and practices. With the so called “crisis” they lost courage and consistency. The EU wasn’t any more the machine printing gratis money for them, they will not become reach as they thougt by joining. It is consequently normal that some of thems look back again to mamma Russia. In all that, one of the possible conclusions is that the EU don’y provides enought education to the peoples of Europe about the EU, its policies, to develop a European vision in the continent.

  43. avatar
    Vesselin Alexiev

    Small countries cannot afford to severe their relations with anyone, especially Russia and it’s large market for the Slovak products

  44. avatar
    Andras Bato

    Greeks are begging from the beggars! Not a smart way of life!!! Greek pensioners got three times as much pensions as Slovaks get. (I mention them because easy to compare taking into account both countries use €.) Hungarian pensioners get even less then Slovaks and the value of one HUF given in € converges to ZERO!!!

  45. avatar
    Emil Panayotoff

    I am Bulgarian and all I remember is that when I was child we missed nothing. Litteraly nothing and now I still miss nothing but I can’t get a normal salary in Bulgaria. I wish to say the the whole EU is a place for slavery. There are some very rich and the others works as slaves for less and less money each year. It is smart to invent crises but why don’t we people of Europe do a revolution (peaceful of course ) because they invent them so that they become richer and working people poorer. From that perspective Europe is dying and people are poorer and poorer each year. Even in France there are people who work for less than 25k per year… can you even imagine working for less than 25k. This should not be legal and each citizen must be guaranteed a revenue of 15k per year without having to work. When they do that you will see how rich everyone will become in Europe. We need a mixed system between both communism and capitalism. None of them is right by itself. So yes people are struggling and looking for real solutions which are not coming from the EU as power is corrupted and works only for those who already have money. We need a collective awakening.

  46. avatar
    Georgi Tashev

    All EU awaits him this fate. Because gang Crooks, MEPs and evropolititsi are logged in this Parliament for salary and lifetime bonuses then.
    Of course, and ego gratification that have power and enslavement of people, makes them great in their own eyes …

    By what right Europe wants Bulgaria to Greece after everything happened in Greece is guilty namely Europe, the EP …
    To pay so politicians who have allowed Parliament, the European parliament itself to stop bonuses, and to submit them to Greece for example.

    On what basis, the EU sets conditions of Bulgaria – or Europe or Russia ….
    What law prohibits this?
    In the name of what?

    And yes, there is not much life to this ‘union’.

  47. avatar
    Toni Muñiz

    Russia is a better option then the EU. At least Putin is not looking to turn Europe into a 3rd world country by uncontrolled migration and islamification by force.

  48. avatar
    Dionìs Koçi

    They didn’t even look to USSR back then, to begin with. It was USSR who INVADED them (well, most of them). Therefore, the ”ONCE MORE” part in this article is inappropriate, I have to say.

  49. avatar
    σαντυ αλεξανδρου

    Because they know best.Only Slovaki people can say.Maybe it’s because they belonged somewhere or because they were brought up in a different way and the rest of Europe looks bizarre to them. It’s even bizarre for us with the flexible non existing principals.

  50. avatar
    Eva Benko Zoltan

    The answer is obviosus. They were more sattisfied with them before. No austerity, everybody was paying equal taxes, far more justice. there were thieves there too, but they had a limit , they could rob. It was a far more human society.Those who robbed little pushed us into capitalism to be able to rub more and they became tne novorich of these countries.

  51. avatar
    Kerry Givens

    Energy Security is eessential in European economics. Russia is still a regional power with global projection capabilities. The Russian Federation is the 3rd largest energy producer in the world and holds the world’s largest nuclear ballistic arsenal. They also have air land and sea superiority over the Baltic, Caucus and Central Asian regions.

  52. avatar
    Jean Pierre Ellul

    Because the eu is showing signes og failure for exampel greece whilst Russia is becoming stronger both financially and milatary

  53. avatar
    Petio Peshov

    Why the ex communist countries have to turn their back on Russia? Same religion, close slavic origin and cultue, the alphabet…Being in EU does not meen being ennemi with others. It has to be a commun agreement. I think actually, the USA are more agressive than Russia. Military bases in Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Baltic countries without refferendum, TITP agreement, GMO lobby…The EU deciders do not deserve the EU citizens thrust, they do not represent it and the EU is not just political and economical union but social too! So start working to build a real Europe ! Even the young people doing all the hard work in the institutions dont thrust the deciders because working in the EU is a vocation, a cause and not just a boring desk work. The EU needs to be more productive and needs more direct democracy (refferendums, initiatives, petitions…). Deciders use the crisis to shut the peoples’ voice.

  54. avatar
    Eli Gerus

    Cause they arent socialists anymore and Russia isnt either. New situation, new regimes. so let US give them try…

  55. avatar
    Peter Sincak

    I think Slovakia – as any other country realize that “money talks”. So We should have a healthy bussines relation with any country including Russia , China and the others – certainly except extreme cases. IF not we – then WESTERN counties will :) :) – I never forget when former president of CzechoSlovakia – Vaclav Havel – stopped Military production in 1989 – next day – the Americans and other companies – where there… So – pls do not play this GAME. We want to have a normal bussines relation to any country worldwide which are not extreme…. And Russia ????? Why is IBM in Russia, Why is Google in Russia, Why are other companies in Russia ?????

  56. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    Nick knight is a morron, who is insulting many nations, as well as his own, so it should be banned forever from Facebook!

  57. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    I JUST READ THIS RECENT STORY ABOUT WHAT IS THE E.U. IS DOING WITH THE EAST EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, JUST LISTEN: We all remember when they forced us into economic sanctions against Russia, because of Ucraine situation. We lost not only the traditional trading and economic business partners in Russia, but they also stopped the project of “Southern Europe gas channel” which was suppose to import gas from Russia through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary into the E.U. These east European countries invested millions of euros before in the project, Bulgarians even started to build it, because they were signed contracts from the E.U.! When the Ucraine crisis started, they stoped the project, saying that it would be unfair, “undemocratic” to trade with the Russian Gasprom in this situation! Guess what- the German E.on giant company just signed the contract with the Gasprom weeks ago, that they will import the gas through the Baltic sea, which will cost 4 times more to build it, than the original channel would have been through east Europe! They say, this is “democratic” and does not harm any european sanctions, as the route will come under the sea! Guess what?! We are so fooled, that we will beleive that this deal will import “democratic gas” as the previous project through eastern Europe would have been very “undemocratic gas” import…

  58. avatar
    Hugo Oliveira

    Because they can see the corruption in Europe, but not in Russia. Russia knows how to hide the bad stuff from the west.

  59. avatar
    catherine benning

    I thought about this threads question this morning whilst carrying out daily ablutions. And then, I believe, fate, led me to this article in the Guardian.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/21/cashier-at-us-capitol-work-two-jobs-minimum-wage

    The articulate woman who wrote this moving story of life for the modern human in a Capitalist world confirmed everything I already knew. But, more than that, it summed up the reason for a return to socialist values. And indeed why this set of people are looking to Russia. Once more to fight for life for ordinary people has had to look back to the days when respect for quality of life and family was the main mover and shaker in our political class. Because, unless they showed their worth they didn’t get elected. Which makes this story powerfully reveal the move toward an undemocratic, unelected shift to financail control is not in the best interests of any nation. This women is leading the life of a slave right there in the midst of those who claim to be ‘leaders of the free world.’ No question about it. And it is going to get worse.

    She hasn’t, for one breath she takes, reasoned that the man in her life should be out there earning the bacon in order to allow them all to be healthy and thrive. And that removing this notion from a society leaves women and dead infants the scapegoat of so called ‘feminism.’ The implied disgrace of motherhood and its needs ridiculed and thwarted at every turn by women themselves.

    My heart goes out to the writer of this piece. Not simply because of the resulting tragedy of her life on Capitol Hill, but mostly because she has no understanding of the role men played in our lives when they were husbands and fathers, the way my Dad was. And all the Dad’s in my family before him. And early grave and dead babies are not a price to pay for any political experiment.

    Where have our brave men gone? And why have they walked away from the responsibility of their existence?

  60. avatar
    Ivan Burrows

    .

    The dream of the EU’s founding fathers is dead so of course they are going to be on friendly terms with Russia.

  61. avatar
    Robert mason

    ‘US’ and ‘THEM’ is in human nature. Democracy doesn’t work for the benefit of all, neither does Communism. If Slovakia tries to be ‘adult’ in its relations between Russia and the EU/’West then perhaps other countries could resume a similiar ‘adult’ approach to working and living alongside each other. We have a long history of conflicts yet still we fail to learn.

  62. avatar
    Jean-Jacques Eiza Lauture Descayrac

    We should not create a new iron curtain, not respecting pre-agreement between these countries and Russia (CEI). This is not a comprehensive and knowledgeable Geopolitic. New trade agreements should be fully respecting these pre-agreements as well as the local native peoples votes and mixed families speaking Russian civil-societies communities wishes. This would be beneficial for all respectives economies.

  63. avatar
    Lamborghini P.

    They perhaps look at Russia for his new and found again strength. And I agree with Hugo Oliveira. Quotes: “Because they can see the corruption in Europe, but not in Russia. Russia knows how to hide the bad stuff from the west.”

  64. avatar
    Kate Berecz

    Disagree..and as a (although only on paper) Slovak I really hope that the answer is NO. We already learned once a negative lesson in past… and besides the rumors Slovakia is stil part of the EU… and obliged to stick to EU Laws primarily….

  65. avatar
    JJ Lauture

    These countries also know that what Russia say is often worth and independant and it balances the pro-US views. Moreover there is a totally unfair censure from media of anything valid which could be said from Russia. As an example take Putin 60 minute speech at the UN almost nothing has filtered in the media despite is speech is fully informative and self explicit. http://www.sott.net/article/302911-Full-unedited-text-of-Vladimir-Putins-interview-with-Charlie-Rose-What-CBS-left-out

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