Fico shooter: not a lone wolf after all?

In connection with the assassination attempt against Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, Minister of the Interior Matús Sutaj Estok announced that an investigative group had been established. The investigative group’s starting place is that Fico’s shooter was not a lone wolf.

Fico was hit with four bullets last Wednesday. Doctors at the hospital said today that his condition was stable and he was improving.

The minister of the interior said:

Two hours after the murder attempt, all Facebook and communication history of the  perpetrator was deleted from his home computer. The culprit himself could not do it, because he was detained on the spot. The investigators established that his wife could not touch the IT devices either. Therefore, the head of the ministry believes that the possibility that a group is behind the crime must be taken into account. 

Matús Sutaj Estok did not specify which group he was referring to, thus giving ample room for speculation. However, it was Matús Sutaj Estok who, two days ago, most definitely asserted that the perpetrator had no accomplices, that he alone planned and carried out the attempted assassination.

Now there is the suspicion that he had at least one accomplice, someone who had access to the IT devices stored in the shooter’s apartment.

It need not have been done by entering the apartment if someone had remote access. But even in that case, access could be made only with the cooperation of the owner of the computer, seemingly unlikely as the shooter,  71-year-old Juraj Cintula was under arrest.

The usual question at this time must be asked: in whose interest was the attempted murder of Fico? There is no doubt that Fico was an “unpleasant” politician, for both Brussels and Washington, primarily because he stopped military aid to Ukraine and opposed the continuation of the war – calling instead for a ceasefire and peace talks.

Of course, this does not mean that the outstretched hand of Washington, the CIA, is behind the assassination. But they don’t see it that way in Moscow. 

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, who is famous for his outspokenness, sent a message to the rest of the world: “Is it really surprising that for the first time in decades in Europe there was an assassination attempt against a PM who held a sensible stand on Russia? And not a pro-Russian one, for that matter; just a pragmatist and not a Russophobe,” the Russian said via X, a Telegraph channel and the Russian news media.

Comparing the Fico shooter to Gavrilo Princip, who is considered to have triggered World War I by assassinating the Archduke Ferdinand, Medvedev continued:

Yes, the assassin is a fierce renegade from among the intellectuals, a certain topsy-turvy version of Gavrilo Princip. Yes, he wasn’t fond of Fico, and would write some crap. However, his action stands for the quintessential new Europe, moronically Russophobic, feudatory unbridled, and completely brainless; devoid of any desire to grasp the simplest things; ready to throw its citizens into the furnace of self-serving American politics; the Europe of detestable degenerates with no knowledge of their own history.

The Russian politician said that French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen – who do not share Fico’s views on the Ukraine War – “can so far feel safe for their skins.” He repeated “So far.”

Whatever one might think of Medvedev’s statement, there are multiple signs that a serious conspiracy is not out of the question. For those who follow Slovakian news accounts of the investigation, there are things that definitely need to be explained

For example, the assassination took place on Wednesday last week, but the competent judge did not allow the police to search Cintula’s apartment until Friday. Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinák could not give any explanation for this. 

Furthermore, there was no ambulance at the scene, even though it was very far from the capital, there was no hospital available nearby. Fico had to be taken by helicopter to another city.

Fico was dragged into his service car in a way that could worsen the victim’s condition in the case of such a serious injury. No escape routes were designated at the scene. The clothing of the security men was also unsatisfactory. They were wearing street shoes, even though they should have been wearing the usual field shoes at this time.

The security guards let Fico move forward when the prime minister approached the cordon, which is also against the rules” The security guards should have gotten there first. 

On the other side of the cordon, in the crowd, Slovakian news reports add, there were no security people to watch the people from behind or blend into the crowd.

According to experts, at least three or four seconds were needed for the five shots fired. During this time, no one intervened. Only after the assassination was Cintula pulled down by the police and security people.

Peter G Feher is a Budapest-based journalist who writes for Magyar HírlapThis report first appeared on Stephen Bryen’s Substack Weapons and Strategy and is republished with kind permission.

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