Bugar: I Perceive Russia Differently than Danko

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Bratislava, January 4 (TASR) – It’s in the interest of Slovakia to have a good relationship with Russia; however, we are refusing Crimea’s annexation, Parliamentary Vice-chair and Most-Hid leader Bela Bugar said in an interview with TASR on Thursday.

Bugar disagrees with the opinion that Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS) should not have paid a visit to Russia. He does not criticise the speech delivered by Danko in Russia’s State Duma; however, he pointed out that it was not planned. Bugar has a bit different opinion on Russia than Danko.

Bugar admitted that they warned Danko against potential critical reactions to his speech. “And these came, as we expected. However, I’ll never admit the argument that paying a visit to Russia was a mistake. Those who claim this don’t know what it means to defend Slovakia’s interests,” said Bugar. He noted that German company Mercedes was opening its new branch in Russia at the time the Slovak delegation was paying a visit to the country. “There was the German president,” he stressed.

According to Bugar, we should not forget about the gas pipeline, either. “If its route avoids Slovakia, it would be a shortfall for the state budget. With whom are we able to agree, for example, on a reverse flow? With Russians. It’s in our interest. Meanwhile, we should not forget about the Government Manifesto, where we’ve declared that we want to be in the EU and NATO. And we do respect it, for example, in the armament of the Slovak Army,” added the parliamentary vice-chair.

Concerning Danko’s statements that Russia is a country that solves conflicts through correct dialogue, Bugar said this is Danko’s opinion. “I view Russia differently. It’s unacceptable what this country is doing in Crimea and Ukraine. Therefore, it was good that sanctions have been extended,” stated Bugar.

Bugar said we should not forget about the fact that Russia has been and will be intervening in democratic systems through cyber technologies. “There’s a need to prepare for this. This war is no longer conventional and we must protect our interests. It’s in our interest to be in NATO, to be strong partners in the EU, PESCO etc. However, it’s okay if we maintain an economic relationship with other countries, too,” he said, adding that Danko as a graduate of law studies understands this.

Danko recently defended his speech in Russia’s State Duma before members of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee. He insisted that the opportunity to provide a speech to the State Duma that he was given last November was not only an honour for him, but for the entire Slovak nation.

“I refuse to come down on any nation based on ideology. I refuse to come down on Germany for Nazism and Russia for Communism. People should come together through communication; it’s necessary to engage in dialogue with everybody,” said Danko, rejecting also a black-and-white view of doing politics.