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Putin’s Fifth Column Is Headed To The European Elections

At this year’s elections to the European Parliament, we will also see Zoran Stevanović’s party (The Truth) partake. Stevanović, a municipal councillor in the municipality of Kranj, became better known to the wider public during the term of the previous government, when he led the anti-government protests. However, he is seen by many as a sympathiser of the aggressor Russia, with photos circulating on social media of him standing proudly shoulder to shoulder with the former and current Russian ambassadors to Slovenia, and a portrait of Russian aggressor Vladimir Putin.

In the wake of the Brussels scandal, where it was discovered that Russian money also ended up in the pockets of certain Members of the European Parliament, news has spread that the party will be betting on some well-known faces in the upcoming elections to the European Parliament. In addition to the party’s president, Zoran Stevanović, the list includes, among others, journalist and former correspondent of the Delo newspaper from the Russian Federation, Polona Frelih, former actress Tanja Ribič, the writer and columnist Branko Gradišnik, and the doctors Sabina Senčar and Stanko Pušenjak. You can likely remember all of them for their strong opinions on the anti-Covid-19 measures, but now they have become the promoters of the conspiracy theory that the war in Ukraine is the fault of the West.

Stevanović led rallies against vaccination and compliance with covid measures

Stevanović’s involvement during the Janša government, when he led protests criticising the measures adopted to limit the spread of Covid-19, led many to believe that Stevanović was hoping to enter politics, which later turned out to be true. Although Stevanović did not succeed in entering national politics, his list (the Civil Movement managed to get five councillors elected to the Kranj City Council.


Two photographs, one of Stevanović standing shoulder to shoulder next to the long-serving Russian ambassador Doku Zavgayev with an image of the Moscow Kremlin in the background, the other of him standing near the current Russian ambassador to Slovenia, Timur Eyvazov, with a portrait of Putin in the background, rightly give many the impression that the leader of the party is a big supporter of Russia, even though the latter mercilessly attacked neighbouring Ukraine on the 24th of February 2022,  with which it is still at war today.

Since the beginning of the war, the European Union has been united in condemning Russian aggression and defending Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, which is why it has been working to adopt sanctions against the aggressor, alongside providing military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. In the event that one of Stevanović’s candidates were to succeed in being elected to the European Parliament, the question arises as to whether they would even consider following the values on which the European Union is based, or whether they would simply represent Putin’s interests in the heart of Europe. This question arises particularly if Polona Frelih, a former correspondent of the newspaper Delo from the Russian Federation, who is known for her pro-Russian views, were to be elected. For example, in the past, she has made it known, among other things, that Putin was supposedly “lured” into a war in Ukraine, and, unlike Yevgeny Prigozhin, Putin’s former closest ally, she has also described Putin as the best solution for Russia.

The link between covid sceptics and Putin’s followers

If anyone is wondering how it is that covid sceptics – a group which certainly includes Tanja Ribič as well – fit into the story of the party, it is also worth pointing out the findings of a University of Vienna study from two years ago (which can be accessed here:, which found a link between the rejection of covid vaccination, believing in covid conspiracy theories, and the acceptance of Putin’s position, which puts the blame for the war in Ukraine squarely on the USA.

A. H.

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