Possible Russian meddling in the Slovenian elections was detected when an NGO, believed to be a special-purpose vehicle for avoiding campaign financing rules for the SvoboDA party, offered free taxi rides to voters in their stronghold Ljubljana.
The SvoboDA was registered a few weeks before the election, and its financing is not transparent. The party president Mr Robert Golob is a former director of Slovenian energy company GEN-I with close ties to Russian Gazprom. Mr Golob is also former vice president of the political party of Mr Zoran Jankovic, who received the Order of Friendship, considered one of the most prestigious Russian awards, from Mr Vladimir Putin.
Mr Dejan Jefim, a businessman with close ties to Serbia, Russia, and Mr Jankovic, finances the taxi rides. Mr Jefim has been a regional manager for the Russian multinational Yandex, but in his own words, he does not work for Yandex anymore. This claim can’t be independently verified. Mr Jefim is also the owner of an IT company that holds 80% market share in the IT equipment for taxi services in Slovenia. Interestingly enough, at the same time, Mr Jefin is also the president of the union of Slovenian taxi drivers.
The vice president of SvoboDA party, Mrs Marta Kos, is a vocal opponent of sending arms to Ukraine and promotes dialogue with Moscow instead.