Just a couple of weeks ago, Slovakia had the foresight to send the payment for gas to the Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of March instead of April 20, when the sum was officially supposed to be paid. By doing so, the Ministry of Economy under the leadership of Richard Sulík gained some precious time. But the next payment is due today, 20 May.

The problem is that Putin only accepts payments in roubles from the countries in the European Union, while the EU says that creating an account in roubles constitutes a breach of their sanctions against Russia.

TREND.sk · TRENDY Fridays: Slovakia can’t afford to lose Russian gas

Sulík assured the public that he would do anything to ensure Russia does not cut the country off its gas, like it happened in Bulgaria and Poland, where Putin sealed off the gas supply. Sulík said Slovakia would send the payment in euros to the account of Gazprombank, where it will be converted into roubles and sent further to Gazprom.

The Slovak Union of Bakers, Confectioners, and Pasta Makers (SZPCC) have pointed out that without Russian gas, they won’t be able to produce their goods. Their data suggests that almost all Slovak bakeries use gas to produce heat. A potential transition to another source of energy would be financially difficult and cause a rise in the prices of basic foods.

Bakeries will not initiate a change in the production process due to the high costs associated with it, which would increase the cost of their products and therefore decrease their ability to compete in the market. There is therefore a risk of serious problems if the country is cut off from Russian gas.

Crime & court news

The National Criminal Agency (NAKA) has detained Štefan Harabin, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Slovakia. He was detained because of his Facebook status, in which he condoned the acts of Putin regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Members of the Slovak Parliament Andrej Stančík and Kristián Čekovský from the OĽANO party view the detention as “a signal that no one in the country is untouchable”.

In another news, the Procurator of the Special Procurator’s Office charged the former director of the Slovak Information Service (SIS) Vladimír Pčolinský with accepting a bribe and abuse of power by a public official among other offences. Zoroslav Kollár, a bankruptcy lawyer, is currently accused of giving a bribe to the former SIS director not to monitor him. A couple of days ago, he confessed and struck a plea bargain.

Finally, last week the long-awaited trial relating to the famous hotel Carlton was supposed to begin. Businessman Erik Mikurčík is accused of trying to rob his former partners of 45m euros by transferring the hotel. However, the process was delayed again due to urgent medical reasons on the side of the Procurator.

Other stories of the week

  • The child benefit will increase to 100 euros for the month of May in order to help families with dependent children with the sharp rise in prices. This one-off measure will apply to 1.12 million dependent children. The sum will be paid in June and then go back to the normal amount.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová admitted she made a mistake when she awarded a state decoration to three members of the illegal anti-communist organisation White Legion. After historian Adam Šumichrast pointed out their involvement in the Hlinka Youth, the President launched an internal investigation into the process of selecting names for the award.
  • According to a recent poll of Ukrainian refugees, more than half of the respondents said they would like to stay in Slovakia even after the war, and despite language barriers, almost 80% of them are actively looking for work. Half of those who have found a job will be working in Bratislava.

Thank you for reading.

See you next week.

Dôchodca, dôchodok, penzista

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