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Media: Slovakia grants temporary protection to man accused of running pro-Russian propaganda network

by Martin Fornusek May 1, 2024 3:23 PM 2 min read
Artem Marchevskyi. (Artem Marchevskyi/Facebook)
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Ukrainian-Israeli citizen Artem Marchevskyi, accused by the Czech authorities of running a Moscow-paid propaganda network from Prague, has been granted temporary protection in neighboring Slovakia, the Czech news outlet Denik N reported on April 30, citing its undisclosed sources.

Marchevskyi and pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, who lives in Russia, were accused by Czechia back in March of spreading disinformation and funding Kremlin-friendly politicians in the EU.

After the Czech authorities put both men under sanctions, Marchevskyi left his Prague residence for Slovakia. The Slovak government is currently led by Prime Minister Robert Fico, who is known for his anti-Ukrainian rhetoric and warm stances toward the Kremlin.

Marchevskyi had been living in Czechia since 2022, where he reportedly arrived shortly after the outbreak of the full-scale war and was given temporary protection as a Ukrainian "refugee."

Denik N said that the reason for his departure from Ukraine was not so much the war itself but an investigation by Ukrainian authorities into his suspected cooperation with Russia.

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Prague was planning to cancel Marchevskyi's EU residency status after his purported role in the Voice of Europe disinformation network was uncovered, but this was possible only 60 days after the sanctions came into force.

These plans were thwarted by the decision by the Slovak Interior Ministry to grant Marchevskyi temporary protection in Slovakia, which meant that the Czech authorities could no longer affect his residency status in the EU, the sources told Denik N.

The Kyiv Independent could not immediately verify the claims.

The Slovak Interior Ministry told Reuters that it was looking into the case together with the country's intelligence services but declined to provide further comments.

The supposed activities of Marchevskyi, Medvedchuk, and the Voice of Europe have prompted investigations in several EU countries. Belgium and Czechia believe that the main goal of the influence operation was to support pro-Russian politicians in the June elections for the European Parliament.

How Czechia busted Russian propaganda network targeting European elections
The Czech government announced on March 27 that it had uncovered a Moscow-financed propaganda network that sought to influence European politics and turn public opinion against aiding Ukraine. Prague named Viktor Medvedchuk, a Kremlin-linked former Ukrainian oligarch, and Artem Marchevskyi, a media…
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