Slovakia’s new Culture Minister Martina Šimkovičová has reversed a ban on cooperating with Belarus and Russia, Slovak publication Pravda reported on Jan. 20, citing leaked documents.
The ministry issued the ban on communicating and cooperating with both countries a week after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, 2022. This did not affect the performances of Russian artists or organizations that spoke out against the war.
The reversal is effective Jan. 22, according to the leaked documents. Šimkovičová told reporters that there are dozens of military conflicts in the world that artists and culture should not be paying for.
Šimkovičová had been dropped by a private Slovak TV channel after sharing anti-refugee content on social media. Since then, she has broadened her repertoire into homophobic, pro-Russian and anti-establishment messaging.
Hromadske reported that Šimkovičová worked for several TV channels that emphasize conspiracy theories.
In 2016, she was elected to parliament, but was expelled from her conservative party for voting for herself and for a fellow party MP and fined for breaching parliamentary conduct. She refused to resign and served as an independent MP.