Fact Check: Slovak President's Former Campaign Manager NOT A 'Dubious' Israeli

Overovanie Faktov

  • podľa: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Slovak President's Former Campaign Manager NOT A 'Dubious' Israeli Wrong Origin

Did the Slovak president Zuzana Caputova employ a dubious campaign manager from Israel during her candidacy in 2019? No, that's not true: Caputova's campaign manager Martin Burgr is a renowned political marketing strategist from Slovakia. The claim connects Caputova and her former party Progressive Slovakia (PS) to an anti-semitic conspiracy theory, where George Soros and the like conduct all democratic forces in Slovakia. Lead Stories debunked already similar claims.

This claim appeared in an article, (archived here), published by ereport.sk on July 5, 2023, under the title "Gustav Murin: This is the truth about Progressive Slovakia, which 'gave' us Valla and Caputová!" It stated (translated from Slovak to English by Lead Stories staff):

She [Caputova] indeed won the presidential election in the summer of 2019 (again, with the rich support of the PS and backers from behind the scenes, and a shady campaign manager from Israel).

This is what the article looked like at time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-09-11 at 18.23.10.png

(Source: ereport.sk screenshot taken on Mon Sep 16:23:10 2023 UTC)

Web Ereport was established by Fedor Flasik, a former campaign manager for Robert Fico's Smer SSD party, which currently leads in the election polls.

The claim belongs to a broader narrative surrounding Progressive Slovakia, the party once represented by Zuzana Caputova as vice-chairwoman before her presidential bid. Progressive Slovakia is shaping up as a significant rival to Fico's Smer SSD in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

Robert Fico and his party members have been launching allegations against both Zuzana Caputova and Progressive Slovakia, insinuating that George Soros is the mastermind behind their endeavors. He has even labeled Caputova an "American agent."

Such allegations draw from Caputova's history with the NGO, Via Iuris, which received financial backing from the Slovak branch of the Open Society Foundation, an organization founded by George Soros. However, the Slovak Open Society Foundation has been autonomous from the main OSF structure for many years. Moreover, no concrete evidence suggests that Soros had any control over Caputova's actions or decisions. A court has according to earlier Lead Stories' findings dismissed the notion that Caputova could be classified as a foreign agent.

Contrary to the insinuations, there is no concrete indication that George Soros possesses any significant influence over Progressive Slovakia. Data from Transparency International Slovakia highlights that the primary creditors to the financial backers of Progressive Slovakia are local entrepreneurs. This is further supported by the party's list of lenders, where no trace of Mr. Soros is seen.

Ereport, has published the false claim regarding Caputova's campaign manager as a citation of a social media post by Gustav Murin, an author formerly associated with the Slovak public television RTVS, who has been the center of controversy due to his association with the conspiracy magazine "Zem a Vek" (Earth and Age).

Murin has made several contentious claims, such as challenging the investigative credentials of Jan Kuciak, the journalist who exposed corruption scandals during Robert Fico's leadership and was killed in 2018. Additionally, Murin filed a criminal complaint against the "orchestrators" of the post-murder protests, which subsequently played a role in prompting Fico's resignation as Prime Minister. He claimed that these demonstrations were orchestrated by foreigners.

He has also been a featured guest on conspiracy platforms like "Slobodný vysielač" and "InfoVojna" (Information War). Notably, he remains a key figure behind the conspiracy magazine "Zem a Vek." On social media platforms like Facebook, Murin frequently spreads content from various Slovak and Czech disinformation sources.

  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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