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The Murder

The Murder

The offer was straightforward and financially attractive: Kill a man in return for 50,000 euros in cash and the forgiveness of more than 20,000 euros in debt. Zoltán Andruskó, a Slovak pizzeria operator, quickly accepted – a decision that forever changed both his life and the history of Slovakia. The woman Andruskó said offered the deal was Alena Zsuzsová, an Italian translator and fixer who worked for one of Slovakia’s richest men, Marián Kočner. Sitting together in a car outside her house, Zsuzsová gave Andruskó the details: a name, a couple of photos, and a home address. It was all...

How the Mafias Came to Slovakia

How the Mafias Came to Slovakia

The Balkan mafias were the first major crime syndicates to come to Slovakia, following people from the region who had been invited to work and study there during the communist era. As their businesses spread across their new homeland, so did their influence, which they used to dominate the only organized criminal industries possible under the communist regime: prostitution, gambling, and illegal currency exchanges. When Slovakia gained its independence in 1993, the organized crime syndicates remained and flourished. Soon enough, the Italian mafia joined the former Yugoslavs and the Albanians. Today — though known for its relatively painless transition from...

Modern Fascists Are No Longer Skinheads

Modern Fascists Are No Longer Skinheads

In autumn 2018 , a new documentary When the war comes about Slovenskí Branci (Slovak Recruits – translation VSquare) was released. Its director Jan Gebert spent three years filming a group of Slovak nationalists. The documentary captured the beginning of the successful way of Peter Švrček, the leader of Slovenskí Branci. The director himself says that a huge increase of similar groups is not a local problem in Slovakia. It is a global trend and also a reaction of part of the East European society to the last 30 years of democracy and capitalism. Their ideology doesn’t remain on the margins of...

Eastern Kinderguardians

Eastern Kinderguardians

Children marching in raincoats with gas masks over their faces. It is a memory that comes to the minds of people who went to school in the Czech Republic before 1989. After the Soviet Union break-up, the picture of national defence education disappeared from the life of schools, just as compulsory Russian classes. The memory came back to life in 2012. The Czech Ministry of Defence came up with a new idea. A report on the nation’s preparedness to defend the country mentions a major problem: “the issue of preparing people to defend the country is not sufficiently highlighted in the curricula of...

Uniform for a Patriot

Uniform for a Patriot

School celebrations, patriotic marches and national holidays. All accompanied by ever-present weapons and green uniforms. In countries of the Central Europe patriotism increasingly means militarism, and civil values are being displaced by the cult of weapons and combat. Nobody controls this movement. VSquare special report shows, that states are supporting amateur militarists on an unprecedented scale.  Two or three years of compulsory military service for everyone. School exercises where teens have to shoot, crawl wearing gas masks and dress fake shrapnel wounds. In cinemas, war shown as an adventure. This is what the governments of Warsaw Pact states did to...

The Implant Files

The Implant Files

The Implant Files is a global investigation that tracks the harm caused by medical devices that have been tested inadequately or not at all. Led by editors and reporters from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, it took a year to plan and another year to complete. ICIJ partnered with more than 250 journalists in 36 countries, including investigace.cz, to examine how devices are tested, approved, marketed and monitored. Anchoring the probe is an analysis of more than 8 million device-related health records, including death and injury reports and recalls. Millions of people’s lives have been saved, extended or made better...