Janez Janša: We got up and survived

Fotoquelle: Demokracija

Janez Janša

We got up and survived

(Analysis of the turning points of inde­pen­dence and the war for Slovenia in 1991)

30 years of Slovenia’s independence

2021
Ljubljana


FOREWORD

It was Wednesday, 26 June, when Slovenia declared its independen­ce (the Decla­ra­tion on the Inde­pen­dence of Slovenia and the Basic Consti­tu­tional Charter on the Inde­pen­dence and Auto­nomy of the Re­public of Slovenia were adopted the day before), there­fore it actually became an inde­pen­dent and sover­eign state. That same night, the Yu­goslav People’s Army (YPA) laun­ched an armed aggres­sion against the young country, which offi­cially ended in ten days, with the defeat of the YPA. These days stand out the most from the time of Slovenia’s in­dependence, which can be extended from 1987, when the famous 57th issue of the Nova revija journal was published, enti­tled “Contri­bu­tions to the Slove­nian National Program”, to 1992, when Slovenia had been reco­gnized by most countries.

The Slove­nian nation has been severely tested many times in history, but it has nevertheless survived for many centu­ries. Love for the home­land, nation, culture, tradi­tion, reli­gion and family have kept it alive in a some­times very hostile envi­ron­ment. We have even survived commu­nism, the worst and the evil­lest tota­li­ta­ria­nism of all times, because we had faith and because we learned from our ances­tors what it means to be Slove­nian. That is because we have patrio­tism in our genes and we have always known that we are special: good, hard­wor­king and peace­ful, and that there­fore, no threat would sway us. When the time came and we were faced with a serious threat of being thrown in the cauldron of the Balkans, and forever erased from the Euro­pean memory, we took our swords and rebelled against the Yugo­slav enemy and won. That was how we gained our country 30 years ago on this beau­tiful piece of Earth, where our grand­sires settled and grew roots a long time ago.

This booklet was issued for a special purpose. In one place, it conta­ins three basic texts that are important for under­stan­ding inde­pen­dence and the war for Slovenia. They were written by Janez Janša, the then Minister of Defence and the current Prime Minister, who was a key actor during that period. The first text is an analysis of the turning points of inde­pen­dence, which was first published in the White Book. In it, the author gives a detailed descrip­tion of the time between 1990 and 1991, when Slovenia was inter­na­tio­nally isolated in its inde­pen­dence aspirati­ons, and events in the domestic poli­tical field, how the left oppo­si­tion at that time hindered Demos and made pacts with the federal government of the then Yugo­s­lavia. All those who more or less openly opposed the inde­pen­dent state later took power and shared the credit for the inde­pendent state, while the main inde­pen­dence acti­vists were perse­cuted and sent to prison with false accu­sa­tions and mounted trials.

The second text is an analysis of the war for Slovenia, which was first published as a fore­word to the book War for Slovenia. In it, the author analyses the mili­tary conflict that ended in the defeat of the aggressor YPA due to the unity of the nation. “The unity of the nation, the courage of its armed part, the strong poli­tical will of the Demos government coali­tion under the leadership of Dr. Jože Pučnik and the self-initia­tive of a multi­tude of indi­vi­dual comman­ders of tactical units of the TO and the police forged a victory in the war for Slovenia. A victory elevated in its fina­lity to the Slove­nian Olympus, a victory more important than all the battles that our ances­tors unfor­tu­n­a­tely often fought also on behalf of others through the vortices of the ungra­teful history of past centu­ries,” wrote Janša.

The third text is a preface to the III. edition of the book Premiki (Mo­vements), which sold nearly 100,000 copies. In the intro­duc­tory text, Janez Janša shares his memo­ries and analyses the events from the time he was arrested (1988) to the inter­na­tional reco­gni­tion of the new state. The intro­duc­tion and the III. edition are important because the author talks about docu­ments and also reveals some docu­ments which were not yet known at the time of the first edition of the book (1992), but are very important for under­stan­ding Slove­nian inde­pen­dence. As this is a priceless docu­ment about a certain time, we keep Janša’s text in its inte­gral form, as it was published at the time. The booklet also in­cludes photo­graphs and graphs, as well as a message from the Prime Minister to Slove­nians on the occa­sion of 2020 National Day.

Our descen­dants need to know how we built sover­eignty, how we felt love for the home­land, and how grateful we were for that moment in history. But they also need to know who opposed it. Not to condemn or perse­cute anyone, but simply because these are facts. Today’s ro­manticising of the history that Slovenia gained its sover­eignty easily is a distor­tion of the facts and serves as an excuse for those who sabo­taged ever­ything the Demos government did at key moments. It is true that the nation was united, but the poli­tical tran­si­tional left was doing ever­ything they could at that time so that Slovenia would not get its own army nor become inde­pen­dent, but rather remain in the Balkan cauldron.

And today, 30 years after we fought the aggressor and proc­laimed our country, we witness with worries that the youth is not certain anymore if Slovenia is a good thing, nor that a love for one’s country is necessary for the preser­vice of a nation. The young believe that the feeling of na­tional pride and of belon­ging to Slove­nia­ness is reac­tionary. While the media and the popular culture were streng­t­he­ning the national idea in those years, patrio­tism is no longer their style today. It seems that they are following the trend of hatred towards Slove­nia­ness and the events of independence.

The texts of Janez Janša in the book Vstali in obstali (We got up and survived) are written in a read­able and inst­ruc­tive way. They are based on facts and docu­ments, so they should defi­ni­tely be included in the educa­tional process.

Jože Biščak


At the plebi­s­cite on 23 December 1990, the Slove­nian nation clearly and decisi­vely declared itself for the inde­pen­dent state of the Repu­blic of Slovenia. Nevertheless, in the following months it faced strong oppo­si­tion and obsta­cles in the part of the domestic post-commu­nist poli­tical elite; as well as with oppo­si­tion and threats from the fede­ra­tion and offi­cial abroad.


NEARLY EVERYONE AGAINST US

In 1990 and 1991, Slovenia was inter­na­tio­nally predo­mi­nantly iso­lated in its aspi­ra­tions and efforts for inde­pen­dence. This has some­how been forgotten, or at least obscured in the last two decades. The analysis of the causes will demons­trate the reasons why this happened.

The archives of domestic and foreign media outlets contain many recor­dings of state­ments by state and diplo­matic repre­sen­ta­tives of neigh­bou­ring and other coun­tries that directly expressed a dislike or open oppo­si­tion to Slove­nian independence.

The most opti­mistic view that could be heard in our favour was the phrase conce­ding that Slovenia could become inde­pen­dent, but only in agree­ment with other repu­blics and the fede­ra­tion. Of course, anyone who stated this knew very well that the consent of the federal autho­ri­ties, the YPA and most other repu­blics would not be forthcoming.

Despite attempts to forget and obscure this oppo­si­tion, it is more or less known and thoroughly docu­mented, but unfor­tu­n­a­tely it has not been suffi­ciently analysed and elabo­rated on by histo­rians and those specia­li­zing in inter­na­tional relations.

Launch of nega­tive reviews abroad

Reports and conclu­sions made by foreign diplo­matic and intel­li­gence repre­sen­ta­tives are less known. In addi­tion to the scep­ti­cism of their go­vernments, espe­cially the personal scep­ti­cism of foreign diplo­mats who fol­lowed the events occur­ring in Slovenia and its neigh­bou­ring coun­tries at the time of inde­pen­dence, Slove­nians who they had been commu­ni­ca­ting with, also contri­buted greatly to the nega­tive reports. Intel­li­gence and diplo­matic reports and tran­scripts of tele­phone conver­sa­tions between domestic and foreign services, published in the present almanac, shed light on this aspect. The first shocking finding upon reading them is the realiz­a­tion that nothing was actually hidden from foreig­ners on the grounds of confi­den­tia­lity, not even the highest level of state clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion. Even the infor­ma­tion regar­ding the content of the strictly confi­den­tial draft of the Consti­tu­tional Act on Inde­pen­dence was read to an Italian diplomat by a member of the Presi­dency of the Repu­blic of Slovenia, Ciril Zlobec. The same was true for the care­fully guarded date of inde­pen­dence, of which only a few people in the country knew. Members of the then oppo­si­tion, espe­cially the LDS and today’s SD, were widely commu­ni­ca­ting their scep­ti­cism or even oppo­si­tion to inde­pen­dence to foreign diplo­mats and intel­li­gence agents. Some of them, such as LDS MP Franco Juri, then publicly mani­fested his feelings by boycot­ting the announ­ce­ment of the decision on inde­pen­dence, while others, espe­cially succes­sors of the League of Commu­nists of Slovenia (ZKS), spoke differ­ently to the Slove­nian public and foreign sources. They both had similar nega­tive atti­tudes towards all the measures of Slove­nian inde­pen­dence, espe­cially the ones related to defence, which were deeply ridi­culed. Some examples of such an approach are published in the White Book of Slove­nian Inde­pen­dence – Oppo­si­tions, Obsta­cles, Betrayal, publi­shed in 2013 by the Asso­cia­tion for the Values of Slove­nian Independence.

Infor­ma­tion as a big advantage

From the swea­ring-in of the Demos government in May 1990 until the final inter­na­tional reco­gni­tion and accep­t­ance in the UN, the compe­tent Slove­nian insti­tu­tions were attemp­ting to monitor the posi­tions of neigh­bou­ring coun­tries, inter­na­tional insti­tu­tions and the most influ­en­tial world parties to­wards Slovenia and its struggle for inde­pen­dence. Due to the scanty begin­nings of our own diplo­macy, the work was extre­mely diffi­cult and the most important results were contri­buted by our compa­triots abroad and around the world. Slove­nians who served in Yugo­slav di­plomacy, with a few hono­urable excep­tions, were not in favour of inde­pen­dence, and we received even less useful infor­ma­tion from them than from Slove­nians in high-ranking posi­tions in the Yugo­slav People’s Army.

Infor­ma­tion on the views of external parties thus came to us mainly as:

- publicly announced posi­tions of governments and inter­na­tional organizations,

- infor­ma­tion of compa­triots from abroad and the world,

- contacts of Slove­nian state repre­sen­ta­tives with foreign coun­tries, espe­cially with diplo­matic staff of other countries,

- reports from domestic intel­li­gence services,

- reports of foreign services accessed by Slovenia through the work of its own services or through the exchange of infor­ma­tion (espe­cially with the Repu­blic of Croatia).


Until the last moment, most foreign statesmen advo­cated the preser­va­tion of the unity of Yugo­s­lavia (pictured: Presi­dent of the ZIS SFRY Ante Markovič, Yugo­slav Foreign Minister Budimir Lončar and US Secretary of State James Baker on 21 June 21 1991 in Belgrade).

In the Ministry of Defence, the intel­li­gence service was estab­lished only at the begin­ning of the mano­eu­v­ring struc­ture of national protec­tion, and for most of this period it numbered less than ten profes­sio­nally employed members. Despite the weak staff, this service, through patriotic coope­ra­tion with indi­vi­dual Slove­nians with predo­mi­nantly lower posi­tions in the YPA, gathered stra­te­gi­cally important infor­ma­tion that enabled realistic plan­ning of resis­tance against aggres­sion and the tacti­cally wise imple­men­ta­tion of the YPA with­drawal from Slovenia. Through these sources, we also obtain­ed infor­ma­tion that foreign diplo­matic repre­sen­ta­tives shared with the YPA summit. In the final stages of inde­pen­dence, espe­cially from the events of May 1991 until the with­drawal of the YPA from Slovenia in October of the same year, the work of the mili­tary intel­li­gence service was streng­t­hened. Through the occup­a­tion of some YPA commu­ni­ca­tion faci­li­ties and the se­izure of equip­ment at the begin­ning of aggres­sion, the Intel­li­gence and Se­curity Service (OVS) of the Ministry of Defence began to inter­cept encrypted YPA commu­ni­ca­tions all the way to Belgrade.

After the reor­ga­niz­a­tion at the end of 1990, the Secu­rity Infor­ma­tion Servi­ce (VIS) of the Ministry of the Inte­rior also pene­trated some intel­li­gence-rich foreign sources through its own resources, and provided at least a partial direct behind-the-scenes insight into the external envi­ron­ment by control­ling commu­ni­ca­tions between foreign services and repre­sen­ta­tives. From this source, we obtained important infor­ma­tion about the extent to which the aggressor, who had excel­lent access to third-country resources through Yu­goslav diplo­macy and services abroad, was acquainted with our plans and the actual capa­bi­li­ties of the Slove­nian defence. Unfor­tu­n­a­tely, only a part of the VIS, which numbered in the hund­reds of employed, was inti­mately and profes­sio­nally in favour of inde­pen­dence. The second and also larger part of VIS remained passive or even opposed. Rather than dealing with the im­mediate danger, they dealt with ever­ything else possible. Thus, on 25 June 1991, when the decla­ra­tion of war was issued to Slovenia, the government received an assess­ment from VIS on the situa­tion in – the Roma­nian army. A VIS worker guar­ding a tank barracks in Vrhnika alle­gedly fell asleep and did not notice that a column of tanks was driving through the door towards Ljub­l­jana. The reason as to how the loud noise of the tank column could not be heard was probably only known in the VIS.


Even the infor­ma­tion on the content of the strictly confi­den­tial proposal of the Consti­tu­tional Act on Inde­pen­dence was freely read by a member of the Presi­dency of the Repu­blic of Slovenia, Ciril Zlobec, to the Italian diplomat.

Through the publi­ca­tion of various docu­ments of both domestic services in perio­di­cals and books, the Slove­nian public has been able to learn of the many details from behind the scenes of the decisions made on indi­vi­dual aspects of aggres­sion against Slovenia and the atti­tude of repre­sen­ta­tives of other coun­tries towards it.

It is unusual, however, that previous publi­ca­tions of the same or similar docu­ments, such as the White Book on Slove­nian Inde­pen­dence – Oppositi­ons, Obsta­cles, Betrayal, did not arouse any special inte­rest from histo­rians or other experts, espe­cially as today in Slovenia there are at least five times more experts than at the time of independence.

Disin­te­rest in some facts and distor­tion of others

However, although the oppo­si­tion and obst­ruc­tion of Slove­nian indepen­dence from outside and inside has received little inte­rest and even less academic rese­arch over the last two decades, much more energy has been invested in persist­ently belitt­ling the impor­t­ance of inde­pen­dence. Many events and state­ments have been silenced or distorted, while others have been parti­cu­larly high­lighted. The distor­tion of the truth was part of the post­-inde­pen­dence routine. The basic guide­line was: Ever­ything that shaped the majo­rity value system of the people in Slovenia at the time of indepen­dence and demo­cra­tiz­a­tion at the time of the Slove­nian spring, has been rela­ti­vized and even­tually named with the oppo­site meaning. Ever since the plebi­s­cite in December 1990, inde­pen­dence has been constantly denoun­ced as a general reason for all kinds of problems. The slogans were more direct and telling every year, until in 2012 when we expe­ri­enced banners at the so-called popular upri­sings with the inscrip­tions: “They’ve been stealing from us for 20 years.” or “In 20 years, compa­nies and the state have been stolen from us.” or “20 years of a corrupt poli­tical elite is enough”- as if we had lived in heaven before the inde­pen­dence and as if there had been no tota­li­ta­rian regime in Slovenia in which the country was comple­tely stolen from the people; certainly much more than today, regard­less of all the cur­rent issues.

Ever since the famous letter written by Kučan in the spring of 1991, there have been attempts to portray the resis­tance against the disar­ma­ment of the TO and the defence of the Slove­nian state as an arms trade, and the estab­lish­ment of state attri­butes to Slovenia is referred to as the Erased affair. For two decades, the mani­pu­la­tion was so intense that the younger genera­tions growing up during that time could easily learn about the issue of the so-called Erased from the majo­rity of public media; much more exten­sively than about the measures that enabled the crea­tion of the Slove­nian state. Ten years after its crea­tion, the first red star flags appeared at the sta­te cele­bra­tion on National Day. At first shyly because of the awareness that they repre­sented a symbol of the aggressor army that was defeated in the war for Slovenia, but then more and more aggres­si­vely, as if the YPA had won the war. The main point made by the spea­kers included a sentence that gradu­ally became embedded, which is that without the so-called Nati­onal Libe­ra­tion Move­ment (NOB) there would be no inde­pen­dent Slovenia. It was as if inde­pen­dent Slovenia was created in 1945 and not in 1991. Thereby, the impor­t­ance of the inde­pen­dence was erased, or at least dimi­nished when attempts at erasing it did not succeed. When the governments of the tran­si­tional left were in power, the state cele­bra­tion programs on the occa­sion of the two biggest Slove­nian national holi­days, State­hood Day, and Inde­pen­dence and Unity Day, were at best empty events, unre­lated to the purpose of the national holi­days, and at worst, full of open mockery of Slovenia and the values that united us in a successful and joint indepen­dence venture.

On the other hand, almost no week in the year went by without pompous and expen­sive cele­bra­tions orga­nized by the Asso­cia­tions of the National Libe­ra­tion Move­ment of Slovenia (ZZB), which were full of hate speech and threats to those who were diffe­rent minded, accom­pa­nied with the exhi­bi­tion of tota­li­ta­rian symbols, and criminal acti­vity in the form of tampe­ring with offi­cial state symbols and ille­gally carrying and displaying mili­tary weapons. The parti­ci­pants in these mass events were mostly paid members of the ZZB, as around 20,000 of them still receive privi­leged veteran allo­wances every month, even though many were born after 1945. Privi­leges had been passed on to descen­dants in certain cases, as if we had been living under a feudal princi­pa­lity. Such bacchanalia in the style of rallies from Miloševič’s most intense campaign a quarter of a century ago were crowned by the ZZB rally on 24 December 2012 in Tisje, where the general secretary of the veteran’s orga­niz­a­tion Mitja Klavora, born a decade after World War II, thre­atened us with massa­cres again.

For several years after inde­pen­dence, it was necessary to return mili­tary deco­ra­tions with the explana­tion that the Presi­dent of the country was not lawfully permitted to award the Order of Freedom to people who had little to do with inde­pen­dence or even actively opposed it. After ten years, they began to deli­ber­ately bring in confu­sion regar­ding symbols. On the 15th an­niversary of inde­pen­dence, a contro­versy began over the forma­tion of the Slove­nian Army and its age, and on the 20th anni­ver­sary, the then Presi­dent of the Repu­blic even ‚thun­dered‘ over the so-called inde­pen­dence figh­ters, saying that this “meri­ting” and tran­si­tional clutter should be done with once and for all. Luckily, the majo­rity of voters chose not to re-elect him in the fall of 2012. The final touch of shaming the inde­pen­dence and espe­cially the Slove­nian Army was set shortly before the 22nd anni­ver­sary with the appo­intment of the last Minister of Defence.

The so-called ‚Uncles from the Back­ground‘ appointed a person to this posi­tion who, in 1991, not only indi­rectly, but actively, through poli­tical action and voting, opposed any measures used in the defence of Slovenia against the YPA aggres­sion. “I am not a member of the LDS poli­tical party, but I share the same thoughts and views with Roman Jakič,” said YPA Colonel Milan Aksen­ti­jevic at the assembly, after they obst­ructed defence preparati­ons toge­ther at an utmost critical time. The second chapter of this almanac contains many actual examples of measures obst­ruc­ting inde­pen­dence, bearing the signa­ture of Roman Jakič and his suppor­ters from the left-wing oppo­si­tion. If only a few of their amend­ments to key defence legis­la­tion had been adopted, Slovenia would not have been able to success­fully defend itself against the aggres­sion of the YPA in June 1991.


At the time of inde­pen­dence, the oppo­si­tion often vehe­mently opposed the efforts for Slove­nian inde­pen­dence (pictured: LDS depu­ties Gregor Golobič, Zoran Thaler and Jožef Školč).

Instead of operetta, real mili­tary power

This was also the funda­mental purpose of destroying all efforts of Slovenia to estab­lish an effec­tive defence system that would be able to with­stand the expected and decisive attempt of Belgrade to prevent our inde­pen­dence by force. This is demons­trated in dozens of docu­ments in the White Book of Slove­nian Inde­pen­dence. These include the efforts of the Slove­nian com­munist policy of the YPA to disarm the TO, which Dr. Jože Pučnik and Ivan Oman quite rightly described as a betrayal of Slovenia, through the so-called Decla­ra­tion for Peace, which demanded the rapid unila­teral disar­ma­ment of Slovenia, and the behind-the-scenes contact with YPA gene­rals and Bel­grade poli­ti­cians, about whom the public learns new infor­ma­tion every now and then when the Belgrade archives open or when one of the parti­ci­pants writes a book of memoirs from the oppo­site side. It was only after a few years, when left-wing poli­ti­cians tried their best to provide the aggressor general Konrad Kolšek with a Slove­nian pass­port, that it became clear why the formal decla­ra­tion of war with an ulti­matum sent to Slovenia by General Kolšek on the morning of 27 June 1991, which was scat­tered in the form of leaf­lets by the YPA planes, was not addressed to the Supreme Commander and Presi­dent of the Presi­dency Milan Kučan, but to Prime Minister Lojze Peterle, who under the then consti­tu­tion virtually had no powers in the field of defence. Due to previous contacts and agree­ments, Kolšek and other aggres­sors appar­ently consi­dered Milan Kučan as one of those that they could count on in the period after the “inde­pen­dence operetta”, when the Demos government would disinte­grate due to the effect of a broken leadership and end up in mili­tary courts or in front of the firing squad.


The Party of Demo­cratic Renewal, led by Ciril Ribičič, which succeeded the League of Commu­nists of Slovenia, had many concerns about Slovenia’s independence.

Due to the high support of inde­pendence at the plebi­s­cite and the other­wise posi­tive mood towards inde­pen­dence of the Slove­nian pu­blic – inclu­ding a faction of mem­bers in left-wing parties, oppon­ents of inde­pen­dence gene­rally did not openly oppose it, but rather applied indi­rect tactics, which was reflected in the slogans that became popular in the spring of 1991, for example “Inde­pen­dence yes, but in a peaceful way.”, or “Inde­pen­dence yes, but wi­thout an army.”, or, “The will of the people expressed at the plebi­s­cite must be realized, but only through nego­tia­tions and agree­ments.”, or: “Slovenes did not vote for war in the plebi­s­cite!”, or: “Slovenia’s decla­ra­tion of indepen­dence must go hand in hand with the immediate start of nego­tia­tions with other repu­blics on a new confe­deral connection.”

Further­more, it was more than only slogans; in the spring of 1991, meetin­gs of Slove­nian left-wing parties took place, espe­cially the successor to the ZKS and the prede­cessor of the then current SD, with the former commu­nist parties in other repu­blics of the former SFRY. One of these meetings that was held between Ciril Ribičič and his comrades with the Bosnian and Cro­atian commu­nists in Otočec, was accom­pa­nied by large news­paper headli­nes throughout the former Yugo­s­lavia, calling for new Yugo­slav integration.

The calcu­la­tion of the oppon­ents of Slove­nian inde­pen­dence, domestic and foreign, was based on the expec­ta­tion of a broken leadership. They calcu­lated that an inde­pen­dent Slovenia would be eupho­ri­cally proc­laimed, but not realized. (“Dreams are allowed today, tomorrow is a new day!”) They believed and tried to contri­bute to this as much as possible in belief that the Slove­nian Defence Forces would not be able to occupy border cros­sings and key infra­st­ruc­ture points in the country and limit the YPA mano­euvre, and that after a few days it would all turn out like an operetta episode, after which it would be clear to ever­yone in the country that we were isolated from the West, that we did not control our own terri­tory and that no one would help us, that no one would reco­gnize us, and that we were hitting our heads into a concrete wall.

After such an outcome, the disin­te­gra­tion of the Demos coali­tion and the fall of the government, followed by a full take­over of power was expected. They also surely expected the end of the dream of an inde­pen­dent Slovenia, seeing them­selves as saviours of Slove­nians against dange­rous Demos ad­venturers. Or, as the presi­dent of the then LDS said, “It is better to nego­tiate for an inde­pen­dent Slovenia for a hundred years than to fight for one day.” These expec­ta­tions are liter­ally confirmed by the memoirs of the then Pri­me Minister, Ante Markovič, also published in the following section of the present almanac, regar­ding the meeting between him and the Slove­nian left-wing oppo­si­tion just before the war, on 12 June 1991:

“Markovič’s conver­sa­tion with the oppo­si­tion gave a common assess­ment that the contra­dic­tions in the ruling Demos are such that only 26 June keeps it toge­ther. If nothing happens on 26 June that could streng­then the Demos circuit, there is not much hope left for the government, or speci­fi­cally: if a process is laun­ched after 26 June, running simul­ta­ne­ously in both directi­ons, towards inde­pen­dence and reinte­gra­tion, the Demos government will fall in the summer, or in September at the latest.”

After a meeting with the Slovene left-wing oppo­sition, Markovič also convinced Croa­tian Presi­dent Franjo Tudman of the likeli­hood of such a turn of events in Slovenia. Years later, Tudman spoke about the operetta war in Slovenia, covering up his support of Markovič. However, on 27 June 1991, he broke the promise made and the agree­ment si­gned on the joint resis­tance of the two coun­tries in the event of YPA aggres­sion. Operetta indepen­dence was actually carried out by Croatia in June 1991, when it declared inde­pen­dence but did not assume effec­tive power. The price that Croatia paid with its lives for Tudman’s naivety was enormous.

I myself have witnessed quite a few similar open predic­tions and hints of Slove­nian left-wing poli­ti­cians, not to mention foreign diplo­mats. Some in the then presi­dency of the repu­blic, the Deputy Prime Minister and its Finance Minister, who resi­gned a few months before the war, and many other “respec­table” citi­zens held a similar belief. I met one of them, who then had a great career in inde­pen­dent Slovenia, just before the war at the Kongresni trg square.

He said to me in a some­what scornful tone: “For an inde­pen­dent state, you don’t need a vision, but divi­sions.” I didn’t explain to him that we had that too, because he would not have believed me anyway.

According to the narra­tion and multiple publicly recorded perfor­mances of the former member of the Presi­dency of the Repu­blic of Slovenia, Ivan Oman, who was the only one in the presi­dency to consist­ently support pre­parations for the defence against aggres­sion, Dr. Jože Pučnik – in one of the many breaks during the nego­tia­tions for the plebi­s­cite law in November 1990 – asked the High Repre­sen­ta­tive of today’s SD why they had been overly compli­ca­ting and basi­cally oppo­sing all propo­sals for inde­pen­dence. He replied to him that he should under­stand that they and their poli­tical opti­on did not see a future for them­selves in independence.

Since the victory of Demos in the April 1990 elec­tions, the top left-wing Slove­nian poli­ti­cians have been working against the crea­tion of real capa­cities for inde­pen­dence, regard­less of the occa­sional public pretence. Their most important campaigns by 26 June were:

1. Disar­ma­ment of the Terri­to­rial Defence in May 1990, where they helped the YPA in all possible ways. This is discussed in the first chapter of this almanac.

2. The so-called Decla­ra­tion of Peace in February 1991, which directly demanded the rapid unila­teral disar­ma­ment of the already “barely armed Slovenia”.

3. Consis­tent voting against measures to secure inde­pen­dence (Defence Act, Mili­tary Duty Act, Defence Budget) in the Assembly. All of the acts listed were barely passed with a few votes of the Demos majo­rity. This is discus­sed in the second chapter of this almanac.

4. Informing foreign services and diplo­mats about the top state secrets from the opera­tional plans for inde­pen­dence (exact time, list of func­tions of the fede­ra­tion that Slovenia intended to effec­tively take into its own hands).

5. The peti­tion for the resi­gna­tion of the General State Prose­cutor Anton Drobnič, which had been sent to the public a few days before the decla­ra­tion of inde­pen­dent Slovenia under the leadership of Milan Kučan and Spomen­ka Hribar (she offered it to me to sign in his presi­den­tial office). Just before the war, they wanted to further shake up Demos with it, as the peti­tion was signed by some promi­nent poli­ti­cians of the SDZ and the Greens of Slovenia.

6. Police union strike announ­ce­ment for 27 June 1991.


In some Slovene news­pa­pers, various authors openly opposed Slovene inde­pen­dence (pictured: article in Mladina, 21 May 1991, enti­tled „Inde­pen­dent Slovenia? No, thanks!“).

On 25 June 1991, Slovenia effec­tively took over the majo­rity of the former federal compe­ten­cies (border, customs, mone­tary policy, airspace control, foreign exchange opera­tions and control) and on 26 June, with general po­pular support and joy, declared inde­pen­dence. On the same and the fol­lowing day, it success­fully withs­tood the first wave of aggres­sion, so some left-wing poli­ti­cians had doubts about the success of their expec­ta­tion of an “operetta decla­ra­tion of inde­pen­dence”. Nevertheless, their bosses made every effort to extract selfish petty poli­tical bene­fits from such a situa­tion as well.

Former multiple Minister in the Italian Left Governments (for Justice, Foreign Trade, Deputy Foreign Minister) and High Repre­sen­ta­tive of the Socia­list Inter­na­tional, Piero Fassino, published a book enti­tled Out of Passion (Per passione, Milano, 2003), where on page 292 he writes how on 27 June 1991, he visited Milan Kučan and Ciril Ribičič in Ljub­l­jana, and how they begged him (soll­eci­tando) that “the Italian and Euro­pean left should not give the inde­pen­dence of the former Yugo­slav repu­blics to the right”. In the months following this visit, it was the Italian Socia­list Foreign Minister, Gianni de Michelis who, as a Euro­pean poli­ti­cian, uttered the most criti­cism directed at the expense of Slove­nian state­hood. He agreed to Slovenia’s Euro­pean reco­gni­tion only at the last minute. Even when Italian Presi­dent Fran­cesco Cossiga visited our country on 17 January 1992, after the Euro­pean Union had already reco­gnized Slovenia, de Michelis sharply atta­cked the Presi­dent for this. Nevertheless, Milan Kučan awarded him the badge of honour of freedom a little later. And he clearly knew the reason why.


Jaša Zlobec and Franco Juri (pictured with Ciril Ribičič and Lev Kreft), the most extreme oppon­ents of the Assembly to all the necessary measures for inde­pen­dence, became ambassa­dors of the state they had opposed at its birth.

It did not turn out as expected for the oppon­ents of Slove­nian independen­ce. Slovenia did not suffer a broken leadership. The YPA and all those who, as in the case of the JBTZ process or those rallying for the disar­ma­ment of the Slove­nian TO, had counted on this projected outcome to do the dirty work for them, crashed into the wall of Slovene deter­mi­na­tion and serious defence preparations.

Revenge of those from whom the state of SFRY was stolen

The resent­ment was severe. Instead of honestly admit­ting that they were wrong, or at least remain silent, influ­en­tial indi­vi­duals (they were not pro­secuted by anyone for their acts that were on the verge of betrayal or even worse) began laun­ching propa­ganda campaigns against inde­pen­dence acti­vists immedia­tely after the war and before inter­na­tional reco­gni­tion, and began over­thro­wing indi­vi­dual Demos members and then, the government.

On the other hand, indi­vi­duals who had exposed them­selves the most through anti-inde­pen­dence acti­vi­ties or had opposed measures to secure it, regard­less of their other­wise profes­sional and personal quali­ties, experien­ced rapid personal promo­tion. When reading the summa­ries of oppo­si­tions, obst­ruc­tions and general misbe­ha­viour in the Slove­nian Parlia­ment at the time of making key inde­pen­dence decisions, or the docu­ments and records in the fourth chapter about forming a pact with the aggressor at the local level and in poli­tics in general, we prac­ti­cally do not come across a single name that would be exposed, in one way or another, to public criti­cism or even condem­na­tion for actions that history has indis­pu­tably confirmed as wrong and even harmful.

The presi­dent of the then LDS, Jožef Školč became the Minister of Culture and even the Presi­dent of the National Assembly; the member of the Presi­dency of the Repu­blic of Slovenia Ciril Zlobec, who reve­aled a top state secret to foreign services, remained a member of the presi­dency until the end of his term and even became Vice-Presi­dent of the Slove­nian Academy of Scien­ces and Arts; Ciril Ribičič, who addressed foreign poli­cies against Slovenia’s inter­na­tional reco­gni­tion, became a consti­tu­tional judge and even a member of the Venice Inter­na­tional Law Commis­sion. A member of the leadership of Markovic’s Social Demo­cratic Union, Rado Bohinc, became the Minister of Science and then Minister of the Inte­rior, later Chan­cellor of the Univer­sity of Primorska. Franco Juri and Jaša Zlobec, the most extreme oppon­ents of the Assembly to all necessary measures for inde­pen­dence, became ambassa­dors of the country which they opposed at the time of her birth. Their ardent accom­plice in obst­ruc­ting inde­pen­dence, Roman Jakič, even became the Minister of Defence. Aurelio Juri became a member of the Euro­pean Parli­ament, and Sergij Peljhan became the Minister of Culture. Jože Mencinger, who deserted from the government a few months before the war, saying that he did not believe in inde­pen­dence, became the Chan­cellor of the Univer­sity of Ljub­l­jana and the owner of the Bajt Insti­tute. Marko Kranjec, who joined him in deser­tion, first became ambassador and later governor of the Bank of Slovenia. The list is too long to name them all. Jour­na­lists and editors, who sowed doubts or expressed open oppo­si­tion at the time of inde­pen­dence, also advanced extre­mely quickly. An equally bril­liant career awaited those from academic circles who actively opposed the plebi­s­cite for an inde­pen­dent Slovenia and later inde­pen­dence itself. The sample was also trans­ferred to the economy. In the first wave of priva­tiz­a­tion, most compa­nies were “privati­zed” by indi­vi­duals who had lamented the possi­bi­lity of Slovenia’s economic survival two years earlier. In the second wave, however, it was these or their descen­dants who received privi­leged poli­tical loans from state-owned banks. The infa­mous Veno Karbone alias Neven Borak moved from the office of Pre­sident Kučan to the office of Prime Minister, then became a protector of the “national inte­rest” under the guise of the compe­ti­tion protector, preven­ting the arrival of foreign inves­tors and compe­ti­tion for domestic tycoons, and later took the posi­tion of grey eminence in the Bank of Slovenia.

Despite a successful inde­pen­dence from Belgrade, dreams of new times were only allowed for one day, and then upside-down promo­tion mecha­nisms were estab­lished in society. The more someone opposed indepen­dence or was scep­tical of it and the more someone was family, poli­ti­cally or emotio­nally atta­ched to the former state of SFRY, the greater his chances for career and poli­tical success in inde­pen­dent Slovenia were. They worked tirelessly in minia­ture, between Triglav and Kolpa, to estab­lish a commu­nist pashaluq, which they had lost between Triglav and Vardar. And to some extent, they succeeded. Today, among all the coun­tries that emerged on the terri­tory of the former SFRY, commu­nist and Yugo­slav icono­graphy prevails at many events only in Slovenia, and only in Slovenia do former Yugo­slav commu­nist offi­cials still receive special pension supplements.

The campaign to discredit Slove­nian inde­pen­dence conti­nues to this day: from accu­sa­tions of arms traf­fi­cking to the so-called Erased and state­ments by the presi­dent of the Asso­cia­tion of War Vete­rans for Slovenia, about how it was inde­pen­dence that had divided the previously united Slove­nian nati­on. The actors of discredi­ting became more aggres­sive with each passing year as the memory of the genera­tion that expe­ri­enced inde­pen­dence direc­tly faded. Anyone who pointed out the mani­pu­la­tions was discredited and ri­diculed by the media. The network of the former SDV, with more than 10,000 employees intert­wined with the judi­ciary and police appa­ratus, parastatal insti­tu­tions such as the corrup­tion commis­sion or infor­ma­tion commis­sioner, and private detec­tive agen­cies, has remained aggres­si­vely active. However, the media mono­poly of the tran­si­tional left, which dimi­nished the impor­t­ance of inde­pen­dence every year and glori­fied the revo­lu­tio­nary gains of the so- called National Libe­ra­tion War (NOB), has only streng­t­hened since 1992 after a short lull when it subsided at independence.

Resis­tance to the distor­tion of history would be virtually impos­sible today if it were not for the preser­va­tion of docu­ments and records from a good two decades ago, some accu­rate histo­rians, and the efforts of parti­ci­pants who wrote their memoirs. More or less the same actors who wanted in every way to prevent the reve­la­tion of the drastic falsi­fi­ca­tion of history from 1941 on­wards, and who daily publicly claimed that they would not let it be distorted (read: they will not allow the truth), did, on the other hand, transfer their me­thods of distor­tion from the tota­li­ta­rian regime to the post-inde­pen­dence era. In defen­ding the distorted history of 1941–1990, the same work was used for the period after 1990. Daily brain­wa­shing occurs through the mass media and the basis of this is contained in comments, symposia, school text­books and programs, as well as docu­men­ta­ries or quasi-docu­men­tary broadcasts.

All of this, of course, is paid for with taxpayers’ money.


In some Slove­nian news­pa­pers, various authors openly opposed Slove­nian inde­pen­dence. You can find many arti­cles about this in the White Book of Slove­nian Inde­pen­dence – Oppo­si­tions, Obsta­cles, Betrayal. A special selec­tion of these arti­cles can also be viewed at the Museum of Slove­nian Inde­pen­dence in Ljub­l­jana (see pictures above). Efforts to gain inde­pen­dence were ridi­culed by all Slove­nian media controlled by the left, espe­cially Mladina and Dnevnik. The “joke” with a black dot is from Mladina on 26 January 1990, edited by Miran Lesjak. Under the black dot, they cyni­cally wrote in small letters: “Exer­cise 1: Look straight into the black dot for so long that you will see an inde­pen­dent Slovenia. Repeat the exer­cise every day.” Similar acti­vi­ties were carried out by LDS MP Franco Juri with his cari­ca­tures in Delo and later in Dnevnik.

The foun­da­tions of inde­pen­dent Slovenia are the values of the Slove­nian spring – the foun­da­tion of the SFRY was a crime

The Slove­nian Consti­tu­tion contains the text of the oath which is uttered by all top state offi­cials after elec­tion. With the oath, they under­take to “respect the Consti­tu­tion, act according to their consci­ence and strive with all their might for the well-being of Slovenia”. The test by which we can deter­mine whether an act, conduct, or program of an indi­vi­dual, group, poli­tical party, or poli­tical option is truly in accordance with the consti­tu­tional oath is quite simple.

When an indi­vi­dual, group, party or poli­tical option brings to the fore­front and empha­sizes the values, events and achie­ve­ments of Slove­nian inde­pendence, which put us on the world map and around which Slove­nians are by far the most united and unified in their history, then it works according to the text and the spirit of the consti­tu­tional oath.

But when an indi­vi­dual, group, party, or poli­tical option brings to the fore the events and times that have divided and destroyed us as a nation, it acts contrary to the text and spirit of the consti­tu­tional oath. And no time was more dest­ruc­tive for the Slove­nian nation than the frat­ri­cidal commu­nist re­volution, with which the criminal clique took advan­tage of the diffi­cult period of occup­a­tion and the genuine patriotic feelings of the Slove­nians to seize power by force. Today, you can easily get to know a man through this litmus paper. No one glori­fying the time of the frat­ri­cidal war in 1991 was since­rely in favour of inde­pen­dence. For the Slove­nian state, which, in spite of the divi­sion of poli­tics, was created at that time with the great consent of the people, was a funda­mental denial of the bloody foun­da­tions of the disinte­gration of the SFRY.

As we have known for a long time and as can be seen in more detail from the presented docu­ments, we were not all in favour of inde­pen­dence. Ac­cording to the results of the plebi­s­cite, some 200,000 people and most of the post-commu­nist nome­n­cla­ture in Slovenia, most of the rest of the former SFRY and most of world poli­tics formally opposed Slove­nian inde­pen­dence. Among the 200,000 domestic oppon­ents of inde­pen­dence, there were some 50,000 extre­mists. Some of them took part in the aggres­sion against Slovenia with weapons in their hands, others disgus­tedly refused Slove­nian citi­zenship and emigrated from the country after the defeat of the YPA. Some stayed and found refuge in Slove­nian left-wing parties. Many who refused Slove­nian citi­zenship and left Slovenia toge­ther with the defeated army or even earlier, be­gan to return after a few years, when Slovenia progressed, when other parts of the former Yugo­s­lavia lagged behind and when the average pension in our country was ten times higher than the average pension in Serbia and BiH. At first quietly, then more and more noisily, a group of the so-called erased peo­ple began to form. The few hundred justi­fied cases when indi­vi­duals wanted to regu­late the status of a foreigner or even citi­zenship, but did not succeed for objec­tive reasons, were followed by thousands of specu­la­tors, who betra­yed Slovenia at the time of its birth and today claim damages from Slove­nian taxpayers with the help of anti-Slove­nian left-wing policy.

Despite the obsta­cles, oppo­si­tion and betra­yals, Slove­nian inde­pen­dence from Belgrade succeeded. But there was another option …

Source: Asso­cia­tion for the Values of Slove­nian Inde­pen­dence: „White Book of Slove­nian Inde­pen­dence – Oppo­si­tions, Obsta­cles, Betrayal.“ Nova obzorja, d. o. o., Ljub­l­jana 2013


On 27 April 2013, the entire Slove­nian state leadership parti­ci­pated in the cele­bra­tion in Ljub­l­jana with commu­nist sceno­graphy, which was comple­tely remi­nis­cent of the times when the tota­li­ta­rian Socia­list Federal Repu­blic of Yugo­s­lavia still existed.


The White Book of Slove­nian Inde­pen­dence – Oppo­si­tions, Obsta­cles, Betrayal


The docu­ments published in the antho­logy „War for Slovenia”, which follow each other in time, clearly show how the YPA aggres­sion against Slovenia took place, how we defended and saved ourselves and defeated the Yugo­slav Federal Army militarily


Janez Janša was the vice-presi­dent of the Slove­nian Demo­cratic Union, a member of the first demo­cra­ti­cally elected Assembly of the Repu­blic of Slovenia in 1990 and the Minister of Defence at the time of Slovenia’s inde­pen­dence in 1990–1992. Today he is the Presi­dent of the Slove­nian Demo­cratic Party and for the third time the Prime Minister of the Repu­blic of Slovenia.

Info­graf depicts the amount of arma­ments and mili­tary equip­ment confis­cated in TO combat opera­tions. In addi­tion to the funds listed in the graph, between 26 June and 17 July 1991, the TO RS seized appro­xi­mately 7 million pieces of ammu­ni­tion for infantry weapons, 20,000 pieces of ammu­ni­tion for various anti-armour and anti-aircraft weapons, appro­xi­mately 400,000 tons of mines and small quan­ti­ties of quartermaster’s, sani­tary and ABKO equip­ment. These quan­ti­ties do not include weapons and equip­ment confis­cated by the police during hostilities.


Janez Janša as Prime Minister of the Repu­blic of Slovenia upon his arrival at the main cere­mony on the occa­sion of the Slove­nian Army Day on 15 May 2021.


Thirty years after Slovenia’s inde­pen­dence, the Slove­nian Army once again keeps in step with the times and is ready for several chal­lenges of the present time.


Analysis of the war for Slovenia

Europe, and the Euro­pean Union in parti­cular, is today largely a pla­ce of peace and at least rela­tive progress, but some nations living in the core of the EU without their own state are nevertheless stri­ving to become a nation and an inde­pen­dent entity in the inter­na­tional community.

The Cata­lans would like to decide in a refe­rendum whether to secede from demo­cratic Spain, and the Scots on whether to remain part of the UK or not. Even more widely on the planet Earth today, there are many nations that are much larger than Slovenia, but do not have their own country, although with a few excep­tions, as a rule, ever­yone wants it. Slove­nians have recently won the right to their own country.

The value centre of the nation

In the history of every nation-buil­ding nation, there is a defi­nite time that enabled the nation to become sover­eign, that is, its own master. Such a time, usually tied to events that enabled inde­pen­dence, place­ment on the world map and inter­na­tional reco­gni­tion, is wors­hiped by nations as some­thing “sacred”, so national holi­days are dedi­cated to it, cities, squares, stre­ets or deco­ra­tions are named after it and there are events orga­nised to ce­lebrate it. Such a time evokes a posi­tive atti­tude from the majo­rity of citi­zens or members of the nation. Such a time repres­ents the centre of values of the nation. For us Slove­nians, this is the time of inde­pen­dence. Within this time, which stret­ches over history from 1987 to 1992, the days of the war for Slovenia stand out. These were the weeks, days, and hours in June and July 1991, when ever­ything was at stake. An inde­pen­dent and Euro­pean future for Slove­nians, a demo­cratic system, our reli­gion and consti­tu­tion, prospe­rity and our lives. These were the days when the nation – which was disarmed in May 1990 – once again stood up for its rights, declared Slovenia indepen­dent and resisted the aggres­sion of the Yugo­slav People’s Army.

In those days, a small percent of Slove­nians, who, with the mass support of the nation, took up all avail­able weapons and toge­ther with the civil defen­ce opposed what was tech­ni­cally the fifth stron­gest army in Europe, achie­ved the impos­sible with their courage and wrote the final act of the Slove­nian nation’s tran­si­tion to the inde­pen­dent nation. The courage of the Slove­nians was admired by the whole world at that time. Repre­sen­ta­tives of the most powerful coun­tries in the world, who claimed a few days before the war that they would never reco­gnize us, changed their posi­tion due to our courage.

In a few days, the world press changed its atti­tude towards Slovenia and swit­ched to our side. The American high-circu­la­tion maga­zine People pu­blished an article on the war for Slovenia titled “The Mouse That Roared”. Slove­nians around the world, as one, took to the streets of the metro­polis, flooded governments with letters and appeals, and supported the struggle of their home­land against Goliath. Despite the oppo­si­tion to inde­pen­dence in part of left-wing poli­tics, the nation was united. Unified like never before, and very brave. These were “the finest hours”, the holy hours, a high note of the Slove­nian nation. We rose and survived.

The numbers also say a lot

This indis­pu­table histo­rical fact cannot be changed or distorted. Nor can it be forgotten or oversha­dowed, although this has been constantly attempted since 1991. “Did we have a war in Slovenia at all?” some asked mockingly, but of course only once the last aggressor soldier had departed Slovenia in October 1991. While the voices of oppon­ents of Slove­nian inde­pen­dence, clai­ming that there was no real war in Slovenia at all, became increasin­gly louder and media-supported over the years since the YPA aggres­sion against Slovenia, para­do­xi­cally, histo­rians in Serbia have no doubt about it. The book by two Serbian histo­rians (Kosta Nikolič, Vladimir Petrovič: War in Slovenia / June-July 1991, Docu­ments of the Presi­dency of the SFRY, Insti­tute of Contem­porary History, Belgrade 2012) has an unam­bi­guous title: War in Slovenia.

The YPA gene­rals and the poli­ti­cians of the SFRY, who sent tanks and troops over us, claim to have defended Yugo­s­lavia and its inter­na­tio­nally reco­gnized borders, but they do not deny the war. They do not even deny that they were defeated in Slovenia.

In their memoirs, YPA offi­cers from the 5th Mili­tary District, who operatio­nally led the aggres­sion against Slovenia, describe in detail how they experi­enced those June and July days in 1991 and how “the bitter­ness of defeat in Slovenia fell hard on them”. Due to the defeat of the first wave of aggres­sion, the commander of the 5th Mili­tary District, General Konrad Kolšek, was re­placed by the then commander of the 3rd Mili­tary District, General Žiko Avra­movič. However, two days after his arrival, Avra­movič repeated Kolšek’s fate and suffered an even more severe defeat.

The numbers also have their say. On 26 June 1991, the YPA laun­ched an aggres­sion against Slovenia with units total­ling 22,000 soldiers, offi­cers and non-commis­sioned offi­cers. Analyses published in the book War for Slove­nia show that the YPA had 48 dead and 116 wounded in the war for Slovenia, the TO units captured 2,663 of its members in the figh­ting, while 3,090 volun­ta­rily fled to the Slove­nian side.


The locals near Komenda in Goren­jska are watching the soldiers of the aggressor YPA stan­ding by the armored vehi­cles on 27 June 1991, at the begin­ning of the war for Slovenia.

Of the 22,000 members, the YPA lost at least 5,917, or more than a quar­ter, in just over 7 days of figh­ting, among them a dispro­por­tio­na­tely large propor­tion – at least 534 – of active-duty offi­cers and non-commis­sioned officers.

For the first compa­rison: TO RS (taking into account losses due to acci­dents) had 9 dead and 44 wounded, and the Slove­nian police 4 dead. The YPA captured only one TO officer. No one trans­ferred from the TO to the YPA.

For a second compa­rison (because the dero­ga­tory and scathing words about non-war in 1991 come mainly from ZZB members): Between 6 April 1941 and 9 May 1945, Slove­nian partisan units, with their own heavy losses, neutra­lized signi­fi­cantly fewer members of the occu­p­ying Italian and Ger­man forces than the TO and the police managed in the ten days of the war for Slovenia, despite the fact that during WW2 the two mentioned occu­p­iers sent mainly second-class mili­tary forma­tions to Slovenia with exactly the same armament.

As the rein­for­ce­ments sent by Gene­rals Kolšek and Avra­movič to Slovenia were mostly stopped upon entry, the remai­ning YPA units in Slovenia in the period before the Brioni Agree­ment were stra­te­gi­cally in a comple­tely subor­dinate posi­tion in all respects. On 26 June, the YPA started the war not only tech­ni­cally, but also dispro­por­tio­na­tely stronger in numbers. Slovenia was not able to call to arms even as many mem­bers of the TO as the YPA had directly on our terri­tory. The reason, of course, was the lack of arma­ments. Less than 10 days later, the situa­tion comple­tely changed in Slovenia’s favour. Not only was Slovenia able to arm 35,300 of its soldiers (exclu­ding members of the police) as early as 5 July due to con­fiscated weapons and equip­ment, but with the help of acquired heavy weapons, espe­cially anti-armour and anti-aircraft weapons, it was able to count on the successful resi­stance to any force that the YPA would be able to send against the young Slove­nian state.

This fact had a decisive influ­ence on the change of Miloševic’s stra­tegy. His original plan, Plan A – with the help of the YPA and the SFRY admi­nis­tra­tion to form a centrali­zed Yugo­s­lavia within its former borders and under direct Serbian domi­na­tion – failed with the defeat of the YPA in Slovenia. Around 10 July 1991, the Serbian leadership finally de­cided to move to Plan B, to the forma­tion of a greater Serbia.


Snapshots from the opera­ting room of the coor­di­na­tion group that led the defence of the Repu­blic of Slovenia at the begin­ning of July 1991.

Docu­ments of the war for Slovenia

The docu­ments published in the almanac War for Slovenia follow, as a rule, chronolo­gically as they were created.

The presen­ta­tion begins with an order setting up a perma­nent task force of the coor­di­na­ting body, issued on 7 May 1991. Due to the timely esta­blishment of a coor­di­na­tion group (herein­after also the Slove­nian Defen­ce Head­quar­ters, coor­di­na­tion or head­quar­ters) on 18 March 1991 and the intro­duc­tion of perma­nent duty in early May, we were prepared enough to cope with the first serious measu­re­ment of power against the YPA with the inci­dent in Pekre.

The presen­ta­tion ends with an analysis of the combat opera­tions of the TO RS from 26 June to 17 July 1991, which was discussed on 18 July 1991 at a confe­rence of the Slove­nian Defence Staff or the coor­di­na­tion group.

A special appendix at the end of the book is a presen­ta­tion of the intro­duc­tory part of the YPA plan Okop (Bedem), which the aggressor used in part as a basis for the attack on Slovenia and which most clearly illus­trates the menta­lity of the YPA mili­tary leadership and the SFRY poli­tical leader­ship. They were convinced that their power was prac­ti­cally unli­mited and that they were capable of defea­ting even NATO, let alone poor Slovenia. Unfor­tu­n­a­tely, many influen­tial domestic oppon­ents of Slove­nian inde­pendence were also convinced of the power of the YPA, its commu­nist-partisan ideo­logy and its weapons. There­fore, throughout, and espe­cially since the disar­ma­ment of the TO RS in May 1990 and the plebi­s­cite in De­cember of the same year, they played on the card of “operetta inde­pen­dence”, which co­unted on the decla­ra­tion of inde­pen­dent Slo­venia (the day when dreams are allowed), which, due to the power of the YPA, could not be realized and they would, there­fore, immedia­tely offer other nations unifi­ca­tion into a new Yugo­s­lavia. This was the offi­cial, publicly presented doctrine of the Social Demo­crats (then still ZKS-SDP). Docu­ments and testi­mo­nies on this are published in the White Book of Slo­venian Inde­pen­dence (Nova obzorja, June 2013).

The first chapter “Final prepa­ra­tions for the defence of Slovenia” contains many hitherto mostly unpu­blished or lesser-known docu­ments rela­ting to the work of the coor­di­na­tion group, the Ministry of Defence, the TO and the police in May and June 1991. This was a period when, on the one hand, there was a growing awareness of the great D day, which would, more than any other day in our history, decide on the future of the Slove­nian nation; on the other hand, this time was concen­trated in frantic prepa­ra­tions for defen­ce against the appa­rent threat of this future. During this time, the following stand out: the events in Pekre, the abduc­tion of the commander of the 7th PŠTO and the first victim of aggres­sion against Slovenia, supple­men­ting plans for the successful obst­ruc­tion and blockade of YPA units and efforts to at least provide emer­gency TO with infantry weapons.

The second chapter “The Baptism of Fire Immedia­tely at Birth” covers the period from 25 June to 10 July 1991, the time in which the war for Slovenia was won. The period begins with the procla­ma­tion of inde­pen­dent Slovenia in the Assembly and the effec­tive take­over of border cros­sings, customs, air traffic control, foreign exchange inspec­tion and other federal compe­ten­cies until then, and the estab­lish­ment of border check­points on the new state border with Croatia. Due to the issu­ance of the correct date for the take­over of effec­tive power by Ciril Zlobec, a member of the Presi­dency of the Repu­blic of Slovenia, the period begins with a parti­ally prema­ture inter­ven­tion by units of the Rijeka YPA Corps in Primorska and Goriška and with a stra­tegic dilemma of whether to use weapons for defence before or only after the de­claration of inde­pen­dence. The chapter ends with docu­ments created on 10 July 1991. This was the day when the Slove­nian Defence Staff success­fully neutra­lized the stron­gest attempts of the YPA to justify and turn the strongly ambi­guous conclu­sions of the Brioni nego­tia­tions to its advan­tage, thus re­gaining all that it had lost in the struggle.

One of the central docu­ments of this chapter is the Staff Order of 28 June 1991: the “offen­sive” order. Just a few sentences of this docu­ment attest to several things. First, the docu­ment is a reflec­tion of the accu­rate and timely reco­gni­tion of the border situa­tion. This is, in most great battles or wars, the time when it depends on the accu­rate and timely under­stan­ding of the moment and conse­quently on the accu­rate decisions of the comman­ders as to where the scales will be tilted. 28 June 1991 was the day when, after the successful blockades of many armoured columns and the first taste of defe­at, the YPA used avia­tion en masse to attack civi­lian faci­li­ties. The purpose was obvious: to demons­trate supe­rio­rity in the air and to sow fear among the defen­ders and the popu­la­tion. We knew that this decision would be followed by armoured rein­for­ce­ments from the Varaždin and Zagreb corps and that the emer­gency balance, estab­lished on 27 June, hung in the balance.

We needed heavy weapons and successful actions to raise morale. Best of both at the same time, so it was high time to attack YPA wareh­ouses and imple­ment pre-prepared plans code­n­amed “Purcha­sing”. On the same day, the recon­nais­sance platoon of the Krkovič Special Brigade seized a large wareh­ouse of weapons, mines and mili­tary equip­ment near Borov­nica in a flash opera­tion without casu­al­ties. All parti­ci­pants deserve the highest inde­pen­dence deco­ra­tion, a sign of freedom, for this opera­tion. Maybe an inde­pen­dent Slovenia will one day have a presi­dent of the repu­blic who, like them, had a heart for inde­pen­dence and will award them this decoration.


The war left behind devas­ta­tion, as well as joy over the successful defence of the young country and the home­land of Slovenia.

There were many very important events in the war for Slovenia, which decisi­vely weaved the fabric of victory. The first analysis of the RŠTO, pu­blished in the third chapter, justi­fiably empha­sizes the stop­ping of armoured columns on Medve­djek and the bridge near Ormož at the begin­ning of the figh­ting. The mortar attack on the runway of the mili­tary airport in Cerklje, which drove away the JVL air squa­dron to Bihač, can be placed in the same cate­gory. In addi­tion, the conquest of border cros­sings in Rožna dolina, Šen­tilj and Holmec, the blockade of YPA armoured columns in many places across the country, the downing of enemy heli­co­p­ters, the capture of the remai­ning YPA wareh­ouses, and so forth.

Nevertheless, after a more detailed study of all combat opera­tions of the TO and the Slove­nian police and their place­ment in time and the wider pic­ture, the most important combat opera­tion of the TO to win the war for Slo­venia can easily be singled out. This was undoub­tedly the occup­a­tion of the YPA wareh­ouse near Borov­nica. In this opera­tion, a handful of members of the special brigade confis­cated a larger amount of weapons, mines and mili­tary equip­ment than had all Slove­nian partisan units in all combat ope­rations during WWII combined (seizures during the capi­tu­la­tion of Italy and Germany after defeat on world battle­fields are excluded). The success was also complete because the wareh­ouse was occu­pied in sight of the large concen­tra­tion of YPA units in the Vrhnika barracks, from where the wareho­use could be destroyed with cannon and rocket weapons, if they had found out about the opera­tion in time. But the unit that took over the wareh­ouse convinced the radio operator, who had to report to Vrhnika every 30 minutes, about the situa­tion in the wareh­ouse, to continue to report to the command how ever­ything was in order in the warehouse.

To para­phrase the famous state­ment of Winston Chur­chill after the air bat­tle for England, it can be said that never before in the history of the Slove­nian nation have so many people owed so much grati­tude to a handful of their compatriots.

The third chapter, “Assess­ments and Findings”, pres­ents docu­ments from 10 to 17 July 1991. The central part of this chapter is the analysis of the combat opera­tion of the TO RS, which was actually done on an ongoing basis or immedia­tely after the combat acti­vi­ties. This close proxi­mity in time has its pros and cons. The down­side is the lack of time, which did not allow the Repu­blican and Provin­cial TO Head­quar­ters to seriously examine the assess­ments and addi­tional veri­fi­ca­tions with all subor­di­nate commands. The posi­tive side, however, is that the written esti­mates, which were actually made “on the spot”, are without subse­quent ratio­na­liz­a­tions and embellis­hments. Ever­ything that formed a multi­tude of diffe­rent tactical decisions at various levels within the frame­work of a unified defence stra­tegy, the result of which was – with all the pros and cons – a mili­tary victory or victory in the war for Slovenia, was recorded and evaluated.

Valu­able expe­ri­ences of decisive days

The docu­ments published in this collec­tion are a reflec­tion of the time in which they were created and the people who created them. Some reports and orders are written profes­sio­nally and say ever­ything that was needed without unne­cessary words. Others are infe­rior and without some necessary elements. Some are even hand­written, depen­ding on the specific circum­stances of the war. The present docu­ments, toge­ther with nume­rical data and general know­ledge about the war in Slovenia, of course also enable an assess­ment of the perfor­mance of indi­vi­dual provin­cial commands, coordi­nation subgroups and, last but not least, an assess­ment of the head­quar­ters that led Slovenia’s defence. All this shows the trai­ning and moti­va­tion of indi­vi­duals and entire commands, and in some places also the influ­ence of that part of Slove­nian poli­tics that only counted on an operetta independen­ce and, in some places, even in the midst of the war treated the YPA more favour­ably than the TO.

To a lesser extent, the docu­ments refer to the role of the Slove­nian police, which was stra­te­gi­cally important for Slovenia’s defence, as they had alrea­dy been collected and published in various other publi­ca­tions. Of course, the picture was not the same ever­y­where. While its units in some places (e.g. the South Primorska region) were more active than the units and commands of the TO, in others (e.g. the Dolen­jska region) they prac­ti­cally did not fire a single shot. Later, para­do­xi­cally, espe­cially the staff from Dolen­jska experi­enced promo­tion within the police and the Ministry of the Interior.

When reading the docu­ments, the reader will directly or indi­rectly come across some infor­ma­tion and points of inte­rest that have been forgotten in 23 years, or have never been gene­rally known. In 1991, the author of this text was directly involved in the crea­tion or reading of many of the present orders, direc­tives, reports and analyses. Nevertheless, while editing the antho­logy and re-reading it, he came across many details that are intere­sting today, but at that time, in the middle of the war and the concen­tra­tion of time, they were not even noticed. Also, today, due to the suffi­cient time span, when reading the analyses, we become even more aware of some of the mistakes we had made.

One of my mistakes from the period of prepa­ra­tions for the defence of Slo­venia was my consent to continue the reor­ga­niz­a­tion of the terri­to­rial defen­ce, which reduced the number of provin­cial head­quar­ters from 13 to 7, and merging the muni­cipal head­quar­ters into regional ones. From the point of view of the serious danger that threa­tened us, we should have stopped the reor­ga­niz­a­tion, as the new struc­ture, espe­cially of the regional headquar­ters, has caused us many heada­ches. In addi­tion to compli­ca­ting natural ties to local commu­nities, the reor­ga­niz­a­tion brought a lot of bureau­cracy and not enough elabo­rate ways of leading and commanding.

Another similar mistake was our unde­re­sti­ma­tion of the impor­t­ance of new symbols and uniforms. In other words, in a severe finan­cial drought, the as­sessment of prio­ri­ties was insuf­fi­cient. Although we were threa­tened by war, the Minister of Finance, Marko Kranjec, with the strong support of the oppo­sition and the majo­rity of the government, allo­cated very meagre funds to the TO, which we had to devote almost enti­rely to the purchase of weapons. Due to the non-support and some­times open resis­tance of the majo­rity of members of the Supreme Command and the Presi­dency of the Repu­blic of Slovenia to the streng­t­he­ning of defence (4 members of the Presi­dency signed a decla­ra­tion in February 1991 stating that Slovenia did not need an army), and due to the enor­mous procras­ti­na­tion and the resis­tance of the oppo­si­tion to the adop­tion of a defence budget, we received the already meagre funds for defence only in the spring, which seriously jeopar­dized the purchase of at least modest quan­ti­ties of anti-tank weapons and infantry weapons. We were able to start trai­ning the regular army too late, which was only in May 1991, and only for two smaller units.

There was nothing left for the uniforms, and the new state symbols could not be deter­mined by the parlia­ment until 25 June 1991, due to the opposi­tion. Nevertheless, we should have somehow impro­vised and equipped at least the most important units with new uniforms before the war. Above all, there is no excuse for not provi­ding enough cockades for mili­tary hats until inde­pen­dence. There­fore, criti­cisms of the lack of insi­gnia and new uniforms appearing in the combat reports of many staffs are enti­rely in place.

Reports and analyses show that we had diffi­cul­ties in mobi­li­zing units. Un­til then, it had remained hidden from the public that the Presi­dency of the Re­public of Slovenia did not declare mobi­liz­a­tion even on 27 June 1991, when it estab­lished the aggres­sion and issued an order for the use of weapons. The units were collected toge­ther with calls for an “expe­ri­mental” mobilizati­on, which was the respon­si­bi­lity of the RŠTO, as if it were a mili­tary exer­cise. Somehow it succeeded that way, too. There were several reasons for such an approach, but we will probably never find out about them all. If ever­yone acted as they should have, on 25 June 1991, PRAMOS, the famous act of the SFRY on mobi­liz­a­tion, would no longer have been valid in Slovenia.

The response of the called-up TO members was on average high, but not ever­y­where. The grea­test problems and unre­spon­si­ve­ness were found in Ljub­l­jana and partly in Maribor, where we had to issue 30 to 50 percent more calls for indi­vi­dual units in order to achieve at least 90 percent comple­teness of the units. The first period after the aggres­sion in Ljub­l­jana was espe­cially critical, as the response did not reach a satis­fac­tory percen­tage until 10 ho­urs after the mobi­liz­a­tion. After the end of the war, the compe­tent autho­ri­ties somehow forgot to take action against those who evaded the call, which justi­fiably caused a bad mood among all those who immedia­tely responded to the call to defend the home­land. Overall, the response was much better in rural and smaller cities than in national and regional centres.

In addi­tion to the mentioned admi­nis­tra­tive and general short­co­mings and errors at the state level, the published docu­ments also provide a rela­tively good under­stan­ding of events at the provin­cial and muni­cipal level. Many events in the combat reports are not described in suffi­cient detail, but it is still possible to under­stand where the problems and mistakes occurred. So­metimes, simply from the fact that the event that took place was known and signi­fi­cant is not mentioned in the reports at all. For example, some border cros­sings were occu­pied by the YPA without resis­tance, although they could be defended at the accesses. Many barri­cades were neither mined nor de­fended, so they did not pose major obsta­cles to YPA tanks. Already on the first day of the war, it was clear in many places where the comman­ders were capable and where they were not up to the test. Repla­ce­ments were needed in some key loca­tions, inclu­ding the largest province with the most TO units. There was no time to learn and adapt. The lost day could not be reco­vered. The YPA unit, which too easily crossed the unde­fended barri­cade in the gorge, then had to be stopped in the open, at much greater risk. The tanks, which, despite explicit orders to stop them at the begin­ning, drove away from the Vrhnika barracks without resis­tance and sowed death in Brnik, where, deployed in a combat posi­tion, we could not simply neutra­lize them without heavy weapons.

Despite all the short­co­mings, incon­sis­ten­cies in policy and mistakes, Slo­venia stra­te­gi­cally domi­nated the SFRY and the YPA. The most important reasons for winning the war for Slovenia were:

1. A clear poli­tical goal, supported by the unity of the nation and the plebi­scite result.

2. We did not unde­re­sti­mate the oppo­nent, but they did us.

3. Our units were homo­ge­neous and moti­vated, and the enemy’s mostly not.

4. We made the most of the necessary and possible prepa­ra­tions for the defence in a timely manner.

5. We had good infor­ma­tion about the opponent.

6. We neutra­lized the supe­rio­rity of the enemy in arms and numbers by limi­ting their manoeuvres.

7. A humane approach by avoiding casu­al­ties on both sides, non-discri­mi­­na­tory treat­ment of the wounded, and successful propa­ganda acti­vity moti­vated the opponent’s units to surrender.

8. Nume­rous indi­vi­dual successes of the TO and police units from the first day of the war onwards streng­t­hened the strength of the TO and raised the morale of the mili­tary and civi­lian population..

9. Good civil defence orga­niz­a­tion replaced the lack of heavy weapons with obstruction.

10. Despite the war, the supply of the popu­la­tion func­tioned almost unin­terrupted, all bran­ches of government, except the judi­ciary, func­tioned effici­ently, and the new state func­tioned satisfactorily.

The unity of the nation, the courage of its armed force, the strong poli­tical will of the Demos government coali­tion led by Dr. Jože Pučnik and the self­-initia­tive of a multi­tude of indi­vi­dual comman­ders of tactical units of the TO and the police forged a victory in the war for Slovenia. A victory elevated in its fina­lity to the Slove­nian Olympus, a victory more important than all the battles that our ances­tors often fought for at the expense of others through the whirl­pools of the ungra­teful history of past centuries.

Every day, the war for Slovenia disco­vered thousands of heroes in the Slove­nian nation. Boys and men over­came fear out of love for their home­land. They took up arms to defend their home, their reli­gion and consti­tu­tion, Slovenia. They did a great job. After the victory, they returned to their homes. The state has forgotten them, but the home­land will never forget them. Be­cause these were holy hours, a high note of the Slove­nian nation. We rose up and survived.


Minister of Defence Janez Janša and Minister of the Inte­rior Igor Bavčar during the war for Slovenia at the end of June or the begin­ning of July 1991 toge­ther with police special forces; the two minis­ters jointly headed the coor­di­na­tion group (body) of the Repu­blic Secre­ta­riat for People’s Defence and the Repu­blic Secre­ta­riat for Internal Affairs, which opera­tio­nally led the defence of the Repu­blic of Slovenia against the aggres­sion of the Federal Yugo­slav Army. With youthful energy, auda­city, courage and stra­tegic forethought, they outplayed the gene­rals in Belgrade.


The fatal schism in the nation, caused in the frat­ri­cidal war, was at least tempora­rily over­come at the time of inde­pen­dence due to the unifying policy of Demos and the great pati­ence and state-buil­ding spirit of the people, such as Dr. Jože Pučnik; that is why Slove­nians won the war for Slovenia in 1991 (Pictured: a member of the Terri­to­rial Defense of the Repu­blic of Slovenia next to a seized tank of the Yugo­slav Federal Army on which the Slove­nian national flag is already flying.)


A crucial time for Slovenians

I wrote the present text on 15 May 2013 as a preface to the third, supple­mented edition of the best-selling book Premiki – Nasta­janje in obramba slovenske države 1988–1991 (Move­ments – Forma­tion and defence of the Slove­nian state 1988–1991). It contains many facts that I did not know when I was writing the first two editions of Premiki, and they signi­fi­cantly comple­ment my edito­rials from the White Book and the War for Slovenia, which you could read on the previous pages of this booklet.

The cell or soli­tary confi­ne­ment where I was impr­i­soned in the Me­telkova mili­tary prison in the summer of 1988 was numbered 21. From the moment I was put in it, I lost my name. The guards and other prison staff called me by the number. When they talked about me, they used the number 21. “Bring in twenty-one,” the jail­house warden ordered the guard. “Do not take twenty-one to the yard today,” was the order, which meant that despite the regu­la­tions on the detai­nees‘ right to a half-hour walk, I would be without fresh air again for one day. “Get up, twenty-one,” the guard shouted at 5 a. m. in the morning. After a month without a name, a person begins to think like a number. But all this was happe­ning in the twen­tieth century, and now we are in the twenty-first.

The last decade and a half of the end of the 20th century was crucial for the Slove­nian nation. It was also crucial for our surroun­dings and not least for millions of indi­vi­duals. This fact is much clearer today than it was when the book Premiki (Move­ments) was written – so to speak, during the events them­selves. Even today, after all this time, the events of that time are as alive in my memory as if they happened yesterday. I don’t even have to close my eyes, and the scenes of the dramatic events, me­etings and decisions come before my eyes.

I can see a picture of the fully concen­traing faces of colleagues in the Slovene Defense Head­quar­ters, where a few dozen people were con­stantly driving and coor­di­na­ting mili­tary and defense acti­vi­ties in those hot summer weeks of 1991. I can see Jože Pučnik explai­ning to the De­mos manage­ment just before the last test that we are committed to the plebi­s­cite decision and that we will have to hold out at all costs. I can hear the words of the Croa­tian Minister of Defense in my ears, who an­nounced in a contrite voice that their presi­dent had commanded a kind of neutra­lity, and the memory of the bitter realiz­a­tion that we were lefta­lone is rising in my mouth. I can see a picture of captured YPA soldiers lined up in front of the government and a mixture of disbe­lief and relief and an explo­sion of joy when I tell them they will get civi­lian clothes and that they can then return home. I can hear the angry voice of the com­mander of the Domžale TO unit at the mili­tary exer­cises on Medve­dnjak, who throws a news­paper in front of me with the Decla­ra­tion of Peace, promp­ting a number of Slove­nian left-wing poli­ti­cians and four members of the Supreme Command to demand Slovenia be without an army a few months before the war. I can see immense disap­point­ment in the eyes of the young men of the protec­tion platoon when they learned that our ne­gotiators at Brioni had agreed to return all the confis­cated weapons and release all the captured YPA offi­cers. I can hear the voices of the warri­ors of the Litija’s Battalion at Orle, who surrounded me and demanded Slove­nian uniforms, or at least Slove­nian cockades for hats. I can see Igor, who pulls out a sniper rifle after the heli­co­pter explo­sion, and Tone, who, with a reso­lute voice and an auto­matic rifle in his hand, makes order among the members of the various units occu­p­ying the posi­tions. I feel great relief again when they announce that at the last moment, just befo­re the decla­ra­tion of inde­pen­dence, the long-awaited ship with weapons has arrived. I feel anxiety and immense concern in a hall full of the pa­rents of the young men – there are about 6,000 of them still serving in the YPA a few weeks before the war. I can still feel the warmth of the setting summer sun on my shoul­ders, which accom­pa­nied us to Trg repu­blike, where the Slove­nian flag without a red star finally fluttered.

Slovenia’s inde­pen­dence in the context of the shifts made on the Eu­ropean and world map

The time between 1988 and 1992 was not only crucial for Slovenia. The wind of change drove the fog away from all over Central and Eastern Eu­rope. From a time distance of a quarter of a century, under­stand­ably, many of the causes and conse­quences of the events of that time can be much better unders­tood than they were then. It is much easier to explain both the internal and foreign policy context of indi­vi­dual events. Above all, the shout of a Polish dissi­dent is under­stand­able to ever­yone today, who, soon after the formal fall of commu­nism in Poland said that as far as commu­nism was concerned, in many respects, the worst thing is what comes after it.

That spring and summer of 1989, I watched the most fateful introduc­tory events for Europe, which heralded the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall, from the Dob and Ig prisons. The Solidarity’s victory in Poland’s other­wise limited free elec­tions, a tumul­tuous congress of people’s depu­ties in Moscow, Gorbachev’s historic visits and meetings in Bonn, Vatican, Beijing, Berlin and Malta (meeting with the US presi­dent), the elimi­na­tion of the Iron Curtain on the Hunga­rian-Austrian border and protests in the cities of East Germany had a great impact on the events in the former SFRY and, of course, on events in Slovenia, which was then, as one of the Yugo­slav socia­list repu­blics, in a similar posi­tion as the repu­blics of the former USSR. The events in Europe were partly oversha­dowed by the massacre in the Square of Heavenly Peace and the death of the Iranian leader Khomeini, while turbu­lent events all over the world inflated the drama of the time we were watching from behind bars.


Josip Broz Tito, the leader of the commu­nist government of terror and the direct orga­nizer of the massacre of tens of thousands without trial after the end of the war and revo­lu­tion in Yugo­s­lavia (pictured: shaking hands with Milan Kučan in the 1970s), is still rela­tively respected and esteemed throughout SE Europe.

For us poli­tical priso­ners, the expec­ta­tion that the wind of change would sweep across all the Eastern and Central Europe was even greater. In the spring of 1988, when we were arrested by the commu­nist poli­tical police and then convicted in a closed trial without the right to a lawyer before the Mili­tary Court in Ljub­l­jana, mass protests also broke out in Slovenia. A Committee for the Protec­tion of Human Rights was also esta­blished, which grew to 100,000 members in two months.


In the spring of 1988, when we were arrested by the commu­nist poli­tical police (pictured: the arrest of Janez Janša on 31 May 1988) and then convicted in a closed trial without the right to a lawyer before the Mili­tary Court in Ljub­l­jana, there were mass protests in Slovenia and the estab­lish­ment of the Committee for the Protec­tion of Human Rights, which grew to 100,000 members in two months.

The commu­nist government feared that riots would break out, there­fore we were given rela­tively lenient sentences at trial, ranging from one to four years in prison. Despite public protests, Slove­nian commu­nist autho­rities decided to carry out the sentences, relying on the hope that chan­ges in Eastern and Central Europe would not have a fatal effect on the regime change in Yugo­s­lavia and in the Soviet Union. They also relied on the assess­ment that the West fears the savage disin­te­gra­tion of the Sovi­et Union and the conse­quent incre­ased dangers due to poorer control of nuclear weapons, and that it fears the outbreak of ethnic conflicts in the event of the disin­te­gra­tion of the SFRY.

This hope was largely mistaken. Not only was there a formal change of government and the intro­duc­tion of a market economy and free elec­tions in the USSR and SFRY, there was also the disin­te­gra­tion of both socia­list empires. The disin­te­gra­tion of the Great Red Empire was rela­tively con­trolled, while the Little Red Empire disin­te­grated in the fire and storm of ethnic clean­sing and armed conflict in BiH and partly in Croatia and most recently in Kosovo.

Nevertheless, today, from a distance of almost a quarter of a century, we can conclude that the above-mentioned hope of the leaders of the commu­nist regime in Belgrade and Ljub­l­jana was not comple­tely without foun­da­tion. There­fore, it is worth taking a closer look at these foundati­ons. A closer look today reveals that there is a diffe­rence between Lju­bljana and Moscow on the one hand and the capi­tals of other former commu­nist coun­tries in Europe, on the other.

First, the hopes of the Ljub­l­jana and Belgrade commu­nist appa­ratchiks were based on a belief in their extra­or­di­na­ri­ness. The commu­nist doctri­ne of the time in Ljub­l­jana and Belgrade was domi­nated by the thesis that the commu­nist revo­lu­tions were authentic in the USSR and SFRY, and that else­where commu­nism was brought by the Red Army soldiers on their bayo­nets. Despite Gorba­chev and pere­stroika in the Soviet Union, the Yugo­slav Commu­nists firmly clung to this thesis. It was included in the plan of the General Staff of the YPA called Okop (ditch), on the basis of which in 1991 the YPA carried out an armed inter­ven­tion in Slovenia and later in Croatia. This thesis was also very openly published by one of the foun­ders of the Yugo­slav commu­nist repres­sive appa­ratus after the death of Yugo­slav dictator Josip Broz Tito, his former right-hand man and a secretary of the KPJ (Commu­nist Party of Yugo­s­lavia) Polit­buro and a secretary of the internal affairs, Stane Dolanc. As a personal friend of the leading Slove­nian commu­nist poli­ti­cian Milan Kučan, in 1990, when Kučan left the posi­tion of presi­dent of the ZKS Central Committee to his successor and ran in the elec­tions for the presi­dent of Slovenia, he wrote in his pre-elec­tion propa­ganda brochure:

“We are lucky – and Milan Kučan knew how to use it, at least I hope so, in time – that there was an auto­chtho­nous revo­lu­tion in our country, whi­ch was not brought on by Soviet bayo­nets. That is why this is some­thing comple­tely diffe­rent in our country than in Poland, Czecho­slo­vakia, Bul­garia, Romania or East Germany.” (Stane Dolanc, Federal Secretary for the Inte­rior of the SFRY, in the book Milan Kučan / Igor Savič; Ljub­l­jana: Emonica, 1990, Portraits of Emonica collec­tion) At the begin­ning of his poli­tical career, Stane Dolanc was also the founder and director of the Poli­tical School for Jour­na­lists in Ljub­l­jana (now FDV, Faculty of Social Sciences), which still ope­rates and educates genera­tions of jour­na­lists wi­thout a critical distance to tota­li­ta­rian communism.

Leading Slove­nian commu­nists and gene­rals of the YPA were convinced that socia­lism as a one-party rule in a some­what moder­nized form and under the name “demo­cratic socia­lism” would survive in Yugo­s­lavia or at least in Slovenia and Serbia and in the Soviet Union. Their belief was based on the know­ledge of a thorough purge of the popu­la­tion after the victory of the commu­nist revo­lu­tions in both coun­tries. The purges that physi­cally removed any trace of poli­tical compe­ti­tion in Slovenia after 1945 by means of massa­cres, torture, impr­i­son­ment and expul­sion from the country, were at least as thorough as during the worst Stali­nist terror in the USSR.

The long-term conse­quences of the frat­ri­cidal war of the mid-20th century

The fatal rift in the nation caused in the frat­ri­cidal war, was at least tempora­rily over­come at the time of inde­pen­dence, due to the unifying policy of the Demos and the great pati­ence and state-buil­ding spirit of the people, such as Dr. Jože Pučnik. However, the leading commu­nists – those who caused this split with the help of foreign occup­a­tion – were lacking a sincere readi­ness for a lasting and successful healing of this histo­rical wound. The initi­ally promi­sing recon­ci­lia­tion process turned into the oppo­site and reached its infa­mous end at the end of April 2013 in Stožice, where the entire Slove­nian state leadership sang the commu­nist Inter­na­tional in the hall, a symbol of gross crony capitalism.

After the demo­cratic changes in Slovenia in 1990, more than 600 mass graves were disco­vered in an area of more than 20,000 km², inha­bited by 2 million people, many of which are larger than those in Srebre­nica. The last large mass grave was disco­vered in 2008 in the aban­doned Huda jama mine, 40 km from Ljub­l­jana. In aban­doned mine shafts lie thousands of half-decom­posed corpses and unbu­ried male and fema­le skele­tons, mostly without gunshot wounds. In 1945, the Commu­nists simply swept their victims alive into aban­doned mine shafts, and they walled up and concreted the entrances. Actual or poten­tial oppon­ents of the commu­nist regime who were not killed immedia­tely after the end of the war and the commu­nist revo­lu­tion, either fled abroad or ended up in commu­nist concen­tra­tion camps and prisons.

The number of poli­tical priso­ners in Slovenia has grown to thousands. Throughout the years of the commu­nist regime, staged trials were orga­nized in which many people who were comple­tely inno­cent were senten­ced to death or to long prison terms. Because the purges and massa­cres were carried out by local commu­nists, usually in their own envi­ron­ments, they were more thorough than those carried out by Soviet soldiers or the KGB in the coun­tries of the later Warsaw Pact. At the same time, many people on the commu­nist side had bloody hands. Fearing the disclo­sure of crimes and respon­si­bi­li­ties, they involved entire fami­lies in the purges. Not only the fear, caused by these actions, but also the physical destruc­tion of the poli­tical oppo­si­tion enabled the long reign of dictator Tito and his succes­sors. These succes­sors, there­fore, reck­oned in 1989 that any basis for strong oppo­si­tion had been destroyed over the decades.

They calcu­lated that they could retain power even in the event of for­mally free elec­tions. They calcu­lated that thousands of their members would do ever­ything with their bloody hands to prevent a change of go­vernment, and thus a puri­fi­ca­tion of the past. They laun­ched a major propa­ganda offen­sive, clai­ming that all tens of thousands, inclu­ding the women and children who were killed, were colla­bo­ra­tors with Nazism and Fascism. Even before the formal changes, they began to priva­tize nati­onal and local media. They have retained an almost complete influ­ence in them to this day. Anyone who publicly raised the issue of commu­nist purges and massa­cres was immedia­tely branded a sympa­thizer of colla­boration and Nazism in these media.


I watched the most fateful intro­duc­tory events for Europe that spring and summer of 1989, which heralded the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall, from the Dob and Ig prisons. Solidarity’s victory in Poland’s other­wise limited free elec­tions, the tumul­tuous congress of people’s depu­ties in Moscow, Gorbachev’s historic visits and meetings with Western representatives.


The described situa­tion in a pecu­liar way explains the oft-repeated thesis from the 1990s that „the Berlin Wall collapsed on both sides”. The author of this thesis is the former presi­dent of the Central Committee of the League of Commu­nists of Slovenia and the Repu­blic of Slovenia Milan Kučan (pictured during a conver­sa­tion with Sonja Lokar at the congress of the League of Commu­nists of Yugo­s­lavia in Belgrade in January 1990).

All of the above issues raise a ques­tion of whether, two and a half de­cades after the trial against the JBTZ four in Ljub­l­jana, after the fall of the Berlin Wall in Europe, and after the inte­gra­tion of most former commu­nist coun­tries of Eastern and Central Europe into the EU and NATO, it is fi­nally time for an in-depth assess­ment of this tran­si­tion, for a compa­ra­tive analysis of the process in indi­vi­dual coun­tries and for ques­tio­ning what lessons can be learned from the past and applied to future successes and defeats.

Might we have over­looked some­thing during the big move­ments? Have we studied the causes that made Srebre­nica possible enough? At home and also in the wider EU, did we ask ourselves, how it is possible that Mi­loševič, Mladic and other former leading Yugo­slav commu­nists ordered the physical dest­ruc­tion of thousands without hesi­ta­tion and according to exactly the same patterns as their role models did in 1945? How is it possible that the ideo­logy of crime and the culture of death have survived to such an extent that they have again caused the deaths of tens of tho­usands in the middle of the Euro­pean continent?

The answers are clearer to all of us who live in Slovenia. Josip Broz Tito, the holder of the commu­nist government of terror and the direct orga­nizer of the massa­cres of tens of thousands of people without trial after the end of the war and revo­lu­tion in Yugo­s­lavia, is still rela­tively respected and esteemed across SE Europe. Although his crimes are well known, they are still being justi­fied. It is not possible to condemn a crime and idolize crimi­nals at the same time, and yet this is happe­ning before our eyes. In Moscow, they are faced with a similar problem as it is not possible to condemn the crimes committed by Stalin and Lenin, while at the same time idolize them both as great leaders, and still remain credible. The de­nazification of Germany laid the foun­da­tions for the begin­nings of the EU. The deco­m­mu­niz­a­tion of the East is still waiting for us, and both centers of the so-called authentic commu­nist revo­lu­tion are espe­cially proble­matic. Genera­tions living in Russia today have no real know­ledge of the times before the commu­nist revo­lu­tion, as in Lenin’s and Stalin’s purges of all non-commu­nist intel­li­gentsia was physi­cally destroyed or expelled, and then a large part of the educated commu­nists were also removed by purges. The same happened in Slovenia: due to thorough commu­nist purges in Slovenia, only a small part of the former bour­geois intel­li­gentsia survived. For a long time after the revo­lu­tion, children from non-commu­­nist fami­lies, even if they survived the purges, were not allowed to take any leading posi­tion in the natio­na­lized economy or in insti­tu­tions, despi­te their know­ledge and appa­rent abili­ties. In order to be employed in such an important service, they membership in the Commu­nist Party or union of commu­nists was required.

The conse­quences of such a situa­tion in Slovenia are very obvious even today. I mention some of the most important ones below.

In the spring of 2009, when the Huda jama mass grave was opened and national TV cameras showed all the horrors of the conse­quences of the commu­nist crime, the presi­dent of the commu­nist vete­rans‘ organi­zation Janez Stanovnik, who was a long-time diplomat in the service of the UN during the SFRY, said that the massa­cres after the end of the war were carried out following the orders of Marshal Tito. As a result of this state­ment, a demand was made to remove all monu­ments and names of the former Yugo­slav dictator from Slove­nian towns and squares, but they are still nume­rous. The parties of the current left-wing government coali­tion have strongly opposed this demand. The youth orga­niz­a­tion of the leading government party of the Social Demo­crats (successor of the former Commu­nist Party) of the then Prime Minister Borut Pahor issued a press release clai­ming that the time of the commu­nist revo­lu­tion, in which mass crimes took place, was a time of progress for Yugoslavia.

When asked how he would comment on the disco­very of the Huda jama mass grave with thousands of unbu­ried corpses on national TV, the then Presi­dent of the Repu­blic Danilo Turk, elected with the support of the left post-commu­nist parties, said that this was a secon­dary issue and that he would not comment.

The left-wing parties in the Slove­nian capital of Ljub­l­jana, under the leadership of Mayor Zoran Jankovič (a close friend of former Slove­nian Commu­nist Presi­dent and later Presi­dent of the Repu­blic of Slovenia Mi­lan Kučan), adopted a decision in the city council with their majo­rity that one of the entrances to Ljub­l­jana be named after the former dictator Tito. The street with his name had existed in Ljub­l­jana until the free elec­tions in 1990, after which it was renamed. And after 20 years, the Slovene neo­-commu­nists achieved the dictator’s name to be used again, and only a later decision adopted by the Consti­tu­tional Court erased this shameful stain from Slovenia.

At a time when post-commu­nists in Ljub­l­jana were deci­ding to name a street after the former dictator Tito, the Euro­pean Parlia­ment adopted a reso­lu­tion on Euro­pean consci­ence and tota­li­ta­ria­nism, condem­ning all tota­li­ta­rian regimes, bowing to their victims and propo­sing that Member States mark 23 August as a day of remem­brance for the victims of all tota­li­ta­rian regimes in Europe. In Slovenia, the reso­lu­tion met with great resis­tance from the ruling post-commu­nist forces. The government said that it will not mark 23 August with anything. A small cere­mony on this day of remem­brance was orga­nized on 23 August 2009 by the Center for Nati­onal Recon­ci­lia­tion, which was estab­lished a few years ago, but the event was not attended by anyone from the government or the ruling coalition.

A similar reso­lu­tion to the EP was adopted this year by the Parliamen­tary Assembly of the Council of Europe. One of the initia­tors for the adop­tion of this reso­lu­tion was also a member of the Italian mino­rity in the Slove­nian Parlia­ment, Roberto Battelli. The adop­tion of the reso­lu­tion, which was voted for by the vast majo­rity of members of the CoE Par­liamentary Assembly, was followed by some not-so-loud protests from Moscow, which did not agree with equal treat­ment of all tota­li­ta­ria­nisms, in this case Nazism and Commu­nism. The Slove­nian member of the CoE Parlia­men­tary Assembly Battelli was subjected to harsh pres­sure and media attacks at home, and even demands for his resi­gna­tion. In additi­on, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Repu­blic of Slovenia distanced itself from his actions with an offi­cial statement.


Stane Dolanc in the early 1990s (pictured in 1986 at the ZKS Congress): „We are lucky – and Milan Kučan knew how to use it, I hope, at least in time – that there was an auto­chtho­nous revo­lu­tion in our country, which was not brought on Soviet bayo­nets. That is why this is some­thing comple­tely diffe­rent in our country than in Poland, Czecho­slo­vakia, Bulgaria, Romania or East Germany.”

When the left-wing post-commu­nist coali­tion took office at the end of 2008, Finance Minister Franci Križanič from the SD party hired former commu­nist secret police (SDV) agent Drago Isajl­ovič as an adviser in his cabinet. Isajl­ovič perso­nally arrested David Tasič and I in 1988 and was, there­fore, known as the perso­ni­fi­ca­tion of commu­nist repres­sion, which perse­cuted dissen­ting people by all means. Isajl­ovič had no proper educa­tion or expe­ri­ence in the field of finance, and the minister who hired him at the time said that they had been friends for many years.

Slovenia is the only post-commu­nist EU member state in which, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and demo­cratic changes in the early 1990s, not even the mildest form of lustra­tion was carried out, nor are the archives of the former poli­tical police publicly avail­able. The post-commu­nist par­ties persist­ently prevented all such attempts; in 1997, the National As­sembly of the Repu­blic of Slovenia even voted unani­mously against the approval of Council of Europe Reso­lu­tion no. 1096 on the disin­te­gra­tion of former tota­li­ta­rian commu­nist regimes. There­fore, in Slovenia today, former employees and colla­bo­ra­tors of the commu­nist secret police, who drasti­cally violated human rights in the previous regime, are still in high posi­tions in the judi­ciary, prosecutor’s office, diplo­macy, economy, ad­ministration, media edito­rial offices and even secret services. The last presi­dent of the Commu­nist Party from the time before the free elec­tions even became a consti­tu­tional judge, and his successor was for a long­time the presi­dent of the program committee of the national TV, and to­day he is the presi­dent of the Olympic Committee of Slovenia.


I see Jože Pučnik explai­ning to the Demos leadership just before the last test that we are committed to the plebi­s­cite decision and that we will have to perse­vere at all costs” (in the picture: the leadership of Demos is looking forward to success at the plebi­s­cite on the inde­pen­dence of the Repu­blic of Slovenia at the Church of St. James above Medvode, 26 December 1990).

It was only in the time of crisis that Europe became really inte­rested in what was happe­ning in Slovenia

The described situa­tion in a pecu­liar way explains the oft-repeated the­sis from the 1990s that “the Berlin Wall collapsed on both sides”. The author of this thesis, the former presi­dent of ZKS (The League of Com­munists of Slovenia) and RS Milan Kučan, used it to justify his defence of the tota­li­ta­rian regime and his oppo­si­tion to any changes that could perma­nently dismantle the legacy of commu­nism in Slovenia, on which the power of post-commu­nists is based. These are the three pillars, na­mely ideo­logy, propa­ganda and finan­cial power. Para­do­xi­cally, today the succes­sors and defen­ders of the commu­nist regime are gene­rally the richest strata in Slovenia. After the expi­ra­tion of his third term as Presi­dent of the Repu­blic of Slovenia, Milan Kučan founded Forum 21, which, with a few excep­tions, brought toge­ther indi­vi­duals who have become extre­mely rich in the last decade and are now the owners of some of Slovenia’s largest compa­nies. When some pointed to the discrepancy between the left-wing poli­tical orien­ta­tion of Forum 21 and the extre­mely rich membership and asked Presi­dent Kučan where the remai­ning wor­kers and prole­ta­rians were, he replied cyni­cally: “Prole­ta­rians are where they have always been. At their workplaces.”

Through the acti­vi­ties of left-wing governments and red mono­po­lies, Slovenia has skil­fully smug­gled this situa­tion into NATO and the EU. External obser­vers could observe some­thing similar only in Romania. Today, when Slovenia is criti­cized daily by Euro­pean insti­tu­tions due to the possi­bi­lity of bankruptcy and endan­ge­re­ment of the stabi­lity of the common Euro­pean currency, more and more Euro­pean actors are won­dering what has happened to our country. What is funda­ment­ally wrong with us that we got lost like that?

Europe can only last perma­nently as a Europe of values. Insti­tu­tions are important, as is overall progress. However, without streng­t­he­ning the value base, the Euro­pean foun­da­tion will be in much greater dan­ger than being without a new insti­tu­tional treaty. This fact must never be over­looked, and espe­cially before the acces­sion of the Western Balkan coun­tries to the EU, the EU must be able to de­mand that the new members consist­ently clear up the past – both with extreme natio­na­lisms and with an ambi­va­lent atti­tude towards crime, i.e., by appro­ving the use of the commu­nist methods of physi­cally destroying the enemy. The coun­tries of the Western Balkans that have been waiting to join the EU, should, in addi­tion to recon­ci­lia­tion over the Dayton conflict, also deal with the past that led to the conflict and the ideo­logy that justi­fies the goal.

Seeing only extreme natio­na­lists in Miloševič and Mladič is not enough. Some­thing is missing, which could fully explain the incredibly brutal cri­mes in BiH, the Repu­blic of Croatia and Kosovo. It is a mixture of natio­na­lism and commu­nist ide­ology that was obvious, which is the end product of the Yugo­slav commu­nist and mili­tary acade­mies that taught that the funda­mental goal of the class struggle was the physical dest­ruc­tion of the enemy. This combi­na­tion produced National Socia­lism at the end of the 20th century in other­wise diffe­rent circum­s­tances, but with the same cri­minal conse­quences as in the first half of the last century, at a time when we believed that some­thing like this was no longer possible. It may have been due to this, that the ideo­lo­gical basis of the misery in the Balkans remained somehow in the back­ground of rese­arch. Also, because the mighty remnants of commu­nism in the area of Southeast Europe were very careful that the West would not begin to rese­arch the deeper causes of Srebre­nica and the Balkan tragedy in general.

At the same time, what was happe­ning in the Western Balkans seemed less important, a drama on the side stage that would not have a decisive impact on the season in the theater. Namely, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War also marked the begin­ning of globa­liz­a­tion, the rise of new infor­ma­tion and commu­ni­ca­tion tech­no­lo­gies and reli­gious extre­mism. The latter is even a step further than the dest­ruc­tive ideo­lo­gies of the 20th century. In both fascism and National Socia­lism and Commu­nism, the goal justi­fies the means, and crime is the legitima­te means to achieve it. In addi­tion to reli­gious extre­mism, there is also fana­tical willing­ness to directly sacri­fice one’s life to achieve a goal. This perhaps makes it seem more dange­rous at first glance, when in fact it is not. Namely, it does not seem probable that it would be possible to cause as many victims and such civi­liz­a­tional dest­ruc­tion in this way as for example, commu­nism caused in the USSR or SFRY or National So­cialism in part of Europe. The commu­nist ideo­logy used during and after the commu­nist revo­lu­tion in Yugo­s­lavia or in Srebre­nica a decade ago mobi­lized the perpe­tra­tors on the basis of their belief that the harm done to others would benefit them and their race directly and immedia­tely, not only later, in another world.

History has shown that it is much easier to gain crowds for direct be­nefits than for direct personal sacri­fice. This, however, is the deeper es­sence of the danger of the revival of tota­li­ta­rian ideo­lo­gies, among which commu­nism in the Balkans always has at its disposal a simple interbre­eding with extreme natio­na­lism. This resulted in ethnic clean­sing and Srebre­nica. This results in the content of the speech of the Secretary General of the ZZB (Fede­ra­tion of Figh­ters‘ Asso­cia­tions) of Slovenia in Tisje, where he again threa­tened mass killings.

The book „Move­ments“ has to some extent, prevented the falsi­fi­ca­tion of recent history

The book titled Premiki (Move­ments), published in the spring of 1992, along with similar works by other actors of Slove­nian inde­pen­dence, at least to some extent prevented the falsi­fi­ca­tion of recent history and the final realiz­a­tion of Kučan’s thesis on “several truths”. This, at first glance, is a rather cate­go­rical state­ment can be substan­tiated rela­tively easily.


Since the plebi­s­cite in December 1990, inde­pen­dence has been constantly presented by the party of post-commu­nist forces as a general reason for all possible problems (pictured: setting up the board of the new inde­pen­dent Euro­pean state of the Repu­blic of Slovenia at the end of June 1991).

The first edition of „Premiki“ was published in June 1992 in a record edi­tion of 30,000 copies, 17,000 of which were already sold on pre-order. The reprints then addi­tio­nally sold almost 40,000 copies in Slove­nian, English, German and Croa­tian. After a few years, the book was comple­tely sold out. The book caused a real media and poli­tical storm. Some atta­cked it even before it was published, as the manu­script was stolen from the prin­ting house and sent to critics on duty.

On one hand, the book met with an unex­pec­tedly high level of reader inte­rest and mass approval. I have received hund­reds of letters of praise and thanks. In the public media, however, the response was mixed. Tho­se media that were still or again comple­tely controlled by the tran­si­tional left, published the responses of poli­ti­cians who opposed the independen­ce, so it was logical that they also opposed its descrip­tion. They even sought out defeated gene­rals and YPA offi­cers and asked them for their opinion on the book. Ljubljana’s Dnevnik, the news­paper that atta­cked the Slove­nian government during the YPA aggres­sion, was in the lead in this group. Other, more truth-loving news­pa­pers or media (there were, let’s face it, more of them than today) published diffe­rent responses.


The book „Premiki“ („Move­ments“), published in the spring of 1992 (the third, supple­mented edition in the picture), toge­ther with similar works by other actors of Slove­nian inde­pen­dence, at least to some extent prevented the falsi­fi­ca­tion of recent history and the final realiz­a­tion of Kucan’s thesis on „several truths”.

The docu­ments in the book spoke for them­selves and were not so easy to reject. Here, they used the trick of alleged obsce­nity, stating that such docu­ments should not be published, that it was not nice, and so on. They also invented the so-called eaves­drop­ping affair, alle­ging that the then Secu­rity Infor­ma­tion Service (VIS) wire­tapped members of the Presiden­cy of the Repu­blic of Slovenia and thus recorded a treache­rous conver­sation in which Ciril Zlobec reve­aled a state secret about the exact date and concrete measures of inde­pen­dence. Of course, this was not true, as all of Slovenia knew that the VIS was eaves­drop­ping on the YPA and foreign services, and if Zlobec had not called them himself, they would not have been able to catch him.

As in the old party times, the Move­ments was discussed at the Presi­dency of the Repu­blic of Slovenia, at the bodies of the successor to the KPS, the Socia­list Party and the LS, the prede­cessor of the LDS. They issued commu­ni­ques and press releases and condemned the book. The common feature of these messages, however, was that not a sin­gle sentence from the book was written in any of them. There were only flat-out accu­sa­tions and the Cali­mero atti­tude expressed by those who were openly against the measures to secure Slove­nian inde­pen­dence with real force and thus against inde­pen­dence itself, or those who did not know exactly what to support.

The igno­rance of some of the actors mentioned in the first edition of Move­ments led to the publi­ca­tion of some addi­tional docu­ments with di­rect evidence of their conduct and a preface with explana­tions in the se­cond edition, which quickly followed the first as 30,000 copies of the first edition were soon sold out.

The tumul­tuous poli­tical reac­tions to the book Move­ments reve­aled another, hitherto strictly concealed and hidden truth. Slove­nian indepen­dence and espe­cially its finale, the war for Slovenia, united Slove­nians but at the same time made a big rift in the seemingly very homo­ge­neous body of the Slove­nian post-commu­nist left. In making the decisions and mea­sures necessary for inde­pen­dence, the leadership of their parties in par­ticular hesi­tated and calcu­lated, not only hiding that from their public, but also from their membership. A large part of their membership supported inde­pen­dence, and many took on more important roles in defence structu­res due to Demos‘ inclu­sive policy. The membership did not know the con­tent of the secret talks with Markovic about the over­throw of the Demos government, which his spokesman wrote in his memoirs, and they did not know about the machi­na­tions against Slovenia’s inter­na­tional reco­gni­tion, about which the then inter­na­tional secretary of the Italian Socia­lists, Piero Fassino, wrote without reser­va­tions. The betrayal of Ciril Zlobec, indi­rectly mentioned in Premiki, also shocked many of their supporters.

Leaders in the LDS and later the United List and the presi­dency of the Repu­blic directed anger and media sulfur towards Move­ments and their author, prima­rily with an aim to convince their members and suppor­ters that leading left-wing poli­ti­cians did not hinder inde­pen­dence. The book Move­ments was published on the first anni­ver­sary of the procla­ma­tion of Slove­nian state­hood, immedia­tely after Slovenia’s acces­sion to the UN, at a time when it was clear to even the grea­test Yugo­slav nost­al­gics that Yugo­s­lavia was gone and that Slovenia was a reality in spite of ever­ything. And, as always in such cases, after the battle, ever­yone was a general and all began to claim that they had believed in this goal from the very beginning.

My colleagues and I care­fully collected responses to the book, but not all of them could be read. It was only after two decades that I fully reviewed the contents of five thick regis­trars with origi­nals or copies of arti­cles and records on Move­ments. Despite a careful review of hund­reds of records, I did not find any serious contro­ver­sies with counter-argu­ments anywhere, not a single thesis or docu­ment from the book was refuted in them.

But the more Move­ments was atta­cked, the more the book was read. Due to its docu­men­tary value, it soon became a source for domestic and foreign histo­rians and publi­cists who wrote about the disin­te­gra­tion of Yugo­s­lavia and the inde­pen­dence of Slovenia. When the book was re­printed in foreign languages, I also presented it in a number of Euro­pean capi­tals, and reviews were published in many Euro­pean news­pa­pers. A book by two Serbian histo­rians enti­tled: The War in Slovenia (docu­ments of the Presi­dency of the SFRY) was recently published in Belgrade, and even in it Move­ments is mentioned as one of the key sources.

Inde­pen­dence and the war for Slovenia put us on the world map

Move­ments addresses the prepa­ra­tion and imple­men­ta­tion of Slovenia’s defence quite exten­si­vely, although the topic of the book is much broader. The book also publishes the entire basic plan for secu­ring Slove­nian inde­pen­dence, which is my work and which was approved by the compe­tent autho­ri­ties in May 1991 as offi­cial guide­lines for the pre­paration and imple­men­ta­tion of defence, and the Slove­nian TO and the police opera­tio­na­lized it with a series of imple­men­ta­tion docu­ments. After the war, I lectured on this plan and the prepa­ra­tion of Slovenia’s defence at mili­tary acade­mies, inter­na­tional insti­tutes and univer­si­ties in Vienna, Washington, London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Prague, Zagreb and possibly else­where, but after my removal from the Ministry of Defence in March 1994, inte­res­tingly, never at Slove­nian mili­tary schools or courses. There were no invi­ta­tions from there. The red mono­poly was too strong.

Slovenia’s remar­kable feat, its comple­tely non-clas­sical defence and impro­vised armed forces – first in the form of the MSNZ (Maneu­vering struc­ture of national protec­tion), then in the form of the TO and the police – attracted the atten­tion of many mili­tary and defense experts and institu­tes who studied it. “How did you do it?” was the most common ques­tion. “How was it possible that more than 20,000 members of the TO and poli­ce armed with light weapons stopped an army that numbered a ten times larger team and had over 500 tanks and other armored vehi­cles in Slo­venia alone, or in its immediate vicinity, several hundred fighter planes and heli­co­p­ters, and all the remai­ning equip­ment of the classic, heavily armed army?” Most of the answers to these and related ques­tions can be found in the book Movements.

When the US Senate Foreign Rela­tions Committee decided in 2003 on the consent of the largest and leading member of the North Atlantic Alli­ance to Slovenia’s entry into this secu­rity alli­ance, the chairman of the NATO Committee pointed out that the biggest advan­tage of a poten­tial new member was that it was a country that had demo­cra­tized, become inde­pen­dent and defended itself against a much larger force, and that this expe­ri­ence was a valu­able contri­bu­tion to common secu­rity. As he also mentioned my name, the Slove­nian media prac­ti­cally did not report on this.


Seeing only extreme natio­na­lists in Miloševič and Mladic (in the picture toge­ther with Radovan Kara­džic) is not enough. Some­thing is missing, which could fully explain the incredibly brutal crimes in BiH, the Repu­blic of Croatia and Kosovo. It is a blend of natio­na­lism and commu­nist ideo­logy that was obvious.

Persis­tent belitt­ling of the impor­t­ance of independence

Such an approach has always been a rule rather than an excep­tion. Even before the inde­pen­dence era, the Red Propa­ganda Mono­poly tried to obscure the essence of the events and the double play of some actors.

Many events and state­ments have been silenced or distorted. Others were parti­cu­larly high­lighted. The distor­tion of the truth was part of the post-inde­pen­dence daily routine. The basic guide­line was: Ever­ything that shaped the majo­rity value system of the people in Slovenia at the time of inde­pen­dence and demo­cra­tiz­a­tion, at the time of the Slove­nian Spring, should be rela­ti­vized and finally named with its opposite.

Ever since the plebi­s­cite in December 1990, inde­pen­dence has been constantly presented as the general reason for all possible problems. Each year the slogans were more direct and eloquent, until in 2012 we expe­ri­enced banners at the so-called popular upri­sings with the words: “They have been stealing from us for 20 years” or “In 20 years, compa­nies and the state have been stolen from us” or “20 years of a corrupt poli­tical elite was enough”.

It was as if we had lived in heaven before inde­pen­dence and as if there was no tota­li­ta­rian regime in Slovenia in which the state was one hundred percent stolen from the people, certainly much more than today, regard­less of all the current problems.


After the demo­cratic changes in Slovenia in 1990, over 600 mass graves were disco­vered in an area of more than 20,000 km² inha­bited by 2 million people, many of which are larger than the one in Srebre­nica (pictured: skele­tons of those killed in Huda jama).

Ever since Kučan’s famous letter from the spring of 1991, they have been trying to portray the resis­tance against the disar­ma­ment of the TO and the defence of the Slove­nian state as an arms trade, and the esta­blishment of state attri­butes of Slovenia as the affair of the Erased. The mani­pu­la­tion was so intense for two decades that the young genera­tions growing up during this time were able to learn about the problem of the so-called Erased from all possible public media at least ten times more than about all measures that enabled the crea­tion of the Slove­nian state. Ten years after its crea­tion, the first red star flags appeared at the state cele­bra­tion on National Day. At first shyly, with an awareness that they repre­sent a symbol of the aggressor army, which was defeated in the war for Slovenia. Then, more and more aggres­si­vely, as if the YPA had won the war. The main points of the spea­kers included the obli­ga­tory senten­ce, saying that without the so-called National Libe­ra­tion War there would be no inde­pen­dent Slovenia. As if Slovenia had been created in 1945 and not in 1991. Inde­pen­dence was erased or reduced when the former did not work out. The programs of state cele­bra­tions on the occa­sion of the two biggest Slove­nian holi­days, State­hood Day and Inde­pen­dence and Unity Day, were comple­tely empty at best during the governments of the tran­si­tional left and unre­lated to the purpose of the holiday, and at worst, they were even full of open mockery of Slovenia and the values that uni­ted us in a successful, joint inde­pen­dence venture.

On the other hand, almost no week in the year went by without pompo­us and expen­sive cele­bra­tions orga­nized by ZZB, full of hate speech and threats to dissi­dents, tota­li­ta­rian symbols, crimes in the form of forgery of offi­cial state symbols and illegal carrying and display of mili­tary weapons. The parti­ci­pants in these mass events are mostly paid members of the ZZB, as around 20,000 of them still receive privi­leged allo­wances for ve­terans every month, even though many were born only after 1945. Privi­leges are passed on to descen­dants as in some feudal princi­pa­lity. Such bacchanalia in the style of rallies from Miloševic’s most intense campaign a quarter of a century ago were crowned by the ZZB rally on 24 Decem­ber 2012 in Tisje, where the general secretary of the veteran orga­niz­a­tion Mitja Klavora, born a decade after the war, threa­tened massa­cres again.

For several years after inde­pen­dence, it was necessary to return the deco­ra­tions and explain that the Presi­dent of the country is not allowed by law to award the sign of freedom to people who have nothing to do with inde­pen­dence or have even actively opposed it. After ten years, they began to deli­ber­ately work on crea­ting confu­sion with symbols. On the fifte­enth anni­ver­sary of inde­pen­dence, a contro­versy began over the forma­tion of the Slove­nian Army and its age, and on the twen­tieth anni­versary, the then Presi­dent of the Repu­blic even thun­dered over the so- called inde­pen­dence figh­ters, saying that this “struggle for merits” and the tran­si­tional clutter must be dealt with once and for all. Well, the voters dealt with him in the fall of 2012, thank God. The culmi­na­tion of the dis­gracing of inde­pen­dence, and espe­cially of the Slove­nian Army, was set just before the twenty-second anni­ver­sary, with the appoint­ment of the last Minister of Defence. Uncles from the back­ground appointed a man to this posi­tion, who in 1991, not only indi­rectly, but actively, through poli­tical action and voting, opposed all measures to defend Slovenia against the aggres­sion of the YPA.

“I am not a member of the LDS, but I have the same thoughts and views as Roman Jakič,” said YPA Colonel Milan Aksen­ti­jevic in the assembly, after they had jointly obst­ructed the defence prepa­ra­tions at the most critical time.

Resis­tance to falsi­fi­ca­tion was strong throughout, and Move­ments and other books of the direct parti­ci­pants were its strong support, but the actors of falsi­fi­ca­tion became more aggres­sive with each passing year as the memory of the genera­tion that had directly expe­ri­enced indepen­dence, was fading. Anyone who pointed out the mani­pu­la­tions was discredited and ridi­culed by the media. The network of the former SDV (State Secu­rity Service), with more than 10,000 employees, intert­wined with the judi­ciary and police appa­ratus, parastatal insti­tu­tions such as the anti-corrup­tion commis­sion or infor­ma­tion commis­sioner, and with private detec­tive agen­cies, has remained aggres­si­vely active. The me­dia mono­poly of the tran­si­tional left, which dimi­nished the impor­t­ance of inde­pen­dence every year and glori­fied the revo­lu­tio­nary gains of the so- called National Libe­ra­tion War, has only streng­t­hened since 1992 after a brief lull in independence.

Were it not for the preser­va­tion of docu­ments and records from a good two decades ago, some compe­tent histo­rians, and the efforts of the di­rect parti­ci­pants who wrote their memoirs, the resis­tance to counterfei­ting would be virtually impos­sible today. More or less the same actors, who wanted to prevent the reve­la­tion of the drastic falsi­fi­ca­tion of history from 1941 onwards and thun­dered in the public on a daily basis not to let it be falsi­fied (read: they will not allow the truth), on the other hand, their methods of falsi­fi­ca­tion trans­ferred from the tota­li­ta­rian regime to the post-inde­pen­dence period. In defen­ding the forgery of 1941–1990, they used the same method for the period after 1990: daily brain­wa­shing through the mass media and the basis for this washing were in com­ments, symposia, school text­books and programs, and docu­men­ta­ries or quasi-docu­men­tary broad­casts. The culmi­na­tion of such work is certain­ly the portrait of Milan Kučan by the propa­gan­dist Mojca Pašek Šetinc, and not far from it is the docu­men­tary about JBTZ, in which Ljerka Bizilj washes the direc­tors of our arrests in 1988. All this is, of course, paid for with taxpayers‘ money.

It will be inte­res­ting to observe the reac­tions of these and other authors in the coming years, when histo­rical and jour­na­listic acti­vity will neverthe­less reveal many facts that they tried to hide or at least obscure with the dest­ruc­tion of archives in 1989 and 1990 and the listed propa­ganda methods. The latest book by Igor Omerza about JBTZ, for example, pro­ves unequi­vo­cally that Milan Kučan and Janez Stanovnik lied under oath when they claimed before the commis­sion of inquiry that they did not know about Tasič’s and my arrest in May and June 1988.

„Move­ments“ was the first book of its kind on Slove­nian inde­pen­dence; and additions

Move­ments was the first book of its kind on Slove­nian inde­pen­dence. Others soon followed, describing various broader or narrower aspects of this histo­rical process. The foreign policy aspect and the fight for interna­tional reco­gni­tion were described by Dr. Dimi­trij Rupel, the work of intel­ligence offi­cers by Andrej Lovšin, and rela­tions in the SFRY by Dr. Janez Drno­všek. After over a decade, memoirs of the actors of the oppo­site side, as well as inte­res­ting readings and many docu­ments for compari­son, began to appear.


When asked how he would comment on the disco­very of the Huda jama mass grave with thousands of unbu­ried corpses on national TV the then Presi­dent of the Repu­blic Danilo Türk, elected with the support of the left post-commu­nist parties, said that this was a secon­dary issue and that he would not comment.

Former Serbian member of the presi­dency of the SFRY Borisav Jovič, for example, describes in his memoirs how he was convin­cing Kadi­jevič of the neces­sity of my arrest or “removal” in the spring of 1991, and his descrip­tions of Kučan’s playing on several cards are also interesting.

Even more inte­res­ting is the 1988 book by the Presi­dent of the SFRY Presi­dency, Raif Dizdarevič, “From Tito’s Death to Yugoslavia’s Death”, in which he reveals, among other things, the double play of Milan Kučan, Janez Stanovnik and other Slove­nian commu­nist poli­ti­cians at the time regar­ding the JBTZ process.

The books of the defeated YPA gene­rals Veljko Kadi­jevič, Branko Ma­mula and Konrad Kolšek more or less deal with justi­fying the defeat and beau­ti­fying their role in it. Their emer­gence was prompted mainly by the opera­tion of the Hague war crimes tribunal on the terri­tory of former Yu­goslavia, which also collected a number of valu­able testi­mo­nies from its mate­rial avail­able on the court’s website.

Specu­la­tions about the illegal arms trade between Slovenia and Croa­tia came to an end with the book “Memo­ries of a Soldier” by Martin Špegelj, Croa­tian Minister of Defense during the war for Slovenia, in which the author provided a detailed descrip­tion of the mili­tary aid that Slovenia ceded to Croatia free of charge during and after the war.


After the end of his third term as Presi­dent of the Repu­blic of Slovenia, Milan Kučan founded Forum 21 in 2004, which, with a few excep­tions, brought toge­ther people who have become extre­mely rich in the last decade and now own some of Slovenia’s largest companies.

Many new docu­ments detailing the connec­tion between the Slove­nian Udba and the leading commu­nists to prevent demo­cra­tiz­a­tion at the be­ginning of the Slove­nian Spring are gathered in collec­tions of docu­ments and testi­mo­nies enti­tled “7 years later” and “8 years later” (both published by Karan­ta­nija Publi­shing House) and the publi­ca­tion “The President’s Symbolic Deco­ra­tion of Crime” published by Nova obzorja Publi­shing Ho­use. With the publi­ca­tion “The high treason of Slovenia – Disar­ma­ment of the TO RS in May 1990” and the docu­ments published in it, the same publi­shing house finally shed light on this shameful act, which would have almost prevented Slove­nian inde­pen­dence, and which Dr. Jože Pučnik and Ivan Oman quite rightly described as a betrayal of Slovenia.

Various vete­rans‘ orga­niz­a­tions collected docu­ments and testi­mo­nies about defense prepa­ra­tions and the war for Slovenia in indi­vi­dual pro­vinces and muni­ci­pa­li­ties. The most exten­sive such feat was succeeded by the people from North Primorska with the antho­logy “Glory belongs to them all”, published by the Goriška Museum.

The acti­vi­ties of the Slove­nian police, then still the people’s militia, du­ring the MSNZ are described in the antho­logy “Hidden Blue Network”, and the entire period and opera­tion of the MSNZ in the work of Albin Mikulič “Rebels with a reason”.

Realized and unful­filled expectations

In Move­ments, I also tried to predict the future rather immo­destly. Some predic­tions have come true, others have not. I did not expect Slovenia to achieve EU and NATO membership so quickly. Not to mention the adop­tion of the Euro­pean currency in 15 years. Honestly, my expec­ta­tions at the time were higher when I was thin­king about the internal transformati­on of Slovenia into an open, free and respon­sible society. I believed that we would reach this goal easier and faster. Unfor­tu­n­a­tely, this did not ma­terialize. The disin­te­gra­tion of the old tota­li­ta­rian system was slow, and some of the mono­po­lies which had been hurt at inde­pen­dence were soon re-estab­lished. I have described the deeper causes of this situa­tion in more detail at the begin­ning of this Preface, and several times on various other occa­sions. In this Preface, the assess­ments and warnings I have given or written about several times are repeated or summa­rized in some places. Some of them will defi­ni­tely have to be repeated in the future, because unfor­tu­n­a­tely they will remain rele­vant for at least some time.

In 1993, Slovenia became a member of the Co­uncil of Europe, and in 1996 the parlia­men­tary assembly of this orga­niz­a­tion adopted the well­-known Reso­lu­tion on the Deco­m­mis­sio­ning of the Heri­tage of Tota­li­ta­rian Commu­nist Regimes no. 1096 and issued dramatic warnings for us:

“There are many dangers in the event of a fai­led tran­si­tion process. At best, olig­archy will rule instead of demo­cracy, corrup­tion instead of the rule of law, and orga­nized crime instead of human rights. In the worst-case scen­ario, the result could be a velvety resto­ra­tion of the tota­li­ta­rian regime, if not the over­throw of the nascent democracy.”

Today, prac­ti­cally all of us agree that the tran­si­tion process from a tota­litarian commu­nist regime to a demo­cratic, open and respon­sible society in Slovenia has not been successful. We are still in the middle of a kind of red sea, in an economic and social crisis. Under the guise of national in­terest, the state-owned mono­poly was main­tained, which first exhausted Slove­nian taxpayers and devoured sala­ries and pensions in the country through state aid and the budget, and after joining the EU, with the help of poli­tical loans and with the assi­s­tance of the Bank of Slovenia.

With these outflows of taxpayer money, they financed bad busi­ness decisions, main­tained their red mono­poly in the media and the judi­ciary, and through all three main­tained majo­rity poli­tical power in the count­ry regard­less of the current government. This has always been kept in check through at least one coali­tion partner.

Substi­tutes for former party commis­sions have been estab­lished. In this way, we obtained an infor­ma­tion commis­sioner, a corrup­tion office and then a commis­sion. In addi­tion to the super­vised staf­fing, the Ombud­sman, the Office for the Protec­tion of Compe­ti­tion, the Secu­ri­ties Market Agency, the Court of Audit and the Bank of Slovenia often served the same purpose. Many state or paras­tate insti­tu­tions did the exact oppo­site of what was supposed to be their primary purpose.

The red mono­poly in the media has become so obvious that poverty, unpaid workers and even hungry children are mira­cu­lously disap­pearing from the head­lines from the day of the appoint­ment of the left-wing go­vernment. A few days later, the Ljub­l­jana news­paper cyni­cally wrote that Slovenia has the highest number of obese children in Europe. The main TV chan­nels devoted twenty times more programming time to the suspi­cion of the contro­ver­sial certi­fi­cate of the former SDS deputy than to the suspi­cion of plagia­rism by the candi­date for Prime Minister.

The abundant privi­leges of the former one-party top only took on new mani­fes­ta­tions at the time of the failed tran­si­tion. Donated and priva­tized houses and flats, excep­tional pensions, reti­re­ments at the age of 40 for the former Udba and vete­rans‘ allo­wances have in some cases even be­gun to be passed on to descen­dants. Thus, the preser­va­tion of the gains of the National Libe­ra­tion War and the revo­lu­tion took on a very concrete form of inte­rest: the preser­va­tion of privi­leges. Privi­leges that, in these ti­mes of crisis, demand more people’s blis­ters than ever before and cause new, skyro­cke­ting injus­tices to the majo­rity population.

Preserved and restored mono­po­lies, the distor­tion of the truth about Slove­nian inde­pen­dence, the social and economic crisis – all toge­ther are strongly connected at first glance, but in prac­tice, this connec­tion is inse­pa­rable. It is not surpri­sing, there­fore, that the former presi­dent has recently spoken so openly about the need to pursue a “policy of indepen­dence merit” once and for all. The actors who played a double game at the time of inde­pen­dence, enabled the disar­ma­ment of the TO and fought against Slovenia’s inter­na­tional reco­gni­tion – in the post-inde­pen­dence period, they extended tota­li­ta­rian patterns of beha­vior into modern times and parti­ally smug­gled them even into the Euro­pean Union – are well aware that the biggest obstacle to their domi­nance is the value system, the value center of Slove­nians formed during inde­pen­dence. As long as this exists, the spirits of the past will not win.


The initi­ally promi­sing recon­ci­lia­tion process turned into its oppo­site and reached an infa­mous end at the end of April 2013 in Stožice, where the entire Slove­nian state leadership in the hall, a symbol of gross crony capi­ta­lism, stood singing the Commu­nist Inter­na­tional. Not to mention the cele­bra­tion of commu­nist revo­lu­tio­na­ries and assas­sins like Che Guevara.


69b


The tran­si­tional left, which, due to the privi­leges and burdens of ideo­lo­gical and often physical fathers with fraternal blood and stolen property, fails to step out of these perni­cious frame­works, can only main­tain its ideo­lo­gical base with a large-scale propa­ganda machine that requires great effort and huge finan­cial resources. It still controls most of the Slove­nian media today.

The doctrine for the future remains unchanged

The Slove­nian Consti­tu­tion contains a text of the oath, which is after elec­tions taken by all the highest state offi­cials. With the oath, they un­dertake to “respect the Consti­tu­tion, act according to their consci­ence and strive with all their might for the well-being of Slovenia”. The test by which we can test whether an act, conduct, or program of an indi­vi­dual, group, poli­tical party, or poli­tical option is truly in accordance with the consti­tu­tional oath is simple.

When an indi­vi­dual, group, party or a poli­tical option brings to the fore­front and empha­sizes the values, events and achie­ve­ments of Slove­nian inde­pen­dence, which put us on the world map and around which Slove­nians have united and unified like never before in their history, then it acts in accordance with the text and in the spirit of the consti­tu­tional oath.

However, when an indi­vi­dual, group, party or a poli­tical option brings to the fore the events and times that have divided and destroyed us as a nation, then it acts contrary to the text and spirit of the consti­tu­tional oath. And there has not been a more dest­ruc­tive time for the Slove­nian nation than the frat­ri­cidal commu­nist revolution.

This obvious fact is an inde­lible histo­rical truth. The tran­si­tional left, which, due to the privi­leges and burdens of ideo­lo­gical and often physi­cal fathers with fraternal blood and stolen property, fails to step out of these perni­cious frame­works, can only main­tain its ideo­lo­gical base with a large-scale propa­ganda machine that requires great effort and huge finan­cial resources. Since this kind of ideo­logy is not able to create the condi­tions for crea­ting new value, they urgently need power, control over budgets, state-owned banks, state-owned mono­po­lies, foreign loans and, through all these instru­ments, ulti­mately taxpayer funds.

Gover­nance with the state contrary to the va­lue center of the Slove­nian nation and state, or the main­ten­ance of Kučan’s, other­wise logi­cally contra­dic­tory claim that there are several truths – which in prac­tice means that, of course, the one that is announced through larger and more powerful spea­kers should prevail -, has so far cost the young Slove­nian state hund­reds of lost deve­lo­p­ment oppor­tu­nities, tens of thousands of jobs and wasted oppor­tu­nities for indi­vi­duals to succeed in life. It has burdened the present and a number of future genera­tions with external debt, which at this time already nomi­nally exceeds the entire debt of the former SFRY.

Loud­spea­kers, however, continue to play a di­sastrous tune, even though money is finally run­ning out and even though it is high time that gover­nance with the state again relies on the values that created it.

Whenever such an extreme time occurs in history, changes happen. Movements.



Janez Janša, Prime Minister of the Repu­blic of Slovenia

Slove­nian Prime Minister Janez Janša:
Slovenia, my homeland

In the history of every nation there is a precisely defined moment that enables a nation to become sover­eign, its own master on its own land. Such a moment reflects the posi­tive atti­tude of most citi­zens or members of the nation. Such a moment repres­ents the centre of the nation’s values. For us, Slove­nians and citi­zens of the Repu­blic of Slo­venia, this is the moment of independence.

This year will mark thirty years since the meeting of the Demos coali­tion on 9 and 10 November 1990 in Poljče, where a historic decision was made to call for a refe­rendum for Slovenia’s inde­pen­dence. Demos’ decision in Polj­če was correct, decisive and deci­ding. But this decision was not an obvious one. It took courage. It was adopted at a time when other poli­tical leaders would have hesi­tated and deli­be­rated and again have wasted the historic oppor­tu­nity of the Slove­nian nation. Who knows when, if ever, would such an oppor­tu­nity arise again. There­fore, I since­rely thank ever­yone who put all their doubts and fears aside that November day and decided what was right and what was most needed at the time. This decision was later upgraded with a unified poli­tical agree­ment to hold a plebi­s­cite on Slovenia’s independence.

The day of the plebi­s­cite, 23 December 1990, will forever be written in Slovenia’s history as a special day. At a 93.2% voter turnout, 95% of us voted for an inde­pen­dent Slovenia. The nation unders­tood the uniqueness of that historic moment and thus proved its matu­rity, wisdom and readi­ness to become a free sover­eign state. It was the only time in history when the Slove­nian nation really did create its own fate.

Six months later, on 25 June 1991, after heated debates and votes on in­dependence laws, the most important of which were adopted with only a few votes of Demos’ small majo­rity, the Slove­nian National Assembly passed the Consti­tu­tional Act Imple­men­ting the Basic Consti­tu­tional Charter on the Sover­eignty and Inde­pen­dence of the Repu­blic of Slovenia with the required two-thirds majo­rity, with which Slovenia assumed the former federal jurisdic­tion over its terri­tory. Slovenia became an inde­pen­dent and sover­eign state. There was no way back, and the Yugo­slav People’s Army tried to aggressi­vely prevent the way to a new life.

We had to immedia­tely defend the freedom of our nation by taking up arms. During those weeks, days and hours in June and July 1991, ever­ything was at stake. An inde­pen­dent and Euro­pean future for Slove­nians, a demo­cratic system, our reli­gion and law, prospe­rity and our lives. These were the days when—disarmed in May 1990—the nation once again stood up for its rights, declared an inde­pen­dent Slovenia and vigo­rously resisted the Yugo­slav People’s Army’s aggression.

In those days, a small percen­tage of Slove­nians, who, with the mass su­pport of the nation, took up every avail­able weapon and, toge­ther with the civil defence, opposed the fifth stron­gest army in Europe, achieved the im­possible with their courage and wrote the final act of the tran­si­tion of the Slove­nian nation to a state. The courage of Slove­nians was admired by the whole world at that time. Repre­sen­ta­tives of the most powerful coun­tries in the world, who claimed a few days before the war that they would never reco­gnise us, changed their mind because of our courage. Despite oppositi­on to our actual inde­pen­dence by a part of left-wing poli­tics, the nation was united. United like never before and very brave.

The unity of the nation, the courage of those who were armed, the strong poli­tical will of the Demos government coali­tion led by Dr. Jože Pučnik and the initia­tive of many indi­vi­dual comman­ders of tactical units of the Terri­to­rial Defence and the police forged a victory in the war for Slovenia. A victory elevated in its fina­lity to the Slove­nian Olympus, a victory more important than all the battles that our ancestors—often unfor­tu­n­a­tely also for others— fought through the vortices of the ungra­teful history of past centuries.

Every day, the war for Slovenia reve­aled thousands of heroes in the Slo­venian nation. Boys and men who over­came fear out of love for their home­land. They took up arms to defend their home, their reli­gion and their law. Slovenia. They did a great job.

To para­phrase the famous quote by Winston Chur­chill following the Battle of Britain, we can say that never in the history of the Slove­nian nation so much was owed by so many to so few compatriots.

Following their victory, they returned to their homes. The state may have often forgotten about them, but their home­land never will. It was a pivotal moment, a great ode to the Slove­nian nation. We rose up and, thanks to their courage, we prevailed.

But, unfor­tu­n­a­tely, there were also those who fell victim to this war. We are grateful to all those who gave the most valu­able gift—their lives—in or­der to realise the nation’s dream. And we nurture their memory with our full appreciation.

Looking back at our journey, at ever­ything that we as a nation have achi­eved in these twenty-nine years, which is really only a short amount of time for a country, we can be proud. We have achieved a great deal, but we have also missed many an oppor­tu­nity. Also, because we allowed old grie­vances, hatred, cynical distance and divi­sions to regain their power. Because the good that is in each of us stayed silent when the bad once again began its march and halted crea­tive enthusiasm.

However, the trials that life tests us with, teach us time and time again that we are, in fact, strong when we are connected and unified. That only in unity we can advance as a nation and a society, over­co­ming even the hardest adver­si­ties. Our last expe­ri­ence in the fight against the coro­na­virus only confirmed this. In spite of divided poli­tics, as was the case during our path to inde­pen­dence, we, as a nation that unders­tood that our health is irre­pla­ce­able, indi­vi­sible and equally inva­lu­able to all, were able to win the first battle against the virus. I believe that toge­ther, by acting respon­sibly, we can over­come any further outbreaks of infec­tion. Further­more, I would like to express my sincere condo­lences and empathy to the friends and family of all those who passed away from the coronavirus.

On the occa­sion of the birthday of our home­land, I look back at the path we have walked and hope that we more frequently realise what a great honour and privi­lege it is that with our decision we were able to achieve the dream of an inde­pen­dent state and justify the sacri­fices, efforts, work and prayers of many genera­tions of Slovenians.

I hope that we see our inde­pen­dent country as a great gift and oppor­tu­nity for all to make it their own, care for it and do our very best, each in our own way. Just as we care for the people that we carry in our hearts.

I hope that, since our joint decision at the plebi­s­cite became a reality in the form of a sover­eign and inde­pen­dent state, we will never again say that nothing can be done. That nothing can be changed. The power of a unified nation is an unstopp­able force. If it is joined toge­ther for a noble cause, the whole of Crea­tion will help us achieve it.

I hope that, as a result of the extra­or­di­nary events that took place at the end of 1990 and in the first half of 1991 and which were unpar­al­leled in our history up to this point, we would never give up. That we would know how to preserve our connec­tion to that time which, with its inten­sity that over­came all hurdles, led to the birth of our sover­eign and inde­pen­dent country in that momen­tous time. This is the centre of the Slove­nian nation’s values in which the crea­tive, spiri­tual and mate­rial forces of the nation came toge­ther from its very beginning.

I hope that we will always channel our strength and crea­ti­vity from this cen­tre of values. That we will find shelter in it after storms and rest after going through trials. That we remain as one with it and with each other.

I hope that the Slove­nian flag will proudly fly from every home in our belo­ved home­land in honour of this, our grea­test anni­ver­sary. That in the days of summer to come we discover our country’s hidden beauty and realise just how magical it is. With the sound of bells, gifted from God. Created for us. Happy Birthday, Slovenia!

My sincere congra­tu­la­tions on State­hood Day.


On Palm Sunday, 8 April 1990, the first demo­cratic elec­tions after the Second World War took place in Slovenia. The second round of elec­tions was held on 22 April 1990 (in the picture: Demos presi­dent Jože Pučnik at the polls).


The first demo­cra­ti­cally elected Slove­nian government after the Second World War was confirmed in the Slove­nian Assembly on 16 May 1990. The main goal of the Demos government was the inde­pen­dence of the Repu­blic of Slovenia.


The decision for the plebi­s­cite on the inde­pen­dence of the Repu­blic of Slovenia was made under the leadership of dr. Jože Pučnik at the confe­rence of the Demos Club of Depu­ties in Poljče on 9 November 1990. The date of the plebi­s­cite was set for 23 December 1990.


On the day of the plebi­s­cite on 23 December 1990, 1,289,369 or 88.5 percent of eligible voters circled the word YES on the ballot, which meant that they were for the inde­pen­dent Repu­blic of Slovenia (pictured: Presi­dent of the Demos inde­pen­dence government Lojze Peterle).

On 25 June 1991, at a solemn session, the Assembly of the Repu­blic of Slovenia adopted inde­pen­dence docu­ments, on the basis of which the Slove­nian repu­blican bodies began to take over the func­tions of the disin­te­gra­ting Socia­list Federal Repu­blic of Yugoslavia.

The solemn procla­ma­tion of the inde­pen­dence of the Repu­blic of Slovenia took place on 25 June 1991 on the Trg repu­blike. Slovenia has become an inde­pen­dent and sover­eign state. There was no going back, and the path to a new life was immedia­tely prevented by the YPA aggression.


The aggres­sion against Slovenia was carried out by YPA units and commands on 26 and 27 June 1991 (in the picture: the pene­tra­tion of YPA units towards the border cros­sing with Italy on June 27, 1991), but they quickly faced strong resis­tance from the Slove­nian armed forces defen­ding their atta­cked home­land – the Repu­blic of Slovenia.


Every day, the war for Slovenia disco­vered thousands of heroes in the Slove­nian nation, boys and men who over­came their fear of love for their home­land. They took up arms to defend their home, their faith, and their laws, Slovenia. They did an excel­lent job (pictured: a member of the Terri­to­rial Defence of the Repu­blic of Slovenia on a seized YPA tank).

I wish that on the occa­sion of our biggest holiday, Slove­nian flags flutter proudly in honor of our beloved home­land and that in the summer days ahead, we discover its hitherto hidden beau­ties and realize how magical it is. Born in the sound of bells, given by God. Created for us. All the best, Slovenia!


Abbre­via­tions:

CK ZKS Centralni komite Zveze komu­nistov Slovenije ZKS Central Committee
DEMOS Demo­kra­tična opozi­cija Slovenije Demo­cratic Oppo­si­tion of Slovenia
DZ-RS Državni zbor National Assembly
JBTZ afera JBTZ (proces proti četve­rici: Janša, Borštner, Tasić, Zavrl) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JBTZ_trial
JLA = JNA Jugo­slo­vanska ljudska armada (slov.) = Jugo­slo­venska narodna armija (serb.-croat.) Yugo­slav People’s Army (YPA)
KPJ Komu­nis­tična partija Jugo­s­la­vije Jugoslavije Commu­nist Party of Yugoslavia
LDS Libe­ralna demo­kra­cija Slovenije Liberal Demo­cracy of Slovenia
LS Libe­ralna stranka Liberal Party [prede­cessor of LDS]
MSNZ Mane­vrska struk­tura nacio­nalne zaščite Maneu­vering struc­ture of national protection
NOB Narodno oslo­bo­di­lačka borba National Libe­ra­tion War
OVS Obvešče­valna in varnostna služba Minis­trstva za obrambo Intel­li­gence and Se­curity Service of the Ministry of Defence
RŠTO Repu­bliški štab za teri­to­ri­alno obrambo Repu­blican Terri­to­rial Defence Headquarters
SD Socialni demo­krati Social Demo­crats
SDV = SDB Služba državne varnosti (slov.) = Služba državne bezbednosti (serb.-croat.) State Secu­rity Service, commu­nist secret police
SFRJ Socia­lis­tična fede­ra­tivna repu­blika Jugoslavija Socia­list Fede­ra­tive Repu­blic of Yugo­s­lavia (SFRY)
TO Teri­to­ri­alna obramba Terri­to­rial defense
RS Repu­blika Slovenija Repu­blic of Slovenia
UDBA Uprava državne varnosti (slov.) = Uprava državne bezbednosti (serb-croat.) State Secu­rity Service, the secret police of Yugoslavia
VIS Varnostno-infor­ma­tivna služba Secu­rity Infor­ma­tion Service
ZKS Zveza komu­nistov Slovenije League of Commu­nists of Slovenia
ZKS-SDP Zveza komu­nistov Slove­nije – Social­de­mo­k­ratska stranka
ZZB Slove­nije Zveza združenj borcev za vred­note NOB Slovenije Fede­ra­tion of Figh­ters‘ Asso­cia­tions of Slovenia

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