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Abroad, They Are Being Called Heroes, but in Slovenia, They are Being Called Destroyers of Peace and Democracy

On Tuesday morning, I was still in bed when I was awakened by a phone call from a reporter. He was asking me if the information that Prime Minister Janez Janša was going to Ukraine was true. Of course, I knew nothing about it. However, immediately after that, it turned out that the prime ministers of Poland – Mateusz Morawiecki, the Czech Republic – Petr Fiala, and the Prime Minister of Slovenia – Janez Janša, did, in fact, go to the capital of the Ukraine, where war is raging. With them was also Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of Poland’s victorious party and Deputy Prime Minister.

Of course, it is not common practice for heads of state or government to travel to war zones. I myself do not remember any such cases in history. Supposedly, a group of politicians visited London in similar conditions during the Second World War. And in 1992, in the midst of the war in Sarajevo, the city was visited by French President Francois Mitterrand, as well as Pope John Paul II. Slovenia did not experience anything similar at the time when it was gaining independence, and there was also a war in our country. However, we were overjoyed if our independence leaders were able to meet with foreign statesmen in Austria.

To embark on such a journey, you have to be “brave and a little crazy,” Deputy Prime Minister Zdravko Počivalšek commented on Janša’s journey to Ukraine. This statement is very telling. We can ask ourselves why Ukraine has not been visited by the leaders of the European Union – from the President of the European Council to the President of the European Commission or any other president and to all the other 24 Prime Ministers of the other EU countries. The reason for it can be found in the statement given by Minister Počivalšek. Of course, the question soon arose as to who initiated this visit. This question was answered by the Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, who said that it was our Prime Minister, Janez Janša, who initiated the visit.

Responses abroad
In recent days, there has practically been no case of a major foreign electronic or written media outlet that had not reported on this visit. Virtually everyone praised the move of the three Prime Ministers. We would also have to search pretty hard to find a media outlet that criticised the visit of the trio. Robin Dunnigan spoke to a media outlet on behalf of the US State Department, praising “little Slovenia’s response to the Ukrainian crisis.” Even the famous American TV station CNN was generous in its praise of the three prime ministers. Former NATO commander, US General Wesley Clark, also spoke up, who extensively praised the visit of the three prime ministers to Ukraine. The German, slightly more left-wing newspaper, Bild, with one of the largest circulations in the country, published a photo of the three prime ministers and wrote: “This is Europe at its best.” Italian journalist Enrico Mentana wrote (in this part, I am summarising his writing from the translation of lawyer Trpin from Trieste): “I envy the Slovenian, Czech, and Polish people – the citizens of these three countries, as their leaders found the strength and courage to go to Kyiv to show support and friendship with the Ukrainian people and their leaders. However, a void became apparent when looking at them, caused by the other 24 leaders of the European countries, because if someone is not brave, he cannot just create bravery.” I also cannot ignore the positive statement of our President of the Republic, Borut Pahor. All of these statements say everything and more about the move made by these three prime ministers. All the main leaders of the European Union (the President of the EU Commission, the President of the Council, the President of the French Presidency, the German Chancellor and others) were a bit restrained in their reactions to the visit of the three prime ministers to Ukraine, but nevertheless, their attitude was positive. There were also no negative comments made by the prime ministers or governments of the other 24 countries of the European Union.

In Slovenia, however, everything is different
But as for Slovenia, the situation is completely different. One of the first people to respond was the President of the Social Democrats party (Socialni demokrati – SD), Tanja Fajon. She, of course, could not find any nice words for the move of the three prime ministers. She even described some of them as destroyers of peace and democracy – namely; she specifically mentioned Jarosław Kaczyńskegi, Viktor Orban (who was not even part of the delegation), she did not mention Janša, but included him in the context of her tweet and compared all of them to Putin. On her Twitter profile, she wrote the following: “The responses of my colleagues from the Social Democratic Party of Germany in Bundestag to Janša‘s visit to Kyiv are mixed – some say it sends the wrong signal, while others believe it is a sign of solidarity. However, the prevailing assessment is that it is a pity that one of the first people to visit Ukraine is the ally of the same destroyers of peace and democracy. A farce put on to make us forget which side they are actually on.” Of course, she did not actually name a single individual who allegedly said that. Her comment was then rejected by the German Chancellor Olaf Scholc himself, who is politically also a socialist, just like Tanja Fajon. Namely, he praised the visit of the three prime ministers.

We also saw many interesting responses in media outlets owned by tycoon Martin Odlazek – interesting in a negative sense, of course. Namely, they saw the visit of the three prime ministers to Ukraine as a possible reason for the start of the Third World War and believed that it was all done for self-promotion, which meant that the lives of their security guards were being endangered just because of a pre-election campaign, and more. Odlazek’s Reporter magazine even assessed that the statement made by the MP from the SAB party, Jernej Pavlič, was appropriate for the statement of the day. He said: “Janša is playing a hero for his own pre-election PR, with no serious intent of stopping the war.” Despicable and rude, especially coming from a man who was still playing in the sandbox while Janša was one of Slovenia’s first fighters for independence. Our media outlets also made sure to use a magnifying glass in their search for foreign sources that were averse to the visit. Of course, they found the Brussels web portal Politico (extreme left-wing web portal), for which it is probably our journalists who often write negative articles under fictitious names, related to Slovenia. As usual, the web portal referred to unknown high-ranking Brussels officials (names were not specified, of course) who allegedly opposed the actions of the three prime ministers.

Instead of a conclusion
It is entirely clear that the three prime ministers have done something that will go down in history. Millions of Ukrainians are talking about it with gratitude today, and historians will write about it tomorrow. It is completely irrelevant whether they had the mandate to make any promises; it is irrelevant in whose name they acted, as they certainly at least acted in their own names. Their actions will surely encourage other EU countries to become more actively involved in helping Ukraine.

The reporting of the domestic media is what it is, probably because most of the media outlets are extremely left-wing, so it is clear that they used any possible arguments to discredit the visit of the three prime ministers to Ukraine. I spoke to two acquaintances today; the first is from Poland and the second from the Czech Republic. I asked them what the media reports were like in their countries. Both have confirmed that their media outlets are more or less forging the moves of the three prime ministers into stars, whether they are left-wing or right-wing media outlets. There are virtually no negative comments being made in these two countries, or they are only quoted by obscurely insignificant media. I also asked both of them how their opposition parties reacted to the visit. And even in that case, there is virtually no criticism for the prime ministers of Poland and the Czech Republic. Even if the opposition parties are not praising the visit, they are at least staying quiet.

Vinko Gorenak

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