“All those who believe that Kučan, Turk, Bučar, Ferfila, Šterbenc, Rizman, Miheljak, Štrajn, Kovačič, Damijan, Slapšak and the Peace Institute are doing the right thing by calling on the government of Robert Golob to pursue a more striking diplomacy, which could eliminate the need for weapons in Ukraine, please sign this!” the long-time representative of the Social Democrats party (SD), Aurelio Juri, called on the people on Twitter to sign the petition, making it clear that he agrees with the former Presidents of the Republic, Milan Kučan and Danilo Türk, who believe that Ukraine needs to be unilaterally disarmed. He also agreed with the “Declaration for Peace,” with which they wanted to disarm Slovenia at the time of its gaining of independence, right before our country was attacked by the much stronger Yugoslav People’s Army.
Aurelio Juri recently called on his followers to sign a petition, and he did it with great enthusiasm – probably because he was the first signatory. The petition calls on the new government to “shape a reasonable position on the war in Ukraine” and to implement the coalition agreement’s commitment that the government’s foreign policy will be based on the “constitutional principle of peace policy and a culture of peace and non-violence.”
And while the left-wing socio-political workers, led by Kučan, claim that the West, and Slovenia as part of it, must find alternative approaches to the Ukrainian war – such that would prepare the Ukrainian and Russian leadership for serious peace talks – they are apparently forgetting about the circumstances that led to this war. Namely, it is the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who is responsible for the aggression in Ukraine.
The traitor who benefited from his betrayal
It is interesting to see that the same people who opposed Slovenian independence still so often take the same position when it comes to political questions. Despite the fact that independence was not his preferred option, Aurelio Juri made an exceptional career in Slovenian politics. Namely, Aurelio Juri is the former long-time mayor of the Municipality of Koper, a member of the Social Democrats party, and a member of the Italian national minority in Slovenia. He was also a Member of the European Parliament after Borut Pahor’s term in the European Parliament was cut short in 2008, when he was elected for the position of an MP in the Slovenian National Assembly.
Juri was, among other things, also caught in a swinger affair.
His brother, Franco Juri, might be more well-known than Aurelio, as the former was a deputy of the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia party in the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia at the time when Slovenia was fighting for its independence. When the declaration of independence finally happened, Franco Juri was not present at the celebratory session of the National Assembly. In his apology note, he wrote that he would not be there and that he would instead “watch the sea.” After that, he served as Slovenia’s ambassador to Spain and Cuba, and then he moved to the Zares party and became an MP. Despite the later collapse of Golobič’s party, he found his place under the sun, as is typical for the first-class citizens in Slovenia, and became the director of the Maritime Museum in Piran.
Why his brother, Aurelio Juri is among the signatories who believe that the territorial integrity of Ukraine is not possible and that we need to find a way where both sides are the winners, can be inferred from his past actions. Together with his brother Franco, Aurelio was also one of the signatories of the 1991 Declaration of Peace, which the President of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), Janez Janša, describes as a declaration for the rapid unilateral disarmament of Slovenia. Janša emphasised that the signing of the so-called Declaration of Peace was one of the three campaigns aimed at preventing the implementation of the decision on Slovenia’s independence.
The Declaration represented a major betrayal of Slovenian interests
At the beginning of February 1991, the then-left-wing opposition presented to the Slovenian public the so-called Declaration of Peace, which was a treacherous demand for the rapid unilateral disarmament of Slovenia. This Declaration was presented to the public on the 6th of February 1991 (some say this happened on the 7th of Febrary 1991) by the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia party (LDS) and the League of Communists of Slovenia – Party of Democratic Renewal, which is today’s Social Democrats party (SD). The Declaration said, among other things, that a military conflict on Slovenian territory would be a disaster for Slovenia and that armaments do not bring about security. It also read that the establishment of Slovenia’s own army would jeopardise the accumulation of the Slovenian economy. Some of the people who signed the Declaration were: Janez Drnovšek, Ciril Ribičič, Jožef Školč, Jože Mencinger, Milan Kučan, Dušan Plut, Ciril Zlobec and Matjaž Kmecl. The father of the Slovenian state, Dr Jože Pučnik was especially critical of the signing of the Declaration and described it as high treason.
“Let me just mention what happened – allowing the disarmament of the Slovenian Army in the days when the Slovenian government was being sworn in in parliament. I am talking about the Demos government. And then everything that happened next year, in the spring, when laws were being drafted, which, with the majority support of the Demos government, were supposed to provide a modest basis for arming the Slovenian Army. That is when the Declaration of Peace was first introduced, and I have to say that this is a disgrace,” Pučnik said in his famous speech in 1999, adding that he only mentioned it because it was such a disgrace. He believed that it should never be forgotten. Of the five members of the state presidency, which was the supreme commander of the Slovenian armed forces, four actually signed the wish that Slovenia would not be able to arm itself, the one exception being Ivan Oman.
Since the President of the Slovenian Presidency, Milan Kučan, was also among the signatories, this meant betrayal in Pučnik’s eyes. “In those moments, when we expected the Yugoslav Army to use its weapons, and therefore we knew that we were living in very dangerous times. When those who organised manoeuvring structures and similar forms of the Slovenian Army literally carried their heads in the bags, in those days the Supreme Command expressed itself in something that meant the abandoning of the demand for Slovenian independence,” Pučnik critically pointed out.
We should absolutely not forget about Pučnik’s speech, as parallels can still be found between the positions in the Declaration of Peace and Slovenia’s attitude towards Ukraine. The fact is, however, that peace can only be achieved by supporting Ukraine’s defence and not by leaving it at the mercy of the aggressor, which, in this case, is Russia. The crimes committed by Russia must not go unpunished because otherwise, we cannot hope for peace in the future. Otherwise, some autocrats might start imagining that they can annex the territory of another sovereign state simply because they want to.