The proverbial “godfathers from behind the scenes,” as well as their journalistic colleagues in the mainstream media, often pride themselves on their independence. Today, we reveal that this is, in fact, far from the truth. We have received screenshots of communication between members of the pro-Russian lobby in Slovenia, who signed Kučan’s famous letter to world leaders, and their journalistic associates. The screenshots reveal how they are linked in planning media campaigns and shaping Slovenian public opinion. The excerpts from the online correspondence show the obvious distress in which this lobby founds itself after 16 ambassadors to Slovenia replied to their letter with a public letter of their own, as well as Spomenka Hribar’s enthusiasm for the thoughts of the US economist Jeffrey Sachs, who was in Slovenia in recent days.
“Sachs is really good! But unfortunately, nothing sticks to Europe’s leaders,” wrote Spomenka Hribar. The next entry in the thread is a message sent by Niko Toš to the editor-in-chief of the Večer magazine, Matija Stepišnik. In the message, Toš also praises Jeffrey Sachs and also Edvard Žitnik, whose appearance on the show Odmevi was well received by the aforementioned. His writing also shows the obvious distress and uncomfortable situation in which the aforementioned found themselves when they were denounced by foreign ambassadors.
“Dear Matija, if you haven’t watched the original conversation between Lipušček and Sachs – the conversation with Žitnik, after his PhD at AME, is telling enough. And yet, a distinguished professor from Columbia University, an American, clearly responded to the 16 ambassadors and deserves an honorary doctorate for what he is doing today and not for what he did 30 years ago. Congratulations to Toplak. Kind regards, Niko,” reads the screenshot of their e-mails.
Jeffrey Sachs – once an enemy, now admired by the left
A short explanation is needed here – Jeffrey Sachs was, for many years, downright loathed in the circles of the Slovenian transitional left, precisely because of the doctrines he developed 30 years ago. He recommended the so-called “shock therapy” to countries being freed from the communist yoke of the Soviet Union, which could be described in very simple terms as a rapid transition from a planned to a market economy through privatisation of state enterprises, de-bureaucratisation, removal of price controls, etc. His ideas were implemented in the countries of Eastern Europe, but not in Slovenia, where the idea of economic gradualism prevailed due to the transfer of political power of former communists from the totalitarian to the democratic systems. This led to a slower transition to a market economy, and above all, to the preservation of the monopolies in the economy that had been created in Yugoslavia.
However, in the last year, the transitional left has grown to like Sachs, because, in his geopolitical analyses, he defends ideas that they themselves also defend. Namely, that the war in Ukraine is the fault of the United States because of the expansion of NATO. This is a kind of echo of the arguments heard most clearly from the Kremlin, where they routinely deny Ukraine its sovereignty and claim that Europe is just mindlessly following the dictate of the United States. These theories are, however, completely wrong, because they do not take into account that it is actually Ukraine that does not want to give up its sovereignty, and the European countries that have joined NATO have also done so because of their absolutely horrific historical experience with Russia.
This is how the arrangements for the media campaigns happen
The next message in the thread is actually a response by Matja Stepišnik. “Dear Dr Toš, I was in Bratislava last week, and this week we have a delegation from the USA here to help us digitise our editorial office. I am sorry, but we have very little time at the moment to prepare for our conversation in a proper way. Things will only get a bit easier in the last week of March, because before then, I am also going back to Vienna. Shall I make an appointment with one of my colleagues to do the interview with us? Or shall we make an appointment for the end of March? Our Boris Jaušovec also spoke to Sachs,” writes Stepišnik.
Who are all of the people that took part in the conversation?
What is particularly interesting is a list of all the others who followed the conversation but did not say anything. It is almost the same set of people who signed Kučan’s letter to world leaders: Miran Goslar, Boris Sket, Božidar Flajšman, Darko Štrajn, Ivan Svetlik, Ivo Vajgl, Jože Pirjevec, Stane Pejovnik, Rado Bohinc, Roman Kirn, Rudi Rizman, Roman Kirn, Slavko Splichal, Vito Turk, Vlado Miheljak, Zvone Dragan, Danilo Türk, Milan Kučan, Marjetka Kidrič, Mitja Meršol, Aurelio Juri, Špela Furlan, Bojko Bučar, Uroš Lipušček, Zdravko Mlinar and others whose names and surnames cannot be discerned from the list of e-mail addresses. We did not provide the e-mail addresses of those mentioned in the article for reasons related to personal data protection, but we have the list in our editorial office.