The Slovenian Army is slowly but surely getting back on its feet. Previous Ministers of Defence left nothing but personnel drought, financial malnutrition, and poor equipment when they left, but now, investments in the military have finally begun. This is obviously bothering some people, as it probably angers them that the current Minister of Defence, Matej Tonin, is already showing exceptional results in his work. They want to discredit him in every possible way, with ridiculous accusations – but as he says, the numbers do not lie. Namely, Matej Tonin recently took an active part in the promotion of the Slovenian Army and joined the soldiers in the field in training. Because of this, several left-wing politicians attacked him, saying that such an engagement was not appropriate. Among those who accused Tonin of acting inappropriately were also the former Minister of Defence Roman Jakič of the former LDS party and former Minister of Defence Ljubica Jelušič of the SD party, who did virtually nothing for the army.
As part of the promotion for the Slovenian Army, photos of the Minister of Defence Matej Tonin, who is training with the soldiers in the field, circulated online. The pictures were received with lots of enthusiasm among young people, as only one day after the announcement, as many as 22 new candidates applied for voluntary service in the army. Among the leftists, however, the photos caused quite a stir. This includes the former Ministers of Defence, as they apparently realised that this would yield results, which they were unable to show.
Minister Matej Tonin was a guest on the show 24ur Zvečer, where he was asked about the pictures that have recently been circulating on the internet. Instead of the host of the show Uroš Slak asking him how much money the current government has already provided for the army, how many new soldiers they have recruited, or how are they planning to save the army, which is on the verge of a collapse, he kept repeating the same nonsensical questions. “Do you think the photo that the viewers see behind you justifies these 22 new soldiers, do you really find these photos appropriate, worthy of a minister; so, you are saying that a photo like the one behind you and the one with the helmet justifies the 22 new soldiers? Do you find this to be a high enough price for what you have achieved, or is it too low?” These were Slak’s “professional” questions, who was only interested in the photos, which he wanted to share with all of the viewers, instead of focusing on the excellent results of this campaign.
The fact that Tonin’s engagement is not shameful and that the opposite is, in fact, true was also confirmed by the State Secretary for National Security, Žan Mahnič, who said that the role of the Minister of Defence had been devalued by the previous governments. “The role of the Minister of Defence was devalued and disgraced in the previous governments, which deliberately destroyed the Slovenian Army. Minister Tonin is successfully reversing this trend; the government and its Prime Minister Janez Janša are investing in the Slovenian Army; the public opinion of this is positive, and the interest is increasing. Immeasurable pain for the left,” he wrote on Twitter.
The numbers do not lie. “The interest in voluntary military service has quadrupled this year. Since the pictures were published, 22 candidates have applied in just one day. And the fact that in the previous years we had 65 candidates throughout the entire year shows that this was a success. More than a week after the publication of these pictures, this is still being talked about, so the goal has been achieved,” Tonin said.
Duty of the Minister of Defence
With Slak repeating the same question over and over again – namely, if Tonin thinks he made a fool of himself, the latter explained to him what the duty of the Minister of Defence actually is. “It is the duty of the Ministry of Defence to provide and obtain financial resources and personnel for the army. We have managed to provide stable financial resources so that the army can modernise and develop properly. We still have an important task ahead of us – getting the personnel. Given the response and numbers we have seen, we are doing the right thing. We want to better present this to young people. If the journalists and I can do what you can see us doing in the pictures, then young people can see they have nothing to be afraid of.” Tonin also said that they are introducing an entirely new concept of training young people on the 5th of July. “They will gain many new experiences that will come in handy in their lives. In this training, they will also grow personally; they will grow both physically and mentally.”
Given the current staff shortage, we need to take a different approach
Former Minister of Defence Ljubica Jelušič from the ranks of the SD party said that she does not know of any ministers who did what Tonin did in front of the soldiers, “as the other Ministers are serious politicians.” Tonin, however, made it clear that whatever can be done to save the army, which is on the verge of a collapse, must be done. “Given the current staff shortage, we had to try different, new approaches. The results are important for the minister, and the results are clear.” Tonin also said that he was not interested in what some people thought about his actions. “I am strictly interested in results. If, as Minister of Defence, I will succeed in providing adequate resources and personnel for the modernisation and development of the Slovenian Armed Forces, then I will be perfectly satisfied. And people can write whatever they want on social media.”