“I think the explanation that comes closest is that the current government is incompetent and exploiting an old division for its own political survival. What they are clearly doing themselves, they then attribute to the other – the attacked – side,” explains journalist and historian Jože Možina.
Former President of the Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, France Bučar, declared the period of independence to be the end of the civil war. In his inaugural speech to the Parliament in May 1990, he said, among other things, that “with the constitution of this Assembly, we can consider that the civil war that broke us and paralysed us for almost half a century has come to an end.” Recently, Janez Janša pointed out that Bučar’s words were accompanied by the constitution of a multi-party assembly and the removal of the statue of Josip Broz from the National Assembly building’s foyer. However, three decades later, Bučar’s words remain unfulfilled. The remnants of the totalitarianism that oppressed the Slovenian nation for decades were supposed to be left behind, but this is more wishful thinking than reality. The Golob government is “liquidating” all of the good work done by the previous, Janša government. This is revanchism, which was most recently demonstrated by the abolition of the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Communism. This is about the restoration of “rotten” values, as demonstrated by the return of the statue of Tito to Brdo. It is about revanchism, which is manifested by the abolition of the Museum of Slovenian Independence, etc. The government is taking us back to the dark ages of the second half of the 20th century.
The Bolshevik Revolution’s method of division
Commentary by historian Jože Možina: “We need to look to the source. Different views and also sharp differences of opinion among Slovenians have been present since the 19th century. However, it was the communists who crossed the Rubicon shortly after the occupation in 1941/1942 and began using the method of mass murders of dissenting compatriots.” As Možina explained, they deliberately and brutally instigated division among the Slovenian people, following the method of the Soviet Bolshevik Revolution.
Even today, barbaric acts of humiliation, persecution of dissenting voices, and denial of the memory of the victims of the revolution are coming from the circles of the successors of the former regime. Možina believes that although history is not repeating itself, we have forces and methods that are reminiscent of the tragic events of 1942, and hence the real fear that these same forces are inciting civil conflict. Why they are doing this, and why we are now experiencing a peak in the promotion of the former regime, he does not know. What he does know, however, like most well-meaning and informed people, is that the acts of the last few weeks, with the abolition of the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Communism and the return of the statue of Tito, are barbaric and go against the culture and civilisation that we have achieved. “I think the explanation that comes closest is that the current government is incompetent, as it has not managed to implement anything of significance that would benefit the people in a year of being in office, and it is thus exploiting an old division to remove the focus from the aforementioned fact and for its own political survival,” he assessed.
“What they are doing in plain view of everyone, they then promptly attributing to the other – the attacked – side. This, again, is reminiscent of the old communist manoeuvre of 1942, when they attributed their sins and crimes to their opponents by lying,” he explained. This is exactly what he thought of when Janša’s warning that such humiliating acts were inciting civil conflict was shamelessly wrapped up in the explanation that “Janša is igniting the flames of a civil war”. When Možina read this, he was reminded of the Party propaganda of 1942. “This is alarming, but even more than that, it is shameful. And the Minister of Justice, Dominika Švarc Pipan, even dared to lecture others at an international conference on the prosecution of the most serious crimes, while on the same day abolishing the memory of the victims of communism, and her party is also the proud successor of the Communist Party of Slovenia, which led the revolution and the massacre of tens of thousands of prisoners. There is something utterly perverse about this,” Možina was appalled. The Minister’s criminal charge that she filed against Janša because of him allegedly inciting civil war only confirms this, Možina said. How this affects the social climate is, in his view, clear. The forces of the old regime are counting on the value corruption of an important part of the nation, which still understands the Second World War on the level of primary school lessons and the mythology of the communist era. Such people, who are often naive, as well as the less naive who benefited directly from the former regime, are being “fed” by bringing back Tito, and by the current government’s vengeful rhetoric.
“A government that abolishes a commemorative day like this, by doing so, formally becomes the heir to a crime and the denier of the victims.”
“Of course, what they are doing is reigniting the flames of the civil war. And they know that,” he said. And they are doing this instead of educating citizens to be sensitive to their fellow human beings, especially to treat at least the dead, those killed without judgement, as equals. In a civilised society, one that we Slovenians deserve, the victims of communism must also be remembered with the same reverence as the victims of national socialism and fascism. Resistance against the occupier will always be honourable insofar as individual acts are honourable. Killing unarmed members of one’s own nation for the purpose of seizing power, however, can never be a matter of honour – it will always be a crime.
Commemorating the victims of communist violence is a civilisational gain that widens the space of understanding and acceptance of those who suffered and their descendants. Therefore, the remembrance of these victims can only be abolished by a political establishment that sees a value that must be defended in communist totalitarianism with crimes and believes that their victims must be robbed of being remembered – which is extremely divisive and worrying for the common future of Slovenia. “A government that abolishes a commemorative day like this, by doing so, formally becomes the heir to a crime and the denier of the victims,” he stressed. In total, there are at least 26,000 victims of communist totalitarianism on Slovenian territory, and tens of thousands more if we add the murdered members of other nations. But no one has ever been held accountable for the crimes, and most of them have not even been buried. “And this is something we are not supposed to remember?” Možina asked in conclusion.