“The government has revoked the decision taken by the previous government to declare a National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Communist Violence. The decision was taken at that time without prior expert and public debate, with the sole aim of distorting history and dividing the public once again,” the news from the current government of Robert Golob broke just hours before the national holiday. What do historians have to say about whether commemorating the victims of communism is really a distortion of history, as the government says, even though many countries even have museums dedicated to the victims of communism? What message is the government sending not only to Slovenia, the victims and the descendants of the victims of communism, but also to the European Union, which has condemned all totalitarian regimes, including communism? Is this ideological struggle necessary for Slovenia at a time of crises and inflation? All historians agree that, instead of introducing effective and necessary reforms, the government is deliberately engaging in ideological battles and the destruction of the rule of law.
“This is a barbaric act and an unimaginable interference in the reconciliation efforts in Slovenia, when at least the dead should be treated according to the same criteria. It is evident that the government of Robert Golob is certainly backed by Milan Kučan, who is still counting on being able to conceal the historical truth and mock the victims. At the same time, I believe that by choosing to do this, they have become, in a sense, the heirs of these crimes,” said Dr Jože Možina, a historian and the author of the television show “Witnesses” (Pričevalci), in which both the victims and descendants of victims of the communist regime have come forward with horrific stories about what had happened to them.
In light of everything that is happening, historian Dr Tamara Griesser Pečar said that “nothing surprises me anymore. I have the feeling that we are going back to the times we discarded in ’90 and ’91. Just as there was no freedom in ’45, when we went from one totalitarian regime to another, those who now call themselves the Freedom Movement (Gibanje Svoboda) seem to be accepting the definition of freedom from the year 1945.”
Griesser Pečar also said that the victims of the communist regime clearly mean nothing to the government. It is also worth noting that the founders of the so-called Social Democrats party (Socialni Demokrati – SD) in this country, a party that has only changed its name, bowed down to a statue of Boris Kidrič, who was one of the people responsible for what happened in this country immediately after the war, she said, adding that the victims of the communist regime are clearly second-class to these people.
The government is telling the victims of communism that they are not actually victims
Meanwhile, moral theologian Dr Ivan Štuhec said the government is telling the victims of communism that they are not actually victims and that they were not wrongly victimised but that they were, in fact, justly punished for not accepting the communist ideology. “And by doing this, they are also mocking the whole of Europe, as well as the European Parliament, which has condemned all totalitarian systems.”
Are other countries also “distorting history” because they have a day of remembrance and museums dedicated to the victims of communism?
Other countries commemorate the victims of communism both with days of remembrance for them and with museums dedicated to them. “Let us just look across the border to Hungary, where they have a museum dedicated to that. We also know that in some Baltic countries, they have banned the worship of communism. In any case, they behave completely differently abroad than the Golob government behaves here,” said Griesser Pečar, adding that by abolishing the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Communism, we are sending a message to foreign countries and Europe that what the European Union is founded on means nothing here. “And now they have also announced that they will still take over the public media outlet, no matter what the Constitutional Court says. That is to say, in our country, the branches of power are no longer separate.”
The government’s aim is to distort history
The government’s aim is to show that Slovenia’s independence was already planned during the war, and certainly after the war, so it was part of the plan since ’41, and they want to convince the public that this was actually one single development. “And that is not true, that is absolutely historically wrong, it cannot even be discussed,” said Dr Tamara Griesser Pečar. “Apparently, they still want to somehow obscure and eliminate the merits of the independence fighters of ’90 and ’91. Besides, this has also served to remove historians who are not to their liking, especially Jože Dežman,” she added.
The government’s action means that the occupiers of memory are coming and must be resisted
Historian Jože Dežman says that this was a very stupid measure, which stems from the belief that truth can still be shaped by the will of the authorities. “But if they feel that way, let’s say it doesn’t mean that there won’t be a Remembrance Day, and it doesn’t mean that memory won’t be developed and strengthened. It means that the occupiers of memory are coming, and they must be resisted.”
“The government is thereby signalling that it is consistently following the agenda of the Slovenian left, which is introducing the return of the totalitarian system through cultural channels. The series of measures they are taking in the area of legislation shows that for them, the rule of law is not the last criterion, but that for them, the last criterion is ideology, to which they also subordinate the rule of law,” said Dr Ivan Štuhec.
The government is incapable of reform, it is only capable of working in the field of ideology
The fact that they have decided to abolish this Remembrance Day is, of course, in perfect logical agreement with the fact that they are going to bring back the monuments to the representatives of the totalitarian regime, and also in perfect agreement with the fact that they want to convince the public in every possible way that with independence, we have not made a break between the totalitarian and the democratic social order, but that we have just moved from a slightly less democratic to a slightly more democratic one, Štuhec believes. This is evident in all the moves they have made so far, he added. “Before, they kept going on and on about how non-ideological they are and how they are not interested in ideology at all, but now we see that most of the things they are doing are only ideological, while other things that they would have to work on as a government and coalition to work for the common good of the country, they are not interested in or are incapable of doing anything about. They are only capable of working in the ideological field,” he concluded.