By: Gašper Blažič
Anyone who knows Slovene politics at least approximately knows that it would never be the same as it is without Milan Kučan. Not to have any misunderstandings: I am not exactly a supporter of the theory that Kučan jumps out of every can, nor do I belong to those who underestimate his role, whether positive or negative. But something is clear: at least according to the latest revelations of Dr Rado Pezdir on the parallel mechanism as one of the most problematic points of the legacy of the red regime, it is necessary to understand that Kučan always had a decisive influence on political events. Only he did not want to be in the forefront, at least until last autumn’s performance in Šentjanž. It then became clear that the “big brother” had personally intervened in the election campaign.
This time he came to the fore in Dražgoše, a place that has a similar status among Slovenes as Gazimestan among (Kosovo) Serbs. I would not lose my words about what was really happening in Dražgoše in January 1942, as the facts are already known and of course deny the myth of a kind of epic that would reverse the course of World War II around the world. It is clear, however, that the annual rally in Dražgoše has a prestigious significance for the entire Red Brotherhood, so it was all the more telling that, if we deduct the Levica, the KUL champions were missing. If we connect all this with the hostile speech of the last head of the party, who even calls for resistance to the current government to be strengthened, then only one thing is clear: Milan Kučan is in very serious trouble, and the same goes for the political option he runs (from the background). From this we can draw the conclusion that Leninist blustering in this Gorenjska village, known for its Dražgoše bread, is perhaps also a good sign. It is reminiscent of the devil’s rage before its end.
We have been accustomed to slightly different rumours from Kučan in the past decades, certainly at least a shade more tolerant, but often twisted and demagogic. Let us remember: in 1989, after an unsuccessful attempt to “cut the spikes” in the JBTZ case, Kučan, as the party leader, checked the public opinion pulse among Slovenes. In doing so, he was greatly helped by the confrontation with Milošević’s rally paradigm, as it helped him that the nation did not turn its back on its leadership at a time when new parties were already emerging. However, Kučan hoped that the conflict with Belgrade’s centralism and rallies would spare the fundamental essence of Tito’s state, as he had always strived for a “renewed” Yugoslavia (which should not be “Srboslavija”) and a “renewed” socialism that would according to his idea be democratic and perhaps multi-party, so the last party leader called for a “step down from power” and withdrew from the top of the party during the bloody coup in Bucharest, which was already stepping on the path of the classic party, but was still facing one big test: 14th ZKJ Congress. When the Slovenian delegation left the congress – but on the initiative of the new ZKS-SDP president Ciril Ribičič and not Kučan – it became clear that nothing would happen with the centralised Yugoslavia project. Slobodan Milosević thus slowly began to switch to Plan B: that was Greater Serbia.
Through these events, Kučan accumulated enough public capital to be able to move from the top of the Central Committee to the position of chairman of the presidency, following Milošević’s example. In fact, he remained the nominal and de facto head of state for 12 years, and he maintained his influence even after his formal departure from politics. You could say that he successfully maintained it for almost 20 years, mostly through Forum 21, which he also disbanded sometime after 15 years of operation. However, it must be acknowledged that the preservation of heritage, as outlined by his mentor Stane Dolanc in a famous speech in Split in 1972, has worked well, as during this time, if we subtract the 2004-2008 term and Janković’s failed attempt to take power in 2012, ruled mainly by his political elect. Of course, all in a democratic way – through elections. Regardless of doubts about their fairness. Of course, all this time he also maintained the status of one of the few communist dignitaries who ensured a peaceful and supposedly “voluntary” transition from totalitarianism to democracy (if you believe that, of course).
Why is the last head of CK much more nervous now? Is this perhaps due to the fact that KUL disobeyed him? Perhaps this is related to the much greater cohesiveness of the spring forces, which cannot be threatened even by the indecent soloing of Ljudmila Novak, who no longer hides that she is trying to imitate the controversial Spomenka Hribar in her “stopping the right”? Kučan may have sensed that the third Janša government is much more determined in the redistribution of funds this time, and that it may have attracted all those voters who have resignedly stated in recent years that right-wing governments are in fact paperless toothless tigers who do not even dare to touch on the steady financial flows through which various privileged people were getting richer with taxpayers’ money? Did the little man from Murgle perhaps notice that even public opinion is no longer behaving the way he had planned with his engineers of human souls?
All of these are, of course, guesses, but they may be close to the truth. One thing is clear: the predictions, that activists from various phantom and parastatal institutes, such as the March 8 Institute, will try to persuade ordinary people in the streets to support the transition left parties, are in fact expressing great nervousness and a rather shaky belief in the victory of “healthy forces”. There is also a clear attempt to change the electoral system set by the constitution just three months before the election (which is not good, of course, but it is clear that behind these clear plans to change the system immediately and in that way remove “partymocracy”, lies an interest in taking power with the help of a trick) – we reported on this yesterday. Bandelli’s innkeeper’s vocabulary is just further proof of how the transitional left is really afraid of the elections on April 24th this year, and that strategists would like elections a little later, as they would catch all the revolutionary winds of annual communist events from April 27th to May 15th, which could undoubtedly help to mobilise the electoral pool of the transitional left.
Of course, acts committed in great nervousness only help the adversary. In other words: Kučan’s speech in Dražgoše was actually a faux pas. He reminded of a similar nervous scream of the now deceased Janez Stanovnik in 2004 at a partisan celebration in Nadlesko in the Notranjska region, when he took the then Prime Minister Anton Rop with him. The consequences are already showing, as a large part of the public did not accept Kučan’s performance well. He was applauded, of course, by those who would like to continue filling mine shafts with corpses, and most of the public views politics mostly pragmatically. And why would a citizen who has made at least some progress since the fall of Šarec’s government now applaud Nika Kovač’s announcements about the revision of all laws passed during Janša’s government?
And spring or government side? It does not have to do anything special – if we use the popular phrase, we can only wait for the revolutionaries to fight each other. And the first political corpses will float down the river…
Gašper Blažič is the editor of the board on Demokracija.si and the editor of the Blagovest.si portal.