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Monday, October 3, 2022

One hundred days of delusion and two hundred days of aggression

By: Dr Metod Berlec

Last Thursday, the ruling coalition in the premises of the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film, and Television (AGRFT) in Ljubljana marked the hundredth day of its rule in a very meaningful way. The main moderator of the theatre of the absurd, or the event dedicated to the anniversary of Golob’s government, was Marcel Štefančič Jr., who led the conversation with Robert Golob, Tanja Fajon, and Luka Mesec, the presidents of the coalition parties Gibanje Svoboda, SD, and Levica. The event itself largely resembled a replay of the failed Studio City, which has disgraced national television over the years with its political bias, imbalance, and unprofessionalism.

As expected, a lot of self-praise and less self-criticism could be heard in the premises of the acting academy. As expected, the ruling party expressed satisfaction with the work done so far, claiming that the coalition is solid and coordinated. Of course, the opposition did not agree with this. The SDS and NSi thus assess that the government did not justify the high expectations and add that it should have reacted more quickly and efficiently in the fight against the costliness. We draw attention to this in detail in this issue of Demokracija magazine, where, among other things, we publish a comparison of the Croatian autumn measures to support or protect citizens and companies with the measures taken by the current Slovenian government. If these measures are really concrete and comprehensive in our southern neighbour, they are more or less symbolic in our country. But as the Fiscal Council of the Republic of Slovenia points out, the measures to mitigate the consequences of the price increase are similar in our country to those in other countries, but to a large extent they are not targeted. “With the expected increasingly limited fiscal space, this may turn out to be an ineffective action, which is also contrary to the recommendations of international institutions.” In general, we can say that in the past hundred days the main priority of the current left-wing (neo-socialist) government has been staffing and accounting with the legacy of the previous centre right Janša’s government, although Slovenia has high economic growth and low unemployment and a good public financial picture thanks to the previous government’s measures.

Well, the second half of the past week in our media was not only marked by the anniversary of Golob’s government and the top achievements of our athletes, but also the death of the British Queen Elizabeth II, who ruled the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for seven decades. For the vast majority of Britons, the Queen, who co-shaped the entire post-war period, was the only monarch they knew. Since 1952, when she began serving the nation, the United Kingdom has had as many as 15 Prime Ministers. And when Elizabeth II, as a twenty-five-year-old woman, took the position, she was at the head of an empire with more than 70 colonies, and the Prime Minister was none other than the legendary Winston Churchill. In the following decades, many colonies became independent. The British Empire was transformed into the Commonwealth of Nations (from 1964 only Commonwealth). Great Britain entered the European Union during this time and later also left it.

Despite the fact that last week British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was replaced by Liz Truss at Downing Street 10 in London and that the late Queen Elizabeth II was succeeded by Prince Charles as King Charles III, no major changes are expected in the United Kingdom or Great Britain in the short term. However, these are indicated in the Russian Federation, which in recent days has been experiencing severe and shameful defeats on the battlefields of Ukraine. Military defeats that can remove even the ruler of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, whom Westerners liked to refer to as the “new Russian tsar” even years ago. But it is obvious that Putin is losing touch with reality, just as Tsar Nicholas II of Russia from the ruling family of the Romanovs was losing it more than a hundred years ago. Putin’s decision for military aggression against Ukraine, which began on February 24th of this year, exposed his imperial ambitions, which he had indicated several times in the past both as Prime Minister and as President. He called the collapse of the USSR one of the biggest geopolitical disasters of the twentieth century. More than a decade ago, when he once again occupied the position of the country’s president, Putin declared the reunification of the post-Soviet space as one of his main tasks, because according to him, this space is incomplete without Ukraine. Here, one must be aware that the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fact that millions of Russians remained outside the Russian Federation were also lamented by the very popular Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn in the West.

Well, Putin made a fool of himself when he attacked Ukraine, because he thought that the Ukrainian leadership would flee abroad, but it resolutely resisted the aggressor. He also made a mistake regarding the response of the West, led by the USA and the European Union, which immediately condemned the Russian military aggression in the strongest terms and adopted a number of harsh sanctions against the Russian Federation. Our Prime Minister at the time, Janez Janša, played an important role in this, who, together with the Polish and Czech Prime Ministers, visited the besieged Kyiv unannounced. And it was on the two hundredth day of the Russian aggression against Ukraine that the West’s financial, military, and informational aid to Ukraine proved to be effective, as the country launched a decisive counter-offensive and exposed all the misery of the Russian army, which is plagued by corruption, lack of motivation, poor coordination and outdated and insufficient military equipment. Therefore, these days the question is being seriously asked whether Putin’s days, and with him even the Russian Federation, are numbered…

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