By Gašper Blažič
In 1991, I watched the events during the war for Slovenia – of course as an elementary school student – mainly from television screens. It was certainly a torturous and uncertain time, as we did not know how the matter would unfold and whether we might have years of struggle to survive. As I observe similar developments in Ukraine today, we have become accustomed to the scenes that shook us a few months ago. The initial shock of the war is slowly turning into indifference and pragmatic plans, or would it not be better if we gave in to Russia in the beginning and there would be peace now.
But if we thought in this way in 1991, the big question is what would have happened to Slovenia. Nowadays, many people tell us that we Slovenes were lucky because we were not on the “menu” of the programmers of Greater Serbia and that the Yugoslav Army did not really want to destroy us, it only wanted to scare us a little. Apparently, this myth was well received by Slovenes over time, and we quickly forgot about what was happening, including threats from the Belgrade General Staff, from where General Blagoje Adžić announced in cold blood at the end of his speech on July 2nd, 1991, “We will find those…” The host of the central TV daily, Aleks Štakul, was extremely emotional that evening. Either way, rumours of a coup d’état were spreading that day, as the YPA simply ignored the presidency’s orders and simply acted on its own, despite the election of Stipe Mesić as president of the SFRY presidency, making the Yugoslav Supreme Command operational again. On that day, Mesić – accompanied by a “peace mediator”, his Macedonian colleague Dr Vasil Tupurkovski (you probably remember him from his legendary striped polo shirts) – in the late afternoon suddenly visited Ljubljana and barely “caught” President Kučan, who had a rather long meeting with German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher (KEVS Prime Minister) in Villach. And then, at a press conference with Jelko Kacin, he said a few ambiguous words about the fact that as long as we see him (Stipe) here, the military coup has not yet been carried out…
Yes, July 2nd, 1991, was a “day that could not be forgotten”, so much was happening that day: the intrusion of parent soldiers who served in the military in Slovenia into the Serbian Parliament, the uprising of bare-handed Zagreb citizens in front of Tito’s barracks, violent clashes in Kraków Forest and Šentilj, attacks on television communications in Maribor, etc. And of course, the barbaric attack of the Yugoslav People’s Army on Gornja Radgona, right on the border with Austria. TV Slovenia had a special reporter there, who all those days, together with his colleagues, walked around the field in Pomurje all the time – it was Boris Cipot. He accompanied (among other things) a helicopter landing near Gederovci (border crossing with Austria), an air attack on Murska Sobota (and an interview with the wounded soldier Milorad Knežević from Doboj in the hospital, where he told what was happening), the uprising of Mursko Središče residents while trying to penetrate the tank line from Varaždin to the border crossings with Hungary…
Gornja Radgona, the fairgrounds right next to the border with Austria, bled the most that day. Shortly before that, world traveller and publicist Janez Svetina was killed there. Planes came to the aid of YPA tanks that remained trapped in the line. The border crossing was destroyed, and the Primary School of Dr Janko Šlebinger, many residential buildings were severely damaged, as well as the barely well-restored church bell tower. That evening, TV Slovenia broadcasted a report by Boris Cipot, consisting of several parts. He followed the conflict from the other, Austrian side of the Mura, as it was impossible to break through to Gornja Radgona and from there he tried to observe “Yugoslav Beirut” as closely as possible, as he himself said. Concluding his report, he said: “Only the Nazis were capable of such barbarism. These are the Nazis with the five-pointed red star.” (SOURCE, seventh minute).
At that time, I became much more attentive to Boris, and even more so when watching the show “Slovenia on the Barricades”, where he appeared several times. It was not until many years later that I also met him in person. At that time, he no longer worked for RTV Slovenia. At first, I imagined that the show should be a source of pride for him, but in fact it was a great pain for him, as he was left without a large video archive from 1991, while others became rich at the expense of the show. Years ago, we occasionally collaborated on article exchanges, as he worked for the vfokusu.com portal. And later he was left without that as well. He also recorded talk shows “Wednesday on Wednesday”, but when he hosted Bernard Brščič (in 2017), the regime’s on-duty apparatchiks tackled not only Cipot, but also his advertisers. This was, of course, just one of many examples that proved that the political underworld literally hates journalist Cipot, who has repeatedly exposed the local machinations of old regime circles, which “excelled” even in the extremely dirty fight against the Bishop of Murska Sobota Dr Peter Stumpf. Boris Cipot also knew how to tell the difference between the Vienna and Bratislava Evangelical Theological Schools. Those who came from the latter were more in favour of the red regime, while the first was an evangelical senior three decades ago Ludvik Novak – the evangelical priest who, like Ljubljana’s Archbishop Šuštar, was left without a microphone when Slovenia was declared independent. And it is no secret that Boris also did not get along well with his Prekmurje compatriot Milan Kučan, he explained the details of how he betrayed the party leader HERE.
Who knows whether his naming of the “Nazis with a five-pointed red star”, with which the wrestling federation, including all its young people, continued to adorn itself after independence, provoked great resentment from the political underworld? Last year, the deceased academician and Prešeren laureate Dr Kajetan Gantar published high-profile articles about how he experienced political bike sessions of German Scouts during the Nazi occupation, which were very similar to modern “Jenulla supporters”. That is why Boris’s statement about the Nazis with the five-pointed red star is quite fortunate, mainly because those who consider themselves great fighters against Nazism, and at the same time enforce totalitarian communist practices (if they do not glorify ideologies). Even in relation to Ukraine, one can see how quickly the myth that Ukrainians are just Nazi apostates of the Russian nation can be instilled. But even if we call Putin “Vladolf Putler”, we are not saying everything. An explanation is needed that Putin is at his core primarily a socialist (Bolshevik) who, like Hitler, “split” his vulgar socialism with national myths and history. After all, Gazimestan in Vidovdan in 1989, under the leadership of the “vožd”, showed a similar platform, due to which the former state disintegrated in fire and blood. History repeats itself as a farce: the destroyed Mariupol is a deja vu for Slovenes, a tragic memory of Vukovar, Sarajevo and, finally, Gornja Radgona from 1991. The spiritual and mental basis for all these atrocities was very similar.
This is one of the reasons why I understand why the striking socio-political workers on RTV Slovenia even today, if Boris Cipot had been fired, would not have written, but even applauded. It is just a Nazi mentality with a five-pointed red star.