By: Sara Bertoncelj / Nova24tv
After the recent meeting of the government, it was announced that a decision had been adopted to merge the Museum of Slovenian Independence and the National Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia, to establish a new public institution, the Museum of Contemporary and Modern History of Slovenia. The Government of Rober Golob has thus fulfilled the announcement made by the Minister of Culture, Asta Vrečko, who said that the Museum of Slovenian Independence would no longer exist as an independent institution. Meanwhile, the former President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, had warned of the importance of an independent Museum of Slovenian Independence, but the current President did not advocate for its preservation.
“This is a clear tendency to relativise the Slovenian independence, to ignore it in schools, and the youth of Slovenia does not even know that we had a war for Slovenia, which is unbearable and unacceptable,” said Lojze Peterle, President of the Association for the Values of Slovenian Independence (Združenje za vrednote slovenske osamosvojitve – VSO), when the abolition of the independent Museum of Slovenian Independence was announced, and even the then-President Borut Pahor disagreed with this move. On Thursday, however, the government of Robert Golob decided to merge the Museum of Slovenian Independence and the Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia, and to establish a new public institution, the Museum of Contemporary and Modern History of Slovenia. MPs of the New Slovenia party (Nova Slovenija – NSi) are expected to take a decision on the possible interpellation of Minister Asta Vrečko at a meeting of their parliamentary group next week, reports the media outlet 24ur.
One of the main reasons for the merger of the two institutions is to optimise the professional work in the field of protection and preservation of cultural heritage, while at the same time, the merger of the two museums would also bring about more transparent and strategic professional work in the field of heritage preservation. “At the same time, operating costs will be reduced, the organisation of work will be improved, and the duplication or overlapping of collecting policies that affect the creation of relevant museum collections will be broken,” the government used the financial aspect as an excuse, adding: “The new public institution will strengthen the professional research, evaluation and presentation of contemporary history, which largely coincides with the beginning of the process of Slovenia’s independence. The merger of the two museums also ensures transparent and higher quality professional work for the benefit of the preservation and valorisation of national heritage, its educational role, and the preservation of collective historical memory.”
Pahor highlighted the importance of an independent museum of independence, but Pirc Musar did not advocate its preservation
The announcement of the merger of the two museums into a new public institution was met with a negative response from the public and politicians. Among others, the Association for the Values of Slovenian Independence opposed the abolition of the independent Museum of Slovenian Independence, the Slovenian Press Agency reports. In December, the leadership of the Slovenian Conference of the World Slovenian Congress issued a statement calling on the Ministry of Culture, the Government, and the President of the Republic, Nataša Pirc Musar, to reconsider the complete abolition of the Museum of Slovenian Independence. The suppression of the Museum of Slovenian Independence was perceived as an attempt to suppress and destroy the values of Slovenian independence. The Office of the President replied to our media at the time that Pirc Musar had already given her position on the issue of the Slovenian Independence Museum during her pre-election campaign. “Slovenia’s recent history deserves a proper monument. It is important that we have a place where the younger generations, in particular, can get a comprehensive insight into the events of 32 and more years ago. It is also important that we are no longer being divided by these issues. It should be up to the historical profession to decide whether or not Slovenian independence should be presented in an independent museum,” they said.
“For the state to abolish cultural institutions, or even an institution that was dedicated to the country we live in – such a thing is something we have only ever known during the period of a bloody and cruel ideological revolution,” commented historian Dr Stane Granda, adding that this was a mockery of Slovenian history. What this government has allowed itself to do is unique in cultural history, and the move only confirms the beliefs of those who claim that independence was carried out by Janez Janša, or that this was not the preferred choice of Slovenian politics in general. As for President Pirc Musar’s statement that it would be up to the profession to decide on an independent museum, Granda pointed out that the majority of the profession supported an independent museum – as was demonstrated at the Jože Pučnik symposium, where a very large number of people confirmed their support for the museum by contributing their signatures in support of it – with the exception of those who are ideologically linked to this government or to the circle around Milan Kučan. “But it is also appalling that this reduces the job opportunities for historians, which are already not optimal,” Granda said.
“The abolishment of the Museum of Slovenian Independence is part of a reckoning with the Janša government. Indirectly, they are giving him the very recognition that they have been fighting against for 30 years: that he and his circle deserve most of the credit for our country gaining independence. Kučan, who is behind all this, and which is also why he installed the “Solkan government,” whose symbol is the inscription “Our Tito” on the Sabotin hill, has also made sure that a special historian, a protégé of Oto Luter, the director of the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU), and a great supporter of Friday and other demonstrations against the Janša government, who also enjoys the strong support and protection of the work of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, is in charge of such dirty business in the government cabinet and is now celebrating what has happened. Until when? A cultural crime, which the present government has committed, is reminiscent of a fascist act after the First World War. It is a reckoning with the roots of Slovenian independence. Kučan’s Guard won the battle, but not the war. However, it also has the support of the President of the country and the President of the Union of Veterans of the War for Slovenia, who never understood and never knew why Slovenians became independent. He enjoys his role of a pioneer at the celebrations of the former Yugoslavia. He is convinced that Slovenia’s independence was carried out by Tito’s totalitarian defence, which was founded in 1968. He is beyond help. In this, he also enjoys the support of that section of historians who are convinced that The Book on Kučan is the greatest work of our scholars since Kardelj’s The Development of the Slovenian National Question. Their knowledge of Slovenian history is comparable to the role of a child’s tricycle in a sport where Formula 1 wins. A state that increasingly resembles a fiction of democracy, taking on its own citizens wherever it can – currently, its main weapon is the energy sector, and in the summer, it was food – this is the result of an unfinished transition. It is only a matter of how long our country can continue operating like this. The war on the future has never worked, and Slovenia’s future can neither be denied nor taken away. “There is a God!” said a famous Slovenian football coach when the Slovenian national team won,” wrote Dr Stane Granda.