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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Warnings About Russia’s Interference in Slovenian Elections Were Not Innocent

By: Domen Mezeg

It is becoming increasingly clear which parties cooperated with Russia and that the country’s involvement in the Slovenian parliamentary elections was not a made-up thing. Namely, the Russian Ambassador, Timur Ejvazov, and President of the Resni.ca (Truth) party, Zoran Stevanović, recently met at the Russian Embassy in Ljubljana. Additionally, experts warn that after the elections, the sympathies of the transitional left will grow even closer to its natural ideological ally.

It is becoming more and more apparent that the Resni.ca party was established with the intention of weakening the election result of the Slovenian National Party (Slovenska nacionalna stranka – SNS), the President of which is Zmago Jelinčič Plemeniti. The civil society movement Resni.ca got 2.86% of all votes in the elections, while the Slovenian National Party received 1.49%. Together, this amounts to 4.35%, which would be enough for one party to get into the National Assembly. Of course, the question inevitably arises as to whether all Resni.ca voters would be willing to vote for the SNS party. Let us remind you that the President of the Resni.ca party, Zoran Stevanović, is a former member of Jelinčič’s party, and Jelinčič’s SNS proved to be a constructive opposition party during the government of Janez Janša, also when it came to supporting new laws.

However, the fact that Janša’s policy is not to the liking of the autocratic regime of Vladimir Putin became clear after Janša’s harsh condemnation of Russian aggression, the return of the Slovenian diplomatic representative to Kyiv, and the Prime Minister’s visit to the Ukrainian capital, which served as an example for a number of foreign statesmen who later did the same. Stevanović’s election contribution can be understood as helping the autocratic regime influence the outcome of the parliamentary elections. His announcement of his arbitrary leading of a kind of parallel foreign policy, despite the fact that he was not even elected to parliament, also came as quite a surprise. With his populist move, he proves that he does not trust the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tanja Fajon, and above all, he is once again trying to get the public’s attention. And if he manages to get on Fajon’s nerves, he will definitely get some publicity. Besides, this is good training for her modesty and humility.

This whole situation could mean only two things; perhaps Stevanović really is just so arrogant, or perhaps he is actually involved in some (Putin’s?!) story. Collaboration with the autocratic regime is rather frivolous in light of the aggravated situation in the east. Perhaps, Stevanović is one of those people who hope for a false truce in Ukraine and the renunciation of state territory. However, even that would hardly neutralise the imperial aspirations of the successor to the Soviet empire. The dictator’s conduct is very reminiscent of Hitler’s pre-war annexation of Austria and part of Czechoslovakia. The question is whether we have learned anything from history.

Putin: “The collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.”
Putin himself once said that the collapse of the Soviet Union was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.” The preservation of imperial aspirations is also indicated by the revival (presentation) of cultural elements connected with the former totalitarian regime. On the 9th of May, Putin addressed the crowd gathered in Moscow as “comrades.” The Soviet symbolism and the fact that Putin brought back the former Soviet melody (in 2000) as part of the Russian anthem, shortly after taking power, also stand out. Of course, this is not about returning to communism and abandoning the market economy that is shamelessly bringing so much profit to the Russian influential figures and politicians, but about the greatness of the “stolen” empire.

The key question in light of Putin’s aggression is whether we are willing to “make a deal with the devil” and look away from the suffering of the Ukrainian people, thus turning a blind eye to the autocratic territorial appetites, or whether we will resolutely reject this dangerous, malignant policy. No strong medicine can come without its side effects, not even an embargo on Russian raw materials and other measures we have adopted. Or should we just allow a country with an economy that is smaller than that of Italy to set its outdated and geopolitical rules for everyone else to follow?

The leftists will turn their compass back to Moscow
Another short comment on the Resni.ca party’s recent post on Facebook, where they wrote: “Slovenian foreign policy is completely wrong and to the detriment of our country. No changes are expected to happen any time soon. Therefore, we need to create a new policy, parallel to the official one, which will work for the benefit of the people. In the discussion I had with the Ambassador, we focused on the regulation of the Slovenian-Russian relations and on mitigating the economic consequences of the Ukrainian-Russia conflict for Slovenia. We also talked about the normal import of energy products and goods important for the food chain. Everything will be okay. Regardless of Slovenia’s failed foreign policy. We also expect to meet with the Ukrainian consul, as well as the ambassadors of other influential countries.

Let us remind you that Janša’s government has achieved tectonic shifts in the field of foreign policy. The main thing to highlight is how much better our relationship with the United States of America has gotten. Janša’s government also did great in the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, as well as strengthened the relations with the Western Balkans and other things, while Fajon is already “baring her teeth” to the Croatians. During the terms of predecessors of the Janša government, however, we witnessed an unhealthy symbiosis with Moscow. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Karl Erjavec visited the Russian capital as many as 11 times but did not visit Washington once. And the fact is that there is no “dispute” between Russia and Ukraine. In reality, this is a brutal Russian invasion, happening with the intention of a forcible change of government in Kyiv.

Buying Russian energy fuels Putin’s military machinery
It is also an attempt to brutally denationalise Ukrainians (under the guise of denazification) and change borders, despite their sanctity, established after World War II, in order to successfully prevent new tragedies of this kind. As a result, our small, vulnerable Slovenia can be flat, despite the fact that it is nestled among its militarily stronger neighbours. The Prekmurje and Primorska regions are guaranteed to be preserved within the borders of our country. Replacing Russian energy with other energy is also inevitable because that energy is exactly what fuels Putin’s military machinery. The price for long-term peace and security is non-negotiable.

Export of Ukrainian wheat could also (at a higher price) be ensured via a different transport route, namely, through Romanian and Bulgarian ports. However, all kinds of assistance to the Ukrainian people, for example, in arms, are still crucial. The Resni.ca party also announced it wants to meet with the Ukrainian and other influential ambassadors. As it turns out, we are getting a country within a country. With this, let us also remind you of Russia’s interference in the last parliamentary elections through the head of the taxi drivers’ union, Dejan Jefim.

The European People’s Party is concerned about Russian interference in Slovenian parliamentary elections
Jefim is known for his close ties with the Russian multinational Yandex, which Janša pointed out, and the European People’s Party has also expressed its concern regarding this situation. Namely, the head of the taxi drivers’ union was the one who organised transport to the polls, together with Nika Kovač. He probably interfered in other ways as well. According to Bojan Požar, Anja Jordan, a candidate on the List of Marjan Šarec (LMŠ), has the same home address as Jefim. Among other things, Yandex is said to be in charge of gathering information for the FSB – the Russian intelligence service, where Putin began his career.

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