Andrej Aplenc (Photo: Demokracija archive)

By: Andrej Aplenc

When the first free elections were held in Slovenia on 8 April 1990, I had been living in the United States for almost 30 years. When I found out about this announcement, I quit my job, sold everything I had and bought a plane ticket to Slovenia. This is how I managed to attend the plebiscite for the independence of Slovenia on 23 December 1990.

Under Demos, I was appointed General Manager of Slovenske železarne (Slovenian Ironworks) and after the fall of Peterle’s government I was fired because I opposed the sale of the ironworks to the financial company TW Investments from Bermuda, which was a decision defended by the then Deputy Prime Minister for Economy, Herman Rigelnik. I managed to appear on TVS and publish articles in the Delo newspaper. As a dismissed director, I held a press conference, which caused a minor scandal and the then LDS was intimidated by public opinion and its own Bermuda scandal. The ironworks were not sold. On 4 August 1993, I filed a complaint with the Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office for an illegal attempt to sell the ironworks. To date, that is, after 27 years, I have not received any response from the prosecution on the status of my complaint, which the prosecution should have given by law a long time ago. This is certainly the Guinness record of our judiciary.

The Bermuda ironworks were the first unsuccessful attempt of tycoon privatization, although all the others were successful. The post-communist elite, which was in power most of the time after independence, knew how to consolidate financial power in the economy and buy most of the media. When we managed to join the European Union and NATO, the post-communist elite, that is, the deep state, did not strongly oppose this, because it was also in its favor.

This was followed by the global economic crisis in 2008, which was successfully resolved for Slovenia by the government of Janez Janša and Minister Janez Šušteršič. As the reputation of the SDS political party grew significantly as a result, the deep state decided that Janez Janša should be removed. The Patria affair followed and Janez Janša went to prison instead of going to parliament. In 2015, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia annulled all judgments on this affair.

In this regard, I see a parallel with the present time. When Prime Minister Marjan Šarec abruptly resigned in March 2020 without informing the coalition partners, it was clear that the deep state was at work. The pandemic was here, there were no stocks of medical protective equipment at all, there was a threat of health, political and economic catastrophe for Šarec’s coalition and more than 90,000 deaths were predicted in Slovenia. The parallel of events goes on: after the government of Janez Janša, in the wild conditions in Europe, successfully procured protective equipment, adopted 7 anti-corona packages of laws that prevented economic collapse, Janez Janša must be removed again – NOW that all the demanding political and financial work is done. The time is coming when the government of Janez Janša will chair the Council of the European Union, followed by an even greater reputation and higher public support for SDS. That is why there are all these senseless interpellations, constitutional accusations and snitching in Europe that Janez Janša is oppressing the media, the judiciary and democracy in general. However, this time the deep state will not be able to remove Janez Janša.

The time of 30 years was a time of transition; let us remember, in this period three advertisements in the Delo newspaper in the 1990s: “Dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.” That is how we were made fun of. The deep state managed to rake in billions, but politically they became incompetent and divided. The proverb says that the sun always shines after the rain. The day will come when Parliament will adopt EU Council Resolution no. 1069, which speaks of the legacy and elimination of the negative consequences of the former communist regimes. That is when we will become a European state governed by the rule of law.

Andrej Aplenc is former political dissident and publicist.