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Sunday, February 5, 2023

[30 YEARS OF INDEPENDENT SLOVENIA] ANTON KRKOVIČ: “MSNZ HAS NO COMPARISON IN HISTORY”

By: Petra Janša

Brigadier General Anton Krkovič was born on 18 May 1956 in the village of Kaptol in Kostel near Kočevje. He is a veteran of the war for Slovenia and a member of the presidency of the Association for the Values of Slovenian Independence. 

In the years 1990/91 he was one of the main carriers of defence preparations and military resistance against the YPA aggression against Slovenia. He is known to the public as the commander of the MORiS special brigade. He is a graduate of the English Military Academy RCDS (Royal College of Defence Studies) and a winner of the highest state and military decorations. 

How does Anton Krkovič remember the time of independence? 

Brigadier General Anton Krkovič (Photo: Polona Avanzo)

The independence efforts of the Slovenian nation, which received a theoretical basis in 1987 in the national program published in the 57th issue of Nova revija, directly faced a key question after the victory of Demos in the first free elections in 1990: How to secure the independence process and prevent the possible violent interference of federal structures, especially the Yugoslav People’s Army, in the practical implementation of national sovereignty? 

Territorial Defence SRS was systematically part of the unified armed forces of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The vast majority of active officers in the higher command structures of the Territorial Defence SRS, even though they were Slovenians by nationality, blindly followed orders from Belgrade. The culmination of such blind obedience was the consistently executed order to disarm the Territorial Defence SRS, which was issued as a direct result of Demos’ electoral victory just before the swearing-in of Slovenia’s first democratically elected government in mid-May 1990. The order was followed by the covert (self-)disarmament of the Territorial Defence SRS. With this, the first phase of the YPA’s aggression against Slovenia was successfully carried out, which was actually the beginning of the war for Slovenia. Already in the first days, some brave and nationally conscious commanders of the municipal levels resisted the order, which was undoubtedly a respectable individual act. 

As an organised response to the (self-)disarmament of the Territorial Defence SRS and thus, the clearly expressed intention of the federal authorities to prevent Slovenia’s independence by military force, preparations for armed resistance were invoked in May 1990. The beginnings of the armed resistance were already performing the function of protecting the independence process. The initialisation and subsequent formation of the armed organisation took place conspiratorially through several stages of formation and under different statuses of legality according to the then valid legal system. The beginning of preparations for the organised armed resistance initially took place without a formal name, but later the name was formed and changed from ‘resistance cores’, through the ‘Army of the Republic of Slovenia’ to the ‘Manoeuvring Structure of National defence – MSNZ’. The MSNZ was led in tandem at the level of the republican secretaries of defence and internal affairs, and was formed with the indispensable help of individuals and groups that, otherwise, formally operated in the structures of the then militia. In October 1990, the MSNZ was renamed the Territorial Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, but in fact it has been systematically, to date, the mission of the same organisation – the Slovenian Army. 

MSNZ has no comparison in history. It was formed in special conditions at the most sensitive time of Slovenian independence and at a time of the unpredictable unfolding of the global and local political crisis. Based on the situation at the time, the actors of the MSNZ logically assumed a multi-year war in Slovenia. 

The end result was a symbiotic organisation of tens of thousands of armed soldiers and police officers into a unified and efficient military organisation committed to national interests. The mission of this unique organisation, led by coordination groups at the basic levels of leadership and command, was confirmed in practice when it played its full role a year later in the war for independence. 

May 17, 1990 is considered to be the day of the initialisation of preparations for the all-Slovenian armed resistance. This is the day of the ‘Manoeuvring Structure of National Defence – MSNZ’.”  

 

“MSNZ has no comparison in history. It was formed in special conditions at the most sensitive time of Slovenian independence and at a time of the unpredictable unfolding of the global and local political crisis.” 

 

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