By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv
Golob’s government decided today that the former director of the State Security Service, Janez Zemljarič, who was considered one of the most influential uncles from the background, will be buried with military honours, even if Zemljarič was blamed for his role in the Udba murders in the last decade. “It is an extremely vilely matter. Mr. Zemljarič signed documents that enabled terrorist acts and murders of Yugoslav citizens abroad. These are actions for which there should be zero tolerance,” publicist and mayor of Radenci Roman Leljak commented on the government’s decision.
It was Marjan Šiftar who, together with other initiators, members of the Executive Council of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia in the period between 1980 and 1984, submitted the proposal that a funeral with military honours should be organised for Janez Zemljarič, who died on Friday 30th December last year.
“Janez Zemljarič was the former president of the SRS Executive Council (1980-1984), who, while successfully performing many responsible duties in political and public life, advocating for economic and general development and the well-being of Slovenia, operationally managed large projects of lasting national importance: the organisation of the construction of the Cankar Hall, the construction of the Clinical Centre, the Ljubljana Ring Road, the Tivoli Hall, the start of the construction of the highway crossing and the promotion of the export economy to world markets,” Šiftar wrote in the explanation of his proposal. Since the government agreed with the proposal, Zemljarič will be buried with military honours on Friday, at 12 o’clock, at Žale in Ljubljana.
When he initiated Udba, a series of defilements happened
In reality, of course, Zemljarič was considered one of the most controversial businessmen from the generation of old politicians of the failed communist regime and the Udba secret political police, who as head of the State Security Service (SDV) persecuted and killed political opponents and later as a lobbyist exhausted the Slovenian health system. “During his four-year “as head” of Udba, Zemljarič organised a series of crimes (bomb assassinations, kidnapping, threats to Kocbek) and tarnished his public image forever. After gaining independence, he became a “trader”, as the partisan and secret policeman Janko Heberle contemptuously called him,” said publicist Igor Omerza regarding Zemljarič.
Because the publicist Roman Leljak is the one who in the past, among other things, dared to publish a record that Zemljarič, when he was the head of the former SDV, approved an action in which the SDV killed two Croatian emigrants, and Zemljarič picked on him and accused him of insulting him, we decided to ask Leljak how he comments on the government’s decision. He said that this is an extremely vilely matter. “Mr. Zemljarič signed documents with which he facilitated terrorist acts, murders of Yugoslav citizens abroad. These are actions for which there should be zero tolerance,” he explained.
Granda: Zemljarič has bloody hands
We also decided to ask the historian Dr Stane Granda for a comment. He explained that this is actually about two things. “Zemljarič was only the president of the Slovenian government and another thing: he was the head of the repressive authorities, which in his specific case have bloody hands”. According to him, the question of attitude to the past arises here. “The authorities, not only the current one, but also some before, obviously do not see the breakthrough that occurred in 1990/1991 and still consider that the current Slovenia is a continuation of the former Communist Republic of Slovenia,” he emphasised.
Social networks: It is about the rehabilitation of the communist regime
“Can you imagine that a high-ranking Nazi official who headed the Gestapo would be buried with military honours in Germany? The government will bury the former head of the secret political police and a communist functionary with military honours,” wrote long-time journalist Peter Jančič.
According to journalist Bojan Požar, we are the only country from the former socialist-communist bloc that does this. “As if Slovenia were a social experiment”.
“Indecent, tasteless, uncivilised! The rehabilitation of the previous regime was finished even before we had fully decommunized,” commented former Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Dr Žiga Turk on the government’s decision.
Judging by the reactions that appeared on the social network Twitter, the government’s decision negatively surprised many. Namely, there were a lot of comments along the lines of: “Until now I was quiet because of piety, but now I will not be anymore Zemljarič and a funeral with military honours are two things that do not go together in today’s democratic country. The man was the head of the secret political police for goodness sake.”; “Janez Zemljarič will be buried with military honours. Because there was no lustration at the right time, the leaders of the murderous UDBA continued to roam Slovenian health care for years, and for the reward for all killed and all stolen, they will be buried with military honours in 2023!!! Shame!”; “Let someone else say that we do not live in a true communist Udba-land.”; “Well, we are a downright stupid country”; “Are you not ashamed of what you’re involving the Slovenian army and soldiers in?? First you deny them the right to equipment, and then you drag them around the funerals of criminals!? It is not true, someone tell me it is not true”; “Unbelievable and disgusting. The head of the UDBA, who ordered the murders of political dissidents, will be given a state funeral in democratic Slovenia”.
Kocbek’s expression was used in the obituary
In connection with the death of Zemljarič, publicist Omerza criticised the very content of the obituary, which was dedicated to Zemljarič by members of the Executive Council of Slovenia in the 1980s. They used Edvard Kocbek’s words and wrote: “Our “fellowship” (E. Kocbek) was left by its indispensable member, comrade, and friend, the first among equals for many years”. In this regard, Omerza made a critical comment: “In the obituary, the members of the Executive Council also used “comrade’ (E. Kocbek)” as parting words. Ugh, how is it possible to say goodbye to someone with Kocbek’s expression, since the deceased, as head of the Udba and interior minister, followed him day and night and threatened him personally.”
Zemljarič’s friends even claim in one of the obituaries that Zemljarič’s work was woven into the foundations of the Slovenian state. “On June 30th, 1976, the Zemljarič’s Udba seized the private “independence” records of Franc Miklavčič and therefore he was “imprisoned” for it. Is this Zemljarič’s work “woven into the foundations of the Slovenian state” as his friends wrote!”, commented Omerza in relation to the obituary.