By: J.B., P.T., J.S.
Creepy. Like turning the wheel of history back. Milan Kučan, the former head of the Communist Party, in October 30th attacked Prime Minister Janez Janša in a speech in Šentjanž. It is interesting because Milan Kučan did the same thing on exactly the same day (October 30th), 1993 – in a speech in Maribor, he sharply attacked Janša. At that time, the operation to remove Janez Janša was already underway, which later became better known as the Depala vas affair.
In Šentjanž, Kučan accused Janša of corroding the democratic structure of the state, that he rules authoritatively, that democracy needs to be recovered, and he supported (violent) protests. Between the lines, he made it clear that Janša would also be demolished with violence if necessary. “…elections alone are not democracy,” Kučan said.
Kučan did something similar in 1993. Although Janša was only the Minister of Defence at the time, he was a big thorn in the side of the former communist leader, as Janša, for example, exposed him three months earlier as an arms dealer (discovered weapons in Maribor), thus poking in the parallel economy or the parallel mechanism of the deep state, as Rado Pezdir says in his book.
Kučan wrote in a special letter to the National Assembly how he imagines the role of the Minister of Defence. According to him, Janša, as the Minister of Defence, should write instructions and rules, and he himself, as the Supreme Commander, should have at his disposal the “necessary information and powers” of the Ministry of Defence. On December 7th, Janša assessed Kučan’s concept of the defence law as “Yugoslav”.
At that time, an operation was already underway to remove (one way or another) Janez Janša, which is better known today as the Depala vas affair. When Kučan attacked Janša in the autumn of 1993, Radenko Radojčić, a former agent of the Counterintelligence Service (KOS) of the former Yugoslav People’s Army, who had drawn up a psychological and propaganda plan to overthrow the Minister of Defence, was already in Ljubljana. But the chief planner and architect of this conspiracy lived (and still lives) in Murgle. He responds to the name Milan Kučan, who also runs a deep state and a parallel mechanism.
Whether a new, already more sinister operation is underway today has nothing to do with democracy and freedom, it is not known. But some similarities with the course of the Depala vas affair already point to this. The only difference is that this time the deep state is completely openly using street violence, falsely manipulating the international public, even left wing journalists who were involved in the Depala vas affair are no longer hiding their true faces today.
Therefore, let us reawaken the memory of the Depala vas affair (summarised after the publication in the print edition of the magazine Demokracija in the spring of 2019).
For the first time, Janša delves into the parallel economy of Udba
January 5th or 6th, 1992
President Milan Kučan was visited by Hasan Čengić and met with employees of the Security Information Service (VIS).
June 23rd, 1992
Čengić visits Kučan again, who convenes a session of the Defence Council at the Presidency of the Republic of Slovenia. Čengić asks for help with weapons.
June 26th, 1992
Čengić reports to Defence Minister Janez Janša. Janša does not accept him because he does not have the appropriate powers of the BiH government.
End of August 1992
Dieter Hofmann agrees with the director of the Maribor airport that the planes from Sudan will land in Maribor. More planes land in the coming months.
October 22nd, 1992
The last plane with “humanitarian” help lands at Maribor Airport.
November 4th, 1992
Miha Brejc, director of Visa, instructs the employees of the Ministry of the Interior not to interfere in the “humanitarian” assistance at the Maribor airport.
March 13, 1993
The Hit affair breaks out.
April 6th, 1993
Janez Janša on TV Omizju Televizija Slovenija in connection with the Hit affair mentions a company that has not paid 150 million euros in taxes in recent years: “One hundred and fifty million dollars is money with which you can buy power in Slovenia. You can buy a journalist, you can buy everything if there is no financial control, if there is no financial discipline. With that money, you can buy elections.” For the first time, Janša delved into the parallel economy of the successors of the communist regime. “This statement brought some light to the deep state that was still hidden from many at the time and, of course, triggered measures for our expulsion from the government,” Janša said in an interview with Demokracija in 2019.
May 24th, 1993
Senior administrative employee B. B. wrote a note at the Ministry of Defence that an employee of the Ministry of the Interior, M. A., had persuaded him to provide him with any incriminating documents against Janez Janša.
For the second time, Janša delves into the parallel economy of Udba
May 27th, 1993
Left wing MPs address 27 weapons-related questions to the government. Subsequent events confirm that they cooperated with the criminal investigation service of the Ministry of the Interior in the criminalisation of Janša.
July 1st, 1993
Milan Smolnikar (former MNZ specialist) allegedly leaves his job at the Ministry of Defence, while the security service of the Ministry of Defence (Vomo) receives information that a group of former YPA officers is preparing to assassinate Janša.
July 7th, 1993
The Ministry of Defence answers MPs’ questions regarding weapons.
July 20th, 1993
The Ministry of Defence finds out about a large quantity of weapons at the Maribor airport.
July 21st, 1993
Weapons were found at the Maribor airport, and Visa and Sova employees are involved. In a few months, it will turn out that the trace of knowledge about the Maribor weapons, which are supposed to be intended for BiH, leads to President Milan Kučan and former key men of the Ministry of the Interior Igor Bavčar and Miho Brejc, who before the 1992 elections said to the socialist Jože Smolet that the replacement of Janez Janša would be necessary.
Thus, for the second time, Janša delved into the parallel economy of Udba. They start threatening him again.
To overthrow Janša, the old forces hire an informant from the former Yugoslav People’s Army
August 18th, 1993
Former agent of the Counterintelligence Service (KOS) of the former Yugoslav People’s Army, Radenko Radojčić, arrives in Ljubljana. He meets Mustafa Čandić and Tonet Peinkiher. His role was revealed only 20 years later. Namely, the SDS leader Janez Janša revealed in the amended edition of Okopov that the deep state had imported a former YPA agent in order to draw up a plan for his overthrow and destruction of the SDS. It is clear from the documents that this was a pure political showdown. Radojčić also explained his testimony to Croatian judicial investigators. Operationally, Tone Peinkiher, an agent of the military intelligence service at the Ministry of Defence, and Mitja Klavora, the head of criminal investigators at the Ministry of the Interior, were involved in the story. The Prime Minister Janez Drnovšek and the President Milan Kučan were informed about the Ščuk operation (the Depala vas affair). The latter was also the mastermind of the conspiracy against Janez Janša.
August 27th, 1993
Kučan begins to apologise to those involved in the affair with the Maribor weapons and the attacks of Mors and Janez Janša.
August 30th, 1993
Mors replies to Milan Kučan, saying that questions about who had violated the international embargo would have to be sent to Kučan. A defence tolar is in the firing line.
In mid-September 1993
Peinkiher tells Radojčić that he is meeting with Milan Kučan and Mladina journalists, and instructs him to prepare a plan for the removal of Defence Minister Janez Janša. Radojčić agrees and a plan is created, the realisation of which has been known in Slovenia for 25 years as the Depala vas affair. He later confessed: “Peinkiher asked me to make a plan for a psychological and propaganda demolition of Janez Janša. (…) Peinkiher told me that Kučan supports the project. Kučan has influence in all structures of the old nomenclature and in the old cadres of the new nomenclature of power in Slovenia, especially among the old cadres of SDV, directors of large banks, large economic organisations in Slovenia and in financial structures.”
September 20th, 1993
The LDS, ZLDS and SNS refuse to adopt a resolution on the starting points of national security in the National Assembly committee.
September 29th, 1993
A government’s report on the arms affair, which charges Igor Bavčar and Miho Brejec, comes to light. Documents about Milan Kučan’s meetings with Miro Predanič, a former adviser to the director of Visa and one of the main suspects, are mysteriously missing from the report.
For the third time, Janša delves into the parallel economy of Udba
October 12th, 1993
The Association of Slovenian Officers is renamed the Military Officers Association of Slovenian and the leadership is replaced. Analysts believe this is a victory of Janez Janša over Milan Kučan. Janez Slapar, who will later become a ZLSD adviser, is defending the old leadership.
October 22nd, 1993
ZLSD sharply attacks Janez Janša at the National Assembly committee for defence because of the defence funds.
October 30th, 1993
The conflict between Janša and Kučan is intensifying. At the ceremonial academy on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the fight for the northern border in Maribor, the President of the Republic between the lines accuses the Minister of Defence of taking the right to write history. At the SDSS meeting in Celje, Janez Janša does the same by mentioning Cuba and China.
November 15th, 1993
Milan Smolnikar visits Janko Šega at the Crimean guard post and the recruitment of territorials begins.
November 18th, 1993
The LDS, ZLDS and SNS are once again attacking the defence tolar, saying that too much money is spent on weapons.
November 30th, 1993
Boris Platovšek, director of Adit (a company controlled by Safti), takes refuge under the auspices of Voma and confesses. It reveals a detailed plan on how to privatise what is valuable in the Slovenian economy through Adit and Safti (companies founded by Udba). For the third time, Janša delves into the parallel economy of Udba. Platovšek’s testimony burdens many eminent Slovenian politicians and puts the criminal investigators of the Ministry of the Interior in a strange light. Boris Platovšek states that he only trusts the military security body, but the next day Milan Kučan reads a short report of his testimony.
December 1st, 1993
Milan Smolnikar and Mitja Kunstelj meet for the first time. Mitja Kunstelj tells his superiors about the meeting, who accept the game. Two days later, Smolnikar tells Kunstelj that the organisation will bring Janez Slapar back to the Territorial Defence, and announces the replacement of Janez Janša. They have been meeting almost every week since then.
December 6th, 1993
Milan Kučan’s letter on the Defence Act to the National Assembly comes to the public, saying that Janez Janša, as Minister of Defence, should write instructions and rules, and that Kučan should have the “necessary information and powers” of the Ministry of Defence at his disposal.
December 7th, 1993
Janez Janša assesses Kučan’s concept of the defence law as “Yugoslav”.
December 8th, 1993
Milan Kučan flew to visit Albania without being accompanied by the Territorial Defence honorary corps at the then Brnik airport. Again a new reason for a dispute.
December 10th, 1993
Drago Ferš, director of Sova, says before the parliamentary commission: “I said that Mr. Piber (Janez Piber, until March 1992 deputy director of Vis, fn.) was called to the presidency and was given the task of helping Mr. Čengić organise a humanitarian help. Mr. Piber took this literally and, of course, enabled Čengić concrete activities.”
December 17th, 1993
Janez Janša criticises the Maribor prosecutor’s office for negligence in the arms affair. It is becoming increasingly clear that the old structures, led by Milan Kučan, are behind the arms trade at Maribor Airport.
December 23rd, 1993
The top of the Ministry of the Interior sends to the office of the Prime Minister Dr Janez Drnovšek confidential mail with alleged irregularities in the operations of the Ministry of Defence, especially Voma. The Prime Minister will not mention the letter until March 1994, and it is alleged that it also came into the hands of the President of Slovenia.
Kučan mentions weapons for the first time
December 31st, 1993
In his New Year’s message, Prime Minister Janez Drnovšek writes: “I promise that the government will do everything to stop attempts to destabilise Slovenia politically…” President Milan Kučan is already threatening with weapons in his New Year’s message: “A word is a dangerous weapon. It can severely injure a person. The word easily warms the palm to grab the weapon.”
January 6th, 1994
The head of Voma, Andrej Lovšin, resigns. Officially for personal reasons, unofficially due to the unsuccessful hunt for “moles” in the Ministry of Defence.
January 11th, 1994
Milan Kučan ignores the invitation of the presidents of the Visegrad Group to attend an informal meeting with US President Bill Clinton. We would talk to him about joining NATO. His silence and ignorance cost the young country dearly: Slovenia was not admitted to NATO in 1999 and EU accession was delayed.
January 14th, 1994
Smolnikar tells Kunstelj that Janša will fall by February 1st.
January 20th, 1994
The Commission for the Supervision of the Work of Security and Information Services finds that Vomo works “within the framework of legality”.
March 7th, 1994
The Bosnian-Herzegovinian embassy writes to the National Assembly, saying that Hasan Čengić would like to testify before the commission of inquiry. Some members of the commission describe this as Alija Izetbegović’s help to President Milan Kučan.
Radojčić leaves Ljubljana and surrenders to the Croats
March 12th, 1994
At the unification congress of liberal democracy, the Prime Minister confirms the meeting of the political coordination of the government and ensures that “everything is within normal limits”.
March 14th, 1994
President Milan Kučan sends a letter to Prime Minister Janez Drnovšek, noting that groups have been organised at the Ministry of Defence to engage in intelligence activities. Political coordination in the narrower composition (Drnovšek, Bizjak and Janša) is short and intended to calm the situation. The head of criminal investigators, Mitja Klavora, and the manager of Voma, Dušan Mikuš, have been instructed to reveal the truth of the rumours.
March 15th, 1994
Radojčić leaves Ljubljana. He goes to Zagreb and surrenders to the Croatian authorities. He was tried in Zagreb the same year. At the interrogations in March and April 1994, he described extensively and in detail his work in KOS and later, including his time in Ljubljana and the tasks he performed for Tone Peinkiher – Taxi Driver. In his testimony, Radojčić said, among other things: “Peinkiher asked me to make a plan for the psychological propaganda demolition of Janez Janša. (…) Peinkiher told me that Kučan supports the project. Kučan has influence in all structures of the old nomenclature and in the old cadres of the new nomenclature of power in Slovenia, especially among the old cadres of SDV, directors of large banks, large economic organisations in Slovenia and in financial structures.”
March 16th, 1994
At a press conference, Janez Janša says that the government had adopted a law on defence for the second reading, taking into account the comments of the National Assembly, but not the objections of Milan Kučan.
Final preparations for the final act
March 17th, 1994
Milan Smolnikar arranges a meeting with Mitja Kunstelj on Sunday (March 20th) at a gas station in Domžale.
March 18th, 1994
Prime Minister Janez Drnovšek, Defence Minister Janez Janša, and Interior Minister Ivo Bizjak visit the Moris special brigade in Kočevje. The visit is intended to build mutual trust.
March 20th, 1994
In Depala vas near Domžale, authorised persons of the Ministry of Defence arrest Milan Smolnikar, to whom Mitja Kunstelj, as a “double agent of Voma”, handed over the required documents. Dušan Mikuš states a day later: “A warrant is not required for this action. It was basically about protecting soldier Mitja Kunstelj.” And in case Smolnikar wanted to escape with confidential documents. Milan Smolnikar says that he was beaten, but police officer Emil Sluga, who was the first to arrive at the scene, writes in his report that he “did not see that they would beat anyone”, and on-duty investigating judge Marjutka Paškulin said that Smolnikar was just “scratched”.
March 21st, 1994
The Prime Minister’s Commission for the Investigation of the “Smolnikar Case” has been set up in the afternoon at government’s political college, and a delegation from the commission for overseeing the work of security and intelligence services has been set up in parliament. When asked by MP Marjan Stanič whether Milan Smolnikar worked for them, Mitja Klavora answered that they had “contacts” with Smolnikar, that they “also received some information” from him, but he did not want to say exactly when they had been cooperating with Smolnikar. He only says, “that already before this event.”
March 22nd, 1994
Mitja Klavora suggests to Dušan Mikuš that the criminal service and Voma meet and clear things up. Janez Drnovšek mentions to Lojze Peterle to consider the actions of the Christian Democrats if there is a proposal to replace Janez Janša. In the evening, Peterle meets with a group of theologians and is supposed to get the green light for any Prime Minister’s intention: The main goal is to stay in government, only then to defend the coalition partner.
Years later, Janša said that Drnovšek told him at the time that he would be surprised at the role his friends played in this, referring to the Christian Democrats with whom he was in a coalition at the time. He also admitted that he would have been replaced if he had not replace Janša. Otherwise, the then Minister of the Interior Ivan Bizjak knew more about Depala vas than Drnovšek himself. “Klavora, Kos, Kučan, who knew everything, took part, and Bizjak was invited when something had to be signed. The Prime Minister was lied to, Bizjak’s responsibility is not disputable,” Janša said more clearly.
Kučan escapes to the United States
March 23rd, 1994
Lojze Peterle makes it clear to the Prime Minister, and the Ministry of the Interior announces at a press conference that five employees of the Ministry of Defence have been indicted. On March 26th, the Ljubljana prosecutor’s office will dismiss the charges as unfounded. Professors of the Faculty of Law, led by Dr Ljubo Bavcon, came forward, saying that the military security authorities and the military police exceeded their authority.
March 24th, 1994
The report of the commission of the Prime Minister, signed by Lojze Janko, Božidar Voljč and Miha Kozinc – only the signature of Lojze Peterle was missing – states that the employees of the Ministry of Defence acted illegally. At the press conference, Janez Janša claims that in February he warned the Prime Minister about the unauthorised procedures of the criminal service or the recruitment of the Ministry of the Interior among the territorials.
In the evening, the Prime Minister announced that he would replace Janez Janša with Jelko Kacin, and that Milan Kučan would travel to America. The story from 1988 is repeated. Also then, when Janez Janša was arrested, Milan Kučan was absent. Lojze Peterle is already opposing the replacement of Janez Janša, as the Prime Minister’s move introduces unrest among party members.
March 25th, 1994
At a press conference, Janez Drnovšek assures that the replacement has no political background, but that the military’s intervention in the civilian sphere is unacceptable. In the evening television Žarišče, it is noticeable that the Prime Minister is already sorry for his move.
March 26th, 1994
At a press conference, Defence Minister Janez Janša said that the action was justified, stating that the Prime Minister’s Commission had not consulted the Ministry of Defence in any way in shedding light on the “Smolnikar case”. Mitja Kunstelj and Vojko Smole also appear before the press.
The National Democrats in the SKD are threatening to resign if the leadership does not support Janša or if it does not withdraw from the coalition in the event of the dismissal of the Minister of Defence. Telephones are ringing at the SKD headquarters, and fax machines cannot “swallow” all statements in support of Janša or exit statements from the Christian Democracy party. Lojze Peterle is all hot and bothered, as Justice and Peace also supports the Minister of Defence. There is also a threat of a schism in the Church, from which the hint that they should act pragmatically in spite of everything is supposed to have come.
Mass support of the people for Janez Janša
March 28th, 1994
Liberal democracy and the ZLDS, with the help of Zmago Jelinčič, are “mowing” with their majority in the parliamentary commissions. Parliament is completely littered with special forces. In the afternoon, 25,000 people gather in front of the Prešeren monument and later in front of the parliament, shouting in support of Janez Janša.
March 29th, 1994
In the early morning hours, Janez Janša was dismissed and Jelko Kacin was elected the new Minister of Defence. Janez Janša later said that it was not a conspiracy theory, but a “conspiracy practice”, and that the goal was to privatise the state and sophisticatedly remove political rivals.