By: Sara Bertoncelj / Nova24tv.si
At last night’s celebration, the Minister of Culture is said to have put pressure on the Prešeren Foundation’s Board of Directors to present Svetlana Makarovič with the Prešeren Award, which she refused in 2000. MP Andrej Hoivik addressed a written parliamentary initiative regarding alleged pressures on the president and members of the Board of Directors of the Prešeren Fund to the Minister of Culture Dr Asto Vrečko.
Last night, Svetlana Makarovič, accompanied by Jaša Jenull and Boris A. Novak, came uninvited to the stage at the end of Prešeren’s celebration. She did not come on all fours, as she had predicted would happen, but she recited one of her poems. It is interesting that RTV extended the broadcast after the end credits due to Makarovič’s forced appearance. Part of the Board of Directors of the Prešeren Fund left the event in protest when she appeared on stage. The President of the Board of Directors, Jožef Muhovič, said in a statement to the media that it was a recitation on his own initiative, which he did not experience as something welcome, but the recitation of the song itself did not bother him.
When Makarovič this year changed her mind that she might want the award, which she refused 22 years ago – supposedly because it was also received at the same time by Marko Ivan Rupnik, who, according to the poet, got to the award through an elevator – Minister of Culture Asta Vrečko quickly jumped in and confirmed via social networks that Makarovič’s Prešeren award can be handed out. “At the Ministry of Culture, we checked the Archives of Slovenia and found that the artist Svetlana Makarovič did not receive the award, so it can be handed over to her in accordance with the law,” she announced on Twitter. At the same time, the minister also expressed her wish that Rupnik would return the award on his own, as the law does not allow for it to be taken away. In any case, not everyone agreed with the (re)giving of the award to Makarovič, the country’s president, Nataša Pirc Musar, wrote that it would not be appropriate to present the rejected award at Prešeren’s celebration, because Makarovič is not among this year’s winners.
When asked about the agreement on how to return the Prešeren award to Svetlana Makarović, Muhović explained to STA that this can be resolved in two different ways. In order to resolve the issue of the return of rejected awards on a universal level for all possible cases, the law on the Prešeren Award must be amended, and the other option is the lex specialis, which would be accepted only for one case, only for one person. He could not say at this moment for which of these options the board of directors will agree on with the legislator. As he also reminded, in the 68 years of awarding the Prešeren awards, no previous board of directors of the Prešeren fund has faced such a task. In a statement to STA, he expressed his regret that in this situation, some people thought that the matter could be definitively resolved too soon and too superficially. Even in this particular case, it is considered that a short period of time is a bad legislator. When asked if he faced pressure to give in and give Svetlana Makarović the award, he said in a statement to the media that there was no direct pressure, but there was a lot of indirect pressure from the media and through social media.
“We live in a democratic country, even Prešeren’s committee has different opinions, that is right and that is how it should be, after all, they are responsible for the most important awards in the field of culture, they have to choose between the seriously diverse and excellent cultural and artistic activities of artists, so I find this completely normal,” the Minister of Culture commented on the fact that part of the Board of Directors of the Prešeren Fund left the celebration. “The scenario with which they manipulated the decision of the Prešeren Award Committee not to allow the escapades of Svetlana Pasmater Makarović at the award ceremony grew in the head of Minister Asta Vrečko and her Levica party. And those at the public house of RTV, of whom there is “fucking more”, even covered it in the media,” echoed on social networks, and Požareport wrote that the merit of the members of the board of directors of the Prešeren Fund, who did not bow to political and accompanying media pressure, that this incredible terror of Svetlana Makarović and Asta Vrečko ultimately failed.
“Nevertheless, the Minister of Culture Asta Vrečko (Levica) did practically everything possible under the table to get Makarović this award – also illegal – and this action of the minister is also revealed by the official written documentation of the key actors of the notorious event. In other words, Svetlana Makarovič and Asta Vrečko worked hand in hand all the time, probably because they are ideologically and politically connected. But the aforementioned documentation of the events surrounding Makarović and this year’s Prešeren awards also reveal the obvious double standards of the current Minister of Culture,” Požareport reported. According to them, the fact that Matej Šurc, the foreign policy journalist of Radio Slovenia, known on the cultural scene as Svetlana Makarovič’s “farmhand”, wrote to the board of directors of the Prešeren Fund several times, presented himself as Makarovič’s representative, demanded the award and inclusion of Makarović in the elite final part of the programme of the event, and asked Muhović to vote on it at the board of directors, shows how low and aggressive pressure they actually endured. In addition, he also wanted a list by name of those members of the board of directors who would vote against – will the minister try to replace the board of directors of the Prešeren fund?
“Dear Minister of Culture Dr Asta Vrečko, we can read in the media that in informal conversations you are doing everything in your power to hand over the Prešeren Award to Svetlana Makarovič – which she refused 23 years ago – at tonight’s celebration, which is intended for this year’s Prešeren Fund winners. That is why I am addressing an initiative to you that if the media reports are true, you should immediately stop political and other pressures on the independence of the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Prešeren Fund and the members of the board,” MP Andrej Hoivik addressed a written parliamentary initiative to the Minister of Culture Asta Vrečko yesterday regarding the alleged pressures on the president and members of the Board of Directors of the Prešeren Fund. So far, it has not been seen that the minister would react in any way to the reprehensible statements about pressure. However, she told STA that the law on the Prešeren Award does not provide for the removal of the board of directors, and no sanctions are foreseen for any decisions of the board of directors. Even in this case, the law on the Prešeren award should be changed. The minister already remarked some time ago that the law should be changed urgently.