By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv
Slovenia’s exports to Russia practically exploded last year, even though it is crystal clear that Russia is the aggressor in the war in Ukraine and that sanctions against Russia are in place. Russophilia is still very much alive and well in our country, no matter how much one may try to pretend that it is not so. If, in light of the vote by the left-wing Slovenian Members of the European Parliament, anyone wondered how it was possible that they had sided with Russia and were not capable of supporting the resolution on recognising Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, the answer is now clear as day.
The war in Ukraine has had a major impact on bilateral trade between the European Union and Russia. On the 16th of December 2022, European leaders agreed on a new (ninth) set of sanctions that will inevitably have a negative impact on trade relations between the two entities. The future of bilateral trade relations between the EU and Russia will therefore depend on when and how the war ends. However, it seems that some countries, including Luxembourg and Cyprus, in addition to Slovenia, do not want to reduce trade with a country that is carrying out real terror in Ukraine as a sign of protest against the Russian aggression and thus to demonstrate the importance of respect for human rights.
While, back in November, the majority of Members of the European Parliament voted in favour of the resolution which recognised Russian fascism as the work of a terrorist state, Slovenian left-wing MEPs abstained from the vote, even though they are supposedly aware of the fact that the West is founded on respect for human rights. Despite the fact that in November, a large majority of S&D and Renew MEPs voted in favour of the resolution, Matjaž Nemec and Milan Brglez chose to abstain from the vote, while Irena Joveva and Klemen Grošelj did not come to the vote at all.
In 2021, Russia was the 15th largest importer in the world. In 2020, the EU was Russia’s number one trading partner, and 36.5 percent of Russia’s imports of goods came from the EU. Russia was the EU’s fifth largest trading partner for EU exports of goods (4.1 percent of total EU exports). Services exports to Russia amounted to 20.5 billion euros (2.0 percent of total EU services exports). While the EU exports of goods to Russia declined in 2020, they recovered in 2021, exceeding the 2019 level by 2 percent. In 2021, the EU exported a wide range of products to Russia. In terms of the values, the largest product groups being exported to Russia in 2021 were machinery (21.8 percent of the total value of its exports to Russia), vehicles (10.0 percent), pharmaceuticals (9.0 percent) and electrical machinery (8.5 percent).
Although our socialists and pseudo-liberals try with all their might to appear Western, they are, in fact, true Russophiles. It should be pointed out that the link between Russia and the Slovenian left is more than 80 years old. The fact that relations between the two countries have been good is evidenced, among other things, by the awards that have been given to Slovenians by Russia. In 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded the Order of Friendship to Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković and former Minister Anja Kopač Mrak, and even before that, they awarded it to the first Slovenian Ambassador to Moscow and President of the Slovenia-Russia Association, Saša Geržina, the heads of the Krka and Riko companies, Jože Colarič and Janez Škrabec, and the former director of Krka, Miloš Kovačič, who passed away in 2016. Kopač Mrak was the only one of the above who returned the Order of Friendship in protest at the end of February last year, as did Lieutenant Colonel Marko Hlastec, who expressed his indignation at Russia’s attack on the independent and sovereign Republic of Ukraine without any hesitation.
When we talk about lobbies, networks of influence, and their business in Slovenia, we cannot ignore Janez Škrabec. Businessmen from Forum 21, such as Škrabec, who claims to be a Marxist and a Christian who believes in God and who admits that Milan Kučan has had a great influence on him, obviously do not care about respect for human rights but are more concerned with profitability. For example, Škrabec is happily continuing to do business with Russia and its friendly neighbouring country Belarus, ruled by the autocrat Alexander Lukashenko. When unrest erupted in the country two years ago because Lukashenko won the elections once again, we reported that Škrabec had done more than 310 million euros worth of business in Belarus in the last ten years. By associating himself with Mother Russia and its satellites, he is undoubtedly proving his loyalty, and this is putting wind in Vladimir Putin’s sails so that he can continue with his terror.