Miro Cerar’s government continues with its purges. This time they have replaced Dr Andreja Valič Zver, who is now no longer the head of the Archives Commission.
It is obvious that Miro Cerar’s government wants to limit access to all the archival records, which was probably their reason for appointing new members of the Archives Commission, who are the ones that make decisions regarding access to the aforementioned records. They also replaced the previous head, Dr. Andreja Valič Zver, with Dr Borut Batagelj, who is also the director of the Historical Archives of Celje. We asked Dr Valič Zver herself whether this means that access to archival records will gradually be restricted, and she told us: “The term of the Archives Commission that I had lead since 2012 expired in May 2017, and it was to be expected that the government would appoint an Archives Commission with a different composition. Of course, I can legitimately express my fear regarding the gradual restricting of archival records, which we have been witnessing ever since the referendum in 2011, when a majority rejected the amendment to the archives act, which would close the records of the secret police or UDBA. We witnessed it again in 2014, during another attempt to restrict the archival records, and because the referendum did not meet the quota, we also had to respect the amendment in practice. This amendment in fact restricted archival records that had been accessible for long decades, and absurdly, it was necessary to ask the Archives Commission for permission to peruse records of the German occupiers. The Archives Commission, as a government body, of course pulls the strings in this regard and can either grant or restrict access to archival records. When I was the head of the Archives Commission, we accepted virtually all applications, but how the situation will look like in the future is a big mystery and a big question.”
“Should only the ‘initiated’ enter the archives?”
Dr Andreja Valič Zver already warned about the restricting of access to archival records at the beginning of July in Demokracija: “Lately, the Left has again raised the issue of the (in)advisability of granting access to ‘confidential’ archival records. In particular, it is records of the secret political police, which were acquired through a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, that are being targeted once again.” She asked: “Should only the ‘initiated’ enter the archives?” In her opinion, there is an impression being created in the public “that the archives are being entered by ‘problematic’ people who browse it without the requisite knowledge and qualifications and consequently violate the right to privacy of the people involved or try to politicise it. However, facts show that in recent years both historians and laymen have made a big step forward in researching the recent history of Slovenia. Therefore, it is also necessary to recognise those that do not study archival records in accordance with the rules of scientific methodology, i.e. those whose research and findings are not based on the use of appropriate scientific research instruments.”
“I believe that there have been attempts to prepare public opinion for the next steps of restricting archival records. Are we thus heading in the opposite direction than the one that was indicated by the Protection of Documents and Archives and Archival Institutions Act of 2006, which was adopted at the time of Janša’s government?” Dr Andreja Valič Zver for Demokracija.