On Monday, 15 May, Slovenians celebrated the Slovenian Army Day. It is not surprising if you were not aware of this since the current government does not care much for the army anyway. It could even be said that they are trying to get rid of it by any means possible. Such an attitude to the armed forces has principally been adopted by the Social Democrats (SD), the successors of the communist party of the former Yugoslav regime, which Slovenians had to resist with weapons in their hands in order to win their independence. And the Slovenian Army has recently been facing increasing accusations that it is effectively still the Yugoslav People’s Army (YPA). This definitely does not apply to all genuine patriots within it since there are many who defend Slovenia with their high morale and worthy actions, both at home and during peacekeeping operations around the world. These need to be congratulated. At the same time, Slovenians must hope that these people will have the determination and courage to at least preserve their institution even though they cannot modernise and develop it according to requirements dictated by modern international threats.
In the last few years, the opposition has often warned that left-wing governments, such as the current government of Miro Cerar, do not want a professional, trained, and well-armed army. The Slovenian prime minister, and particularly SD, which have been leading the defence department like their own fief for years, are satisfied with the outdated idea that they can at any time establish some sort of revolutionary gendarmerie if necessary. This would be a quasi-army that could lead to numerous victims, both among its members and the innocent civilian population, as it would need to take enormous risks for any kind of success against a potential opponent.
The Slovenian Army has been deliberately weakened ever since the disarmament of the Slovenian Territorial Defence
Calls to abolish the Slovenian Army actually date back to the time when Slovenia gained its independence, when there was a disarmament of the Slovenian Territorial Defence through Milan Kučan and his military advisor Iztok Podbregar. The problem is that in the years following Slovenia’s independence the army was also flooded with many former officers of the YPA, who now occupy all key positions as brigadiers and generals even though they came over much too late – in fact, many of them never did.
The top of this YPA pyramid is occupied by the brigadier Branimir Furlan, who is the deputy of the general director of the Defence Policy Directorate. In the second half of the nineties, when he was a brigade commander, Furlan put up a monument to Franc Rozman Stane, who had never been convicted but had definitely been a revolutionary with blood on his hands, in the Edvard Peperko Barracks.