For some time now, the retired general Ladislav Lipič, who is the president of the Association of Veterans of the War for Slovenia, has been making strange decisions: A few years ago, he was actively involved in wrecking Janez Janša’s second government even though he should have been publicly neutral as an official of such an organisation. He has honoured the partisan soldiers in the Second World War despite the post-war killings of Slovenians. Recently, he has even denied the disarmament of the Slovenian Territorial Defence, which took place in 1990 before the Slovenian Independence War. Although retired, Lipič is still an advisor for the Slovenian Armed Forces and is paid very handsomely for his expertise – last year alone he earned €19,000 while contracted as an advisor at the Slovenian Ministry of Defence. Veterans of the Slovenian Independence War have also been dismayed by his address in the December issue of the Veteran magazine in which he surreptitiously attacks Janez Janša and other independence fighters but praises the Prime Minister of Slovenia Miro Cerar, who has supposedly remedied the injustice in the country.
Some of Lipič’s latest comments in the official newsletter of the Association of Veterans of the War for Slovenia have dismayed Slovenians. Veteran has also been misused on its second page, where readers are offered the purchase of two books, both of which are about the army of former Yugoslavia and have no connection to the Slovenian Independence War. Veteran presents selected photographs of partisan units during the Second World War from the book Vojne fotografije 1941−1945 − Partizanske enote, which was written by Tomaž Kladnik, Katarina Jurjavčič, and Jože Dežman, and also promotes the book about the Yugoslav People’s Army (YPA) by Zvezdan Marković, which presents the development of the YPA, its structure, and its organisational part.
The president of the veterans is enthusiastic because Cerar has ‘returned’ what Janša had ‘taken away
In his address, Lipič commemorates the 25th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence and sovereignty but in the same sentence celebrates that war veterans are again enjoying the rights which were allegedly taken from them in the time of Janez Janša’s government when the Fiscal Balance Act (ZUJF) came into force. He does not fail to mention the partisan fighters in the Second World War, ‘whose victory over Fascism and Nazism placed us among the countries of the victorious anti-fascist coalition’.
Interestingly, although Ladislav Lipič claims that his association of veterans is an apolitical and non-partisan organisation which wants to introduce young people to events from the time of the Slovenian Independence War, particularly in the areas of defence and security, he spends a large part of the text profusely thanking the Prime Minister of Slovenia Miro Cerar and his colleagues for ‘understanding the importance of our work and rectifying the injustice which was experienced by all war veterans and others who had in any way contributed to our independence when their statutory rights were taken away’.
Lipič also thanks the Slovenian Minister of Defence as well as the Chief of Staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces Andrej Osterman for their ‘assistance and cooperation’. For three years, Lipič has been advising Osterman on improvements in the Slovenian Armed Forces with such ‘success’ that, according to Borut Pahor, the forces have reached the lowest level of readiness since the Slovenian Independence War.
Lipič still denies the self-disarmament
In his address, Lipič again denies that there was any self-disarmament among the members of the Slovenian Territorial Defence. ‘Even in some of our organisations they have a hard time understanding that the Slovenian Territorial Defence as a whole was never disarmed; 15 headquarters did hand in their weapons, but in various ways these weapons were returned to the Slovenian Territorial Defence – some before, others during and after the war,’ claims the former Slovenian ambassador to Hungary.
Lipič has also announced that the editorial board of Veteran has decided to stop publishing articles from other independence fighters who disagree with his political views. In the end, another part of the Slovenian press has apparently joined the government media; the editorial already exhibits the new direction of the veteran newsletter with Danijel Božič attempting to diminish the importance of new organisations such as the Association for the Values of the Slovenian Independence (VSO).