Most Slovenians know Janez Kocijančič as the “eternal” president of the Slovenian Olympic Committee, which he headed for 23 years. Now Kocijančič is the only candidate to lead the European Olympic Committee (EOC), but many forget that at the same time Kocijančič has also always been the right-hand man of Milan Kučan, and, according to experts, one of the worst puppeteers from the background who only cares about one thing – business. He seems to have elegantly arranged one more comfortable position in the world of sports to hide behind, having been a member of a communist party since his youth.
Not an athlete but a puppeteer from the background
Janez Kocijančič, lawyer, politician, and businessman, was born on 20 October 1941. Many today connect him with functions, related to sports, but they forget about his involvement in politics, where he built a strong friendship with the former Slovenian president, Milan Kučan. It is true that Kocijančič was the president of the Ski Association of Slovenia, the president of the Ski Association of Yugoslavia, a member of the International Ski Federation Council (FIS) and its vice-president, but Kocijančič was and still is much more.
Kocijančič’s political path has been actively intertwined with the League of Communists, which he joined in 1957. In the 1960s, he assumed the position of president of the central committee of the Youth League of Slovenia and shortly thereafter the position of president of the central committee of the Youth League of Yugoslavia. After leaving for Beograd, he was succeeded as head of the Youth League of Slovenia by Milan Kučan, with whom he forged a friendship and political alliance which continues to this day. When Kučan lead the League of Communists of Slovenia, Kocijančič was a member of the federal central committee. Kocijančič is also one of the founding members of Forum 21, an economic and tycoon association which economically controls Slovenia and where he occasionally participates in discussions.
Kocijančič is considered to be part of Kučan’s closest circle, and he is also often mentioned as one of the puppeteers from the background, which have also been discussed by the Slovenian president, Borut Pahor.