The World Today for April 15, 2022


Talk Abroad and at Home


Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa recently joined the premiers of the Czech Republic and Poland in Kyiv to show their support for Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion.

The trip into a war zone took even their families by surprise. But the three leaders grew up in countries that were either Soviet vassals or led by communists before the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Reuters wrote. They felt impelled to show up in person to demonstrate their support for Ukraine and opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“This idea came from our, actually, personal experience…30 years ago, Slovenia was invaded by Yugoslav Communist Army,” Jansa told National Public Radio. “We were partially in the same position, so we know exactly how our Ukrainian friends feel.”

A member of the so-called illiberal populist right in Europe, Jansa is arguably not so passionate about democratic ideals in his government, however.

The European Union has criticized Jansa for undermining freedom of the press and the judicial system, claimed Euractiv. Calling for tough sanctions on Russia, Jansa has turned the defense of Slovenian sovereignty against the Russian Bear into a central political campaign theme before parliamentary elections on April 24. Before the invasion in late February, observers expected him to lose due to a string of controversies and scandals, but his new stance has breathed wind into his sails.

Almost a year ago, Jansa survived an impeachment vote over alleged violations of the Central European country’s constitution related to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and refusal to disperse appropriated funds to the Slovenian Press Agency, Total Slovenia News and  Bloomberg noted.

As Voice of America explained, Jansa has long sought to exert more direct control over the press agency, which aims to report the news critically for the benefit of its Slovenian audience, not Slovenian politicians.

Last week, reported SeeNews, the country’s Commission for the Prevention of Corruption ruled that Jansa had a conflict of interest when he voted to appoint his personal lawyer, Franci Matoz, as a non-executive director of DUTB, a so-called “bad bank,” or a government-owned institution that takes over bankrupt banks.

Voters are not happy with the economy that Jansa has fostered, claimed Social Europe. The pandemic has caused inflation and price hikes. The government instituted price controls on fuel. The government’s balance sheet is also under pressure due to pandemic spending. Doctors won a strike. Teachers are threatening labor actions.

The symbolism in Kyiv was easier than the reality in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana.

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