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Slovenia – Ally of Croatia at the Break-up of the Yugoslav State: from “unprincipled Coalition” to the Breakdown of the military Alliance, 1989-1991

Damjan Guštin ; Institut za noviju povijest (Inštitut za novejšo zgodovino), Ljubljana, Slovenija

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 192 Kb

str. 85-104

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Slovenia and Croatia became allies at the time of the Yugoslav crisis in defense against the threat of the centralization of Yugoslavia under Milošević’s influence. This very fact became the basis of an objective alliance which tied the two republics to an active coalition. They supported each other’s resistance in federal and state bodies. The key turning point was the break-up of the 14th Congress of the Yugoslav League of Communists in January 1989. The socialist elites of both republics decided to allow the transition to a multi-party system. At elections held in April and May, former opposition parties took power in both republics: the HDZ in Croatia, and the DEMOS coalition in Slovenia. The new political sets, which had established contacts in the months prior to the elections, agreed to provide each other mutual support in political conflicts with federal bodies, and in their respective republics. The unofficial alliance took the form of various personal contacts, including on the very highest levels. The main issue, which simultaneously divided and united both of them
from July 1990 on, became the common project of reforming Yugoslavia and the confederation. Both republics saw this idea as diametrically opposed to the centralizing tendency inherent in drive to restructure the state as a “modern federation,” which was promoted by the Milošević line and which had many supporters in the state’s federal bodies, especially the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA). Nonetheless, the two republics were not in the same situation: Slovenian political forces increasingly advocated complete independence for Slovenia, while Croatian politicians favoured confederation because this could enable closer ties with the Croats of Bosnia and Hercegovina. In addition, the Republic of Croatia was being pressured by the so-called “log revolution” after August 1990, by which the Serb minority wanted to establish an independent government, supported politically by Serbia and indirectly by the JNA. After the plebiscite on Slovenian independence in December 1990, which established a six month delay in the declaration of Slovenian independence at a maximum, the two republics treated their relations ever more like sovereign states. In the crisis created by the decision to disarm paramilitary units, the ministers of defense and of internal affairs of both republics reached an agreement on the 20th of January, but the leaders of both governments rejected it. After several attempts, the idea of proclaiming a Slovenian-Croatian confederation was given up as unrealizable. Croatia timed its plan to proclaim independence to coincide with Slovenia’s. An informal agreement around a common defense should the JNA intervene in one of the republics was strengthened by a number of concrete military plans and measures, so this agreement was finally signed in June 1991. Both republics declared independence on 25 June, 1991;
from that point in time on, three states existed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. Both states mutually recognized each other within their existing territory. However, on 27 June 1991, the JNA intervened solely against Slovenia. The Croatian state leadership decided against joint military action against the JNA, which had denounced Slovenia as the aggressor, but Croatia prohibited the JNA from using Croatian territory to stage operations against Slovenia. The JNA did not respect this decree. The lack of cooperation on the part of Croatia greatly offended Slovenia, even though the intensity of aggression
against Slovenia was of relatively low intensity, and Slovenia quickly repulsed it. At the Brioni Conference held on 7 July, 1991, both states agreed to a three month suspension of the process of independence, but the Slovenian situation was primarily at issue. The conditions in Croatia were greatly worsened when on 18 July the Presidium of Yugoslavia decided to unilaterally and temporarily withdraw all JNA forces from Slovenia. Croatia unsuccessfully sought the same for itself. In the fall of 1991 the war in Croatia broke out, though the European Union and especially Germany continued to tie recognition of Slovenian sovereignty to recognition of Croatian sovereignty. The European Union recognized both republics at the same time on 15 January 1992, which amounted to international recognition for both states. The onetime allies were now confronted with a number of issues as neighbours (boundary issues on land and sea, and the problem of the Ljubljana bank), while they found themselves in quite different situations with regard to their respective internal conditions
and in international affairs.

Ključne riječi

Slovenia, Croatia, Yugoslavia, Confederal Agreement, JNA, Territorial Defense, 1991

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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