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New Left Review I/171, September-October 1988

Miha Kovač

The Slovene Spring

How would you characterize the evolution of cultural and political life in Slovenia over the past few years?

To understand what is happening in Slovenia today, we have to go back to the 1970s and the crucial events of that decade: the defeat of the student movement, and the purge of the so-called liberal party leaders who tried at that time to establish a market economy in Yugoslavia and liberalize somewhat political life. The emergence of a nationalist current in the context of a broad mass movement in Croatia in 1970–1 was used as a pretext not just to move against the nationalists themselves, but also to suppress political currents on the left and to purge the reforming–liberal wing of the party, first in Croatia and then in other parts of the country. The economic problems which the reform had been designed to tackle were then alleviated by recourse to massive loans from the West, which helped to maintain high living standards not warranted by the actual level of production in Yugoslavia. One should bear in mind that the purge of liberals also involved removing hundreds of managers from the country’s economic life.

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Miha Kovac, ‘The Slovene Spring’, NLR I/171: £3

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