YUGOSLAVIA: PRO-SOLIDARITY ACTIVITIES IN SLOVENIA

Created: 4/6/1982

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ro-Solidarity Activities in Slovenia tMWf

The republic of Slovenia haa registered itswith the low-key official Yugoslav poaition on the imposition of martial law in Poland by permitting public displays of support for the Polish Solidarity movement. Belgrade is cautious to avoid actions in which Yugoslavia would appear to choose sides in East-Weat tensions over Poland. In breaking ranks with tha official Yugoslav stance, the Slovenes have served notice they will not meekly acquiesce if the other republics opt for hardline "solutions" to the country's economic and political problems at the Party Congress in June.

In mid-February, Die welt and Heue Zurichcr Zeitung reported public displays of support for Solidarity in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Placards with the Polish national colors and the Solidarity emblema sold-out rock concert sponsored by studentand the main shopping streets. This support

for Solidarity among the Catholic Slovenes reflects their desire that Yugoslavia clearly and publicly back the Polish reform movement. Without the approval of local officials, such controversial actions could not have

taken place.

Although small groups of dissidents in otherrepublics have signed petitions supportingand the US Embassy in Belgrade reports similaramong younger central committee members, Slovenia is the only region to allow pro-Solidarity activities. In contrast, Serbian police in December brokemall demonstration outside the Polish Embassy in Belgrade after the Polish martial law declaration. Organizers of the demonstration anderbian intellectuals'were reportedly haroosed by police afterward. In Croatia, there is also strong latent support forbut the authorities there brook no outward show of support for an independent trade union movement with strong ties to the Catholic church. The regime in Zagreb sees the Croatian Catholic Churchotential political rival.

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The Slovenes have made eeveral other decisions thet demonstrate their more liberal attitudes. Leet year, Ljubljana approved the publicationitarary journal aimed at challengingtrictures on free artistic expression while Swib and Croat leaders flatly rejected similar proposals. More recently,rominent Slovene and ex-Yugoslav Premier, Mitja Bibicic,tbe hareh jail sentences handed out to Albanian nationalists in Kosovo despite Belgrade's clear support for such repressive measures.

The Slovenes fear the post-Tito leadership,by unrest in Kosovo andariety of economic and social problems, may begin to listen to theincluding the Serbian nationalists, who arefor greater centralization in Belgrade, in the Slovenes' eyes,hift away from the system of power-sharing and the decentralized ground rules left by Tito would also and chances for the evolutionorepolitical and economic system.

There will be much political maneuvering before the Yugoslav Party Congress in June. The aggressive Slovenes could serveatalyst for forcing debates on the issues into the open where the strategies of thecan be exposed and discredited. rimary factor in the Slovenes' favor ia that tbe Yugoslav press has become more daring and is pressing for open "dialogues* on key policies. It is likely that some of this debate will focus on Yugoslavia's official policy toward the Polish crisis. orsening of the situation in Warsaw could increase the pressure on Belgrade toore assertive stand in favor of the "renewal" process there.

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