Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Slovene diplomats and foreign policy aspects of the independence process of the Republic of Slovenia, 1980–1992

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.01.00  Humanities  Historiography   

Code Science Field
H271  Humanities  Political history 

Code Science Field
6.01  Humanities  History and Archaeology 
contemporary history, 1980–1992, international relations, foreign policy, diplomacy, paradiplomacy, Yugoslavia's disintegration, Slovenia's independence
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (16)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  33083  PhD Kornelija Ajlec  Historiography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  363 
2.  27531  PhD Urška Bratož  Historiography  Researcher  2015 - 2017  90 
3.  35489  PhD Manca Grgić Renko  Historiography  Junior researcher  2014 - 2016  162 
4.  24376  PhD Borut Klabjan  Historiography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  355 
5.  33311  PhD Miha Kosmač  Humanities  Researcher  2015 - 2016  62 
6.  31243  PhD Peter Mikša  Historiography  Researcher  2016 - 2017  677 
7.  29463  PhD Gašper Mithans  Historiography  Researcher  2015  97 
8.  24430  PhD Helena Motoh  Philosophy  Researcher  2017  175 
9.  12648  PhD Egon Pelikan  Historiography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  264 
10.  17051  PhD Jože Pirjevec  Historiography  Head  2014 - 2017  797 
11.  19632  PhD Andrej Rahten  Historiography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  557 
12.  30859  PhD Jure Ramšak  Historiography  Researcher  2015 - 2017  127 
13.  11484  PhD Božo Repe  Historiography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  2,476 
14.  15635  PhD Mateja Režek  Historiography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  180 
15.  15876  Vida Rožac Darovec  Historiography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  146 
16.  21580  PhD Rok Svetlič  Philosophy  Researcher  2017  293 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  95,465 
2.  1510  Science and Research Centre Koper  Koper  7187416000  13,707 
The aim of the project is to analyze and historically reconstruct the activities of Slovenian diplomats and other foreign policy protagonists in the context of the disintegration of the authoritarian system and Yugoslav federation, as well as in the context of the major changes in international politics in the period 1980–1992. Although this was a crucial period in which Yugoslavia disintegrated and Slovenia gained its independence, in contrast to aspects of domestic policy and defence, the foreign policy aspects of the emergence of Slovenia as a new state have so far only been researched at a general level. The project is placed in the context of researching the diplomatic history, which has only in recent years been construed as an independent field of Slovenian historiography. At the same time it represents the continuation of the systematic research of contemporary Slovenian diplomatic history conducted as part of the project entitled The Slovenes in Yugoslav diplomacy and foreign affairs activities in the period between 1941 and 1980, which has been carried out at the Science and Research Centre of the University of Primorska since 2011. Despite the fact that the subsequent period between 1980 and 1992 represents a turning point, scientific research of the foreign policy aspects of the Slovenia's independence process has to date been limited to the major diplomatic actions of the Slovenian leadership in 1991, while the foreign policy initiatives of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia in the 1980s have been almost completely overlooked. In addition, the many foreign scientific works dealing with the attitude of external powers to the disintegration of Yugoslavia position the events in Slovenia in the shadow of the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and thus discuss this topic only marginally or as the subject of particular treatises. In terms of its contents, the project is divided into three interrelated sections: 1) The foreign policy initiative of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia in the 1980s; 2) Forming the foreign policy of Slovenia as an independent state; 3) The attitude of the major powers towards Yugoslavia and its disintegration. The research will be based on a critical analysis and interpretation of historic sources and the relevant literature, while its original part will rely on archival and oral sources; the researchers have ample experience in collecting such sources from their recent projects. The project leader and project partner have already published two fundamental reference works discussing the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the independence of Slovenia (J. Pirjevec, Le guerre jugoslave 1991–1999, 2001; B. Repe, Jutri je nov dan: Slovenci in razpad Jugoslavije, 2002), which provide an overview of some foreign policy aspects of this process. Thus the project group will focus on the less known backgrounds of forming the diplomatic network of the new state, the dual role of Slovenes in the Yugoslav diplomatic corps, Slovenia's relationship with other Yugoslav republics, the role of neighbouring and Central European states in Slovenia's efforts for international recognition etc. The foreign policy initiatives of Slovenia as part of the Yugoslav federation in the 1980s and the diplomatic aspects of Slovenia's independence process will be reconstructed on the basis of domestic and foreign archival sources and oral testimonies of diplomatic protagonists, while the research of the attitude of the major powers to Yugoslavia and its disintegration will be based on foreign archival sources available (in Washington, Paris, Berlin, etc.). The project activities will act as firm grounds for joining in the broader scientific discussion on the international aspects of Yugoslavia's disintegration and thus ensuring the greater recognition and comparativeness of Slovenian historiography. At the same time the research findings will also be useful for the science of international relations, political geogr
Significance for science
While previous research had been primarily dedicated to the last years of the SFRY, on the period of the exacerbation of the crisis and on the outbreak of wars, the project was set in a larger timeframe and a broader international context. In addition to illustrating the formation of foreign policies of the new states that emerged in the territories of ex-Yugoslavia, and the attitude of the major powers to its dissolution, our aim was also to elucidate the foreign policy activities of the republics made possible by the 1974 Constitution. The perception of these developments by the major powers and international associations, as well as the views of certain European and non-European states regarding the Yugoslav crisis, were also presented. With regard to the formation of independent foreign policies by the individual Yugoslav republics, the researchers examined the activities of prominent political and diplomatic figures, as well as the operation of transnational agents who played an important, though lesser-known role behind the scenes of diplomatic efforts, especially economic and intellectual networks, intelligence, diasporas and minorities, the media, the Catholic Church, etc. The project has filled some conspicuous gaps in the historiographic knowledge of the epochal period of the 1980s and of the independence of Slovenia, which for the most part had been previously analysed from the point of view of domestic policy. By maintaining the research focus at the level of the republic and its foreign policy activities, and, simultaneously, at the level of Yugoslav federal diplomacy, while presenting all that in the context of global shifts that occurred at the end of the Cold War, we have made a qualitative leap towards a more comprehensive understanding of the performance of Slovenian diplomacy and paradiplomatic actors during the examined period. In addition to original empirical studies, the sets of problems within which the research was conducted also required the development of new methodological approaches that combined historiographic methods with methods typical of the studies of international relations, international law, and economics. Among the project outputs, we should mention the monograph authored by Božo Repe – a political biography of Milan Kučan, who as the President of the Presidency of the RS held the key foreign policy post in the emerging state and later participated in peace initiatives in the Balkans. Based on a systematic analysis of declassified archives of Stasi, the East German secret police, and its foreign intelligence branch HVA, project leader Jože Pirjevec reconstructed the idea that the Eastern bloc had formed about the centrifugal currents within Yugoslavia. By examining secret intelligence contacts between the Israeli Mossad and the Slovenian State Security Services, project team member Mateja Režek gained insight into the Israeli and American understanding of the precarious situation. Similarly, through the analysis of the bilateral relations between Great Britain and Yugoslavia, both from the Belgrade and the London perspectives, Jure Ramšak presented not only the British, but indirectly also the European Community’s view of the developments in Yugoslavia. Also important are the contributions to the knowledge of the Central European initiatives of Slovenian politics (A. Rahten), of the UN peacekeeping efforts at the outbreak of hostilities (K. Ajlec), of the actions of the Catholic Church in Slovenia in the critical moments of the Slovenian independence process (E. Pelikan), etc. The research findings were presented at a well-attended international conference in November 2016 in Koper, and published in scientific journals Annales, Series historia et sociologia and Acta Histriae. We estimate that these outputs have secured better visibility for Slovenian historiography in the territories of former Yugoslavia as well as beyond, and laid a solid foundation for further comparative studies.
Significance for the country
Research of the history of diplomacy is without a doubt an area of primary importance to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the RS and the wider public interested in international relations. At the twentieth anniversary of Slovenia joining the UN, the Club of former Slovenian diplomats also highlighted the need for such research. Considering the fact that the research covers the period when Slovenia's foreign policy was still in its infancy, its results can serve as a source of training material for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the RS since familiarity with diplomatic history is the foundation of any training of future diplomats. The significance of the project's findings will not only lie in greater familiarity with the historic perspective of Slovenian diplomacy, but also in addressing general questions such as the role of small nations in international relations and the question of economic diplomacy, which the research project specifically addressed. Additionally, the research addressed concrete problems that still appear on the current Slovenian foreign policy agenda, such as the issue of succession, the starting points of the relations with Croatia, the position regarding the legacy of the fruitful contacts with the countries of the global South (the Non-Aligned Movement), etc. At the opening of the international scientific conference "International and Transnational Aspects of the Yugoslav Crisis and the Establishment of Successor States, 1980–1992," which saw the participation of the project team members and several established researchers from abroad, the importance of such reflection was also emphasised by Milan Brglez, President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia. The project team invested considerable effort into organising a roundtable discussion with former Slovenian politicians and diplomats, which attracted great interest from the scholarly and general public as well as the media, and provided insight into the background of the diplomatic developments in the key moments of the state formation process. These valuable testimonies are now preserved as audio-visual records and accessible through the worldwide web (Roundtable with former Slovene politicians and diplomats, Koper, 10th November 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnD7Bo7TKtw). By providing their expert advice, the members of the project team also constructively supported the publication of autobiographical works of the diplomats of the examined period, which can, with their informative value, serve as a unique textbook for their successors. By assessing the role of Slovenian minorities in Italy and Austria and of the Slovenian worldwide diaspora in the international recognition of the Republic of Slovenia, we wished to emphasise the significance of such cooperation, the awareness of which was raised by the project leader Jože Pirjevec through his active social engagement, his presence in the media, and his role as a full member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts as well as chairman of its Committee for the Studies of National Minorities. The leader and members of the project team also took an active part in the debate on the notification of the Austrian State Treaty. As lecturers in contemporary Slovenian and world histories, the project leader Jože Pirjevec and project team members Mateja Režek and Egon Pelikan integrated their research findings into their teaching activities at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Primorska, as did the research partners Božo Repe and Kornelija Ajlec, lecturers at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
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