LJUBLJANA, May 3 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Russian businessmen were likely to show interest in a recently announced campaign to privatize Slovenian banks and enterprises.
He said he had met Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec earlier on Friday to discuss a future privatization program. Erjavec promised that Russian businessmen would be invited to participate in the process.
"This concerns both industrial enterprises and the banking sector. I am not going to talk about our businessmen but I believe that they are going to show interest,” Lavrov said.
On April 12, Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek said that a new wave of privatization of the remaining state-owned companies was a measure designed to overcome the crisis and avert a default and ensure the inflow of new investments.
"We will start preparing one or two major state-owned companies and several minor firms for sale into private hands soon,” Bratusek said.
Business is not the only area that links Russia to Slovenia. The two countries maintain cultural and historical ties. Some episodes of common history date back to WWII. A film about Soviet guerrilla fighters who fought against the Nazis in Slovenia during WWII was presented in Ljubljana on Friday. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attended the presentation.
The film titled “The Russian Battalion” tells about Russian compatriots who ran away from Nazi concentration camps in the territory of Yugoslavia and Northern Italy and joined the local guerrilla movement to fight the Nazis. A Russian battalion also known as a unit of the 9th corps of the Slovenian guerrilla army was formed out of Soviet servicemen who fought in Slovenia’s western regions.
According to the minister, the film will tell the audiences yet another truth about WWII. "We appreciate Slovenia’s attention to the Russian battalion and careful attitude to the graves of Russian and Soviet soldiers located in the Slovenian territory,” Lavrov emphasized.
“Our people are united by a common goal not to allow the truth about WWII to be distorted. We want the memory of those events to help strengthening the moral and spiritual values of society,” Lavrov went on to say.
"I’ve been told that some people linked to the Russian battalion are present here today. If that’s true, please accept my best regards,” the Russian foreign minister said. Lavrov is convinced that the new film would strengthen humanitarian cooperation, which will contribute to developing the wonderful relations between Russia and Slovenia.
A memorial to the fallen fighters of the Russian Battalion was unveiled near the Slovenian town of Trnovo in September 2009. The same year, the Russian embassy in Ljubljana launched a large-scale campaign to find facts and information about this little-known chapter in the Russian-Slovenian friendship.