Stane Dolanc

Stane Dolanc
10th Secretary of the Interior of SFR Yugoslavia
In office
May 15, 1982  May 15, 1984
Prime Minister Milka Planinc
Preceded by Franjo Herljević
Succeeded by Dobroslav Ćulafić
18th Vice-President of the Presidency of SFR Yugoslavia
In office
May 15, 1988  May 15, 1989
President Raif Dizdarević
Preceded by Raif Dizdarević
Succeeded by Borisav Jović
Personal details
Born (1925-11-16)November 16, 1925
Hrastnik, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
Died December 13, 1999(1999-12-13) (aged 74)
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Nationality Slovene
Political party League of Communists of Yugoslavia (1944-1990)

Stane Dolanc (November 16, 1925 – December 13, 1999) was a Yugoslav communist politician from Slovenia, one of president Josip Broz Tito's closest collaborators and one of the most influential people in Yugoslav federal politics in the 1970s and 1980s. He was secretary of the Executive Bureau of the Presidium of the Central Committee (CC) of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (LCY) from 1971 to 1978, federal Secretary of the Interior from 1982 to 1984 and a member of the Presidency of Yugoslavia from 1984 to 1989. He was regularly appointed a member of the Federal Council for Protection of the Constitutional Order and was chairing the body in late 1980s. For most of his political career Dolanc defended strong authoritarian rule of the LCY and struggled against nationalism stemming from various parts of the country. He was influential in Yugoslav security structures and it is believed that he inspired a number of politically motivated arrests, especially while he was interior minister.[1]

Early life

Dolanc was born to a worker family in the Slovenian town of Hrastnik, then part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. After finishing elementary school in his home town, he was sent to the Bežigrad High School in Ljubljana. In April 1941, northern Slovenia was occupied by Nazi Germany. Dolanc continued his schooling in Graz in Austria. In 1944, Dolanc joined the Yugoslav Partisans and continued his military career after the war. He served as a deputy to the prosecutor in Ljubljana Army corps and finished his involvement in the military in 1960 while being a colonel in Zagreb office of the Yugoslav military counter-intelligence service KOS.[1] During his military career Dolanc received a university diploma and in the 1960s he was a director of the Political Science School in Ljubljana run by the Slovene branch of LCY.[1]

Second person of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia

In 1965 Dolanc became a member of the CC of the League of Communists of Slovenia (LCS),[2] and at the ninth congress of LCY in 1969 he was elected a member of the CC LCY. Two years later Dolanc became secretary of the newly established Executive Bureau of the Party Presidium, i. e. second person of LCY,[3] despite the actual number two of Yugoslav politics remained Edvard Kardelj, a lifelong collaborator of president Tito. Dolanc quickly gained strong influence in the Party. He was one of main organizers of the Karadjordjevo Party Presidium session in December 1971 that resulted in resignation of the leaders of the Croatian Spring. In November 1972, at a CC LCS plenum, he called for purges of the liberal wing of the Slovene Party branch which eventually did take place.[4] He became famous for a statement he had made at a local communist conference in Split in September 1972:

"We have to make clear that in this country we communists are in power. For if we were not, it would mean someone else is. And for now this is not so neither will ever be."[5]
Tito and Dolanc (right) at the Party Presidium session dealing with Croatian Spring, 1971

In the same speech Dolanc stressed that LCY had to be a united organization, announced expulsions of those party members that did not follow the new line and attacked Serb, Croat and Slovene nationalism.[5][6] Dolanc's Split speech was directly preceded by a letter signed by himself and Tito addressed to local LCY organizations throughout Yugoslavia. The letter urged strengthening party's unity and leading role in the society, and thus made clear Tito's and his collaborators' decision to go on struggling with liberals and nationalists within LCY that eventually resulted in thorough changes within Croatian, Slovene and Serbian Party leaderships.[5]

Though the post of the Executive Bureau secretary was meant to change its holder every year, Dolanc kept it for eight years.[7] While holding the office, he was often mentioned as a possible Tito's successor.[8][9] However, during the 1970s in both LCY and federal state institutions a system of rotating collective leadership evolved that made it hardly possible for any single official to become a new leader after Tito. At the eleventh Congress of LCY in 1978 the Executive Bureau was abolished[10] and although Dolanc was appointed secretary of the CC LCY Presidium, he resigned from this office in May 1979. The resignation is sometimes linked to the death of Edvard Kardelj of February in the same year, who reportedly had been protecting Dolanc.[3] Dolanc however remained a member of the CC Presidium and, besides, in June 1979 he was re-appointed a member of the Federal Council for Protection of the Constitutional Order, an agency of the Yugoslav Presidency coordinating internal security institutions.[11] Dolanc therefore kept playing an important role in Yugoslav communist establishment after Tito's death in May 1980.

Minister of the Interior and member of the Presidency of Yugoslavia

In May 1982 Dolanc became the Secretary (Minister) of the Interior in the new Yugoslav government led by Milka Planinc. In May 1983 he complained about the increase of nationalism and of hostile activities against the communist regime and accused dissident intellectuals of being one of the moving forces of it.[12] In Spring 1984 two politically motivated cases took place that are both directly ascribed to Dolanc. In Belgrade 28 participants of a lecture of Milovan Đilas were brought to a police interrogation; one of them was found dead few days later while six others faced a trial, which however resulted in lenient or no punishments. One of the attendees of the lecture Vojislav Šešelj was arrested once again a few weeks later for stating nationalist ideas in an unpublished essay. Dolanc publicly condemned him in a TV interview and Šešelj was eventually sentenced for a several-year imprisonment.[1][13] Dolanc has been accused of ordering assassinations of political emigrant activists committed by Yugoslav security service abroad and of personal protection of one of its agents, career criminal Željko Ražnatović Arkan.[1] Specifically, he is linked by some to the assassination of Croatian nationalist emigrant Stjepan Đureković committed by Yugoslav secret service in West Germany in 1983 while the opposing stance accuses the then communist leaders of Croatia of ordering the murder.[14][15]

From May 1984 to May 1989 Dolanc was the Slovenian member of the Presidency of Yugoslavia and during the term he was also chairman of the Federal Council for Protection of the Constitutional Order. In 1988 and 1989 he was one of those in the federal leadership who were unsuccessfully opposing the anti-bureaucratic revolution which he regarded an expression of Serb hegemonism.[16] At the same time Dolanc was reserved towards the new line of the Slovene communist leadership that was paving the way for political liberalization and for secession of Slovenia.[17] One of his last public interventions was an interview with the liberal opposition magazine Mladina, published in May 1989, in which he described himself as the "last Titoist".[1] In her memoir, Jovanka Broz states that she considers Dolanc "one of those who are most to blame for the breakup of the country" and accused him of being a German spy.[18]

Late life

After his term in the Federal Presidency expired, Dolanc retreated from public life and moved to Gozd Martuljek close to Kranjska Gora. He died in Ljubljana on December 12, 1999 of cerebral stroke.[1]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Svetlana Vasovic Mekina: Stane Dolanc, titoista. Vreme, no. 467, 18 December 1999 (Serbian)
  2. Igor Mekina: Umro čuvar tajni. AIM Ljubljana, December 15, 1999 (Serbian)
  3. 1 2 Slobodan Stankovic: Slovene Dolanc Resigns? Serb Dragosavac New Secretary of CC Presidium. Radio Free Europe Research, 17 May 1979 at the Wayback Machine (archived March 18, 2012)
  4. Slobodan Stankovic: After Slovenian Central Committee Plenum. Radio Free Europe Research, 8 November 1972 at the Wayback Machine (archived June 4, 2012)
  5. 1 2 3 Moč in nemoč slovenskega liberalizma. Documentary by Radio-Television of Slovenia, 2009; 61:10-63:50 (Slovene)
  6. Slobodan Stankovic: Dolanc's Speech Indicates New Stage in Yugoslav Party. Radio Free Europe Research, 20 September 1972 at the Wayback Machine (archived June 4, 2012)
  7. Slobodan Stankovic: Stane Dolanc's Unusual Press Conference. Radio Free Europe Research, 19 June 1979 at the Wayback Machine (archived June 4, 2012)
  8. Slobodan Stankovic: The Problem of the Succession to Tito. Radio Free Europe Research, 11 March 1974 at the Wayback Machine (archived June 4, 2012)
  9. Jože Pirjevec: Jugoslávie 1918-1992. Praha, 2000. P. 403
  10. Slobodan Stankovic: Yugoslavia in 1978. Radio Free Europe Research, 3 January 1979 at the Wayback Machine (archived June 4, 2012)
  11. Slobodan Stankovic: More Power for Army Generals in Yugoslavia. Radio Free Europe Research, 29 June 1979 at the Wayback Machine (archived June 4, 2012)
  12. Slobodan Stankovic: Hostile Activities Increasing, Yugoslav Interior Minister Complains. Radio Free Europe Research, 17 May 1983 at the Wayback Machine (archived March 18, 2012)
  13. Pirjevec 2000, p. 432-433
  14. Đurekovića ubili pripadnici beogradskog podzemlja po nalogu UDBE., November 1, 2005 (Croatian)
  15. Anto Nobilo: Odluka o ubojstvu donesena je u Beogradu., June 30, 2013 (Croatian)
  16. Raif Dizdarević: Od smrti Tita do smrti Jugoslávie. Praha, 2002. P. 205, 219, 225
  17. Dejan Jović: Jugoslavija - država koja je odumrla. Zagreb, 2003. P. 449
  18. Oslobodjenje Momoirs of Jovanka Broz


Political offices
Preceded by
Franjo Herljević
Secretary of the Interior of Yugoslavia
Succeeded by
Dobroslav Ćulafić
Preceded by
Raif Dizdarević
Vice-President of the Presidency of SFR Yugoslavia
Succeeded by
Borisav Jović
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