Slovene magazine spawned an independence movement

When Slovenia takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union next year it will be the first former communist country to do so. It's a heady responsibility for a young democracy - and a country which has been independent for just 15 years. But the ideas of democracy and independence have a longer histroy and the magazine Nova Revija is intimately linked to them. It played an imporant role in Slovenia's struggle for independence from Yugoslavia and embodied many of its democratic aspirations. Nova Revija is celebrating its quarter century.

Nova Revija was founded in 1982 as a journal for poetry, ideas and culture. Over time, it gradually evolved into an outspoken adversary of the then-socialist government - frequently running afoul of censors and officials. The first editor of Nova Revija, Tine Hribar, remembers that in the early days they were never sure if an issue would be printed or not. But, as he recalls, its democratic strivings and anti-communist ideas evolved slowly and gradually, with each issue pushing the envelope more and more. But they were never sure if an issue would go through or not. Tine Hribar:

"The reason was that we permanently criticized the politics of the day. From the beginning, it was easier to criticize Stalinism, then Leninism. After that Marx and after that [Slovenian communist Edvard] Kardelj and the system of self-management."

Many people from Nova Revija would later rise to prominence, such as the current foreign minister, Dmitrij Rupel, who also served as an editor.

"Nova Revija was a publication whose goals were democratic. And in those times, the government was afraid of this."

Things came to a head with the now-legendary 57th issue, which called for Slovenia's independence from Yugoslavia and the end of the single-party system. It drew the anger of the government, but the damage was done and it was becoming increasingly difficult for authorities to hold Yugoslavia together. Nova Revija would later release an issue dedicated to the subject of Indepedent Slovenia, that was released during the country's 10-day independence war in 1991.

Many of its writers not only lived to see their ideas justified, but would play a prominent role in domestic politics following independence.

On the occasion of its 25th anniversary its current editor, Niko Grafenauer, announced that it was time for him to retire. Although he described his work as happy and himself honored to do it, he noted that the work of editor was very difficult and that it was time for someone new to take up the reigns.