On December 31, 1990, Marina GržiniÉ and I wrote the following:
The numerous events of the 1980s … prepared and foretold the current socials and political conditions in Slovenia and in Ljubljana as its capital and major urban center. What we call the “Slovenian political spring, ” with our first postwar free elections, with parliamentary democracy and all its consequences, has evolved, both materially and symbolically, from the processes, events, and actions of the past decade. Art—or more broadly, culture—was the key component, yet endowed with a reality of its own. 1
Six months later, Slovenia proclaimed its independence, left Yugoslavia, and started on its own way down the road to an uncertain future by way of what is now usually called a period of “transition, ” a stage of the journey that was also traveled by most of the countries in what was once popularly known in the West as the Communist bloc. As Leslie Holmes has put it, “In the span of approximately two years between late 1989 and the end of 1991, all of the former Communist states of Eastern Europe (Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the GDR, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and—with some reservations— Yugoslavia) moved to post-communism. … This move can be called the first transition, away from communism; moves towards new destinations … onstitute the second transition. ” 2 The Soviet Union was also among the countries that moved away from communism in that same period, and although China and Cuba still remain officially communist or socialist, it is generally agreed that China, in particular, started down the road to capitalism quite some time ago. 3
Art and culture, during that same decade—a few exceptions notwithstanding—followed the same path. Now, a decade later, similar political and social events from the former (and, in some instances, the present) socialist countries, most of them from the late 1980s, have become a thing of the past.