The high-profile visit to the ceremony at the Russian Chapel below Vršič was a huge security and organisational challenge, which the Slovenian police, together with all the other competent services in the country, had been preparing for for several months. Now that it is over, we can say that all the careful preparation, thoroughly planned operational measures and well thought-out communication decisions have paid off. The entire event on 30 July 2016 went according to plan, even several-hour-long road closures did not cause major queues on alternative roads in Gorenjska.

IMG 6011 The activities of the Police and other services were summarised in a media statement tonight by Robert Sušanj, head of the working group to coordinate protection, and Director of Police Specialities Directorate, at the General Police Directorate.

He said that the traffic went relatively smoothly, without any record-breaking queues, which we had been afraid of and ready for. "At the moment (i.e. at 19:30) some activities are still ongoing. There have been some minor problems but overall the day passed far from the apocalyptic forecasts made in the past days. So far things have gone excellently. What is more, there were hardly any traffic jams on parallel roads from Austria and in northern Italy as well as on the Štajerska motorway; at the border crossings the queues were even shorter than on an average summer day. We are positively surprised and delighted that our advice to people to set off earlier or not plan any trip on this day has borne fruit." He added that he was pleased that people were so understanding and cooperative and apologised to anybody who might have suffered any inconvenience.

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"In addition to these activities, there was quite a lot of parallel work.  A military helicopter performed five rescue operations in the mountains in close vicinity of the event, and took a seriously ill person to hospital. A person with a life-threatening condition was taken to hospital from one end of the country to the other, escorted by the police, so they could receive appropriate medical care. A baby in an incubator was also taken to hospital on this closed road under police escort." To ensure that the visit proceeded smoothly, also from the point of view of protection, police officers put in an enormous amount of work and effort in relatively difficult circumstances and very extremely motivated. "We are proud to have such officers on our force," Sušanj said.

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It seems that the effort invested in informing the public of the road closures and other restrictions planned has paid off. Motorists heeded the advice and chose parallel roads or set off early in the morning or the night before. Foreign drivers were also well informed of the Karavanke tunnel closure and used alternative routes via Graz or Italy, therefore there were no major problems on Austrian roads. All passengers arrived at the airport in time, which is also a result of successful information efforts.

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Before the Russian chapel ceremony the Gorenjska motorway between Vodice and Karavanke was fully closed in both directions. Also closed was the western bypass in Ljubljana towards Gorenjska, a part of the northern bypass and Šenčur-Brnik road, as well as the road sections Hrušica-Kranjska Gora-Podkoren and Trenta-Vršič-Kranjska Gora. Some closures lasted until the evening. There was heavy traffic in other parts of Slovenia (on the Primorska and Pomurje motorways) and on coastal roads in Slovenia, Italy and Croatia. There were long waiting periods at a number of border crossing points with Croatia, which had to do with the increased traffic due to the start of summer holidays in many European countries.

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This Saturday would be the day with the heaviest traffic in the entire tourist season even without the measures related to the commemoration below Vršič.

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During the foreign statesman's visit to Slovenia, the highest-level security measures were applied at all venues throughout the visit.


Officers from all police directorates in the country and all police organisational units were involved in the activities (accreditation and security checks, protecting the event, route of travel and accompanying protests, managing traffic, setting up road blocks and releasing them, technical and logistic support and coordination) to make sure that regular police work was not affected; also indispensable was the support of Ministry of the Interior employees.

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 We cannot overlook the role of the Security and Protection Centre, which has a lot of experience in protecting such events.


A lot of other organisations and services across the country were also involved throughout the organisation of the event and contributed to the fact that everything went smoothly, for which we are extremely grateful. Our thanks go to: Motorway Company of the Republic of Slovenia, Automobile Association of Slovenia, Slovenian Tourist Board, Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, Slovenian Armed Forces, Jože Pučnik Ljubljana Airport and Slovenia Control, Primary Healthcare Services of Gorenjska, Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Infrastructure, Slovenia-Russia Association and Russian law enforcement authorities as well as police forces from the neighbouring countries.

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 At the main motorway control centre in Dragomelj: the team included two police inspectors from the Uniformed Police Directorate, who acted as coordinators with the Police


The role of the police was to provide the protection of VIP visitors, for a visit at such a level requires the highest-degree security measures, including road closures. However, we also wanted to minimize the inconvenience experienced by citizens and tourists, from waiting at border crossing points to being stuck in traffic jams because of road closures. For this reason, the police and all the other services involved have been using all the available communication channels to inform the Slovenian and international public since June. We issued notifications and warnings, sent advice and gave recommendations to domestic and foreign tourists. DARS printed special leaflets in Slovenian and English. On the day of the visit we made sure that the roads were reopened as soon as possible so that people could continue with their intended journeys.

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Director General of the Police Marjan Fank visited police officers in Kranjska Gora and Vršič and members of the Air Support Police Unit. He also visited the Security and Protection Centre and praised the work of all the staff, saying that their professionalism puts them on par with colleagues from much bigger police forces.

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