Russian-Croatian Pianist Andrej Gunjin Has "Explosive" Experience on Slovenian Border

By 30 December 2019

On Friday, the 27th of December this year a real drama took place on Bregana border crossing between Croatia and Slovenia: it was closed for a couple of hours after a routine check indicated that a Russian national had a bomb in his suitcase!

The Croatian and Slovenian media reported on that, as it is a busy day for that border crossing and it's not a usual occurrence. A few hours later the reports came in that the border crossing was opened again, that no bomb has been found and nobody was apprehended. Today, Branimir Pofuk brings the rest of the story for Večernji list.

The story started innocuously enough: a pair of young people, going to Ljubljana to catch a flight to Amsterdam, to spend the New Year's celebrations with their friends. In 15 minutes after leaving Zagreb bus station (which is how far Bregana is from Zagreb), the young man was in handcuffs, brought down to the floor by the Slovenian police. They've detected something in his bags, and they wouldn't really listen to his explanations.

The young man was Andrej Gunjin, an extraordinary Russian pianist, often dubbed "a virtuoso", living and working in Zagreb for a while now. The questionable item, which triggered a silent alarm which alerted the Slovenian police, resembling an explosive device: a Bluetooth pedal for Gunjin's iPad, a device he uses for his work to turn music score pages (an Airturn 105; as he helpfully explains in a Facebook post, which was later posted on a classical music website Slipped Disc).

As the silent alarm went off, the border crossing was closed, the other passengers escorted away, and he was apprehended. So was his girlfriend, but it should come as no surprise to you if you've ever seen a police procedural: they were taken to separate rooms and not allowed to talk to each other. As soon as he realized what the problem was, Andrej Gunjin tried to explain to the officers what the problem was. They were, in his words, fair and firm the entire time they had him under their observation, but they've already sent for the experts from Ljubljana to check the explosive device they suspected was in the bus.

There was, of course, no bomb whatsoever, just a Bluetooth device designed to help a professional musician (to be fair, probably not an item the police officer on the border crossing sees often), so Gunjin and his girlfriend were even able to catch their flight from Ljubljana to Amsterdam, and are spending the holidays there. Gunjin told the Večernji list he holds nothing against the Slovenian police, as they were swift, efficient and kind to his hands and fingers, and even offered him a coffee when things were cleared up, hoping to explain to him what triggered the alarm. The only thing hurt were Gunjin's new shoes, which were damaged as the police were initially dragging him away from the bus, to the safe distance.

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Večernji list recently did a big interview with Andrej Gunjin, presenting him to the Croatian public. He's a very young pianist, born in 1987 in Moscow, who decided to call Zagreb his home soon after he won an international competition "Svetislav Staničić" in Zagreb in 2011. He feels at home here, feeling better in Zagreb than he does in his home-town, Moscow. He complained a bit that none of his major international and national music successes have ever brought him this much attention as this unfortunate event at the Croatia - Slovenia border.

Tagged under: bregana