Between 1990 and 2001 the 30th of May was known as The Statehood Day in Croatia. 30th May 1990 was the day when the first post-Communist multi-party Croatian Parliament was constituted and inaugurated.
When pro-communist leaders such as Stjepan Mesic and late Ivica Racan set about trying to strip Croatia of its national pride (which included vilifying Franjo Tudjman, Croatia’s first president) they jumped loudly into a campaign in 2002 that a new date be set for Statehood day – i.e. 25 June. 25 June 1991 was the date when Croatian Parliament declared independence from communist Yugoslavia. There was controversy and heated discussion in Croatia regarding this change, after all 30th May had become a day charged with Croatian pride and celebrations and Mesic and Racan wanted to make sure euphoria associated with Tudjman fizzes out as much and as soon as p[ossible. By cancelling 30th May celebrations - that had built up so much power and so much symbolism of independence during Franjo Tudjman’s life (he passed away 1999) - and introducing 25 June as the Statehood Day much of the 30th May national fervor has indeed been lost. That’s what the anti-Tudjman camp wanted.
An even greater sadness is that the Croatian parliament website does not even mention 30th May 1990 nor 25 June 1991, for that matter.
It’s an absolute disgrace for a parliament, as important as the one in Croatia, to just have three bland sentences about its formation and historical influence on the country. Parliament websites are often seen as gateways to a country's government and its governmental history and the very fact that current Croatian parliament's website so boldly sends into insignificance the very heart of its existence - the history of 1990's struggles for democracy - is appalling. One only needs to visit the websites of UK Parliament, French National Assembly or German Bundestag to see what I mean. One wonders when did the parliamentary staff in Croatia responsible for content on website decide to hack out most of the proud history that actually was responsible for raising this modern parliament on its feet.
Shame, shame, shame.
On 30th May 1990 the first democratically elected parliament of Croatia was founded. Finally after a long time and various regimes, that had with their oppression and spiritual deceit forced the Croatian people to the very edge of existence, Croatians had achieved the right to be their own on their own land, to act in the line of own interests, and not inside an imposed collective, whether it be called Hungarian, Austrian, Kingdom or communist run socialist Yugoslavia.
On 30th May 1990 the many democratically elected members of parliament and their guests, headed by dr Franjo Tudjman went to a celebratory mass.
Cardinal Franjo Kuharic in his sermon assessed the victory of democracy as a turning point in Croatian national life. He expressed his belief that Croatia’s future would see the realisation of spiritual, moral, cultural and economic advances that are inalienable with current times, for the good and safety of all to whom Croatia is the Lovely homeland.
The inauguration sitting of Croatian Parliament on 30th May 1990 ensued with a celebratory mood inside and outside the parliament building. The results of general elections were read and the election of dr Franjo Tudjman as President of the Republic of Croatia was met with an overwhelming acclamation by the members of parliament.
In his inspiring speech to the Parliament dr Tudjman reminded of the important dates in Croatian history and the struggles of the Croatian people in keeping their sovereignty, emphasising that it was then that the critical first step was made for the return of Croatian people to the European civilisation, political, cultural and economic traditions.
After his speech to the Parliament, Tudjman walked to the window and waved to the masses gathered at the square outside the parliament house. He then descended to Zagreb’s main square Ban Jelacic (then known as Republic square) which was filled with people, revelers and held yet another speech.
It is an interesting fact that there is no copy of the full first speech made to Croatian Parliament by dr Franjo Tudjman. One wonders whether Stjepan Mesic, who served as Speaker of the parliament (September 1992 – May 1994) , had anything to do with this mysterious disappearance of Tudjman’s speech.
Dr Zarko Domljan was the first Speaker of the Croatian parliament. At the inauguration sitting on 30th May 1990 he presented dr Franjo Tudjman with a presidential sash in Croatian tricolours (red, white and blue) and then renewed an ancient Croatian custom where under the pillow in a cradle, bread, gold coin and a feather are placed as symbols of life, prosperity and cultural advancement.
But soon, the celebration of democracy in Croatia was to suffer barbaric, brutal and genocidal Serbian aggression. The Croatian Serb minority were not celebrating the inauguration of Croatian parliament, they were not going to live in Croatia, they wanted Serb-led Yugoslavia to continue. So, while Croatians celebrated democracy and the first democratically elected parliament, whose goal it was to lead Croatia out of communist Yugoslavia into independence, Serbs began forming their new Chetnik and paramilitary units in Croatia while planning with Yugoslav Peoples Army the execution of the greatest horrors against mankind since World War II. It is my opinion that Croatian Statehood Day should be celebrated on 30th May as 30th May 1990 is the true date when new democracy and independence began in deed. 25 June 1991 was a mere formality that had to be executed after Croatia’s referendum (May 1991) to secede from Yugoslavia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A. M.A.Ps.(Syd)