Croatia: 2021 Census – Disastrous Downward Spiral in Population and Demographics

During the past week the 2021 Census results in their entirety and detail are out for Croatia and the fact that there is less Serbs living in Croatia, less than 34% of total population in towns under which law of bi-lingual signage on public buildings, offices and institutions is regulated, has hit hard the politicians in Croatia pursuing the interests of Serbia within Croatia. The Census has shown that Croatia’s population is comparatively and significantly lower by  413,056 persons or 9.64 percent than what it was in the 2011 Census. To compare this within the 912,432 (18.7 percent) people lost in Croatian population since 1991 (beginnings of Serb aggression against Croatia) then the last decade has lost almost half of the three-decade loss! That is indeed alarming.

According to the 2021 Census final Bureau of Statistics report, Croatia’s population is 3,871,833, of which 1,865,129 are men (48.17 percent) and 2,006,704 are women (51.83 percent). The 2021 Census shows that the share of Croats in the national structure of the population is 91.63 percent, Serbs are 3.20 percent, followed by Bosniaks with 0.62 percent and Roma with 0.46 percent in Croatia. 99.24 percent of the population included in the census have Croatian citizenship, while foreign citizens account for 0.74 percent or 28,784. According to religious affiliation, there are 78.97 percent Catholics in Croatia, 3.32 percent Orthodox, and 1.32 percent Muslims. The Croatian Bureau of Statistics states that there are 4.71 percent of non-believers and atheists, while 1.72 percent did not answer the question about religion.

The total number of inhabitants decreased in all counties across Croatia and compared to the 2011 Census the largest relative decrease in the population number was found to be in the Slavonia-Syrmia (Srijem), Eastern continental part of Croatia that saw horrific destruction and ethnic cleansing of Croats and non-Serbs during the 1990’s Serb aggression against Croatia. Hence, the largest decreases in population compared to 2011 are shown in 2021 Census as follows:  Vukovar-Srijem County 20.28%, Sisak-Moslavina County 19.04%, Pozega-Slavonia County 17.88%, Brod-Posavina County 17.85% and Virovitica-Podravina County 17.05%.

The 2021 Census also shows that in Croatia the share of the population aged 0 to 14 is 14.27 percent, and the share of the population aged 65 and over is 22.45 percent. With high unemployment and low job creation figures Croatia’s pension and welfare system is bound for total ruin and unsustainability unless, of course, state foreign debt and EU handouts increase and stay rooted as the main bolts holding up for many a barely adequate living standard on life-support.

What happened to the almost 10 percent of population lost in the past decade in Croatia is the question to which the answer automatically comes to the lips of most: overwhelmingly – emigration! Leaving one’s homeland in search of a better life and work. Low birth rate accounts for a lesser decline in this drastic and alarming population decline.  Women in Croatia of child-bearing age have an average of 1.44 children, which is not only below the 2.1 needed for replacing a country’s population, but it is among the lowest in the countries of the region and not enough by far to gather enough taxes towards paying for pensioner outputs.

The 2021 Census data did not surprise demographers, but neither did it surprise the Croatian public, since experts have been warning for years that Croatia is demographically impoverishing, that the impoverishment is accelerating and that it will have negative implications on numerous segments of life and work. With these Census results, the momentum of depopulation has been confirmed. Nothing surprised here, nothing happened that was not expected. Despite all the calls of alarm to governments in at least 15 years to actively intervene in the issue of demographic revitalisation, there have been no or very little positive developments, but, rather, Croatia is collapsing demographically more and faster.

If we take into account that Croatia was (an unwilling) part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918, of  Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1931, and thirty years later part of the communist regime of Federative People’s Republic of Yugoslavia (known as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1963), until independence in 1991, the population structure itself was significantly different in terms of parameters such as nationality and age structure. In 1991, which will be remembered for the beginning of the horrific Homeland War that arose in the brutal Serb aggression against Croatia, the population of independent Croatia was 4.7 million. The war of Serb aggression against Croatia, which destroyed and displaced hundreds of thousands of human destinies, ten years later proved to be undoubtedly the biggest, if not the only, culprit for as many as 350,000 people less in the total population number recorded in the 2001 Census. A decade after that, in 2011, which sealed the period of one of the largest numbers of unemployed, economic crisis and political turmoil, a minus of another 150 thousand people was recorded. 2021 Census alone reduced the population of Croatia by more than 400,000. The young, thirty-year-old country lost a quarter of its total population since 1991, almost half of which was lost in the past ten years.

The structure of the population, according to demographic forecasts, showed an increase in the number of older people, because the birth rate is declining. Quite logical. A policy that omits clear goals of education that can be implemented in practice and the encouragement of employment in long-term sustainable sectors, a housing policy that does not consider the standards of young people at the beginning of their independent living, the absence of a clear, strong pro-natal policy and numerous other far-reaching measures have put Croatia in a position that we would not wish on anyone. Perspective, prosperity and well-being have become nothing more than black-humoured nouns, the true meaning of which no one except a handful of the privileged Croatian caste had the opportunity to enjoy. Maybe they won’t.

This is not acceptable from the point of view of Croatian national interests and some solution must be found. The most obvious solution lies in the wealth of numbers, demographic and economic potential that lie within the Croatian diaspora. Everyone knows that it has been staring Croatia proper in the eyes for more than two decades. Croatia’s Presidents, Prime Ministers, Parliamentarians…the birds in the trees… have all been singing praises to the diaspora, calling masses to return. Yet no firm, clear and positive result minded pathway and national strategy, bar small snd pathetic government conditional cash handouts of up to 200,000 kuna (26,000USD) upon return, have been put in writing and legislation by any of them. All simply pretending they want Croats from the diaspora to return yet official government assistance for this has been nothing more than a degradable, fleeting band aid!

When the initial results of 2021 Census came out in January 2022 Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic attributed the cause to the population decrease to Croatia’s entry into the European Union in 2013. As a reminder, as the economic crisis in Croatia lingered, unemployment hovered above crushing and devastating 46 percent  , Croatia was, naturally, hit by a large wave of emigration after joining the EU, especially in 2014 and 2015. In the last wave of emigration, Croatian citizens mostly chose Ireland and Germany as places for a new life. Although about 9 percent in 2021 unemployment rate in Croatia still factored as the highest among the EU states. On course, as numbers of working age people emigrated from Croatia its unemployment rate showed up in figures of reduced percentage of unemployment. It seems that EU funds have helped to somewhat patch up job opportunities in Croatia but obviously not enough is done to attract significant percentage of working age people lost to Croatia in past decade and beyond.

The results of the latest Croatian census have shown the brutally real reasons for disappearing classrooms and long waiting lists for places in nursing homes and aged care facilities that have long been well over a decade long. It is not known who, when and if the Croatian governments will even try stopping this indescribably worrying trend. Because, if Croatia officially remains a nation of old people, will it simply turn into just one huge summer holiday house for foreigners and seasonal returnees with deep pockets? Will young people continue to leave Croatia or will those who, despite everything, decide to stay in it just surrender to the flow of time and face their own old age in insecurity and on the verge of poverty? And maybe over the edge?

The Prime Minister then suggested that population decline in Croatia was about “broader trends” while, apparently, referring to the trends of emigration of the population from the countries of Eastern Europe that had also joined the EU. To me it all resembles excuses and meaningless rhetoric to pass the time. People that emigrated from Croatia are in their majority still living within the EU, and hence, the government should factor into Croatia’s forward planning and national strategy for economic development and population boost from the lost pool of Croats living outside Croatia.

Some readers here may remember that many Croatians did not accept the 2011 Census results, according to which Serb minority was given the right to bilingualism and the official use of the Cyrillic alphabet in that city of Vukovar. Many suspected the number of Serbs in Vukovar was fabricated to make up the needed minimum 34% of total population for the town and many protested, some were fatally wounded by police for trying to smash the bilingual sings on buildings, many arrested and indicted for criminal act of wilful destruction of public property etc. 

According to Croatia’s Constitutional Law on the Rights of National Minorities, equal official use of the language and script used by members of a national minority is achieved in the territory of a local self-government unit when members of a particular national minority make up at least a third of the population of such a unit. The almost well-deserved vengeful ecstasy many in Vukovar and wider may feel regarding the decrease of Serb population in Vukovar, especially, fits into the fact that Vukovar has been named the city of piety; Serb aggression against it in 1991 was horrific and genocidal. War crimes, especially rapes, have not been at all addressed properly and Serb rapists walk the streets of Vukovar unpunished and unhindered. Amnesty for war crimes prosecution was given to multitudes of Serbs from Vukovar area as bargaining chip in 1998 in the process of peaceful reintegration of that area into Croatia that had until then been occupied by Serb rebel forces and forces from Serbia.

Some politicians and journalists, especially those denying the Serb aggression against Croatia in the 1990’s and trying very hard to equate the victim with the aggressor, will try to convince the world’s public that a reduced number of Serbs living in Croatia is a result of the rights of minorities denial and erosion by Croatian politics. What garbage! Croatia stands out as a country that provides its ethnic minorities with more right, including parliamentary seats, than most countries in the world. It would be correct to say that the Census 2021 results that show less Serbs have occurred in the same way as the reduction of Croats: economic basket case country leading to emigration for work purposes. Some of the rights ethnic minorities have and live in Croatia, such as seats in the Parliament, are often abused by the very minorities who choose not to put Croatia’s interests in the first place by their personal interests. For instance, the Serb parliamentary group in Croatia peddles more towards Serbia’s interests than towards Croatia’s. And the tragedy of this is that those Serbs in the Croatian parliament do not represent the Serbs who fought with Croats to defend Croatia during Serb aggression, but the Serbs associated with the aggression via family and local community connections; they belong to the Croatian rebel Serbs lot.  They have no right to speak with representative authority and credibility about minority rights of Serbs in Croatia because they represent a minority within the Serb minority. But they are viciously loud ad politically corrupt and all but suffocate the Croatian Serbs who defended Croatia from Serbs and Serbia. What a pity! Ina Vukic     

Applying For Croatian Citizenship Made Easier!

It’s about time that the process for applying and obtaining Croatian citizenship is made simple. The days have arrived it appears when some dreaded red tape or fear of receiving wrong information from some grumpy staff at consular offices and we must thank for this the clever individuals from the Croatian diaspora who have invented this App.

The “CitizenHR” app has just a couple of weeks ago been released on Apple and Google Play stores. Simply search for the App and access it. It is making Croatian citizenship simple.

The app is designed to help you be clear about what path to citizenships are available to you to pursue. It lets you know what documents you need prior to visiting the consulate and lets users browse a list of experts including, translators, lawyers, and other experts to compare and get their citizenship documentation completed in a faster time and for a cheaper price.

Developed in partnership with the Croatian Diaspora by Sydney-based Founder and CEO of online social network Pleme, as well as President of the Australian leg of CroDiaspora, Nikolas Kraljevic and developer Mate Pavkovic from Zagreb, Croatia (Founder and President of CroDiaspora not for profit organisation https://crodiaspora.com ), the app is aimed at diaspora Croats or people of Croatian descent, as well as being a valuable resource for non-Croats or to help with visas for the growing community of global digital nomads.  With Pleme App we have built an online community and app for Croatians to network globally. The aim of this endeavour is to help local Croatians and the wider diaspora connect and communicate in a dedicated place and foster better connections,” states on the website Nikola Kraljevic https://pleme.app/

The following is the information about the CITIZENHR App from the web:

WHAT IS CITIZENHR?

CitizenHR is an app specifically a Croatian Citizenship calculator that offers a way to make obtaining Croatian citizenship cheaper and easier to users for free.

FASTER CROATIAN CITIZENSHIP

CitizenHR is a Croatian Citizenship calculator app to help Croatian Diaspora and those with a special interest or affiliation to Croatia to be better prepared and educated for the Croatian Citizenship process which ultimately results in a faster citizenship process.

WHY CITIZENHR?

In 2021, we saw an increase in interest from the Croatian community and digital nomads and visitors to obtain citizenship and move to Croatia. We developed some smart algorithms to ease some of the commonly reported pain points and provide a free solution to the community with CitizenHR.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

CitizenHR works by entering your mail and answering 30 questions which powers our algorithm to determine what are the available paths to citizenship. From there we connect you with experts for translation or legal advice and show you the closest Embassy or Consulate to kickstart your application.

BENEFITS

The goals of CitizenHR are provide the following Benefits to users:

1. Boosting the network: Boosting the number of citizens and your potential network as a user of CitizenHR.

2. Smoother experience: Providing a smoother user experience for your citizenship application.

3. Suggesting Experts: Locate the right expert in a few clicks.

4. Drive down costs: Users can compare and contrast expert fee’s and get the best price on document translation or services prior to lodging their application.

LANGUAGES AVAILABLE

CitizenHR is available in Croatian, English, Spanish, German, Italian, French and Portuguese.

THE APP IS FREE

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/citizenhr/id1635720655

https://pleme.app/”

As more and more people embrace the smart and versatile mobile phone age, the number of consumers f different services and products online continues to multiply each day to billions. Mobile is becoming not only the new digital hub, but also the bridge to the physical world. That’s why mobile will affect more than just digital operations — it will transform business and communities. And Pleme App is active in helping create better communities.  The CitizenHR App is certainly a great way forward as it facilitates so well the initial and obligatory process in applying for and obtaining Croatian citizenship.

Above:Nikola Kraljevic (L) Mate Pavkovic (R) Photos: Pleme.App and CroDiaspora.com

Croatian government would do well by mobilising more the advances in technology

Clearly most if not all Croatian government agencies/ministries are struggling to keep up with technology rollouts. Counter to the proactive approach taken by many businesses in the private sector to rapidly implement digital transformation initiatives, agencies/ministries such as Internal Affairs (for citizenship and visas) and taxation etc have evidently struggled to keep up with increased demand for more user-friendly electronic facilitation, despite the existence of the rather laborious e-citizen (e-Građanin) online portal. Unlike in some countries such as Australia, USA, Canada, UK etc mobile phone Apps are practically non-existent under the Croatian government service provision.  By failing to stay in lock step with modern tech environments, Croatian government agencies are providing a poor user experience to its citizens – particularly those who live in Western countries of the diaspora. The online consumer experience is nothing new — we’ve been using the internet to do practically everything for over 25 years. By overhauling security, implementing real-time observability, and using data to drive decision-making, government agencies would be prepared for future challenges, while delivering a stellar user experience. But maybe there is no real will for that in the Croatian governing politics. Perhaps the outdated manner of doing business with the public contains too many steps that are conducive to bribes and corruption for any notable will to modernise in step with technology to be put in place (?). Croatians living abroad, in the diaspora, especially those contemplating a return or investment, need access to online services and communication more than ever, yet Croatian government websites have continued to fail them despite forever shouting from the rooftops how very much they want Croats from the diaspora to return and invest. The tools and technology to increase and speed up these issues of interest are out there, and it’s time that they are deployed. If the government itself does not have the expertise required, then surely funds can be made available for external consultancies.

Along with debt accumulation and economic uncertainty, the lingering likelihood of another global economic crisis are provoking discontent among citizens. With corruption and nepotism running high people justly wonder whether the government is truly working for the public interest or only for just a few. Such disenchantment is eroding the foundations of democratic system and requires urgent action to strengthen the legitimacy of public institutions. There are signs that people’s trust in their government remains stubbornly lower than ever before.  By taking a people-centric approach to policy making and service delivery, the government can rebuild trust in the public administration, improve the effectiveness of public action and better respond to the global and domestic challenges the country faces. Furthermore, digital technologies are changing social and civic communities and how people participate in, and experience, civic and political life. These technologies, the growing availability and use of data, as well as services provided by the private sector that are considered as benchmarks, are transforming how public goods and services are produced and consumed at a global scale. This, in turn, affects people’s expectations about how governments should work and provide services. Increasingly, people want to interact with their governments in more efficient ways, including through digital platforms, and they expect the same quality of service regardless of the channel chosen to access the service. Information and communication technologies, when implemented appropriately, have helped simplify government processes, eliminate paper-based transactions, and established single points of access to the public administration. Expectations of multitudes that the Croatian government should be more in step with technology advances to provide access to and usage of public services are entirely justified. A better relationship with the private sector, especially the innovative one, would go a long way towards meeting the needs of Croats living in the diaspora intent on, desirous of return and investment.  Let’s hope it happens. Ina Vukic

Croatia: No Time For Passive Patriotism

“We are fed up with affairs of theft and corruption, we are fed up with the communist government, we are fed up with networked cells and everything. Everyone!” – chanted protesters against the Croatian HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) government on Saturday 10 September 2022, outside the Party headquarters in Zagreb.

The grand theft of about US$107 million from the country’s major oil and gas company “INA” recently uncovered, and dubbed the heist of the century, was without a doubt the trigger for this protest that openly flagged its intention to sack the government. On a visibly large scale in Croatia (as well as in its diaspora, which is economically very important to Croatia) people are sick and tired of the corruption and scandals occurring in the country against which the governments since 2000 have not in earnest waged any real attack – particularly at the grassroots where it counts the most and where real changes to the culture of corruption commence and solidify for the whole nation. This latest eruption of scandalous theft seemed the last straw of tolerance towards the government to quite a few people even if the Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic had swiftly and ceremoniously, a couple of days before the protest, announced that the funds stolen from INA had been found and secured and that “the money will not be running away anywhere”.  But still, a significant proportion of the Croatian population does not trust Plenkovic or his political party nor do they trust SDP (Socialist Democratic Party) that was also in government from time to time since year 2000.

Zagreb, September 10, 2022, anti-government protest outside the HDZ ruling party headquarters/ Photo: Pixsell/Matija Habljak

What is more alarming in Prime Minister Plenkovic’s reaction to Saturday’s protest, after a 17-year old lad had been arrested for possession of two Molotov Cocktails and an improvised knife, is that he said that in Croatia there are “people who are ready to use force to overthrow the democratically elected government, and that there are people who are organised, arming themselves and trying to change the government by force.” He and his political party have stood behind this blatant threat to freedom of expression and democracy, dressed up as some deserving comment for the good of all. How would the public know that the 17-year-old Molotov-Cocktail-carrying youth was not planted there by the government!? It’s not as if the public can trust the rotten and corrupt police services (led by former communist operatives) to get to the truth of it, especially if that truth points to the government or its associates. But, if it was true that extremist, violent groups exist in Croatia and are organised with intent of toppling the government, even by force, why has there been no such item of the nation’s security program, said members of the parliamentary opposition a few days after the protest!?

 Well, of course there are people everywhere expressing publicly their dissatisfaction with their government, their democracy, and tax-paying, guarantees them that right and obligation. Just look at the human history of mass anti-government protests. One does not try to intimidate all protesters just because one or two are found to have had “weapons”, which could have been planted there for political gain or intimidate the public against future protests of the same goal. One does not cast aspersions of violence or violent intents against a group of concerned citizens demonstrators just because one or two acted badly, independently. But to HDZ it seems that “the son is responsible for the sins of the father”. How tragic for a democracy.

Many, including myself, wish that there were more people that joined the peaceful protest on 10 September, all of them surely have no objection to police dealing with individuals who bring along weapons that could injure or kill people.

The painful truth that must be eradicated in Croatia is that the fight against corruption has been a lot like a cosmetic job whereby only a handful of large lumps of sums stolen from public coffers into private ones of politicians and highly positioned directors of public companies had been pursued for correction and convictions. Overall, court cases for this corruption and theft tend to drag on for a decade or more and somehow most of the money stolen remains mysteriously unaccounted for to the public. Plenkovic as Prime Minister has done absolutely nothing to change this media spinning profile of “corruption fighting” to include fighting corruption at all levels of public administration and services, from the lowest to the highest. 

From living as part of communist Yugoslavia for half a century Croatia inherited a profoundly infectious and destructive disease known as corruption that is heavily laden with nepotism, embezzlement, and theft. Abominably, odious corrupt habits for personal gain at every level of public administration have defined Croatia as a “economic basket case”, heavily reliant on EU handouts for survival. Corruption and nepotism are the number one problem and yet independent audits, and financial controls are largely missing or scandalously ineffective and national standards of service delivery under any legislation are inexistent and certainly not in circulation for purposes of rule of law, checks and balances. The life of ordinary people plunging into increasing poverty as the country’s economy plummets into an abyss of failed companies, thieved companies, failed farmers and fisheries particularly due to EU imposed quotas… the definite feel one gets from it all is that bribes are rampant at every public service counter, at every public service job opening at every appointment with a medical specialist in public health, at every enrolment in public schools of praiseworthy repute…    

10.09.2022., Zagreb, Croatia – anti-government protest “We dismiss you” / Photo: Matija Habljak/PIXSELL

While there are quite a few people who believe that nothing can be done to rid Croatia of corruption, that it is too deeply rooted into the public administration machinery and culture. Many people who have grown accustomed to perks from a corrupt government that dishes out rewards to those who don’t stir the pot, as it were, tolerate corruption just as many did during the era of communist Yugoslavia. Thankfully, there are also many who feel a strong sense of fidelity to Croatia’s democracy as intended by the War of Independence or Homeland War of the 1990’s. It is to the latter that this predicament of widespread corruption presents greater challenges with intent to eradicate corruption than what it does for those who are willing to abandon or be complacent towards meaningful fight against corruption and are supporting (or tolerating) the governments whose main impetus since 2000 has been to act in concert with the Serb aggressor and its cells in Croatia with view to equate the victim with the aggressor.

Modern Croatia’s founding values are without a doubt those that were set in motion with the overwhelming national determination to secede from communist Yugoslavia and it is almost past the time of reckoning with the extent of damage perpetrated against the Croatian national story by any political party or government since year 2000, strongly laced with communist roots and operations from former Yugoslavia. Hence, protests such as the one that occurred in Zagreb on Saturday 10 September may indeed be a sign of strength in the people rather than a whim of few individuals, would be leaders or politicians. The disabling factor, though, is that there are too many individuals in Croatia who tend to their own handful of followers, form a political party or movement, and claim they, and only they, can “change the world”. A leader must be identified and supported for any joint political force in Croatia that would indeed be successful in “sacking” or dismissing any government that harbours communist Yugoslavia values and morals, that places the aggressor above those who defended the country from that aggressor.

It is a fact that every nation is a unique story upon which its survival depends.

That fact remains regardless of the globalist and leftist push to muddy those individual national stories and blend all into an amorphous mass of subservient people across the globe to a powerful few.

A national story is almost never a simple one. National identity itself, and therefore – prosperity, invariably depend upon how we tell the story of our nation – about our past, our present moment, and our future. Croatian story in essence is the one that tells us that Croatia started as rightful Kingdom of its own in early 10th century, continued independent until 1102 AD to be forced into becoming a subservient nation to various occupying and imperialistic foreign kingdoms, empires, or republics to be finally freed in 1995 because of the victorious Homeland War, defending itself from brutal Serb and Yugoslav forces of aggression. The latter, therefore, is what in its story the Croatian nation must accentuate for the sake of its own survival and prosperity, regardless of the fact it is now an EU member state. Neither the HDZ nor the SDP have shown the capacity to tell the story of the Croatian nation. They both missed or downplayed intentionally the crucial significance of the 1990’s Homeland War for the nation’s story. They insisted and still insist on inflicting pain upon the Croatian nation by collaborating in government not with the Serb minority that fought in the war to defend Croatia from Serb aggression but with the Serb minority directly associated with the anti-Croatia aggression, murders, destruction!

Many national stories are rooted in a particular ethnicity or religion that forms the core of that national identity. In Croatia, as in some other countries around the world, things are more complicated. Since the founding of modern and independent Croatia that sought secession from communist Yugoslavia, Croatia’s national identity has been the story that is constantly poisoned by former communists and their descendants. Be that from the writing of Croatia’s Constitution by former communist operatives just before the Serb and Yugoslav aggression started, to the failure in changing promptly that Constitution once the victory over the aggressor was achieved. At that point in time all references to any communist Yugoslavia “achievements” for independence of Croatia should have been removed from the constitution because communists/partisans in World War Two fought to keep Croatia within Yugoslavia, not to free it from it. But such changes to the Constitution were not made!

There lies the greatest culprit for the boldness of former communists and their descendants for the licence they have written for themselves to underplay the victory in the War of Independence or Homeland War as the centre of the Croatian national story.

The door opened to democracy in Croatia by the Homeland War victory is worth saving indeed. If not via elections (which are reputed to be corrupt) then on the streets with more and more peaceful protests. No government had ever welcomed a protest against it, and it rings so true that if a government told and lived their nation’s story then there would be no protests against it in the sense of bringing it down completely.

Croatian people need to save the soul of Croatia. The soul that achieved its independence in the 1990’s. That was the last time Croatia had a real sense of purpose and that sense was felt nationwide.

To achieve such a national sense of purpose the success will require political leadership and the mobilisation of citizens and various sectors of Croatian society—including cultural, media, and business institutions that have often been reticent to engage in debates that drift in the direction of politics. The wielding of political leadership and power achieved via dismal voter turnouts is no real national leadership.

10/09/2022 Zagreb Croatia – Anti Government protest (You have stolen our future, we dismiss you)/ Photo: Cropix/ Dragan Matic

This is no time for passive patriotism!

Croatian democracy will not survive if Croatians lazily assume that enough people will just come to their senses and recognise that it must be saved—that there is something fixed in the national character that ensures people will live decently and have all opportunities for advancement a democracy offers. There’s nothing inevitable at all about the verdict of history because the history depends on the people creating it. The reliance upon government coffers and corrupt practices has given many families in former Yugoslavia an acceptable standard of living – that was simply the political way communism sought to survive; this though cannot last but Croatia is significantly impoverished through corruption and poverty is on the increase. Croatians must fight for their national story to be weaved into their legislation, into their everyday lives and it is becoming very clear that organised massive and peaceful protests in the streets are becoming the only tool available to the promise of success in living the national story for which rivers of Croatian blood were spilled in the 1990’s.  The transition from communism to democracy demands people power. It is everyone’s responsibility and duty to ensure Croatia becomes free of communist Yugoslavia completely. Ina Vukic

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