Krajina Serbs: want to collect payment for time spent devastating Croatia


Radovan Karadzic and Milan Martic

Convicted war criminal Milan Martic’s Serbs have announced that they’ll sue Croatia for not paying them their pensions for the period during which they lived in the self-proclaimed “Republic of Serbian Krajina” (RSK), reports HRSvijet portal.

I might add, during this period – with the help of Serbia based Yugoslav People’s Army – they engaged in the horrific aggression against Croatia and certainly did not consider themselves as living in Croatia but in their RSK.

Serb refugee organisations have reportedly announced that they will be approaching the parliamentary assembly of European committee as, according to them, there are discriminatory laws that, even 17 years after the war has ended, are still preventing them from receiving pension arrears (from Croatia).

While cases have been dealt with, there are reportedly about 50,000 Croatian refugees in receipt of Croatian pensions (40,000 receiving it still live in Serbia), there are many cases where apparently problems exist with proving or providing evidence of working years in RSK.

To put matters into factual and historical perspectives, I quote an extract from 1994 Los Angeles Times article that shows how things were in Krajina from 1991 – 1995 when it comes to pensions payable by Croatia (Zagreb):

“…at the mere suggestion that his retirement income could be arriving regularly if Serbs in the disputed Krajina region made peace with the Croatian government in Zagreb, the mild-mannered engineer erupts in a defiant, nationalist tirade.

Serbs will never be part of Croatia. We cannot live there. We don’t have any money, but we have our own country. It is my right to choose, and I choose to stay here and refuse their money,’ the silver-haired pensioner declares with ferocity

Even the allure of pensions owed by the Zagreb government to 60,000 Serbs living in the occupied Krajina region seems unable to sway the rebels to contemplate a compromise and peace.

As recently as four years ago, all residents of today’s Krajina were Yugoslav nationals who accrued pensions payable by the government of their republic within the Yugoslav federation, in this case Croatia. So retirees here in Knin should be collecting their monthly checks from Zagreb.

But with their insistence that Croatia is a foreign country with no political relationship to occupied Krajina, the Serbs of this impoverished and isolated region have effectively renounced their claims to be beneficiaries of Croatia.

Idealists like Zora Zelic, who worked 23 years as a hotel maid in the coastal resorts of Croatia, insist that Zagreb should pay the pensions to Krajina Serbs anyway, noting that retirees who move abroad in most democratic countries continue to receive the pensions they earned during their working years.

In the case of Krajina, however, it wasn’t the pensioners who moved, but the country. Croatia seceded from Serb-dominated Yugoslavia in June, 1991, prompting the Krajina Serbs to grab a third of the Croatian republic’s territory in a bid to form their own state”.

Krajina Serbs now (in 2012) want Croatia to pay them for the time they spent destroying it, for the time they voluntarily rejected their pensions in favour of their terror campaign, ethnic cleansing and destruction.

There was no reciprocal agreement between Croatia and Yugoslavia (Serbia) on social security and pensions until 1997. One would think that one does not qualify for arrears of pensions due before the date of reciprocal agreement while the intended pensioner lived in a country that has no agreement on social security with Croatia. At least that was always the case with most Western countries.

But perhaps Krajina Serbs consider that normal rules don’t apply to them. They seem to think that they can make up rules as they go. Even to this day they do not acknowledge nor accept the pension laws of Croatia which, by the way, are as good as any other democratic country’s – and better than some.

I think Serbia should pay their pension arrears for the time they spent living in Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK) given that they served Serbia’s political agenda then. They worked for Serbia’s agenda – Greater Serbia – and it is Serbia not Croatia who should pay any pension arrears. These, I gather, could be as high as 800 Milliom EURO.

Or maybe, Croatia should deduct from the pension arrears (if it is found that arrears are in fact due) the money to cover for wilful damage individuals seeking pension arrears had caused in Croatia prior to leaving Croatia. That damage would not be difficult to assess, I imagine. And, to be just that is what occurs in all civilised countries – you do damage, you pay for it. Ina Vukic, Prof.(Zgb); B.A., M.A. Ps. (Syd)


  1. Nije baš usko vezano za temu ili uz datum je. Znam da mnogi od Vas slave praznik rada, i to je O.K. Mi ipak danas slavimo i nešto drugo. Sedamnaest godina proteklo je od blistavog Bljeska nad zapadnom Slavonijom. Više od dvije godine Hrvatska vojska nije poduzimala nikakve osloboditeljske operacije, slušajući uvjeravanja međunarodne zajednice kako će se sve riješiti mirnim putem. Snage UNCRO-a zacementirale su postojeće stanje okupiranosti trećine hrvatskog državnog prostora, nemoćne spriječiti etničko čišćenje i povremene razbojničke prepade srpskih specijalaca u zonama svoje odgovornosti.

    Prometna rascjepkanost Hrvatske bila je nepodnošljiva, i gospodarski i humanitarno. Igre, uglavnom s pljačkom i smrtnim posljedicama, na auto-cesti više se nisu mogle trpjeti. I krenulo je. U zoru 1. svibnja. Trajalo je manje od 80 sati. Završilo je u Pakracu predajom vojnog i civilnog zapovjednika, te najhumanijim postupkom na ovim prostorima uopće. HVALA DEČKI

    • TRANSLATION OF COMMENT BY CROATIAN CENTER OF RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES: It’s not really closely associated with the subject but it is to the date. I know that many of you are celebrating Labour Day, and that’s O.K. Although, we are celebrating something else today. Seventeen years have passed from brilliant Flash over western Slavonia. For more than two years Croatian army had not undertaken any liberating operations, listening to the convictions of the international community that everything will be solved through peaceful means. UNCRO forces cemented the existing state of occupation of a third of Croatian sovereign territory, unable to stop ethnic cleansing and occasional predatory attacks by Serbian special forces in the zones under their responsibility. Traffic fragmentation of Croatia was intolerable, economically and humanitarian wise. Games, mainly with looting and deadly consequences could no longer be tolerated. And it started. At dawn on 1st May. It lasted less than 80 hours. It ended in Pakrac with the surrender of the military and civil commanders, and with the most humane approach in these regions, generally. THANK YOU BOYS

    • Yes indeed Operation Flash is remembered and it is associated with the subject of this post, I firmly believe, for Western Slavonia was a self-proclaimed Serbian autonomous region all too associated with Republic of Serbian Krajina. I’m sure there are Serbs from that region asking to have their pensions paid for the time they spent destroying the place and Croatian people. Thank you for your comment.

  2. Michael silovic says:

    From right had I count with fingers and stop at 3. This is what I would give them. The 3rd finger ! Croatia owes nothing to no one that destroyed our country and killed our people. In war winner takes all. Do you think if we were Croats living in Serbia we would get compensation. We would all still be homeless beggars on the street. let it go to court. it could take 10-20 years to settle this case. Our government needs to operate with a strong hand and not give in to every demand that is made of our country. Croatia First!

    • Croatia First!

      • D. Drakulich says:

        I am a descendant of Krajina Serbs. Most of my family were exterminated by fascist Croatian Ustase during WWII- google Drakulic’ village I do not understand why you think Krajina Serbs were not entitled to join with Serbia, as they were the demographic majority there when Yugoslavia broke up in the 90’s. What is your rationale for allowingd Croatia to ethnically cleanse Serbs and take their lands? This has been going on since WWII and has never stopped.

      • What occurred in WWII was horrible. The world thought it could never happen but it did in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina when the two “Republics” with their sovereign borders voted by majority (94%) to secede from communist Yugoslavia and enter democracy. The areas within those sovereign states where Serbs lived in majority were attacked by rebel Serbs and the dying Yugoslav Army from Belgrade, ethnically cleansed of Croatians, Muslims and other non-Serbs who lived there for centuries too. Croatian Serbs did not want to live in Croatia so they decided to cleanse the areas in Krajina etc of all non-Serbs and steal that region for Serbia. That is the simple truth. Croatia then had to liberate its own territory and this happened in August 1995 and Serbs then fled Croatia. The lands where Serbs lived in Croatia were not Serb lands but Croatian lands with individual Serbs were owners of some properties but much state owned land was Croatian for centuries. One would think that if a Serb owned a farm in US or Britain…he has the right to pin it to Serbia – that would be your point I think.

  3. Ms Inavukic is full of main stream media propaganda and utter nonsense. (remainder of comment deleted by admin)

    • Mel – I suggest you read the ICTY Appeal Chamber judgment of 16 Nov 2012, that will tell you the facts as found by the court regarding the flight of Serbs from Croatia in 1995 and what Serbs did in Croatia prior to that. You can take your personal attacks based on delusions elsewhere, not to this space.

  4. Why did Croats burn the childhood home of Nikola Tesla in Smijlan (Krajina) and the Serbian Orthodox church where his father Milutin preached?

    Croats burned the Tesla house and church two times, once in WWII and again during the Yugo civil war in the 90’s.

    Now the Croat govt has rebuilt the Tesla home – Why? Because its a great tourist draw! (and a chance to steal history)

    • Diana, I could not answer your question as to the alleged burning of Tesla’s childhood home. The facts are that during the war of Serb aggression in Croatia in early 1990’s many terrible things happened and whether Tesla’s home was burned in Smiljan is something I could not find. However I am informed that one of Tesla’s “heirs” Milka Tesla who fled Croatia and lives in Serbia has alleged that Tesla’s childhood home was in village Raduc, not Smiljan, and that the house was burned there. I guess houses were burned during that war (and WWII) that belong to both Croatian Serbs and Croatian Croats. Croatian government has built in Smiljan a memorial home for Nikola Tesla in Smiljan, near his birth house, to celebrate his birth place. There is no stealing of history because he was born in Croatia – Smiljan. And that is a fact. His official biography clearly states that and if you find that fact difficult to accept that is your problem.

    • Robert Keane says:

      Diana, if Croats burned anything within their own country you can bet it was for a good reason and Nikola Tesla was not one of those. Unlike other Croatian Serbs Tesla was proud to have been born in Croatia and to have grown up there. As far as Smiljan village is concerned the fact that local rebel Serbs left multitudes of mines there so that these could kill as many Croats as possible tells everyone something about what Croatia had to defend itself against in 1990’s. The mine fields there still exist and the job of locating and removing those mines is still going on, very expensive and dangerous job especially because it’s not known where and how many land mines Serbs left there buried in the soil. Here is a link to a most recent article about fundraising in Croatia for removal of mines left by Serbs in Telsla’s Smiljani

      • Croats burnt the Tesla house and church during WWII and in the Yugo civil war. It is well documented common knowledge. I am amazed you would try to deny it. See here:

      • Diana – I did not deny it, I said I could not tell you why because I did not know, nor have I found anything except what was in former reply about it. The wikipedia link you place here does not seem to say anything about house burning

      • Rebuilt,[14] Tesla’s rebuilt house (parish hall) in Smiljan, where he was born, and the rebuilt church, where his father served. Both the house and church were burnt down during the Yugoslav Wars. The Croatian Government has rebuilt both.

        Do you believe that Croats and Serbs are different ethnicities? If so why do they speak the same language?
        Why do they have the same names?

      • Diana, Serbs and Croats are officially recognised as different ethnic groups and what I believe on that point is not relevant. They are similar but not the same; They speak a similar language but not the same that is there are probably around 5,000 words different between the two language, different “spelling” and different script (one is Latin and the other Cyrillic); they share some commonalities with other Slavic languages; the majority of Croats are Catholic and the majority of Serbs are Orthodox but both are Christian…They have many common names but also many different names from each other…

      • Yes Serbs are Orthodox and Croats are Catholic but we are all CHRISTIANS. So why should two variants of the same religion be a determinant of ethnicity? That’s like saying you are Baptist and I am Presbyterian therefore we are two different ethnic groups.
        Why do Croats speak Serbian?

        The language, the names are the same with minor differences. We have Croats in my family and Croat friends from Banja Luka. There is no problem communicating.

        My family name Drakulich (Drakulic’) is the same as `Croat’ writer Slavenka Drakulic’. Spelled the same, identical. So where is the ethnic difference?

        Croats and Serbs are the same race. How can you speak the same language, have the same names, live in the same area and be different ethnicities?

        Is this blind hatred of Serbs all coming from the VATICAN? If it is not a blind hatred, why burn Nikola Tesla’s home? (twice)

      • Diana – there are many regions and countries where different but similar ethnic groups co-exist. I think you should invest your energies elsewhere rather than accusing people and the Vatican of blind hatred. In your line of thinking then was it the Serbian Orthodox church that led the aggression and ethnic cleansing against non-Serbs in the early 1990’s. I am only interested in all criminals being brought to answer for their crimes no matter what their ethnicity and this does not agree with many people who are on a trail of trying to confuse the issues. You should approach appropriate ethnographic and historical authorities to answer your questions or create your own blog to go into details of your issues – I am happy of being a Croat and proud of Croat history going back centuries and you probably are the same regarding Serbs, so let’s leave it at that because this blog is not the place to sort out the questions you have or issues you are putting forth.

  5. In search for any gleam of justice for unpaid pensions owed by Croatia I have to say this post wins the prize for the most obnoxious one that misses the point. If I’m a human born on Mars and work on Mars my whole life and contribute to the pension benefit of retired Martians my whole life, Mars pension fund owes me pension once I retire. If I, during my life on Mars, declare my home as Earth territory (which Mars never officially recognizes, of course, like Croatia never recognized SAO Krajina) and deploy grenades on my neighbor Martians’ homes, I am STILL DUE MY MARTIAN PENSION ONCE I RETIRE. Mars can arrest me, sue me in court of law, find me guilty, jail me, order reparations to my neighbors and/or local authorities for the damage I caused, but they MUST pay me my pension. Once you, and those like you, realize that civil rights cannot ever spring from a bigot and fascist mind, you will have a Republic you can be proud of. Basic civil rights. Thankfully, I had no part in the Dirty Balkan war and will claim my 19 year overdue benefits through my adopted foreign country’s court of law.

    • Obviously HUMAN you have yet to come across the meaning and practice of non-existent reciprocity when it comes to pensions – i.e. countries that do not pay out their pensions to a person who does not live in the country, who goes abroad..and the meaning of reciprocity but then again let’s just say that you agree with Serbs who think law does not apply to them especially law of a country they don’t accept. Courts can only follow laws and if a country hadn’t breached its laws then courts are helpless…unless of course there is an international law that dictates every country’s social security laws to practice reciprocity…yeah right

  6. Again, the matter of retirement benefit is contributed to during lifetime of employment and therefore due to the country to which it was contributed. This is totally unrelated to the matter of alleged or proven war crime. I never denounced Croatia or its citizenship obtained by birthright. Yes I left because ustaše executed my brother and father in world War 2. This time it would have been …(DELETED AS NO CORROBORATION FOR VERIFICATION PROVIDED) as I was on their list along with my Serb friends who disappeared in May 1991 before the war even started. The war was disgraceful and a new nation arose with blood on its hands. I let it all go, one life is too short and the planet is too vast to worry about such trivialities as nationality. I digress. The point is, you justify refusal of retirement benefits based on a political stance and I am here to tell you that your logic is fascist. I doubt that will insult you and my goal is not to insult you, I’m just describing your way of thinking.

    • Oh Human – but you do insult me and want to insult me but given that you could do with some objective responses I let it through. My logic is not fascist but yours is – if you do research and see how many countries/democracies of the world DID NOT pay their pensions outside their borders by 1990’s regardless of the fact that the pensioner who chooses to live outside worked in that country you might then start thinking differently. But I doubt it – you speak of a new country with blood on its hand – well, what did you expect: that people will lay down and permit Serbs to slaughter them without defense or without the right to defend own life. It’s interesting how you know who was on whose list for killing … and one wonders why someone can call Croatia their birthright but go and point guns and knives against it…

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