Croatia: Veterans Register – the monster cometh!

Croatian Veterans Register at   Photo: Pixsell

Croatian Veterans Register at
Photo: Pixsell

Some applauded the idea, others criticised it and Croatia’s minister for veterans’ affairs Predrag Matic published it. On 19 December the Veterans Register went live, into the cyberspace – names for eternity, with pride – said minister Matic.

In my last post on this issue I feared that the register would create a monster- and it has.

Indeed, regardless of the accolades pinned to the Veterans Register by the Croatia’s government – minister Matic said on the occasion of launching the website that this was the most honourable register in Croatia’s history and that the names in the register were inscribed into Croatia’s foundations – the Veterans Register has in its post-natal moments created monumental controversies, contention, bitterness, and floods of complaints pointing fingers to masses of fraudulent, false veterans.
War Veteran’s Minister Predrag Matic says that the Register will help out veterans to easily access benefits and secure their rights, whilst “weeding out” false veterans. It has been widely reported that there have been many who have enjoyed the benefits of the status as a War Veteran even though the closest they came to the war was watching it on TV.
It seems that patterns of behaviour towards achieving personal gain instituted by the Communists in former Yugoslavia after WWII are still alive and kicking. It’s widely known that the numbers of Partisan veterans swelled enormously after WWII in former Yugoslavia, where true and false veterans alike, reaped benefits (some still do).

The fact that false veterans can access War Veterans’ benefits over decades is beyond my sense of decency and democratic government’s obligation towards its people. However, it’s not beyond the governments that haven’t moved much away from Communist “tricks and party-palsy-walsy” style of pocketing the money that doesn’t belong to you.
This week, the Veterans’ Affairs Ministry had, within the first two hours of the Register going live, received some 10,000 emails from individuals reporting false veterans on it. Minister Matic has stated that such cases are to be forwarded to the police and the office of the public prosecutor and that his ministry will not deal with them. The problem is that some claim that there are about 150,000 (out of 500,000 on the Register) false veterans and the administrative nightmare to sort the true from the false is growing by the day. Assuming this number of false veterans is close to correct it will take the best part of twenty years to sort this monster out.
All Minister Matic has to say is that the Register is a “living thing” and can be changed – added to or subtracted from.
Well, he is wrong. Veterans Register should be just that – nothing more and nothing less.
On quick search of the Register I discover that Dr. Franjo Tudjman, the first president of Croatia and commander of armed forces during the war to which these veterans on the Register belong, is not on the Register! According to those who compiled the Register Tudjman has not spent a single day on the battlefields or a single day working for the war effort away from the battlefields.
Croatia’s minister for internal affairs, Ranko Ostojic, confirmed that the number of veterans on the Register was incorrect. “I think that it’s very important that Croatia finally clears these numbers up … it’s necessary to differentiate between those who really were on the battlefields from those who crept into that list.”

In my view, it’s contemptible what the veterans’ affairs ministry has done. To have the true and deserving war veterans exposed to suspicion and derision by being associated with false veterans and parasites (as is the case in this Register) is unforgivable. Minister Matic now expects the citizens, the police or the public prosecutor to do the job he should have done prior to publishing the Register. Who, except a political spineless grub would launch a Veterans’ Register (the pride of country’s independence) that’s riddled with fraudsters and parasites? Not anyone who truly respects the contribution veterans have made to Croatia’s independence, that’s for sure. Not anyone who truly upholds the glorious dignity of that independence.
In my opinion, the publishing of such a shonky Veterans Register could only be done by those who in essence do not respect the true war veterans but who thrive on scandals, sensationalism and seeing people fighting in the streets; seeing neighbour go against neighbour – for that is what is happening: the hunt for false veterans has overshadowed the glory of the true ones. Nasty business – indeed. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. I sound like a broken record, but I will say this again: Croatians, you MUST get these people OUT of your government, out of ANY position of power ASAP! You cannot allow them to control your lives any longer and to use your for their own personal gain. A democracy means nothing when the minds of those who lead you are still stuck in this communist mentality (as you, Ina, keep repeating and rightfully so), and it means absolutely nothing when they still use communist tricks to put their own interests before that of the very people they lead. Politicians are human, therefore none are going to be perfect, but from what I’ve learnt from this site alone, this bunch are an absolute circus, a laughing stock. Unfortunately it’s not so funny when people’s wellbeing is at stake, but that won’t ever get through to these imbeciles will it? I am so disappointed that they went through with this – what an irresponsible way of creating a veterans register.

    • Well Kat, it’s hard not to sound like a broken record when the government keeps spinning idiocies and old commie tricks we hoped would fade into history. More work for the voters and I hope they’ve grown wiser in time for next elections.

    • Problem is that there was no lustration after the war, so we (I am Croat) have HDZ and SDP, both of whom are Communists. Difference is only that HDZ are Titoists and SDP are Stalinists.

  2. Michael Silovic says:

    Our Government is getting dumber by the day. privacy should be a given right to every citizen and goverment does not have the right to invade those privacies.

    Even more so when I read this quote:
    Josipovic also dismissed charges of genocide against both countries as “not too important and emotionally charged.”

    Killing our people through genocide is not important? What in gods name am I missing here. This goverment is a total disaster and an embarrassment to our country. Their is a reason they do not want the diaspora back in the country and that is they are afraid we will return and come into power through elections.

    • Yep, Michael, dumb and dumber whichever way you look at. It seems the government just can’t get down to earth and see how their moves and statements affect the people at large. Opportunists left right and center – just looking after their own job.

  3. I find the list altogether troubling and puzzling – putting aside the issue of who makes the list – is this another layer of historical construction or believed to be some sort of administrative tool. Incredibly striking – what are the responses of victims to this?

    • Re responses, observer, these are still coming but there is much discomfort especially given the fact that there are many false veterans and much time will be needed to weed them out, so that’s frustrating and angering. Some real veterans have responded positively to the Register. But yes you are right it seems to be an historical construction but it’s done badly, prematurely and is creating an administrative nightmare because of the false veterans on the list.

      • The mud is flying here in Varazdin as people learn about pensioners who were only technically involved in the home war. 4 weeks as a cook in Cakovec in 1994 does not warrant a portion of the national pension budget no matter how hard you stretch the point. It is unfortunate that good records appear not to exist thus leaving whistle-blowing as the only recourse, but that’s how it is – and it’s working.

  4. I’m not sure how the veteran pension system works exactly but why can’t they just cross check the data they have compiled for the Registar Branijtelja with data from the pension systems to see if there are those that are on one list but not the other. Those who are on the pension list but not the veteran list should then be investigated to see if they are veterans or not and those that are veterans but not on the pension list should be asked if they would like to receive the pension they are entitled to. This could all be done ‘in-house’ and not in public. Makes me thing that there are more sinister ulterior motives for the Registar

    • Everyone knows the defenders register is bursting with opportunists who sought an easy life on the state’s budget. It was only too easy to use veza (do you know what this means?) to get on a list and start la dolce vita. The records are incomplete to the point of being valueless. I see no reds under the bed here, it’s a threat only to the cheats, of whom we have far too many. Please believe me, this is a good thing and long overdue.
      Apart from the one-month cook I mentioned earlier, a near neighbour appears on the list (it now transpires) only because he was treated in hospital in 1993 for an ailment completely unrelated to the fighting. He and his wife have enjoyed a defender’s pension from the start. These are two cases within 100 metres of my home, how many others are there?

  5. P.S. Miroslav Tudman, son of the late President, is listed yet Franjo is not

    • Barack Obama is president of the US, not a member of the armed services during a time of war.

      Barack Obama is not a member of the US Veteran community, like Tudman is not of Domovinski Rat – he was / will always be the statesman and obvious student of Sun Tsu who led the veterans to victory.

      Miroslav Tudman was a member of the Croatian Army, as well as intelligence community member and founding pillar the duration of the war.

      The comparison you made is not a comparable one.


  6. The release of the register is like using a hammer to swat a fly at the dinner table.

    A major problem is that units are listed as well as “ratni put.”

    This is unheard of and is a major breach of national security.

    People go to jail for such things in normal western countries.

    What I would propose is a list of all JNA pensioners, and the 41,000 + first fighter pension recipients be released.

    Even the gushingly Titoist fanatic Jutarnji pointed out that the vast majority of NOB pensions go to the children of NOB killed – meaning that adults are receiving their parents pensions 60 years after the fact – which is staggering and absurd.

    These shameless frauds need to be exposed for their robbing of taxpayers for DECADES.

    Also, since it is not a matter of national security, it would be interesting to release the names and photos of all JNA / TO members of Croatia who did not join Croatian forces, and who commanded and or fought alongside or for the RSK, as well as all VRSK, MUP RSK, RSK Intelligence, local government / RSK government members to the public – to ensure that any and all war criminals are brought to justice.

  7. davidenriqu says:




  8. kittymenriqu says:

    Dining out

    Santa Fe(NM)


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