Croatia: Open Sesame – Peaceful Reintegration Of Eastern Slavonia

Franjo Tudjman in liberated Vukovar 8 June 1997

Franjo Tudjman in liberated Vukovar 8 June 1997

In January of 1998, the area known as Eastern Slavonia was restored to full Croatian authority after an arduous two-year process. The successful conclusion to the peaceful reintegration of Eastern Slavonia represents a major achievement for Croatia, US diplomacy, and the UN member states who contributed troops to the reintegration efforts.

During these two years, Croatia’s first President, dr Franjo Tudjman, said in liberated Vukovar on 8 June 1997:
The victor who does not know how to forgive sows new seeds of war and evil. And the Croatian people do not want that, just as they did not want all the suffering that has happened. Let the coexistence of Croats with the Serbian and other ethnic minority communities live on … and the one and only eternal Croatia!

On January 15, 2013 we celebrated the 15th Anniversary of this mammoth effort to achieve sustainable peace in this area of Croatian territory. At about the same time as these celebrations, the Croatian government has announced (beginning of January 2013) that it will speed up measures to introduce Cyrillic writing (Serbian) alongside Latin writing (Croatian) on public signs in Vukovar because, they say, there are just over 1/3 of the population of Serbs there. Whether there really are 1/3 of Serbs there or not is a question that must be asked given that Croatian past census processes leave much to be desired when it comes to separating the number of people actually residing at an address from those who have merely registered themselves as living at an address but actually live elsewhere, indeed, in many case in another country! The government’s announcement regarding introducing Cyrillic writing in Vukovar has stirred a great deal of uneasiness, controversy, protest and even questioning by some the very Constitutional law, which according to them does not seem to be on par with the European standards when it comes to minorities and what the right to freedom of minority language use actually means. This is a topic that’s gaining more and more momentum by the day, in Croatia – and is sure to ruffle many current Cock-a-doodle-doo coalition government feathers and involve lots of political debates. I do hope though, that the Croatian government of today does know what ethnic minority right to freely use its own language means: it does not mean that public signs must be bi-lingual, or tri-lingual etc. There’s everything to be said for true sovereignty – including that in many countries of the free world one can hear multitudes of languages spoken or written in the streets, among the free crowds, but the street signs are written in only one language – the official one of that country. The times will show on many issues of multiethnic community whether the Peaceful Reintegration of Eastern Slavonia where significant accent was placed upon coexistence of multiple ethnic groups – one of which was a murderous aggressor against the others – was an Open Sesame, a successful, way of achieving true success in the goal of creating multiethnic communities, all of which in essence should comply with the laws of sovereign Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

At this time when the Croatian government is, with its announcement to introduce Cyrillic writing on public signs in Vukovar, stirring much of the still-grieving Croatian public to bitterness, it is most opportune to remind it how dr Franjo Tudjman’s leadership achieved peace in an area where peace was nowhere in sight, and bloodshed and aggression everywhere. Hence, the following article:

Peaceful Reintegration of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium

By: Vesna Skare-Ozbolt

Peaceful reintegration of the Podunavlje region was the most successful peace project of the United Nations and the Croatian government. In spite of numerous obstacles which both the representatives of the UN and the Croatian government faced during the implementation of peaceful reintegration, on  15 January 1998 the Podunavlje region was returned into the constitutional and legal system of the Republic of Croatia without a single bullet being shot.

After the representatives of the Croatian government, of local Serb leaders and of government of Socialistic Republic of Yugoslavia (i.e. Serbia and Montenegro) signed the Erdut agreement on 12 November 1995 and the Security Council adopted resolution 1037(1996) thus creating the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) the process of return of the Podunavlje region under Croatian authority had begun. Although the phrase „peaceful reintegration „was accepted in the then political discourse, for those who lived and worked in the occupied region as well as for those actively engaged by the Croatian government in its implementation, peaceful reintegration was all but peaceful:

working often at gun point, along with constant obstructions and blackmailing by the local Serbs authorities was a tough reality.

Many Croats still regret that the region was not liberated by military action; therefore it is worth reminding why President Dr. Franjo Tudjman opted for negotiations.

As per the assessment of strategic experts the military action planned under the name „The Vukovar Pigeon“, the Podunavlje region could have been freed in several days even if Serbia’s weakened army would have entered the battle; namely, they were engaged in preserving the captured territory in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the mobilization rate was low. But, when Tudjman was informed that the potential human loss was calculated at 1500 – and that was conservative assessment – he decided to avoid war at any cost, justifying his decision with just a few words: „ to me, every life counts, be it Croatian or Serbian.“ International community knew that the Croatian forces were ready, waiting for their Supreme Commander’s signal, they were also aware that the outcome of the Dayton negotiations depended on Tudjman only. And President Tudjman was aware that any military action undertaken by the HV (Croatian Army) would jeopardize the American peaceful initiative and Dayton success. And he did not want to risk the ending of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On his side, Slobodan Milosevic, realizing that he had lost the battle on the negotiation table, sent a message to the local Serb government in Podunavlje to start negotiations with the Croatian authorities.

In January 1996 some 150,000 people lived in the region, of which 85 % Serbs and barely 8 % Croats. Already, given the success of the military operation „Storm“, the local Serb authorities in the Podunavlje region were completely disoriented, the Serbian media published titles such as “Dairy of Crime: Pavelic started, Tudjman finished” in order to stir panic among local Serbs, the discontent of thousands Croatian refugees who lived in poor conditions in sports halls and devastated hotels at the Adriatic coast was growing, and Croatian public, revolted by the inefficiency of the UN demanded their departure. In such circumstances, peaceful reintegration seemed to be an impossible mission.

During the two years, the Croatian negotiators held hundreds of meetings with local Serb authorities as well as with local Serb citizens. It was really not easy to put up with primitivism and provocations by some of the local Serb leaders. What gave us strength to persevere were contacts with ordinary local Serbs as many were telling us that they did not think as their leaders did, that they only wanted peace, but were afraid to stand up loudly in order to avoid problems. In spite of constant threats and pressure by their leaders, it was the ordinary Serbs who gradually made first steps towards coexistence as they were becoming aware that for the normalization of relations the process of reintegration into Republic of Croatia was inevitable.

Peaceful reintegration produced many positive results:

•    A new refugee crisis was avoided and the attempt of the local Serb authorities to present to the international community a voluntary departure of Serb families as a „tacit exodus“, which would then be qualified (by them) as „ethnic cleansing“ perpetrated by Croats, did not succeed;
•    Demilitarization, disarmament and demobilization of military and paramilitary forces and weapons buy-back programme were carried out;
•    The return of those who wished to return to their homes was completed with the return process accelerated after the completion of the mission;
•    Law on Convalidation adopted in 1997 confirmed certain legal affairs and acts of the so-called Republic of Krajina which were not deemed legal before;
•    Agreement on the Normalization of Relations between Croatia and Yugoslavia was signed on 23 August 1996;
•    Local elections were held on 13 and 14 April 1997, simultaneously with elections throughout Croatia and from that day the Podunavlje region was fully integrated in the Croatian legal system;
•    In line with the Croatian Constitution representatives of Serb minority were elected in local, regional and national government bodies.

Perhaps the most of the controversies raised among the Croat public was the adoption of Law on Amnesty (in 1992 and 1996) by which all those who committed criminal acts in connection with armed conflict, except for war crimes, were granted amnesty. No doubt, a certain number of potential criminals from that region escaped criminal prosecution, largely due to insufficient documentation or their unavailability. This is something that is most painful for Croats living in the region. However, as there is no statute of limitation for war crimes and investigations are ongoing.

Peaceful reintegration was completed successfully, partly due to President Tudjman’s  insistence that an American official head the mission, as he deemed that they are sufficiently „pragmatic and efficient.“ The American general Jacques Paul Klein, appointed as UNTAES Transitional Administrator, was exactly of that breed: determined, realistic and not very keen of diplomacy, so much so that at his first meeting with local Serbs leaders he addressed them with these words: „You rebelled, played your cards and lost. Now, if you won’t help me, I’ll leave and let the Croats finish the job. There is no third option!

While peaceful reintegration was not adequately valorised in Croatia, the UN officials and the international community evaluated it as “a positive precedent for restoration of peace throughout the former Yugoslavia but also for future missions in the world”.  Croatia is the first country ever to end the war, practically from the very ending of military actions, in a peaceful way, thus paving the way to achieve a perhaps greater civilization and multicultural potential than many of the EU member states. And last but not least, peaceful reintegration process generated skilful peace mediators which is a worthy human capital for future armed conflicts in the world. Considering all the above, we can say that peaceful reintegration is the most valuable Croatian brand.

“For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill”. (Sun Tzu)

Vesna Skare-Ozbolt

Vesna Skare-Ozbolt

About Vesna Škare-Ožbolt: she was a legal advisor of the late President Franjo Tuđman for ten years and the former Minister of Justice of the Republic of Croatia (2003 – 2006). She is also President of Democratic Centre, the party in coalition with HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union).
In the late 1990s she handled the sensitive negotiations leading to a peaceful return of Serb-occupied areas of Eastern Slavonia (including Vukovar) to Croatian sovereigntyShe is the current President of the Democratic Centre Party in Croatia.

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Croatia, the War, and the Future’s addendum:

Click this link for Brief Summary on PEACEFUL REINTEGRATION OF

untaeschron

AND THINGS THAT ARE NOT KNOWN TO MANY BUT COST CROATIA DEARLY IN THIS EXERCISE OF PEACEFUL REINTEGRATION:

•    About US$1.6 Million of Croatia’s money (at the time when it was struggling to sustain the lives of hundreds of thousands of Croatian and non-Serb refugees from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) had to be forked out to pay for weapons buyback  – that is, purchase the weapons owned privately by Serb rebels!

•    On 3 December 1996, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and close aides visited the UNTAES mandate area. He reaffirmed his desire for Serbs to stay in Croatia with guarantees of human rights and fundamental freedoms and called for the marginalization of extremists on both sides. Most significantly, he adopted the suggestion of the Transitional Administrator to pay old-age pensions to the 20,000 pensioners as a good-will gesture for the 1997 new year period.

•    On 8 August 1996, the signing of the Agreement on Interim Co-Financing of Public Services on the Territory Administered by UNTAES, By The Government Of the Republic Of Croatia provided that Croatia would pay 4,500 000 Kuna (about US$850,660.00) for the regular monthly co-financing of public services in the area administered by UNTAES. These public services include health and social welfare, education, police, administration, operating costs and related administrative expenses.
•    Only Serbs really know how much petrol, gas etc. Arkan’s (Zeljko Raznjatovic – Arkan) Serb para-military occupying forces in Eastern Slavonia had stolen from Deletovci (near Vukovar) oil fields during the five year occupation. Figures say that Serbs took more than 100,000 Tons of crude oil from these fields per year of occupation and carted it off to Pancevo refinery (Serbia).
•    What about the endless wagons of timber Serbs stole from Croatian forests, carting it off to Serbia during the five years of occupying, ethnically cleansing Easter Slavonia!?

And the list goes on …

Comments

  1. Out of all the recent events (from the past decade, let’s say) in RH’s attempt to satisfy “European Union standards”, this one is especially infuriatingly ridiculous. I hope the cyrillic alphabet stays on the other side of the Danube where it belongs.

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    • Except, we need to say, in Croatian Serbs’ private homes, chit-chats between them on the streets and Serbian language classes, Serbian magazines etc sold in Vukovar … freedom to use their language in their life but not in official Croatian public signage etc Just as civilized, democratic world accommodates rights of ethnic minorities

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      • 100% agreed. Unfortunately most of Eastern Slavonia already has cyrillic writing and segregated elementary classrooms. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in Vukovar though.

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      • Yes I know and it is absolutely terrible when it comes to Croatian sovereignty. No place/town/city etc in Croatia should be as if in a foreign country. I think Croatia has a lot to learn about how ethnic minorities are treated elsewhere in the democratic world and stop listening to suspect foreign pressures.

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  2. Translation from Facebook: News: dr Vesna Bosanac (head of Vukovar hospital 1991…) says – “I’m tolerant but after everything Cyrillic is unacceptable (to be introduced on public signage in Vukovar etc) I’m prepared to do everything even if I lose my job in the hospital where I saved people, heroes, because of it”

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  3. Michael Silovic says:

    What really irks me is that the goverment worries more about reintegration of Serbs then the diaspora. I have no idea what it will take for our goverment to open their eyes. The faster they get people back to Croatia the better off we all are. Vukovar is Croatia and the life and blood spilled to make it a permanent part of Croatia should not be in vain. I warn everyone now that this mistake will be very bad in general for Croatia because as our population dwindles the Serbs will come back to reclaim what they believe that vukovar is theirs and we are helping to set it up for them. Do not think for a minute that the Serbs will not go to war again to claim lands. We are being misled and this path is very dangerous for our future. Za Dom Spremni.

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    • Miso Sorbel says:

      Michael, I fret you speak the truth regarding Serbia having its eye on Croatian land. There in Vukovar in 1991 before Serb aggression there were 47% Croats, 32% Serbs and 21% others (Hungarian, Slovaks, Roma etc) – and then Serbs went on their ethnic cleansing campaign, ethnically cleansing or murdering Croats and “Others” so that they could eventually form a majority ethnic group over that land. Croatian government SIMPLY MUST take those facts into consideration when contemplating any language signage in public domain. Certainly Cyrillic absolutely MUST not be used along with Croatian on public signage. If Serbs there want to use their language they’re welcome to it in their private, free citizen way but they MUST know they live in CROATIA!

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  4. The amounts Croatia paid just to regain and free its territory are enormous! It is absolutely unbelievable how they blackmailed us all along (using the international community intent to finish ” that job on the Balkan” as quickly as possible, no matter the costs, justice and fair play, etc.). While I do understand that at that time it was impossible to publish the sum paid for the weapon by which the aggresor was killing the victim – the Croatian people would definitely go MAD had they knew that!! – the current government could publish it and perhaps suggest to the Serbs representatives that – if this double language scheme will be implemented – they pay for that. I mean, wouldn’t it be perverse that the Croatian taxpayer have to again pay for something which is in fact only for THEIR benefit??!! Are we finally through with that constant blackmailing or are we not?

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    • Oh Lord – Klara – another painful reminder how “good” Croatia was/is – it agreed to impossible and materially impoverishing conditions just to achieve peace. All that money paid to Serbs to buy their weapons – why didn’t they just run over them with tanks or burned them, or was buyback perhaps another way of some “Westerners” supporting Serbian aggression to get Croatia on its knees. Absolutely vulgar! Just as well Croatian diaspora poured Millions of dollars into aid to Croatia during those years. But one knows that former president Stjepan Mesic went on rampage against Tudjman and the diaspora to, manu believe, aid Greater Serbia. When is Croatian government and opposition going to wake up to that fact!

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    • Mason Proper says:

      Absolutely shocking Klara. These revelations evidence even more the victimization of Croatia. And as far as blackmail is concerned it’s up to the Croatian government to fight against it and not fall for those tricks (from outside) that make Croatian citizens’ lives so miserable.

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  5. One country, one language. I’ve said this before but the war is not over; and no I am not some extreme fanatic. Until Serbia abandons and repudiates Great Serbia ambitions Croatia will be always be threatened. The fifth column is real and actively engaged in the destruction of Croatia. As the saying goes, those who stand for nothing, fall for everything. WAKE UP CROATIA.

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    • WAKE UP CROATIA! Yes Sunman, it’s not anti-democratic to assert full sovereignty and within it respect citizen’s rights of minority. But it’s lunacy to give minorities the same rights that belong to sovereignty!

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  6. Indeed Franjo Tudjman was too kind to those who bashed, killed and ethnically cleansed his people to smithereens!

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  7. Michael Silovic says:

    Things like this make me very angry.What part of a CROATIA FIRST POLICY does our goverment not understand.I can not fathom that those in our goverment are as incompetent as this so it leaves me to believe that at some point we are going to hand over Slavonia to the Serbs as a way to achieve lasting peace or for some kind of land swap in the future. Our goverment has done absolutely nothing for the Slavionan region compared to other regions and they are pretty much killing our farmers by not supporting them in the Slavonian region. we invested in none of our natural resources in that area of any significant to promote our country in that region and the people are treated to less then what peasants had.There is something serious going on within our goverment that the people are not being told that the region is being left behind.I would never want anything written in Serbian language other then a sign that say Serbia this way across the river. I would want toll roads on every crossing into Serbia and the tolls should be as high as possible. I do not even want us to trade with Serbia under any condition until they repudiate a greater Serbia.while I understand some want to forgive those who committed crimes against us I am not one of those people. I am a fascist , patriot and make no apologies for this. Our blood for the past 100 years should never be compromised under any condition. What is our goverment next move for us to pledge allegiance to the Serbian flag. I fear for my motherland very much.We really need someone in goverment to lead us into a new future that will stand tall and make all Croats proud and this is not the way to do it. Putting signs in Serbian language anywhere in our country will only continue to breed hate and suspicion.

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  8. Ina, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your efforts in hosting this site – it is very informative and I enjoy the exchange of ideas and viewpoints that I find here. I can’t say that I especially enjoyed this last posting because, quite frankly, aspects of it make my blood boil. Firstly, let me say that no sane person wants war and that it is the responsibility of heads of state to use diplomatic measures to avoid war if at all possible. But, when all peaceful avenues have been exhausted and your country and its people are being viciously attacked by an aggressor who is determined to conquer you and everything you hold dear – then you fight! You engage the enemy 150%, knowing that you are fighting in defense of your people and of your country – there is no other option! Do you pass a Law on Amnesty in 1992 thereby forgiving aggressors who imperilled and killed Croatians on Croatian soil, while you are still engaging them in battle? Do you opt to negotiate for reintegration of eastern Slavonija when by all accounts you could militarily achieve a quick and successful outcome? And, excuse me but “..to me, every life counts be it Croatian or Serbian” are words that anger me. For a Croatian President to utter such words at that particular time was so wrong – he basically equated the life of a Croatian defender to the life of a Serbian aggressor- if that is truly the way he felt than is it any wonder that the world was confused as to which side to aid? Could you imagine hearing your Supreme Commander value your life as he would value the life of your enemy? Would it inspire confidence in you as a soldier? “A victor who does not know how to forgive sows new seeds of war and evil” (Tudjman 1997). Firstly, it is debatable who was the true victor of the war – Serbia or Croatia- with consensus that Bosnia and Hercegovina was the biggest loser in that it’s territory was carved up. Be that as it may – it is Christian to forgive but I think it is foolish to forgive where no forgiveness is sought. Did Milosevic/Karadjic/Mladic ask for forgiveness? Did they publicly admit to any wrongdoings whatsoever or did they continue to foster and promote their ideologies all the way to the Hague? Looking back, the negotiated settlement for Eastern Slavonija was clearly not the right path for Tudjman to take and we are only left to speculate as to why he chose it. $1.6 million U.S. paid to Serbs in order to buy back their weapons; paying old age pensions to 20,000 Serbians in 1997 as a good will gesture;$850,00 U.S. paid per month for public services etc. are the financial costs of this mistaken move, but the repercussions of negotiating your sovereignty away by officially recognizing the Cyrillic wording was a slippery slope that will be hard to recover from.

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    • Thanks Velebit, I’m certain your views are shared by many and they are legitimate and sincere. The two years it took for peaceful reintegration of Eastern Slavonia back to Croatia was time most horrible for many Croatians but also times, I believe, when Croatia was blackmailed or bullied (by some Western bullies who had significant political clout) into submitting to foreign demands and ideas – it’s a wonder how we survived. It is both a sad and an angering part of our history and because of that Croatian government should do more, much more to cement full sovereignty of Croatia in the region, and not pussy-foot around Serbs; let Serbs pussy-foot around Croats!

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    • Americro says:

      QUOTE: “Firstly, let me say that no sane person wants war and that it is the responsibility of heads of state to use diplomatic measures to avoid war if at all possible. But, when all peaceful avenues have been exhausted and your country and its people are being viciously attacked by an aggressor who is determined to conquer you and everything you hold dear – then you fight!” ENDQUOTE

      Croatia did fight, continuously, at 150%, and it won the major battles and the war – a total, absolute-at-all-levels victory really as until Tudman’s death, as RH was back into its internationally recognized borders and the only guarantee for Croats biological survival in B&H, HRHB, was a reality on the ground and Croatian self-rule was enshrined in the Washington Agreement, which Dayton upheld as the Washington Agreement was a founding document for Dayton.

      Unfortunately Tudman couldn’t influence politics or geopolitics after his death – to even think that he in his wildest dreams would ever think that his people would be so dumb, so deaf, so blind, so lazy, so irrational to elect the documented traitor Stipe Mesic who would systematically (ironically, to the frenzied glee of “big Croats” like documented traitor Paraga (http://www.hsp1861.hr/vijesti/970809haag.htm; http://www.hsp1861.hr/vijesti/200720jldd.htm)) and others who Tudman beat on the political field and who never forgave him for it – and were willing, like Paraga, to endanger Croatia’s war effort and its very foundation and the long-term biological survival of Croats in B&H to get back at Tudman for mopping the floor with them politically) tear down everything Croats fought and died for is absurd.

      Even the visionary and long-term strategist Tudman couldn’t predict the “Hrvatski jal” that both the Yugoslav Communists and (M)Ustase a la Paraga & Co. pushed (for competing reasons but to both of those totalitarian regime apologists Tudman was the great evil because he destroyed one group’s one-party dictatorship while preveting the other group’s one party dictatorship from ever being realized in the 1990s) and which an unfortunate amount of Croatian voters bought into, and instead of electing Budisa (himself a political amateur but at least an honest non-Yugo, unlike Paraga’s pal Mesic) Croats elected the bearded degerate war profiteering perjerous traitor Mesic, twice.

      QUOTE: “You engage the enemy 150%, knowing that you are fighting in defense of your people and of your country – there is no other option!” ENDQUOTE

      War is fought at many levels – tactical, operational and strategic).

      In all warfare since the invention of the printing press, but especially with the modern media age of TV and internet, information warfare – which is as strategic as it is operational and tactical – is a key part of warfare and indeed states and or political actors can win the war after being vanquished at the tactical and strategic levels by an enemy.

      Being angry that Tudman maximized all tools at his disposal, in the cherry picked quotes you provided case against Tudman, paying lipservice to UN and US demands to achieve international political legitimacy, which was a precondition to achieve the total victory, which Croatia achieved, makes no sense at all (referring to your complaint below).

      Was Tudman to rant and rave about NDH from the Sutle to the Drina and or declare an NDH in black uniforms and disseminate such videos to Western journalists as a form of PR like the documented traitor Paraga and some of the politically autistic followers he had (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ3u1GIVDdQ&playnext=1&list=PL65725627369E7A35&feature=results_video)?

      QUOTE: “Do you pass a Law on Amnesty in 1992 thereby forgiving aggressors who imperilled and killed Croatians on Croatian soil, while you are still engaging them in battle?” ENDQUOTE

      If you are a supreme strategist in touch with the geopolitical realities and the constraints of state-building with a hostile UN, hostile UNSC members and all global powers against your independence, yes. Paying lipservice to things and symbolic gestures is a part of politics, especially in state-building and legitimizing against all odds.

      Tell me, how vigorously were those laws enforced prior to Jan 2000, when biiiiiiiiig Croat Paraga’s bestest friend Mesic came to power?

      QUOTE: “Do you opt to negotiate for reintegration of eastern Slavonija when by all accounts you could militarily achieve a quick and successful outcome?” ENDQUOTE

      By quick and successful outcome you mean a series of unknowns that the US warned Tudman against risking, i.e. Serbia directly and openly, with full force, intervening into both Croatia and B&H Serbia and Russia getting involved which the US desperately wanted to avoid and warned Tudman on?

      Was Croatia to risk crippling sanctions and international isolation that the UK, Netherlands and UN were salivating to push and enforce, when Croatia had via Storm won the war and it was a given fact that Podunavlje would come under Croatian control without a shot fired?

      I quote Sun Tzu’s axioms: “In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it.,” AND “To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

      Croatians really need to read more Sun Tzu and Machiavelli. Really.

      QUOTE: “And, excuse me but “..to me, every life counts be it Croatian or Serbian” are words that anger me. For a Croatian President to utter such words at that particular time was so wrong – he basically equated the life of a Croatian defender to the life of a Serbian aggressor- if that is truly the way he felt than is it any wonder that the world was confused as to which side to aid?” ENDQUOTE

      Your cherry-picked out of context quote of Tudman, and your hasty conclusion, has nothing even remotely similar to what Tudman’s obvious message and intent was. Tudman, ever statesman in a sea of idiots and amatures that he was, inverted the 30 million USD a year agitprop campaign by Serbia and the Serbian Lobby in the West, and their W European pimps, and played peacemaker – discussing war at the philosophical level – while achieving supreme strategic excellence as per Sun Tzu and Croatia’s flag being raised over Mirkovci, Borovo, Vukovar, Illok and all of Podunavlje ; – )

      FYI, 70,000 hate filled anti-Croatian greater Serbian fanatics, or at least tens of thousands of hate filled anti-Croatian greater Serbian fanatics / maniacs and their willing or unwilling family members, voluntarily left Podunavlje following Erdut coming into effect.

      QUOTE: “Could you imagine hearing your Supreme Commander value your life as he would value the life of your enemy?” ENDQUOTE

      After absolute victory was achieved, as it was, who cares?

      Politics is an extension of military warfare by different peaceful means. Lipservice is a form of information warfare. To be supreme at all levels of warfare and all types of warfare is millennial excellence – which is what Tudman achieved.

      QUOTE: “Would it inspire confidence in you as a soldier?” ENDQUOTE

      Ask the 48 HV / HVO Generals who took part in the Generalski Zbor roundtable about what they think of Tudman’s words and actions ; – )

      QUOTE: “A victor who does not know how to forgive sows new seeds of war and evil” (Tudjman 1997). Firstly, it is debatable who was the true victor of the war – Serbia or Croatia- with consensus that Bosnia and Hercegovina was the biggest loser in that it’s territory was carved up.” ENDQUOTE

      Croatia was the biggest winner under Tudman, the biggest loser under Mesic and since Mesic.

      Croatia’s military, intelligence, and police were at their apex under Tudman, HRHB was a reality, and at the time of Tudman’s death Croatia had 9bn USD debt (after a war that in damage alone cost 27.1bn USD, not to mention arming at 3X the market value due to the embargo) however with highway and rebuilding funds already in the state budget, collecting interest and waiting for dispersal. HRHB was a reality until Tudman’s death. Croatia under Tudman had achieved every single strategic objective save HRHB becoming a formal county of Croatia, which was impossible at that time and in the short term.

      The colonial creation known as B&H was the biggest loser because Bosniaks or whatever they call themselves these days voted for the Yugoslav Islamist Izetbegovic and the Yugoslav Cleptocrat Abdic and refused to heed Tudman’s warnings, the entire year of 1991 (genocidal greater Serbian aggression), and join Croatia in an alliance with a joint military command and begin organizing a defense.

      Then, after surrounding himself with a mix of Islamist fanatics and JNA war criminals whose led hordes along with Mladic as JNA officers in Serbia’s genocidal aggression against Croatia in 1991, Izetbegovic stabbed Croats in the back and attacked them – after Croats single-handedly (thanks to Tudman’s leadership and thanks to the HVO being the extended arm of the HV i.e. under a single command structure) saved them from extermination at the hands of the Serbs on 85% of what is now the “Federation,” taking into Croatia and HVO controlled areas hundreds of thousands of Bosniaks and feeding and arming them – and ensured that the VRS would achieve most of its objectives in the process.

      Thanks to Izetbegovic’s stupidity and eventual, mass Bosniak supported (and to this day dogmatically defended) treason; and frenzied UK, French, Russian, Chinese and Dutch lobbying, RS is in existence today.

      Irregardless, Croatia achieved its maximal potential under Tudman despite the freakshow parade of degenerates, derelicts, idiots, imbeciles, perjurors and primitives agitating against Tudman’s victorious leadership from within and outside of Croatia, amongst both treasonous and or autistic at best Croats and foreigners openly lobbying for Milosevic.

      QUOTE: “Be that as it may – it is Christian to forgive but I think it is foolish to forgive where no forgiveness is sought.” ENDQUOTE

      You do realize that politicians say things because sometimes they have to / because its expedient, don’t you?

      QUOTE: “Did Milosevic/Karadjic/Mladic ask for forgiveness? Did they publicly admit to any wrongdoings whatsoever or did they continue to foster and promote their ideologies all the way to the Hague?” ENDQUOTE

      !? Tudman was stating that Croatia forgave Serbs, not that Serbs had to or had anything to forgive Croats for.

      QUOTE: “Looking back, the negotiated settlement for Eastern Slavonija was clearly not the right path for Tudjman to take and we are only left to speculate as to why he chose it. $1.6 million U.S. paid to Serbs in order to buy back their weapons; paying old age pensions to 20,000 Serbians in 1997 as a good will gesture;$850,00 U.S. paid per month for public services etc. are the financial costs of this mistaken move, but the repercussions of negotiating your sovereignty away by officially recognizing the Cyrillic wording was a slippery slope that will be hard to recover from.” ENDQUOTE

      Read up on Sun Tzu. You fail to see the big picture.

      And, in terms of Cyrillic, the facts are on the Croats side.

      And the victorious Croatian Generals, on Tudman’s side ; – )

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  9. Ina, the premise that Croatia/Tudjman was blackmailed by the West into submitting to foreign demands begs the question-WHY? What did the West have that was so crucial to us that we had to pay for it with so much bloodshed? The Tudjman govt. had a clear mandate via the May 19th,1991 referendum – 94% voted in favor of a secession from Yugoslavia, so we didn’t need the West to get on board – we didn’t need their acquiescence to legitimize our cause. Communist regimes were crumbling all around us and the first,tentative steps towards democracy were being taken. Would such events not be greeted by the West as a cause for celebration? Our vision of achieving independence might have to be fought for on the battlefields of Croatia – but no foreign governments could convincingly form an argument against Croatian’s eventual statehood.

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    • In a fair and perfect world that would be the case Velebit. However, Croatia saw most trying times to achieve recognition internationally of the will of its people and without international recognition there would be no independence. Unfortunately much of the international community did not step up to the plate without first trying to stall the process, even stop it.

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      • Americro says:

        In an ideal world….

        Croats need to accept the fact that there is no ideal world.

        There is the current international geopolitical order and different aspects of it that Croatia can profit from / can help control and or guide policies and programs to its own favor.

        All Croatia can do it play its cards right and project trends on time, and position itself with developing trends while maximizing ongoing realities in the interim.

        Starting with joining the EU and Croatian MPs demanding that the UK and France allow for dual English / Franch and Pakistani and or Arab signs in London and Paris after they speak out over overturning the Cyrillic laws SDP forced through to get people’s attention off of their epic fail on the economy, using the fact that the law is a Trojan Horse for discrimination of ethnic Croats from institutions (Croats not reading or writing Cyrillic means they can’t get civil service jobs in the future), and the fact that the census figures were based off of fraudulent figures ergo invalid.

        After which the UK and France will have no other choice but to take the opportunity to shut up ; – )

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  10. A big challenge in Croatian politics is that we do not have any vision for the country by any political party; there is no leadership on what is means to be Croatian or to have a free Croatia. We have politicians that want to create a social liberal society devoid of any national and cultural identity. We lack a loyal opposition that is vocal and effective – in any other democratic country there would be an outcry from opposition parties that would make the gov’t re-think it’s policies. We have weaklings. Worse, it is a poor reflection on Croatian society and ultimately destiny.

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  11. For the diaspora and Croatian citizens we should take on more vocal means to be heard since our politicians and government are conveniently deaf to it’s citizens; although they hear very well the demands of Serbs and the International community. This blog is a great step in that direction, but we should also be flooding the President and the Prime Minister’s offices as well as that of local elected representatives. Should every blog post be sent by email to the government and Parliament? Should diaspora organizations take on a more active political role?

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    • Sunman, the diaspora should be more vocal and proactive and, after so many years of being alienated through politics of former president and some strong factions in government it will take a great deal to restore its rightful place, the place and influence it had during 1990’s. The government office dealing with relations with Croats living abroad will hopefully make a mark in this direction, short of that individuals and organisations need to continue asserting their opinion and rights. While those may fall on deaf ears on many occasions they nevertheless count in peoples mind. I believe blogs are read by many associated with government and have felt the evidence of that. Time though is the worst enemy when you’re faced with a government that puts on blinkers and says it’s only enforcing the law (eg the situ with Cyrillic in Vukovar) without lifting a finger in the field of reviewing the laws to reflect needs or circumstance within the nation – legislative power is the greatest power a government has and yet they’re not using it fully it seems.

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  12. Michael Silovic says:

    The goverment that works with the Diasporas abroad is useless. Point in fact that I have sent every document I have available to prove my Croatian heritage and roots and at every corner I am told it is not enough all it proved that I was Slavic not Croatian.. I ask for them to find documents for me in their records and I am told there are none which I know there has to be because my mother went to school and lived there. I personally believe that I am told this because of me being vocal against our goverment and it is a form of retribution. My last contact with the embassy they told me to hire a lawyer to find my documents and to process the paper work and I say if you do not have any paper work where will a lawyer find them? So then I ask if they can recommend any lawyers to assist me and they said no they are not allowed to recommend anyone I just have to go find one on my own. So now I am in the states and there are no lawyers who understand Croatian citizenship law so I have to find one in Croatia. If I do by some chance find a lawyer that can help me I then have to provide all the document to the embassy in the USA because they will not accept them in Croatia. I was also told that maybe if I did not talk so much things would be easier and I have no idea what that means. So being at my wits end I guess I am going to have to have DNA done to see if my blood will be proof enough. It is the goverment who does not want the Diasporas to return because they know that the power will be disrupted. My other option that I have been studying is to renounce my American citizenship in Croatia and hope they give me asylum. The current Croatian goverment works for no one but themselves and for their own riches. I will not be silenced I will endure in the end.
    Za Dom Spremni

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    • That’s it Michael, don’t give up and give them the satisfaction. Regarding having to provide documents through embassy if you find a lawyer because they don’t accept them otherwise in Croatia – you might find that you might be able to send “American” documents direct to Croatia, bypassing the Cro embassy, if your American documents are translated into Cro by a US qualified translator then have Apostille stamps on all your documents (American + translation by American certified translator) placed at Department of State office or whoever issues Apostille’s there and then send all direct to your solicitor. Also foreign Public Notaries are acceptable in Croatia i.e. their certification for eg power of attorney etc but that Public Notary signed document also needs to have an Apostille stamp to be valid in Croatia. Apostilles basically authenticate and validate international documents to be used in other countries signatories to the Hague Convention (Croatia has been a signatory since 1991). Perhaps you know all this but I thought I might put it through as a suggestion for sending documents direct to solicitors or anyone doing the search for you or anyone in Croatia, bypassing Cro embassy or consulate. So sorry to hear that you are having such problems – still – with your citizenship application process etc.

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  13. This is absolute bullshit. Damn these politicians to hell. Damn them and everything they stand for. And damn those who still perpetuate the greater Serbia policy while playing the victim.

    We don’t need another Republika Srpska, thank you very much. Thank you, Croatian government, for showing once again you don’t give one damn about the reintegration of actual Croats in Croatia. (Let’s not even speak about Bosnian-Croats). Thank you for ignoring those of whom may feel like guests that are overstaying welcome in a foreign land. Thank you for once again showing you wouldn’t give a damn if the very country you lead were to fall apart tomorrow.

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  14. Kat right on! We need more passion like this channeled into a productive and positive Croatian awakening. Road of appeasement eventually leads to conflict. One country, one language – it’s really simple. But under the current government we will again be under Belgrade’s control. Witness the latest trip to Serbia by the Prime Minister to beg for reconciliation and for investment by Serbian companies. Not only are the optics of this terrible, but the truth of it is that the current government would rather form a union with Serbia than leading an independent and free Croatia on a NEW path forward. We already tried the Serbian thing a couple of times…it doesn’t work. Move on Croatia, you are losing valuable time and energy.

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  15. Velebit@For a Croatian President to utter such words at that particular time was so wrong – he basically equated the life of a Croatian defender to the life of a Serbian aggressor- if that is truly the way he felt than is it any wonder that the world was confused as to which side to aid?

    Dr. Tuđman was referring to the citizens’ life (ordinary people, domestic Serbs, those who lived in Slavonia from before along with Croats) not to soldats. It was ok. as there were many local Serbs loyal to Croatia, but who were afraid to speak up. Also, it’s not that the international community was confused, not anymore; they already knew very well who was the aggressor and who was the victim. However, they wanted to finish that “Balkan business” as quickly as possible and thought that a “multiculturalism” is a good thing and should be implemented in eastern Slavonia. The pressure on Tuđman was really hard to pass Amnesty Law to this effect, and so the list of potential war crimes and crimes of war was reduced from 4000 something to hardly 100 or so. I know that when the list was first time reduced by a several hundred, EU and USA official were saying, that’s still too much….and so it went to be finally reduced to 150 or so). Here, again, Serbs played a major role, i.e. their diplomacy and politicians abroad……

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Trackbacks

  1. […] January 2013 was the month, which marked the 15th Anniversary of the Peaceful Reintegration of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium. […]

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