23 years ago, on 25 June 1991, the Croatian Parliament delivered a constitutional decision on the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Croatia, declaring Croatia an independent State. Croatia would sever itself from communist Yugoslavia.
As evidence in the above video-clip, on that day Franjo Tudjman, the President of Croatia and the driving force behind Croatia’s independence said: “We can no longer support the state in which hidden and public aggression and pathological hatred and evil exist towards everything that is Croatian, in a state community in which we are faced with continuous threats, the use of aggression both joint and illegal in the shape of rebellion and terrorism. Declaring the independence of Croatia we are doing the same as all nations of the world do in the path to their independence, from the same national reasons”.
Narrator’s voice in video: “The historical decisions about a free path to the future were based upon the results from the referendum at which 93.2% voters circled “Yes” for independence of the state. In such a way the Croatian people had democratically expressed their wish to manage their own future and destiny. The referendum rejected all other options offered, which placed Croatia in an unfavourable position, and the proposition made by the Federal Prime Minister Ante Markovic for some kind of a democratic Yugoslavia and Slobodan Milosevic’s Greater-Serbian concept of the so-called Modern Federation, that is, of a new Serbo-Slavia. Croatian Parliament has unanimously voted for the Declaration of Independence but that unanimity was somewhat eroded by the fact that the reformed communists, under the name of Parties for Democratic Changes, expressed their voice against the Constitutional decision and the law. The club of Social Democrat (SDP) representatives sought that together with the process of separation there be a process of joining with other Yugoslav republics. That proposal was rejected and the parliamentary majority within which the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) held most seats decided upon a full and unconditional Croatian independence. The same day the Republic of Slovenia delivered its own decision for state independence. Yugoslavia was no more, although international factors advocated for some new kind of a Yugoslav community. That was the reason why a three-month moratorium and arms embargo was imposed upon the new states, which left the new states at perilous mercy of Serb aggression. But in the Homeland War Croatia defended itself and in January 1992 the international community had no choice but to recognise the new political reality on the South-East part of Europe”.
The prelude to independence and statehood
Translation of narrative in video about the referendum for Croatian independence: “In the history of the modern Croatia 19 May 1991 is one of the most important dates. That day Croatia came out to vote at a referendum, at which it was deciding about its future. The ballot paper had two questions.
Are the citizens for that Croatia as a sovereign state can enter into an alliance with other sovereign states and other republics or to remain within Yugoslavia, which would be a federative state? 83,56% of citizens voted at the referendum and more than 94% accepted the first choice, which in effect meant they decided for an independent Croatia. 4.18% voted against. 1.2% ballot papers were declared invalid. The referendum was held in dramatic circumstances of Chetnik rebellion that were assisted by Milosevic’s Greater-Serbia regime and the Yugoslav Peoples Army as the last advocates of the weakening communist Yugoslavia …in the meantime the army leaders formed its own party Communist Alliance – Movement for Yugoslavia, which assessed the democracy in Slovenia and Croatia as a temporary victory of counter-revolution. Milosevic and the Yugoslav Army assigned to Croatia the destiny of a small state that can be seen from Sljeme (mountain above Zagreb) and under the leadership of people like-minded with them (former communists/Social Democrats) … ”
23 years after June 1991 it’s difficult to shake off the threat to Croatian independence and sovereignty that existed in 1991 from the communists and as described in the last words of the above passage. The threat has grown roots in the political maneuvers od all political parties that stay loyal to the communist or antifascist groups of former Yugoslavia and, hence, it can be felt to this day. Despite that Croatia is a lucky country for it has multitudes of courageous and determined citizens who fight for progress in democracy and for settling the accounts with the evil communist regime that was under Yugoslavia. God bless them and happy Croatian national day! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)