On 31 July 2014 the Croatian government announced its so-called “Projects 100” – an action of the State Office for State Property Management (DUUDI) which aims to put into functionality the state property, or use them as an engine of development of local units and raise significant funds, opinions and ideas to the public. The public is invited to express an interest, to submit opinions, suggestions etc by 15 September 2014; contact email address: email@example.com.
All interested parties can submit proposals, which will be reviewed and public tenders for the lease, rental, sale, etc.., will follow.
This action is about 100 prime state owned properties and 20 million square meters of undeveloped to developed construction sites and buildings. Properties are located in all counties, and most often involves the former military property. (PDF Table of properties on offer)
The State Department has in its press release named some of the most attractive properties from the list and these include villas in Lovran, Opatija, Dubrovnik and Plitvice, former political school of Tito in Kumrovec, military base Muzil in Pula, Hotel Iz from Zadar, the Czech villa on the island of Vis. Extracting and Duilovo in Split, Kovcanje in Mali Losinj, Sisak Steel Mill, Goli Island (Communist held prison island), residential buildings in Zagreb, data center Deanovec and Vjesnik media building in Zagreb.
“The aim is to put into place functionality of the real estate assets of Croatian sea and this can be in the service of economic growth and should be the engine of development of local and regional government, and it is also an opportunity for innovators and entrepreneurs, investors, county, municipality, for those with the vision and idea, “said DUUDI Office.
One property from this list that captures my attention is Goli Otok (Naked/Barren Island) – indeed it captures the attention of many. Naked Island was a high security, top secret prison island during communist Yugoslavia where political prisoners (those who did not agree with communism) in their tens of thousands were sent, without trial or any due process of justice or right to a defence, from 1949 until 1988! It was a place where the worst breaches of human rights the world had ever seen were perpetrated. It was a place of harsh hard-labour, torture and death that persisted during Tito’s reign in Yugoslavia and after his death in 1980.
Goli Otok has no place on the government’s list of “Projects 100” – it should be made into a memorial place for communist crimes, just as Jasenovac is a memorial for the crimes of the Holocaust!
Indeed the Association Goli Otok “Ante Zemljar” has recently written a letter to the Croatian government expressing similar suggestions. “We hold that the only correct path is for the government of Croatia to put forth a law that would declare Goli Otok a memorial area, that a specific form of tourism be developed for it, which would be based on the development of democracy, on human rights teachings and on the development of the culture of remembrance…” the letter says.
Indeed, today, the memory of Goli Otok remains deeply embedded in minds of the generations which grew up in communist Yugoslavia. Profound distress at the very thought of its existence during the times of communism lingers like a plague, like a bitter-angry piercing taste that needs neutralisation; needs appropriate closure and that closure can only be realised by ways that include the making Goli Otok into a memorial deserved by all the victims of communist crimes, wherever they occurred.
The coming month will tell as to whether the Croatian people, associations, businesses… come up with ideas that will see a viable and lucrative revival of the listed properties on the “Action Projects 100” Croatian government initiative. Certainly, many have come to atrocious state of disrepair and abandonment, which only feed despair and depression. It’s a pity though that corruption in public departments (local and state) still reigns “mighty” and one could easily see many a good idea fall into the gutters. Regardless of that, though, I do trust ideas and suggestions will pour in abundantly, for if they do not, one can easily visualise the government selling off these properties on the cheap to selected buyers just as it has done for most of the corruptly privatized concerns in the past two decades. As to Goli Otok a Petition to the Parliament regarding turning it into a memorial place of communist crimes as well as a submission to that effect to DUUDI would be welcomed by the masses, I’m sure! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)
Here are photos of some other prime real estate on offer in “Projects 100”