Croatia: 25 Years On – Communism Not Dead Enough!

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic at commemoration of WWII Antifascist battles 22 June 2015 Photo: Office of the President, Croatia

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
at commemoration of WWII
Antifascist battles
22 June 2015
Photo: Office of the President, Croatia

For 25 June – Happy Statehood Day! Happy National Day – Croatia!
May 2015 marks 25 years since Croatia, through first democratic elections, said a most resolute “No” to communist Yugoslavia and “Yes” to democracy and multi-party political system as opposed to one-party, totalitarian communist regime. On May 30, 1990, the first post-Communist multi-party Parliament was constituted in Croatia. May 30 used to be celebrated as Croatian Statehood day since then, however this was changed to 25 June, which date relates to 25 June 1991, when Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia.

It’s almost impossible to find a time in Croatian history that had not been riddled with challenges – either political or economic while cultural identity was fiercely guarded amidst political upheavals and forceful foreign controls. I won’t be talking in this post about the history prior to 1990 – given that a quarter of a century has passed since, I take a brief pause and wonder: have the last 25 years yielded the results that 94% of voters visualised way back then and is there more work ahead?

Sydney Croats in Australia Support Croatia's moves for independence and democracy 27 January 1991 Photo: Ina Vukic

Sydney Croats in Australia
Support Croatia’s moves
for independence and democracy
27 January 1991
Photo: Ina Vukic

Economically, at the beginning of the nineties of the last century, Croatia had to switch from a socialist-style economy to a proper market-oriented economy during extremely demanding war times of brutal Serb-led aggression, under corruption unleashed during and fortified by the times of communist Yugoslavia, with mostly unproductive state-owned industry. The past 25 years, and particularly those after the armed conflict of the war ended in 1995, have seen some positive battles against corruption, however, little if anything noticeable has been done in eradicating grass-root corruption at local government levels or front-line government or government funded services. And so, getting something done still largely depends on “who you know” and whether you can slip a bribe into the “right” hands – it can happen in a health related procedure or obtaining a licence of some sort. At least, the impression that bribery is how one gets things done is much less palpable than 25 years ago. So that’s good! But red tape around important things such as setting up business, investment, and developing/zoning…a nightmare – still! Hasn’t shifted enough in 25 years for Croatia to be in a position that boasts of good and practical business sense.

Becoming a member of the EU two years ago, Croatia faced new economic challenges – at the time the old challenges faced due to transition from communist totalitarian regime to democracy had visibly burdened economic progress. But these new challenges are positive ones as they offer Croatia opportunities for new, robust and economically active ties within the advantages offered by the common European market and connections with new businesses and ventures across Europe despite the fact that this is occurring at times of economic downturns across all countries. The best thing that’s emerging from this is a new positive energy and healthy entrepreneurial curiosity in the face of opened new market horizons, which should – under a more capable government than the current one – see the next 10 years evolve into a much stronger, much more diverse economy and better employment figures.

Corruption and alarming erosion of both capital and productivity within the formerly state owned businesses and industry enveloped the widespread privatisation that ensued with the advent of democracy and freedom from totalitarian communist regime of Yugoslavia, after 1990. Companies bought and sold for a small fraction of the worth they once were. That was the last 25 years – the next 10 should be spent in investigations into these corrupt practices and due punishment or corrective measures put in place. A healthy, enduring democracy has never emerged on stolen wealth and Croatia’s won’t either.

On a brighter note, Croatia ranked rather well on the United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI) – a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living. The 2014 HDI report figures showed that Croatia’s HDI value had grown between 1990 and 2013 from 0.689 to 0.812, placing Croatia in a very high human development category by positioning it on the 47the place out of 187 countries assessed.

It’s been 25 years after communism was officially pronounced dead, undesirable – to be left behind in the “leper” colonies of the days gone. And yet, it continues to consume and haunt the daily lives of Croatians and Croatia’s political skies, holding democracy back, causing angst and distress at every corner. As the 2006 Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly voted to condemn the “crimes of totalitarian communist regimes”, linking them with Nazism and complaining that communist parties are still “legal and active in some countries”, Croatia’s former communists grew new fangs and new claws and, as tool for their survival, resurrected the WWII fascism, planting it in today’s Croatia as if it never died. These communists hide their shame and the crimes of their predecessor communist thugs and scum, led by Josip Broz Tito, under the guise of antifascism! Attacks on Croatian conservative politics from the Left have become extreme and distressing because they have been attempting to unravel the ugly truth of communist crimes and apportion condemnation where condemnation is due. Communists or these antifascist thugs operating in Croatia have no morals when it comes to victims of all crimes and bring up the regretful part of WWII Croatia as if still alive and in need of eradication! When if fact, the only thing they’re on about is preserving communism and false memory of communism.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Monday 22 June 2015, at the commemoration of WWII antifascist resistance in Brezovica forest near the town of Sisak:
“…Croatian society wants to preserve antifascism as an historic value, but not communism nor any other form of totalitarianism… Without minimising the victims of antifascism and the crimes of NDH (WWII Independent State of Croatia), we can condemn all crimes that occurred also after the war, without justification…”

Croats of Sydney, Australia March for democracy in Croatia 1991 Photo: Ina Vukic

Croats of Sydney, Australia
March for democracy in Croatia
Photo: Ina Vukic

It’s such a shame that 25 years after getting out of communist Yugoslavia, Croatia is still fighting communism as intensively as it did within Yugoslavia! It’s such a shame that the head of the state, the president, has a need to say out loud that Croatia will not preserve communism – it should have been out the door as soon as the war finished and more time was at hand to deal with such issues. This way, the desperation and fight of communist sympathisers is becoming more extreme and more aggressive – often placing the reputation of Croatia on the line, often spreading hatred or causing it! Often feeding a misplaced nostalgia for the days of communist Yugoslavia, speaking of equality, brotherhood and social justice – seducing quite a few with such mind-frames that really never were real. Communism from Yugoslavia in Croatia is behaving these days like a raging wounded beast. It is not dead and it is not dead enough. If all else fails, driving a stake through its heart – with lustration as its spearhead – and arranging for a funeral in the darkness of the night might just do the trick. Eradicating communism is one of the most important tasks for Croatia’s immediate future. Much to be done – still!  Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. I guess that lingering communism exists in all the former communist countries and from your description it is different from the communist parties we have in the west, which are mostly quiet and ignored.

  2. Stipo Blazevic says:

    I couldn’t agree more, they need to break the shackles of communism.
    I really like the fact that there are others out there who detest the red scourge.
    I enjoyed the article.

  3. esther gitman says:

    I wanted to know about the incident of the swastika? I personally think that it was Russia that did it or the left wing parties in Croatia and Serbia. It is almost unimaginable that a Croat who loves his country would do such an atrocious thing and harm his country in a big way? It is also possible that the Croats are already so guilt ridden and paranoid that they accept and believe everything that the media writes against them. Was an international investigation conducted, before it was published throughout the world? Was the culprit or culprits captured?Serbs are all the time under offensive because in a military sense it is the best defense. Why nothing is heard about their atrocities against the Jews during WWII? Is the world aware of the Sajmiste concentration camp, and it was a Serbian camp in which thousands were butchered? Does the world know that in 1942 Belgrade was the first capital city in Europe to be Free of Jews? The world is timid to expose their crimes against Jews and others. It is about time to write the entire history in the countries of former Yugoslavia and implicate also other ethnic and religious groups.

    • My thought exactly, Esther – and thank you for your comment. No, the culprit or culprits that put the swastika on the football field lawn have not been caught or identified which is hard to swallow in this day and age and so is the fact that similar incidents that occurred at some other games even group of people forming a swastika were not arrested even if photos identify them etc… it all looks a set up to perpetuate lies

    • that must be right, I mean Croatia probably didn’t even participate in the nazi regime as the ustashe, it was probably the Russians and serbs, croats are the most peaceful people in the world, there is evidence of that through ww1 and 2, I mean look at jasenovac, the peace camp

      • Yep, logic – and when you sort out the jasenovac victims who died there, were killed there by the communists. between May 1945 and 1948, and counted as victims of Nazis, then it will perhaps represent a truly camp of peace. As long as you understand no one in their right mind would defend Nazi crimes but also communist crimes which were equally atrocious. You, though, see no truth so perhaps you too will one day

  4. I was happy to hear President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic speak out against the need to eradicate and not preserve communism. Yet, I wish she attended the commemoration at Jazovka instead of Brezovica, where she was surrounded by Tito-loving, yugophile, partisan communists. On the other hand, maybe she wanted to direct her message clearly and unequivocally to that particular audience.

  5. Congratulations. An excellent foundation for future progress.

    • Thanks, Clare, some more energy in getting some of the old hard-core commies out of positions of “power”and then it’s “sweet” all the way 🙂 – not an easy task at all

  6. Mustafa says:

    Alija Izetbegovic dreamed a day every Bosniak will be a Nationalist today that is the reality due to the genocide. I am proud we did not stop but followed Croatia leaving that sick Union.

    • Yugoslavia was a sick union from the very beginning when kingdom was formed after WWI, Mustafa – indeed

      • Instead of calling everyone a Facist, the good Yuguslavia people should ask themself what made us so anti Serb ? looking away from what happend in the 1990s is crazy. If the genocide had not happend maybe the Serbs could had convinced us to return back to a Union who knowns….. but not now! never! rather a union with Hell! my own mother a women who really loved that Union has now memories of running away from Serb snipers. The Serbs can only thank themself of how we view them and their stupid Union. We are at the point of No Return, those who have dreams of Yugoslavia should visit Sarajevo on the National day every home and every car is flying the Nationalist flag from the 90 year old to the 3 year old on the street we are all united behind the goal of a Nationalist homeland. And the SDA party can not be blamed for this, the Serbs is 100 % to blame for the entire process. Not even the most fanatical SDA supporters could dream that their people will turn out so so Nationalistic and anti Yuguslavia. We buried Yugoslavia in the graves of Srebrenica.

      • True, Mustafa, we buried Yugoslavia – must make sure its grave stays shut and you put it well

  7. It’s not just that communism has not been completely eradicated, but a new wave is rising that has the potential to be much worse. The best position is to continue to let the people know, over and over again so that they can identify it and use strength in numbers to stamp it out – again. This is not a phenomena that is isolated, it is in countries that were once thought to be safe havens – US, Canada, Australia, UK …, the mainstream news outlets here are radically censored – and bloggers all over are trying to open the eyes of those that follow like lambs and sheep.

    from the “Times of Israel” 23 June 2015
    ….dangerous days ahead as the Serbian UDBA is playing the extremist card again! Watch out, don’t fall for that trick!
    …any feedback?

    • Watching out for Times of Israel, especially, Tempus Fugit – not an outlet on top of my list of decent media outlet, often very biased indeed

  9. Armen K says:

    From Facebook. And the battle is far from over, the coming decades will be a bigger challenge than the preceding ones. Russia’s influence will grow in the face of a weakening european system. But the people will decide

  10. Like in all of our History.. we are in need of breaking with the old regimes and ways of thinking..
    I wish Croatia well in her endeavours of moving positively forward into the future within the EU.

    Wishing you well Ina.. and thank you for all you share..
    Love and Blessings
    Sue x

    • As long as we try to better ourselves then all if fine even if certain upsets might say differently. Thank you, Sue – blessings and big hugs

  11. Tom Rogulj says:

    From Facebook: If Croatia wants to get out of the rut it’s in now how about speeding up the privatisation of state owned enterprises and crack down on corruption at the federal level by institute harsher penalties for such activity by politicians (including PMs!!!!!). Croatia is relying way too much on tourism to boost its GDP growth rate which has been decimated since the GFC (Croatia in Q1 recorded the first positive GDP quarter since 2007!). Croatia should focus on finding the next growth driver of the economy as the days of growth being driven by industrial exports (shipbuilding) are no more. My two cents…

  12. ..maybe the Serbian and Croatian governments ( with financing from the United Nations) can excavate the pits where the army of the NDH killed all of these “serbs” et al.! After the “big dig”, independent archeologists can examine and identify all of these “hundreds of thousands” of innocent men, women and children that were killed in the most inhumane manner! Would the “serbs et al.” be up to the task? It would solve a lot of arguments!…????

    • There is a reason, Tempus Fugit, why digging is finding mass graves of Croats murdered by communists at the end and after WWII and not so much Serbs, the dig would solve quite a bit as you suggest

  13. Buna ziua, Doamna Ina !
    Frumoasa Doamna Presedinte aveti ! 🙂
    Sa va traiasca !!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Cu stima si respect,

  14. Rex Croatorum says:

    Tempus Fugit such excavations have already been done. Only a portion of the 1,600 + pits (tezno, huda jama, macelj, jazovka) containing the remains of Croatian victims of communism across Slovenia, Croatia, Bih, Serbia have been explored.

    Its obviously not in the interest of the Croatian and Slovenian elite to unearth the ghastly truth as they ruling political caste are the successors of the perpetrators. In 2002 the government terminated the investigation of communist crimes/pits. As for the serbs it is no secret the NDH archives are under lock and key in Beograd and surely wont be seeing the light of day, nor do the yugophile elite caste in Croatia care to unearth the truth.

    Work by the Jasenovac commision who explores its war and post war use has begun to shed light on the nature and number of true victims of the camp. There is no evidence of mass killing at the camp during the war. In the sixties anthropological research in Jasenovac which were supposed to prove the mass killings in the labor camp of Jasenovac were dispelled and hushed. After in depth research only 481 skeletons were found, of whom are determined to have died from epidemic diseases. There is no end to Serb megalomania and myth, here you can have a view of the famous Saranova jama (quite a different picture from say jazovka, or huda jama) where not one human remain can be found, yet in 2015 under direct sponsrship of the Croatian government we must be constantly be poisoned by these myths and those (Vulin) who push them for the greater serb agenda.

  15. Rex Croatorum says:

    As far as KGT, she really dropped the ball by not being WITH her people at the Bleiburg commemoration and Jazovka (instead sending her representative) while personally going to Brezovica, in essence celebrating the anniversary of the anti-fascist lie and myth.

    Those in Brezovica are yugo totalitarians, and the name of ‘anti-fascism’ is a political con to hide their main messages and ideas.

    In Brezovica KGB tries to divide Croatian communists from yugoslav ones however the historical truth is that only when the June 22, 1941 German attack on the Soviet Union ceased the Nazi-Communist alliance, communist groups in Brezovica forest near Sisak undertook armed action in support of the Soviet Union.

    This is NOT ‘the beginning of the struggle for the liberation of the occupation of Croatia” as KGT said but the uprising against the Croatian state for the anational communist internationalist. Partizans ultimately fought for Yugoslavia and condemned the Croatian state. Original documents of the Yugoslav communist-partisan structure (including the Croatian part) clearly testify that their primary objective was the conquest of power and the establishment of a communist yugoslav totalitarianism (replacing a black fascism with a red fascism). Had Croatia ended up like Romania after WW2 then things would have been different – they were still Romania, albeit a Communist Romania. Whilst we have our former Partizan General as President writing into the Constitution that the foundation of the modern Croatian State is the People’s Liberation Struggle which created Yugoslavia and which we fought in 1990 to get ourselves out of. Makes sense? Obviously not, but it probably had a lot to do with the aggressive serbian propaganda of the time and countering the myth of the return of the Croatian ustasa baby eating monster state.

    Its sad to see the ‘ elite ‘and especially Kolinda perpetuate the lie of the brezovica uprising, in which ever way you paint it still essentially celebrating the struggle for yugoslavia, all the while the nation commemorates the victims of that same beastly yugoslav experiment in jazovka today. Although KGT cannot be accused of being a prisoner of communist idolotry, trying to rationalise yugoslav politics as a foundation stone of the Croatian state are essentially yugoslav. What little form of self conscious Croatian national sentiment that existed among Croatian communists was ultimately unsurped by yugoslav communism and nationalist which ultimately served serbian hegemony. Such commemorations which recall the liberation of Croatia of Croatians should be dispelled to the dustbins of history long ago.

    • I did try to see some sense in the president’s presence at Brezovica and the only one that made any sense to me, Rex Croatorum, was the phrase regarding getting rid of communism, you spotted my drift well, I do agree with what you say and Partisans, antifascists, communists never liberated Croatia but simply made sure it continued within the yugoslav prison…

  16. Rex Croatorum says:

    Well I cannot justify the visit, nor justify her giving it the time of day. The so-called day of anti-fascism must be rejected as a false idea that has the purpose of forging Croatian history in favor of ex-communists and partizans whose history is full of crimes against the Croatian people.

    The June 22 1941 alleged day of anti-fascist rebellion in Sisak is a forgery of yugoslav historiography as it was not a fight for freedom and democracy against fascism as it is painted today, but a battle for totalitarian communism/the ‘october revolution’. Just as the July 27 uprising in srb (once commemorated in SRH as dan ustanka naroda) is finally now debunked and seen for what it truly was, a chetnik uprising against the Croatian state.

    We live in a free democratic Croatia yet the political elite along with a few dozen dellusional yugonostalgic geriatrics feel the need to honor false yugoslav holidays (anti-fascism day), while the nation in its thousands (without the blessing of the anational political caste and its media) commemorates its true sons and fallen ie. jazovka. While this can be expected from SDP party cadre I didnt expect it from Kolinda. Shame.

    If Kolinda wants to honor true civic Croatian anti-fascism then instead of honoring false yugoslav commi holidays, honor those who from the 1920s in Istria and the Croatian coast resisted the terror of Italian fascist separatists/irredentialism when that land was ceeded to Italy by the yugoslav kingdom in Rapallo. This original Croatian anti-fascism was established by Croatian patriots from populist circles, and not communists nor partizans who can never fall into the category of anti-fascsits rather forest robbers, mass murderers and enslavers of the nation.

  17. DalmatianCroatian says:

    You are aware that many peasants joined the Partisan movement not because they believed in Communist, but to fight fascism, yes?

    I am proud of my ancestors who fought the Germans, the Ustashe, the Chetniks, and everyone else whom has no respect for Croatian people and the Croatian nation. I am proud they survived, though not all my relatives did. I can separate the ideologies to know that expelling a fascist, degrading Nazi presence that gave our land to other nations is a good thing. I’m glad my ancestor survived the Germans whom came to murder him because they found a dead German in the village.

    Last time I checked for myself, I am a Croat. My people were Croatian before the Ottomans, the Venetians etc tried to exploit our land for themselves. My people were Croatian before the Germans came and thought they could “give” us our land – while annexing it to fascist Italy. You cannot “give” us what is ours and always has been and will be. My people were Croatian throughout the history of Yugoslavia when Tito gave 2 flying fucks about us, and we are Croatian now. I am proud of the men who fought in the 1990’s – but I’ll be damned if I align with Ustashe shit. I will never suck the d**k of fascism or communism, Germany or Russia.

    I am proud to be anti-fascist. I am proud to be anti communist. I am proud to be a Croatian individual with a bottom bar I do not cross. An independent thinker. I am Croatian. I am not Ustashe shit. I am not a Yugoslav. I am a Croatian. I am the ancestral daughter of survivors. Croatians are survivors. And I will NEVER honor the Ustashe because they did and never will represent Croatia. I can separate those whom fought the fascists from the ideologies of Communism.

    Happy June 22.

    • Oh dear, Dalmatian Croat – you have forgotten that antifascists fought to retain Yugoslavia NOT for an independent Croatia. Take a good look at what the antifascists did during and after WWII and then come and curse the one side if you can stand the truth

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