Croatia: Franjo Tudjman Finally Stands Tall As National Unity Deemed Paramount

President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Unveils the bust of Franjo Tudjman among Croatian greats 19 February 2016 Photo: Goran Mehkek / CROPIX

President of Croatia
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Unveils the bust of
Franjo Tudjman
among Croatian greats
19 February 2016
Photo: Goran Mehkek / CROPIX


President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has Friday 19 February 2016 on the occasion of marking one year in office hosted within “Days of open doors” a ceremony of unveiling at the foyer of the Office of the President in Zagreb a bronze bust by sculptor Kruno Bosnjak of Croatia’s first president Franjo Tudjman.


bust of Franjo Tudjman by sculptor Kruno Bosnjak placed among Croatian greats at Office of the President of Croatia 19 February 2016

bust of Franjo Tudjman
by sculptor Kruno Bosnjak
placed among Croatian greats
at Office of the President of Croatia
19 February 2016

The bust of Franjo Tudjman unveiled represents the gift given in 1996 to the Office of the President of Croatia by its author way back in 1996 and it had been gathering dust in storage there for almost 20 years. Of course it would have been in bad taste and rather vain had Franjo Tudjman placed it on display there himself while in office; he died in 1999 and since then until a year ago the communist-die-hard presidents Stjepan Mesic and Ivo Josipovic who promoted nostalgia for communist Yugoslavia were not about to bestow the deserved honour to Tudjman as one of the Greats of Croatian freedom by placing his bust among other greats. On the contrary, they went about vilifying him internationally with lies and deceit regarding Croatia’s Homeland war, assisting the international community that was on the trail of equating the victim (Croatia) with the aggressor (Serbia). President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic had in both a popular and unpopular move removed the bust of communist Yugoslavia’s dictator Josip Broz Tito from the same spot in the foyer of the Office of the President a mere few weeks into her presidency and instead of that communist criminal Tito there is now the bust of Franjo Tudjman in that hallowed place of Croatian freedom – Tudjman’s bust now sits among Croatian greats that were King Tomislav, Ivan Mazuranic, Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer, Ante Starcevic, Stjepan Radic and Blessed Aloysius Stepinac.


What a great day for Croatia 19 February 2016!


Grabar-Kitarovic said that she believes politicians have a duty to spend time among citizens and listen to their assessments and opinions. “Gatherings such as this one with you, which encourage and give me strength to work for the well-being of our Homeland, are most important to me,” said president Grabar/Kitarovic at the ceremony.

She said that the day was also very special because of the unveiling of Franjo Tudjman’s bust and added: “If anyone has deserved for his or her bust to be displayed here, in this house on Pantovcak, it is the first president dr. Franjo Tudjman who in this place had delivered key decisions during hardest of times for the future of our Homeland.” She added further that Tudjman’s politics were those of reconciliation without which it’s difficult to imagine the achievement of those goals we have realised, liberated and built our independent Croatia.

Franjo Tudjman's bust at Office of the President of Croatia in ceremony of unveiling 19 February 2016 Photo:

Franjo Tudjman’s bust
at Office of the President of Croatia
in ceremony of unveiling
19 February 2016


It’s now up to us,” she said, “the new generation to take Croatia further into a better life for all of us in Croatia,” and added that it is actually the politics of togetherness that joins onto the politics of reconciliation. She said that the politics of togetherness she promotes “does not mean single-mindedness but rather that we all work together at goals of better living standards, better opportunities for the youth so they remain in Croatia and joint building and achievement of goals of economic and social development of our Homeland.”


Croatia’s news agency HINA reported Saturday 20 February 2016 that President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has said in an interview with the Jutarnji List daily, marking one year in office of president of Croatia, that Croatia needs reforms, she called on the government and the Opposition to invest their energy into improving the life of Croatian citizens and announced that after the first 100 days of this government in office she would launch the initiative aimed at calling a session to discuss critical joint issues of the foreign and defence policy and national strategic and development issues.
Grabar-Kitarovic said that in the atmosphere of political divisions it was difficult to work on the necessary reforms. Commenting on ideological divisions, the president called for calming of tensions adding that Croatia’s society needed a more civilised political communication. She also called on the Opposition to aim their energy towards issues that would improve the life of Croatian citizens.
Of course, the role of the Opposition is to criticise every bad move the government makes, but let’s be objective, the government hasn’t even been in office for 100 days which is a democratic standard for the first assessment of its work,” she stressed.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic of Croatia unveils a bust monument to Franjo Tudjman Croatia's first president Photo: Goran Mehkek/Cropix

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic of Croatia
unveils a bust monument to
Franjo Tudjman
Croatia’s first president
Photo: Goran Mehkek/Cropix

Asked about her objectives for the second year of her term in office, the president said that, in a way, she was starting over. “We have the new government to which I extend my hand of cooperation, just as I have to the previous government,” she added.
Grabar-Kitarovic said that the government led by Tihomir Oreskovic would have an opportunity to carry out a number of initiatives she launched, such as “the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea initiative” which had a potential and was necessary for the process of building infrastructure, transport, energy and other projects connecting the south and the north of Central Europe, as well as for the job creation.
The president said she would continue to focus on the protection of the Croat people in Bosnia and Herzegovina and care for the neighbourhood in general so as to secure permanent peace and stability.
The president announced that after the first 100 days of this government in office, she would launch an initiative to call a session which would focus on joint issues of the foreign and defence policy and Croatia’s strategic development issues.

President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-KItarovic meets Croatia's citizens at her office as part of "Days of Open Doors" initiative Foto: Goran Mehkek / CROPIX

President of Croatia
Kolinda Grabar-KItarovic
meets Croatia’s citizens
at her office as part of
“Days of Open Doors” initiative
Foto: Goran Mehkek / CROPIX

Calling for national unity to help revive the battered economy is a universal concept especially in countries historically divided by differing ideologies and Croatia stands among those. The prominence of ideological divide between anti and pro communists, or better said anti and pro former Yugoslav communists vis-à-vis Croatian independence, its emergence through rivers of blood spilled in 1990’s war of Serb aggression and its constant battles with obstacles from former communists or their loyal descendants mean that adequate unity cannot be achieved in Croatia until the communist past, especially its criminal past is put to a deserved rest, i.e. until a fair degree of lustration is implemented.


Hence the times are here when both the government and president of Croatia, having now acknowledged the blanket damaging to progress ideological disunity represents for the future of Croatia, need to act decisively and firmly on matters of lustration. Taking out of key positions in public administration those who were active in or who keep protecting the communist Yugoslavia ways and regime. This does not of course mean that ideological divide will cease to be once lustration is done, but it does mean that public space in Croatia will no longer be burdened with protecting and justifying the former communist Yugoslavia regime together with its unspeakable crimes and that would surely pave the way for progress in all domains of life in Croatia. So, President Grabar-Kitarovic and the current government of Croatia should put their money where their mouth is and start official lustration rather than giving more speeches about unity and how Croatia needs it.
Croatia needs to look at a future where it embraces the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed. The old approaches to quelling ideological disunity from the past have basically been not doing anything substantial in condemning communist crimes. Croatia needs a future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility – that is what way back in 1990 and before Franjo Tudjman meant with his polices of reconciliation between past ideological opponents and enemies within Croatia. Croatia needs a future where all Croats, whatever their ethnic or religious origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of Croatia.

Franjo Tudjman Photo:

Franjo Tudjman Photo:

There comes a time in the history of nations when their peoples must become fully reconciled to their past if they are to go forward with confidence to embrace their future.

Croatia has reached such a time.

In a true spirit of reconciliation Croatia needs to open a new chapter in its history – it needs to confront and condemn all crimes committed by the regimes of its WWII and communist Yugoslavia past and particularly those of the communist regime given that crimes of the WWII Ustashe regime have largely been dealt with through the condemnation of the Holocaust and the prosecution of any individuals found to have had a role in it.  Franjo Tudjman died without concluding his Croatian healing mission (reconciliation of the past) and the installing of his bust at the highest of places in Croatia on Friday 19 February 2016 can indeed be seen as a start to completing that reconciliation with history that will lead to prosperity with democratic freedom in Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. Za Dom Spremni.

    • Always ready – Sunman 🙂

      • isn’t that a nazi salute?

      • No logika but people like you are trying very hard to make it so – not succeeding as Za Dom Spremni simply means For Home Ready to defend home to fight for home etc and it’s centuries old salutation among Croats it did not emerge during WWII

      • well ina,

        the swastika was traditionally a sign of good fortune and well being. however hitler chose it as the symbol for his fascist regime. So “za dom spremni” may have been a peaceful meaning long ago, however its usage in WW2 has clearly tarnished it much like the swastika.

        bit of information for you there love

      • Well logika, you cannot compare the two in that or any other way – Germans did not use the Swastika as a greeting or symbol of solidarity with homeland before Hitler while Croats used Za Dom for hundreds of years. Za Dom Spremni may have been sullied by WWII Ustashe in Croatia but you forget that barely 25% of Croats were for the Ustashe regime during WWII and there were many more who used Za Dom Spremni outside it.

      • so only 25% of Croatians were ustase? yet all of them speak proudly of ante pavlovic

        I never questioned the meaning of za dom spremni. I know what it means. But after its usage during ww2 by the ustase it has been recognised as a nazi fascist salute. maybe if croats weren’t fascists they wouldn’t use the sentence

      • Don’t know who Ante Pavlovic is logika but it’s absolutely not true that all Croats speak proudly of anyone especially given the political and ideological divide but given that it’s easy to guess where you’re coming from – do not bother try and place all people of one nation into same basket like you’re doing here – so will not accept any more insulting innuendos from you thank you, you’ve had you moment and failed

  2. An excellent post, Ina, on a truly fine occasion

    Much love


  3. It’s pretty crazy to realise that the first president of the Republic of Croatia had not been recognised in such a way by the two former Presidents. It took us all this time to finally get a President who reocngises his symbolical significance to Croatia.

    As for lustration – look at how crazy the communists at heart are over the current government. Their shrieks and misinformation campaigns will only get louder if the push for lustration goes ahead. It needs to happen regardless, but Croatia must finally be assertive and offensive when it comes to its national interests.

    • I agree with you, Kat – if an offensive on values of communism doesn’t get serious and determined Croatia will crumble as a prosperous thriving democracy.

  4. Good morning Ina !
    An excellent post ! 🙂
    Thank you for “follow” ! 🙂

  5. A great post Ina. What a very sensible lady the President is.Not only extending the hand of co-operation to the previous Government for the betterment of Croatia but also extending that same hand to the new Government. Only by this co-operation will Croatia forge ahead with lustration and identify all those who were criminals in the past but all those with links t the Communist regime that are intent on holding Croatia back from it’s rightful place in Europe and as a lead Nation within the old Yugoslav group.
    One day I hope a bust of her will also occupy a plinth amongst the I hope one day Croatia will occupy a great place in Europe without the bitterness of the Communists trying to bring back times where they ran things and were happy to crush thoughts of Croatian freedom and democracy.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    • Yes she’s definitely showing that good old wisdom of “slowly but surely” it seems David – God give her strength for she has a huge burden so Croats get their deserved place up high among nations of freedom. Hugs and hugs back my friend 🙂

  6. About time he was recognised properly! A true Croatian!

  7. From article. “It’s now up to us,” she said, “the new generation to take Croatia further into a better life for all of us in Croatia,”

    It is not “the people” who are holding Croatia back. It is the politicians that need to do the right things and move Croatia forward.

    Ina, do you have an analysis of what Kolinda has accomplished in her first year in office? What are her top 6 accomplishments?

    I mean real accomplishments. Removing a Tito bust and replacing it with a Tudman bust, while ideologically symbolic, is not a real nation-building accomplishment.

    • Oh but I think that removing Tito and placing Tudjman is very much a nation building exercise, Zeljko. It helps bring home the truth of why Croatia is now independent and that independence is foundation of accomplishing betterment in economy, law etc which I presume you have in mind. I agree with you totally that it is the politicians that need to do the right things and if the president stops at the bust of Tudjman then unity will fail. Lustration must occur in methodical, orderly and fair fashion; no emotions there to be spent. Most of her first year was spent fighting off the boulders from Social Democrats but I do expect to see more concrete action for progress with the new government where there seems to be a dialogue and mutual respect. I have not tight analysis but I shall try and do one Zeljko, it’s something that needs to be done

      • I want to believe but I need a reason to believe.

        KGK’s first 100 Days came and went without anything memorable.
        KGK’s First Year has come and gone and I can’t think of anything quite memorable.
        – result is that she appears more like a bureaucrat than a stateswoman

        Many people say that “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior”. What can I extrapolate into the next 4 years based on the last year?

        My comments do not come from negativity and criticism because I truly do want something great to happen for Croatia. I want the president to do something memorable. We deserve it.

        “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
        ― Theodore Roosevelt

      • Zeljko I think criticism is welcome and blind following regardless of actions leads nowhere but down. You need to define “memorable” and then we can look around that otherwise it’s waiting for that something, not sure of but will know when it happens … there is direction with her and bureaucrats don’t have direction they simply plod along with whatever is given them…

    • therealamericro says:

      Well I’ll tell you one thing Zeljko, she didn’t go to the Knesset and talk about her Ustasha fetish like Josipovic.

      As a matter of accomplishments, I would say her going to the Visegrad 4 conference – denounced by SDP – was a major achievement that beats both Mesic’s and Josipovic’s entire mandates.

  8. Michael Silovic says:

    It took a women to put a real man in his place. Sadly the other cowards were to weak like little boys and will never compare to the greatness of Tudjman. I love our Croatian Iron Lady. Waiting for great things to come and no one should believe it will happen in 100 days. Great things take time to accomplish. In america politics people look at the first 100 days as an accomplishment because they know the next 4 years will be disastrous. Our American educated Croatian president even understands this and knows there is no reason to rush into anything. Better to go slow and steady and have a vision for long term results.

  9. What do you think of those red uniforms?

    • Love the old traditions of guards – they’ve become as popular and as tourist attraction as the Beefeaters in UK 🙂 I guess historically somewhat similar

  10. From all I read within your articles dear Ina, it appears that the President of Croatia is using her wisdom … Let us hope others are using theirs..
    Love and Blessings dear Ina… <3 xxx

  11. You know what always stands out in your blogs is your Nationalism, your faith and belief and love for your people and country and one can not help but admire that…

    • Aw thank you Helena, to me Nationalism means love for your country as in patriotism and in that I would love for everyone to have a great life, which of course is not always possible but if there are enough people with such love then much can be achieved. Cheers

  12. therealamericro says:

    QUOTE: well ina,

    the swastika was traditionally a sign of good fortune and well being. however hitler chose it as the symbol for his fascist regime. So “za dom spremni” may have been a peaceful meaning long ago, however its usage in WW2 has clearly tarnished it much like the swastika.

    bit of information for you there loveENDQUOTE

    That applies to Bozja Pravda, the Serbian flag and the Red Star in any context?

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