Croatia: President’s Somewhat Misguided Address To Nation

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Addresses the Nation 9 May 2016 Photo: Screenshot HRT TV news

Croatia’s President
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Addresses the Nation 9 May 2016
Photo: Screenshot HRT TV news


Monday 9 May marked Victory Day – World War II victory against Fascism in Europe. In Croatia, just like for example in Russia, those that celebrated V-Day were descendants of or supporters of murderous communists who, unlike the defeated Fascists, systematically built trails of despair, destruction, oppression and slaughter of innocent people for decades to come after WWII.
Monday 9 May 2016 was the day when Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic decided to address the nation from her Office in Zagreb via a televised special event, which caught many Croats by surprise and which left a great deal of mixed feelings; probably unease, bitterness, defiance and approval in equal doses spread across the nation.

Not unexpectedly, the international press that is more often than not anti-Croatia interpreted her address as an “appeal for reconciliation between right and left wing supporters for the sake of the future,” and not missing the opportunity to say to the world that in the same appeal Kitarovic said Croatia faces “an escalation of intolerance, hate speech and glorification of destroyed criminal regimes,” “referring to both the Nazis and Communists.”

There has never been a Nazi regime in government in Croatia but, hey, for much of the twisted world media that does not matter – truth is cheap.

She said the current divisions “destroy the foundations of the state.” Also, her address gave the international press yet another opportunity to vilify Croatia’s new government as “right-wing government has been accused of turning a blind eye to the surge of the far right and contributing to a surge of fascist sentiment in Croatia.”

Of course, Grabar-Kitarovic is no clairvoyant nor can she (as far as I know) look into a crystal ball and predict the future, but she could have easily predicted that her address to the nation of this magnitude and content would pour more oil onto the fires that maliciously paint Croatia as a country with a fascist renewal.

In recent times we have witnessed an escalation of intolerance, hate speech and the glorification of failed criminal regimes…


Once again, loud and clear, I will say the Ustasha regime, with its ties to fascism and Nazism, maiming parts of Croatian territory and with criminal acts of mass expulsions and killings had in the worst way abused and severely tarnished the then legitimate desire of the Croatian people for their own state.


Likewise, we must strictly separate anti-fascism, as a value of modern Europe and modern Croatia, recorded in our Constitution, from the criminal Yugoslav communist regime under which tens of thousands of different nationalities and ideas were brutally executed as enemies of the people without trial or any human rights.


The modern Croatian state rests upon the reconciliation between the children of the Ustasha and the Partisans. If we were so divided in 1991 as we are today, we would certainly have not, under the Croatian President Dr Franjo Tudjman’s leadership, realised our dream of free Croatian state…


I ask a question to the Croatian government and all state institutions: Are you aware that busloads of our young people are leaving the country on a daily basis, not only because of lack of work, but also because of the unbearable pollution with hatred and intolerance of the atmosphere of the public space. Snap out of it! Stop quarreling and get to work! …
Otherwise, this spiral of competition to justify regimes that do not deserve justification, will escalate into the streets, the tram, the stadiums, and then there will be no more chance for corrections…”


Well, it is true: ideological divisions between the “left” and the “right” are rife in Croatia but aren’t they everywhere else! One only needs to look at the US Presdential Elections or the British general elections coming up, or the French or … to see the gaping divisions filled with hate and intolerance and lies. That is the political fight that’s seizing the world like a plague.


In Croatia, though, this division is not as “simple” as just ideological, as president Grabar-Kitarovic calls it – it has much to do with unfulfilled justice for the victims of communist crimes and it bothers me very much when this fact is put in the same basket as “ideological differences”. The roots of divisions are amply in the fact that Croatia has not dealt properly with the communist Yugoslavia past, it itself calls criminal. The Ustashe regime has been criminalised through banning of its symbols etc but the communist has not! So, I am once again most disappointed in President Grabar-Kitarovic’s address as it stands for rhetoric and a kind of parental reprimand, which never goes down well among the adult population. She, one can see, has not made a move it seems to urge the Croatian government to legislate for the banning of communist symbols etc.


Regretfully, she has not in her address to the nation given any concrete guidance as to what may be done to improve the things of ideological quarrels and divisions that alarm her; she does not for instance say: I will lobby and urge the government and the parliament to pass legislation that will make the communist Yugoslavia regime a criminal regime by law not only by hearsay.


She should not go about leaving the impression that she is unperturbed with living a double-standard that the lack of such legislation points to and expect the people throw blind eyes at it! It’s not a good look for a president otherwise well loved and respected.


Furthermore, it is not entirely true that Croats were not divided ideologically in 1991, as she said – it’s an established fact that when Croatian Parliament went to vote for secession from communist Yugoslavia the League of Communists/today’s Social Democrats walked out of the Parliament as they did not want an independent Croatia. They wanted Yugoslavia then and they want it now! The alternative for them is to accept and bear at least an unwanted ideological burden of the criminal heritage they carry from being tied to the communist regime!


The only ones who need to “Snap out of it! Stop quarreling and get to work” are indeed the government and the public institutions dealing with legislature. Pass the law outlawing communist Yugoslav regime and its expressions and the future will turn for the best. Stop living double-standards, stop spewing rhetoric that reminds of former president Stjepan Mesic who would prostitute himself politically to anyone who pays but never really do much in actually disarming the residue of communist Yugoslavia activists within independent Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. In America the division goes beyond right and left. It is also racial and ethnic.

  2. There are even those in vertsin regions that want to separate from America, others want to leave, others want a monarchy. Recently in the Democratic Party while Clinton wins, Sanders managed to inject Socialism within a new g d neratiob

  3. Vlado Lušić says:

    At one point of her address to the nation President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic did say that she would probably upset some far right and far left people. As someone who can observe the situation from within Croatia I believe that her speech was appropriate and necessary. The only thing missing in the speech was her criticism of constant and never ending anti-Croatian provocations coming from the Serbian minority and Serbia itself. Such provocations are becoming intolerable because many wounds of the recent Serbian aggression on Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina have not healed yet.

    • That’s normal that she should expect to upset both left and right given the content – one cannot but expect that and she may not care about that, good for her, but at the same time she said nothing new really – she had more or less said the same before about both regimes but she has not yet made any move to actually try and get things moving forward by pressuring for concrete measures to for instance include communist symbols in banned symbols just as Ustashi ones are … As to minorities again it is the government and the president that must expect and require certain things from minorities and majorities – let loose people will take what they can get…

  4. Marshall says:

    Excellent analysis, Ina. Thumbs up!

  5. Ivana Z says:

    Great article as always Ina Vukic – I was horrified at her address and the bits you quoted stood out in my mind and I thought exactly the same as u. I wonder though how she thinks that without recognition and reflection on the Croatian history does Croatia ever expect to flourish and develop into a nation of the future. In the end humanities most formative force is the past and their roots and this I think Madam President has forgotten! Ivana Z from Facebook

    • Perhaps “forgotten” purposefully (?), Ivana Z- I wait and look to see some concrete actions to do with communist crimes not just rhetoric – we are way past rhetoric and she knows it…

  6. Branko B says:

    How can we expect others to understand issues related to Croatian politics when the historic (per)versions that we ourselves present to the world are so often skewed, imprecise, and unsubstantiated? Branko B from Facebook

    • I guess all we can do is rub that in rub that in rub that in – never give “them” (pollies) peace until they hear and see, Branko

  7. Darryl D O says:

    Well said Ina. I fear that KGK has gone way too far in her rhetoric and her unyielding quest to promote so called “antifascism” over and above the homeland war and its heritage. KGK has recently failed to show up at the marking of operation lightning (bljesak), as supreme commander of the armed forces this is an insult. Further in her statement KGK went so far as stating that the “unrest” has gone so far that we will see unrest in the streets, trams and stadiums which paints a very dismal picture an untrue picture of Croatia and the Croatian society. Today’s Croatian roots are not the same as yugoslavia, unfortunately KGK refuses to see that rather wishes to instil yugoslavia’s foundations of quasi “antifascism” over and above the foundations of the homeland war which liberated Croatia and all it’s citizen. KGK is at odds against Croatian history, democracy and the homeland war victory which puts her in a similar position as SDP when they walked out of Croatian parliament. KGK has walked out on the Croatian people, the homeland war in support of a quasi “antifascism”. Darryl D O from facebook

    • Even if she says in this address that we need to separate antifascist from communism of Yugoslavia she shows no lead to actually perform the cut – only including communist symbols etc into criminal acts can truly make communism criminal not her or anyone’s rhetoric and must be is clear to all Darryl Thank you for the update on Bljesak detail here. Certainly Croatia of today is founded on Homeland War and that must replace the anti-fascism or be attached to that, cannot leave antifascism in Constitution to mean communism as is done to this day. Most infuriating.

  8. I knew nothing about Croatia. Thank you for writing this.

  9. Sebastian says:

    There are no General Elections coming up in Britain, Ina probably meant the Brexit referendum – there are a few further similar factual imprecisions to be double checked, but overall sound analysis of President’s address.

    • Thank you Sebastian, I am aware but the issue of wide and rude decisions in political ideology is evident when there were elections, then now with the referendum to in EU or not things surface here and there to get the picture of a divided nation – which is all normal democracy, democracy was always meant to create differences of opinions and may the “best man”win”. If Croatian president puts her “money where her mouth is” to use that phrase, and lobbies hard for communist symbols etc of Yugoslavia to become unlawful then things would settle down quite a bit, a self-assessment within the nation could then occur and bring eventually a better future.

  10. The problem with most heads of state Ina is that they become the mouth pieces of the spin Dr’s who often write their speeches and advice them.. Its sad that her intentions were used to divide opinion further… Sigh..

    On a lighter note.. today pages are loading after lots of juggling and clicking, clearing and rebooting 🙂 LOL..
    I didn’t give the boot to the PC lol 🙂
    Sue <3

  11. I am disappointed with KGK. In my opinion she has a tremendous opportunity to help set the historical record straight and reconcile Croatian society. We all want to move forward but until the past is resolved we will never be able to progress. After all our ‘friends’ and enemies continually bring up the past to hold us back, keep us hostage and morally wear us down. For goodness sake we are still accused of being Ustasha for wanting basic societal things like a true free press. And as you know this anti-Croatia bias in the world, only helps to serve those who want to subjugate and dominate us while absorbing our beautiful homeland. I believe Croatia needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission made up of academics, legal experts and civil society to conduct thorough research and public hearings. This Commission should be made up of experts and lay people from Croatia including the diaspora and non Croatian experts and stakeholders; perhaps even the EU, and UN or regional organizations. The Commission should report to a trilateral panel composed of people from the ‘right, left and centre’ who report to the Office of the President. Their findings, evidence, and conclusions should be made public with transparency.

    • Concrete and solid ideas, Sunman, on how to move forward. Looking truth in the eyes is often a thing many avoid, fearing consequences or simply not liking the feel of it – but one thing is for sure: truth will rise and as long as we keep on with ideas and patience the chance for the better remains

  12. AngryBosniak says:

    In Sarajevo we do not celebrate this silly celebration, why should we celebrate the day our liberators was defeated in 1945 and instead the communist Serbs enslaved us ? instead our happy day is the day our army defeated the Serb fascists in in summer of 1995 and was standing outside the Bosnian Serb capital until the Americans forced us away. The Serbs was already mass fleeing away from eastern Bosnia that was the day our mind got peace! I did my part of that war, I am an educated nurse and was working with the wounded troops in the front from the Bosnian government forces and when the Croatian army had their offensive into Bosnia in 95 I was treating the Croatian troops! 1995 is the year both Bosniaks and Croats should celebrate not that dark year of 1945 when we got into the cancerous union called Yugoslavia.

    • Let’s trust that your sense and wishes will be realised one day soon, AngryBosniak – and that even the memory of the horrible Yugoslavia gets buried forever in shame and darkness it crated itself.

  13. I agree with you Ina. With every problem, as we pay our political leaders to work, they should have suggestions or solutions on how to resolve the issues. Whatever she said, is nothing new, we all know this in one way or another. I for one always suggest that the past be left behind, especially if we are not using it to learn anything. Instead of focusing on what is wrong, we need to be focused on finding solutions. I have lost any faith in her or this current banana government. I think although I should not speak in the name of Croats, that we have given up any hope of improvement in this country. So long as we have to import 70% and export only 30%, we cannot improve economically. We have many, many problems facing us from young people leaving, doctors leaving, our medical system is horrific, let’s not talk about the money we pay for all day meetings that end up without any resolutions or results. I wish I could be more positive at this moment in time.

    • And then when we see the parliament seats empty when they should be full, day in day out, when voting for new laws or matters should be removed from agenda as done, we think: where are those highly paid people? Having lunches or coffee at taxpayers expense as well? Oh, such hopeless things, Ines.

      • I am going to say something here that may offend some people, but please understand I am merely sharing my views. My father was a political activist in Canada, he called himself a Croat but I always resented him for taking me there because I believed at the time that a real Croatian will not abandon his country regardless. Although I understand that it’s difficult and that everyone has the right to live their lives and earn a living for their families, I also think we all need to take responsibility for what is happening. We are too passive, we are not speaking up enough, we are not demanding answers, and we are certainly not UNITED Croatians and that is what keeps us in this horrific situation. If only 20% of us came together and created a revolution, we could easily win.
        My parents immigrated so I had no choice, but I returned at the age of 47 and it was not easy. I love my country but I hate what they are doing to it.

      • I understand you completely,Ines – I know many who had returned and stayed and many who left again…there surely must be a way to open up Croatia the way that good living deserves and it seems the only way that is going to happen is by a revolution or something like it – democracy and opportunities to succeed do not seem to come easy there despite many trying to help along the way, so I too tend to think that wrong people keep getting to the top where tides are turned or held back…

  14. Velebit says:

    Somewhat misguided”. I could think of a few stronger words to describe Pres. Grabar-Kitarovic’s latest public statement that yet again is leaving Croatians shaking their heads in disbelief. Is this the same President that promised upon her inauguration: “You have placed your trust in me, and I will report to you! I will be your voice, I will be your president. I am one of you and I will do my best to make Croatia a rich country….. The new president expressed special gratitude to “all those Croatian sons and daughters known and unknown, who, in the thousand years of fighting for Croatian independence, built their lives in the foundations of the modern Croatian state.”(The Dubrovnik Times,15.02.2015).??? Curious and contradictory to her most recent thoughts….

    “In recent times we have witnessed an escalation of intolerance, hate speech and the glorification of failed criminal regimes…”
    Isn’t it significant that upon hearing this, one doesn’t even consider the possibility that OUR President is speaking about the Communist glorification of THEIR criminal regime and THEIR intolerance and hate speech? We know instantly to whom she is referring and that she considers that target to be one more deserving of our vilification. Far from being objective or at least non-partisan about that period in our history,she has chosen to place herself firmly on the anti-Croatian or Partisan/Communist side of the equation. Moreover, has she herself not been complicit in agitating the situation? (May 2015- antifascist nono and nona , July 2015 Israel visit apology and NDH bashing, April 2016 – no personal visit to either Bleiburg or Jasenovac, April 2016 – Ustase su bili zlocinci a Hrvati su antifascisti speech etc) Are these the President’s examples of reconciliation attained via the pursuit of justice? Are these her attempts at being faithful to ALL those whom she swore she would protect? She is the one escalating tensions by glorifying her mythical antifascists, vilifying Ustase and being unwilling to advocate the investigation and prosecution of communist crimes.

    “Once again, loud and clear, I will say the Ustasha regime, with its ties to fascism and Nazism, maiming parts of Croatian territory and with criminal acts of mass expulsions and killings had in the worst way abused and severely tarnished the then legitimate desire of the Croatian people for their own state.” This President, of whom much was expected due in large part to her own pre-election promises, has bitterly disappointed those she swore an oath to protect and represent. She has once again, as have all the other Presidents before her, thrown in with the communists and their vitriolic condemnation of NDH and Ustase. Does she forget or choose to be ignorant of the fact that NDH was born out of a centuries long yearning for and independent Croatia and that April 10th 1941 was and still is a cherished day of celebration for millions of Croatians worldwide? She chooses not to recognize that those who supported NDH were true patriots who, as their Domovinski branitelji counterparts 50 years later, fought a defensive war against a common enemy. She does not respect that struggle for statehood, that fight against all odds, and the enormous loss of life that was suffered at the hands of Tito and his ‘banda’ because if she did, she could not utter those hateful words. Is this the special gratitude for “all those Croatian sons and daughters known and unknown, who, in the thousand years of fighting for Croatian independence, built their lives in the foundations of the modern Croatian state.”?
    She sounds like Josipovic and his ilk, spewing hatred and yes, spitting upon our Croatian dead. Do they deserve yet another “Croatian” statesperson calling them fascists, calling them criminals? Is this her idea of piety towards her fellow countrymen? Who speaks for them? Who is their President?

    “Likewise, we must strictly separate anti-fascism, as a value of modern Europe and modern Croatia, recorded in our Constitution, from the criminal Yugoslav communist regime under which tens of thousands of different nationalities and ideas were brutally executed as enemies of the people without trial or any human rights.”
    Firstly and most obviously the words “tens of thousands”?? Where did she pull that number out of – The Red Handbook?
    Secondly, there is a new strategy afoot where the delicate operation of splitting hairs is underway. The operation involves the political amputation of “antifascists” from the “communist” corpus. We are now being conditioned to believe that there is a distinction between “antifascsists” and “communists”, and so begins another revision of history. Since Croatia is now a part of EU, there has arisen a need to more closely parallel European values of antifascism and to effect this the Croatian “antifascists” had to be exhumed, dusted off and rehabilitated into a more palatable version of their former selves in order for the Croatian public to more easily swallow this new drivel! Unlike the European experience where the antifascists successfully liberated their people from foreign occupation, in Croatia, the terms antifascist and communist were used interchangeably and the victors here failed to either liberate or protect their citizenry – to the contrary, their victory marked the imposition of a brutal communist regime that killed a whole generation of Croatians. The upwards of 1000 mass graves that dot the territory of former Yugo. are testament to the identicalness of the antifascists/communists. In Croatia, antifascists did not distinguish themselves, neither before, during, after WWII nor indeed not even in the subsequent 20+ years of modern Croatia. Did anyone ever hear of an “Antifascists Against Tito” rally? Were “antifascists” as a group petitioning the international community to support Croatia during the Homeland War? Did they contribute monetarily or otherwise to the establishment of modern Croatia? Has any “antifascist” representative ever gone on record to disclaim the Partisan/Communist movement?

    “The modern Croatian state rests upon the reconciliation between the children of the Ustasha and the Partisans. If we were so divided in 1991 as we are today, we would certainly have not, under the Croatian President Dr Franjo Tudjman’s leadership, realised our dream of free Croatian state…” Yes, Tudjman tried and failed, as will any politician who does not address the fundamental injustices that have taken place. Until there has been a proper lustration and purging of the system, there can be no reconciliation.

    Za Dom Spremni!

    • I chose “Somewhat” misguided word, Velebit, because she did not nor does she go beyond declaring communist Yugoslavia regime as criminal – she does not insist on laws to declare it criminal through legislating banning its symbols its everything. Now – the next step from rhetoric would in my view be pressing for legislative changes since nostalgia for communism won’t die a natural death…and it is so important communism dies in Croatia.

  15. I think the sentiment of people across many countries right now is very similar – we love our ‘country’ but we hate what the government and outside shadows are doing to destroy it from within. I think listening to the real people instead of the media is important because the frame of mind is so completely diabolically opposite from what you hear. We have lost the ability to be We The People, and just cower and follow like sheep to slaughter. It is sad, and outrageous and yet seems inevitable when considering how powerful the true governing bodies have become.

    • Very sad, Helena, in particular the fact that “looking after number one”/self at any social cost (not to speak of $) is spreading as terminal diseases do…so some form of “revolution” likely on the books in not too distant future I think

  16. Rex Croatorum says:

    Velebit is spot on, the masks have fallen. Funny how Kolindas rhetoric has changed since becoming President. She not longer needs ‘right’ votes. Even you Ina, it seems are finally seeing through Kolinda’s empty rhetoric of unity/getting off the Kolinda koolaid and seeing something ive been saying from the beginning. She’s a smiling fraud. There is no divide between the sons of Ustase and Partizani, only a divide of those who are for the Croatian state and those who never were and still arent. There is not and can never be reconciliation between Croatian patriots and the so-called anti-fascists, a modern/gentler term for adherents of anational yugoslav communist totalitarianism, nor does reconciliation and unity happen by condemning both regimes, putting them on the same level (theyre not), and moving forward by forgetting. This is impossible for while one crimes were pushed and multiplied a thousand fold (NDH) to discredit the Croatian nation and cause of self determination, the others (yugoslav) were hidden and suppressed for decades and or outrightly denied. But the hundreds of mass graves do not lie. We can thank the tireless work of individuals like Ljeljak who for instance after opening up Huda Jama (3,000 victims) said he will now go on to expose Pevocnik ‘a super huda jama’ holding upwards of 15,000 Croatian victims. As of late mental communists have lashed out ferociously and cannot sleep because the truth about their past and criminal ideology is haunting them and slowly being exposed. The truth is all available, hidden in mass graves and in the basement archives of SKJ, OZNA, UDBA etc. but it seems there is no political will from Croatia to re-write the narrative and truth. And why would there be many draw lineage from those same criminals. Tomislav Nikolic on the occassion of the ‘liberation’ of Donja Gradina speaks of 700,000 Jasenovac victims while in the same news day in another column Kolinda speaks of wholeheartedly supports serbian ascession to the EU. Who is crazy here? A president of a country which for four years occupied 1/3 of Croatia commiting mass massacres if allowed to speak such lies, and take such lies into the EU with him? Where is the reaction of the Croatian president and diplomacy, or is constant serb megalomania and lies all ok in the name of good friendly relations amongst neighbours? Shame.

    • You are right in many points Rex Croatorum but Kolinda has done two major moves towards communist crimes: took Tito bust out of president’s office and called communist Yugoslavia a criminal regime BUT falls alarmingly short of actually lobby for legislative changes in Croatia to make it criminal in word and deed so to speak. This is disappointing and am still waiting for that to be announced if at all – art least that would limit the insufferable “antifascist” rhetoric and hate speech. I’m the first to admit I was wrong but am not yet convinced even if I am leaning towards it as you well see from my articles. It’s great to be independent and free in space where a spade is called a spade 🙂

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