Croatia: When Flippant Psychiatry Deals At Helm Of Parliament



Bozo Petrov Speaker of Croatian Parliament Photo: Damir Sencaar/HINA/POOL/Pixsell

Bozo Petrov
Speaker of Croatian Parliament
Photo: Damir Sencar/HINA/POOL/Pixsell

The need for lustration in Croatia is at a critical stage. The inadequate and ineffective jurisprudential addressing of this absolute and unquestionable need, that serves the purpose of cleansing Croatia of communist mindset and practices, is creating destructive social pressures on an already ideologically divided nation, often stirred into contagions of despair due to aggressive resistance in dealing with and condemning communist crimes in Croatia. Croatia’s MOST/BRIDGE of independent lists leader Bozo Petrov is the current Speaker in the Croatian Parliament and he happens to also be an educationally qualified Psychiatrist, who has 4 February 2017 announced his parliamentary group’s upcoming proposition to parliament for changes to State Archives Act, which proposed changes announce a confrontation with the past by recommending that state archives pertaining to matters (especially the Communist Party) prior to 22 December 1990 be opened to the public. Reportedly the majority coalition partner in government, HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union, has signalled its support for the proposal.


When asked by Vecernji List journalist Tea Romic if he was aware that the consequences of that move could include a certain form of lustration, which has been a constant open topic in Croatia for years, he replied:


The opening of the archives is only the first precondition for the confrontation with (or facing) the past. It’s exclusively through the correct and complete determination and evaluation of historical facts that their relativisation and the skewing can be prevented. Once everything is arranged in black and white there will be no possibility for some political party manipulating the public through the use of incorrect information, and our children will learn history the way it was and not as the one according to some options.

Our aim is to use transparency to arrive at a better society. Of course there will be individuals for whom the opening of the archives will be disagreeable, however, our citizens have the right to find out the facts about happenings and people who had influenced Croatian history.

The opening of the archives is at the same time the closure of the chapters that serve no other purpose except creating needless antagonisms. I will be the happiest when news are new and not from the last century. At least we’ll be able to move from the 1945 theme to the 1990 one. Given the discussions up to date that will be a quantum leap for the politicians.


The alarming problem with MOST’s and Petrov’s announced proposal for changes in the State Archives Act includes according to Roman Leljak, a leading Slovenian researcher into communist crimes, the fact that these proposed changes also include proposed sealing off of certain personal information related to criminal records of crimes post-1945 committed in the name of the people. As these records were/are available to the public it’s clear that Petrov’s plan to open up State Archives hides some sinister intent to protect criminals against the nation and these were – communists. This in effect means Petrov is promoting the burial of the identity of people who committed crimes against Croatians as part of communist purges. Simply – will not do!


Furthermore, a major and alarming problem with this proposal is that Petrov evidently believes that facing or confronting the information or records of the evil of communism via opening State Archives will on its own heal the Croatian nation of distress caused by the non-processing of communist crimes and the often paralyzing division it causes in the society!


Petrov is either a political and medico-professional fruit loop or a twisted product of the communist echelons needing lustration – quick smart! HDZ is not looking better, either, if it supports this dangerous, half-baked, flippant psychiatric prescription for the healing of the nation of its terrible communist past.


Our society,” the Psychiatrist come Speaker of the Parliament Petrov said, “is burdened by the divisions that largely rest upon twisted facts and purposeful divisions for political point scoring. I had hoped that, with time, reconciliation would come without the full opening of that wound. I subscribed to the opinion that forgiveness and reconciliation can happen without such a step although I know through my profession that trauma cannot disappear without it being dealt with…That’s why I finally want to finish with that topic and place everything on the table. I believe that this will bring forth the essential confrontation with the truth that is needed, because reconciliation in the still divided society is a precondition for the building of the future that’s unburdened with unproductive discussions…”
So, now, all of a sudden Croatia’s Psychiatrist Speaker of the Parliament has decided that confrontation with the ugly, vicious and painful truth pertaining to Communist Yugoslavia/Croatia is the way to heal the nation. And that – without making sure that the essential elements of that healing process are actually there – such as, some kind of a law that prescribes and regulates lustration. One simply cannot confront someone with their source of trauma and deny them the avenues to properly deal with the source and sanction it, if required.


Healing through confrontation and/or exposure is a most serious matter in the health discipline and not a matter to address flippantly as Petrov seemingly thinks that just because he holds qualifications as Psychiatrist he can prescribe a path to national divisions healing through confrontation with the truth, without the need to be professional and fair about it. What a disaster. If planned and controlled carefully confrontation/exposure can be quite a potent path to healing in all sorts of mental health, addiction etc. issues but also in healing divisiveness of an ideologically crumbling or restless nation. It is, however, simply professionally and humanly irresponsible to implement confrontation without ensuring the absolutely necessary processes needed to deal properly with discoveries or arising issues during confrontation.


Had MOST and Petrov at least mentioned the need to address lustration legislation as part and parcel of their proposal for opening up State Archives from the communist era then one could only say “thumbs up”. This way, Petrov falls into the category of politicians who fall into the group I wrote about in one of my previous posts: “ Engineers, doctors, lawyers, teachers … without functional education and jumping cognitively constrictive barriers usually imposed by long-term pursuits in a particular profession have no adequate capacity to manage a State properly…”


Let’s keep in mind, Petrov proposes opening the communist era State Archives for the reason of quelling the distress within the society due to matters relating to unprocessed communist crimes and damaging aspects of that totalitarian regime but offers absolutely no proposals for lustration, which would become a natural and expected consequence of pertinent information found in such archives. Without adequate means to deal with the wounds either opened anew or exacerbated by the examination of those State Archives Petrov now seeks to open, the society will not, cannot, move forward as a reconciled society. Reconciliation process always requires, as an essential part of its lasting success, avenues to deal adequately with residual pain and having access to these communist archives has the potential to create much more pain and resentment if lustration laws and related formal processes are not in place. That is simply the historically and psychologically (if you like) corroborated fact on all levels – individual and national. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. Well, Ina could you please post the actual proposal made by MOST/Petrov? Perusing the internet I can only find reactions to the proposal from various individuals, but not the proposed legislation in its entirety. In Dnevno ( Hasanbegovic is supporting the MOST initiative and does not discuss any inherent constraints or exclusions that the proposal encompasses.
    Thank you


    • I noticed that from Hasanbegovictoo Velebit but I also noticed that he talks of inevitability or like that of lustration. The information regarding the introduction of blocking some personal information when opening archives was in Vecernji List text and also on Roman Leljak Facebook Status, I could not find the actual proposal because most likely due to the fact that it is yet to be filed in Parliament for discussion…I will keep on digging though…

    • Furthermore, Velebit, it is truly concerning that they are not doing anything it appears to get the necessary laws on lustration through the parliament and the way I see it opening archives goes hand in hand with that otherwise opening archives will be like opening a can of some nasty worms that must be dealt with but there is no legal mechanism to deal with them….so to speak

  2. Ahmed Mujezinović says:

    We have always in my family celebrated April 10 as a day of freedom and celebration. I just don’t understood why anybody will be ashamed of it. It was the 1 May that was disgusting. I can see the old communists are working…. April the 10 was the day Bosnia and Croatia got liberated and returned our dignity. It was a day of equality and the civil rights Bosniaks enjoyed in that state has never been seen before in European history.

    • Well Ahmed yes 10 April was the historic date for Independent State of Croatia

      • Ahmed Mujezinović says:

        My grandparents were proud Ustashe and considered them self Croats with an Islamic faith. They believed in the idea of a greater Croatia including Bosnia. Visiting their home in the 1970s as a child I remember I had to swear loyalty to a picture of President Ante Pavelić in their house. It used to disgust them that their beloved grandchild were singing communist songs in the school and singing for the Yugoslav flag. And they were taken to the jails several times for anti-Tito statements.

      • interesting life episodes Ahmed, but Pavelic never had the status of president…

      • Ahmed Mujezinović says:

        The vicepresident of the Independent State of Croatia Dr. Džafer Kulenović born into a Croatian Muslim family and a hardcore Croat Nationalist died in exile in Syria in 1956. His son Nahid created the Croatian Liberation Movement in 1956 a movement that was supposed to liberate Croatia. Nahid was killed by UDBA in Germany.

      • Ahmed Mujezinovic says:

        Poglavnik as he used to be called.

      • Yes

    • Ahmed Mujezinovic says:

      A Prime Minister but in their eyes he was called the president of the Crostian people. A symbolic way to show a kid in the 1970s that Tito was a criminial president.

  3. I agree Ina that before archives are “opened” that there should be some fundamental legal groundwork done regarding the scope and legal consequences of any possible future lustration in Croatia. And whereas I am an ardent advocate of much needed investigation and historical fact-finding vis a vis communist Jugoslavia and its effect on our nation and its people I hesitate to endorse any knee-jerk, off-the-cuff proposals promising lustration with one hand and constraining and limiting it with the other. For any lustration process to be seen as being effective it must first and foremost be through in scope, there must be a legal process/mechanism that is consistent, it must be objective and fact-based and lastly it must result in some form of consequences.
    The precursor to any of this however is the existence of POLITICAL WILL, and unfortunately that political will is exactly what has been lacking since 1990. No political party wants to touch this subject – not HDZ (look what happened to Karamarko)and certainly not SDP (aka KPJ) and the supposed intention of MOST in coalition with HDZ wanting to undergo an opening of the archives and lustration process is very suspicious to say the least.As we all know, communist roots run deep and run extensively in Croatia even today – now in the guise of “antifascism” in order to be more palatable to those uninitiated novices to the world of communist misinformation and propaganda.
    Let’s see where this goes in the coming days and weeks.

    Za Dom Spremni!

    • Exactly, Velebit – they’re proposing changes yo State Archives Act and do bugger all to propose a law for lustration even if attempts in the past in a round about way saw it stopped in its tracks…no knee jerks, just serious legislation. ZDS!

  4. Splithead says:

    Hi Ina, I envisage the aim of lustration is to establish the truth, for all Croatian’s to recognise the facts and then to reconcile over time.

    There really needs to be a truth and reconciliation commission established prior to the files being opened, to deal with issues arising, and allowing a voice for the victims to be heard, similar to what occurred in South Africa. As much as I want to punish the perpetrators of crimes, we want a environment where everyone can come forward and provide information without fear of retribution and hiding information.

    The Croatian people need a vehicle to move forward which can only occur with recognition of the past. I know ….this is more lenient then the communists would ever have been, although I believe it is the best way forward.

    Thank you Ina !

    • You’re certainly in the same mind-frame as I, Splithead regarding the absolute need for legislative framework to deal with issues uncovered in archives that must be dealt with under the scope of lustration…otherwise lots more divisions and bitterness I think. South Africa did have it rather right but also Eastern Europe’s former communist countries have been implementing lustration so why not Croatia

  5. Astral Tycee says:

    I wouldn’t hold my breath!, just another populist announcement from MOST, obviously in view of up-coming local elections. Those people can not be trusted, as not one promise or reform have they actually, up till now..even started??? on the contrary they VETOED every attempt that Mr Karamarko tried to implement, and at the end engineered with communists “affair consultant” to get rid of Mr Karamarko, of course with full support of Communist – “Croatian and European media”. Only true and honest Lustration, to clean all the dead wood left over from Communism can help Croatia recover and embrace true Democracy.

  6. Vladimir Lušić says:

    Excellent article Ina. However, there are problems that many people are not aware of. The most important materials are still in Belgrade. Furthermore, the archives in Zagreb are incomplete because the most controversial materials have been removed. In other words, the truth that could come out from the existing materials in Zagreb would not be the whole truth. And that’s why I often point out that the truth which is not complete is the same as a lie.

    • Aware of Belgrade lot Vladimir Lušić and there have been calls for return of that to Croatia made recently on his diaspora tours by General Zeljko Glasnovic, member for diaspora… and yes half-truth is no truth at all, more lies than truth really.

  7. I will only give you my own views here Ina on my dealings with psychiatry.. 🙂

    In some instances with the right probing and questioning healing can and does take place..

    However if not done correctly, it can open up more wounds and cause more harm than good..

    Speaking only on my own level of my experience both on a personal level and on a professional level when working with abused victims within my support working days..
    So these archives need to have careful consideration for the consequences there after. And how this held data is used.. We are not dealing with just individuals here but Nations.

    Sending Love
    Sue <3

    • Well put Sue, we are professionally close including in responsibility one must take in these matters and while opening archives is essential it must be done with ensuring mechanisms exist to deal with issues of grave concern and consequence that arise and while the latter is being talked about eg lustration no one has yet to my knowledge stepped up and brought to the parliament proposals for the legislative framework for it. I hope I am soon pleasantly surprised on this otherwise lots of pain and not many vents. Hugs

  8. Reblogged this on IdealisticRebel's Daily View of Favorites.

  9. Ina as usual– thanks for posting!
    On another note, I noticed news on Gen. Zeljko Glasnovic’s FB page documents that once again prove the the Ministry of Culture is funding work that is destructive to Croatia. Utterly appalling.

  10. fruit loop? I remember those – too much sugar…as in fake charm, oh another cereal…Charms.

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