Croatia: Bell Tolls For Yugoslav Communists


The enduring determination of Croatia’s defenders – war veterans from 1990’s Homeland war – in rejecting the still-present communist mindset in the governance of the country and the growing swell of smaller or new political parties and their followers designed to “change Croatia away from communist heritage” in essence mean that the bell tolls in Croatia for Yugoslav communists and their grip on power. The bell tolls for the Yugoslav secret police (UDBA), their cover-ups of atrocities committed against the Croatian nation since World War Two and for their command at the pivotal levels that dictate and shape democracy and economic prosperity for the citizens at large and is becoming louder and louder – in the streets, in the parliament and in quite a spread of media, albeit not the subservient mainstream one.


If you’ve ever heard and felt empathy with or uttered the sentence “this is not the Croatia we fought for, bled for, lost lives for…” you are standing in a very, very long line! The 1990’s Homeland war in Croatia was fought to defend the people’s will to secede from communism and communist Yugoslavia. Croatia won that war but, regretfully, that victory has to do with the military actions required for defending itself and its people from Serb aggression. Defending itself from the communist totalitarian practices and mindset aggregate has been a painfully elusive pursuit regardless of the fact that we are bombarded on a daily basis how democratic a country Croatia has become. One only needs to inspect the public administration red tapes and unfriendly power-hungry individuals that sit behind public service counters to realise how much of the democratic world we have grown to know in the West has yet to grow roots in Croatia.


And so, the 1990s saw the violent physical dissolution of communist Yugoslavia, but they did not see the defeat of the communist ruling class that thrives and dictates life in Croatia to this day. Lustration was supposed to be one of, if not the, most important transitional justice methods to be used in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe. It has occurred in one or another shape or form in Eastern European formerly communist countries, but not in Croatia.


As the first president of Croatia Franjo Tudjman died in late 1999, communist Croatian chameleons bent over backward to increase their assault on the Homeland War, maliciously and falsely giving it a criminalised profile through various actions by the new president Stjepan Mesic and the new government led by the former League of Communists (Social Democratic Party) and satisfy every request, whether right or wrong for Croatian nation, of Europe’s ruling elite in hopes of gaining accession to the EU. The same politically tailored trend continued when the centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) returned to power in 2003 and thereafter to today, as the two major political parties took turns in holding government.


Croatian patriotic defenders (veterans) dating from Croatia’s war for independence were discarded, shoved into the unimportant and an undesirable heap for the advancement of independent Croatia, army generals from the Homeland War placed into forced retirement in droves, helping Bosnia and Herzegovina defend itself from just as brutal as it was in Croatia Serb aggression was maliciously branded as aggression by Croatia, Croatian patriotic defenders were extradited, and tried at the International Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague laden with false and politically staged indictments. From state sources including the President’s office, Croatian state secrets were sold and put on display on some of the world’s mainstream media for all the world to see and past communist mass executioners of innocent people enjoyed and still enjoy protection.


The communists, the Titoists didn’t and don’t stop there. Corruption and nepotism thrive at the same distressingly and unacceptably high levels as they did during communist Yugoslavia times. Croatia’s defeated Serbs have not only been let back in, they enjoy privileged status while many of them walk freely, and their crimes unattended to, among their victims, which undoubtedly is, yet again, to appease the EU ruling elite while it suits to a T the communist elite in Croatia.


The former communist and current communists-at-heart in Croatia continue negating the very essence of the modern independent Croatian nation. They insist, even in the country’s ruling heart – the Croatian Parliament – that antifascism (communism in Croatia’s/Yugoslavia’s case) must remain in the country’s Constitution as a decisive foundation of today’s independent Croatia. The truth is – the Croatian Homeland War or war of independence was fought against the continuance of communism. Croatia’s communist elite and their descendants’ are so brazen that they claim Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslav communist and butcher of hundreds of thousands of innocent Croats, laid the foundations for an independent Croatia!


The continued thrust and issue for the need of the lustration in Croatia is entwined with broader debates about the poor quality of post-communist democracy more generally and often felt to be indicative of the need to deepen the democratisation process and de-communise the country. The Croatian political and ruling class, with individual exceptions usually associated with independent politicians or small political parties of the conservative grain, keep turning a blind eye to the living standard ruins communist mindset and practices are leaving behind or feeding.


Thankfully, although the the significant part of the Croatian political class often appears over-awed and out of its depth when confronted by the outside world – hence the appalling public display of defending Croatia as a nation borne out of its Homeland War and issues that carried it, the population of Croatia and its diaspora as a whole portray a different reality. The portrayal is that of struggles for identity survival and the just reckoning with historical adversities caused by powerful enemies including Yugoslav communism or antifascism as it’s called (wrongly) these days.


Croats, overall and throughout centuries of foreign invasion and rulers, have proven to be a resilient nation of people and, yet, despite the victory based on the Homeland War for independence, the thick, stubborn layer of poisonous communist diatribe against Croatian patriotism that padded the communist Yugoslavia “brotherhood and unity” still manages to stifle progress and advancement to a thriving democracy and national pride Croats inherited from their ancestors and fought for in the early 1990’s.


The reality over the past twenty-five or so years has been that the attitudes of communism have combined with the opportunities that democracy and capitalism bring. The democracy that was, at least in name, ushered in during and after the 1990’s war and the increased flow of capitalism opened the doors for the powerful and the elite (most of whom were or had ties with Yugoslav communists) to getting rich and richer – at all costs but corruption would top this fowl cake. The corrupt and non-transparent privatisation of government owned assets and companies that followed the war was a real “El Dorado” for the communist elite who kept in their hands the power-wielding boulder in Croatia. The overwhelmingly communist grip on power by former communists that continued and continues creates a reality of obscene riches enjoyed by some and heartbreaking poverty of many. Corruption and cover-ups of the same portray an image of a nation controlled by a mafia.


The example of what has happened in Croatia that fought against communism in early 1990’s demonstrates how a situation that has been initiated by patriotic elements, suffered almost insurmountable devastation, can so relatively easily turn into its opposite, into its enemy. But, it also demonstrates that a decisive part of the existing generation as well as a new generation may be able to enter politics via direct democratic actions and the street, and not through political channels of electoral democracy and party politics. So, it is time for Croatia to cast off communism and communist mindset for good. Every man, woman and child, whether in Croatia or the diaspora, should be in the business of making this happen. Ina Vukic


  1. Zezevica says:

    Great post Ina. Its about time these communists are purged from Croatia. The ones that need to be exposed are the hidden ones who are still pulling the strings and disrupting the growth of Croatia.

  2. wish a bell to be offered
    which causes all sides
    to let go of their hostile views
    and enjoy their limited time
    together on that sacred land 🙂

  3. Regarding my previous request. Vucic and Serbia need to stop coveting Croatian and other nation’s territory and cease with the mythology of Greater Serbianism before they are allowed in the EU. This should be a full and unequivocal pre-condition as part of the Accession Chapters.

  4. Thanks Angelo, much appreciate the feedback

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