Croatia: Distressing Taste Of Red

Celebrating 22 anniversary
of Croatian Operation Storm
in Knin 5th August 2017
Photo: Dusko Jeremez/Pixsell

As far as many are concerned, wearing a red dress (red being the colour symbol of communism that has mass murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent Croats until 1990) scored no positive points but those of unease for the president of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, at the official state celebration 5 August in the town of Knin of Croatia’s victory over Serbian aggressor and communist Yugoslav forces in 1995. This non-point-scoring of the red dress becomes particularly pertinent and offensive when, on the same day, arrests were made in the same town, at the same celebration, of several Croatian men including veterans, who fought in the 1995 liberating Operation Storm under HOS (Croatian Defence Force) insignia “Za Dom Spremni”, for calling out in pride “For Home Ready” (Za Dom Spremni) – the salutation persistently and wrongfully being associated with WWII Croatian Ustashe regime, by the former communists especially, even though its roots reach far beyond WWII into Croatian proud history!

While generally a red dress may look good and glamorous, on occasions like this one, where pride in victory over communism and bloody Serb aggression is celebrated, those in power must display absolute and thorough political and moral sensitivity to their people’s plights, to the plights for which thousands lost their lives while hundreds of thousands of Croats and other non-Serbs were ethnically cleansed from their homes and Croatia devastated. Evidently this was not the case in Knin on Saturday 5 August 2017. And that is sad and distressing!

5th August 2017 – 22nd anniversary of Croatia Victory Day also celebrating Day of Homeland Gratitude and Croatian Defender’s Day. Croatia’s entire political leadership, war veterans and about 8,000 people officially celebrated in Knin its victory over Serb rebels and Serb forces in 1995’s military Operation Storm.


Operation Storm was the time when Croatian defence forces proved to the world that David could still defeat Goliath.

And that is what the sentiment of these celebrations should have emanated.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and parliament president Gordan Jandrokovic laid wreaths and paid their respects at the monument dedicated to the victory on Knin’s central square. Grabar Kitarovic said that Croatia hopes that one day even Serbs will celebrate Storm as the operation that “ended Greater Serbian aggression”. She said in her speech that she wishes to express her regret for the Serb victims of Operation Storm, continuing: “Croatian people did not want war and does not revel in anyone’s suffering. That’s why Croatian state makes an exemplary effort, with its own resources, to secure the return of all those who want to return. It does that despite the fact that the initiators of aggression against Croatia have not paid a single kuna or, more to the point, a single dinar for the restoration of everything that the Chetniks and the so-called Yugoslav People’s Army destroyed during the four years of artillery shelling, pillage and plunder. Hence, with full protection of national interests Croatia will give its full support for Serbia’s entry into the European Union.”

Croatia’s president Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic
in Knin on 5th August 2017

While reconciliation is a noble pursuit, in the case of celebrating Operation Storm, the end of Croatia’s horrific suffering at the hands of Serbs, talking of self-imposed victims on the side of the aggressor as if they were innocent victims is something that Croatian victims and defenders would find hard and painful to take. Particularly when it means that Grabar-Kitarovic’s talk of Serb victims in Oluja in effect gave a certain validity (undeserved) to Serbia’s commemoration for Serb victims of Operation Storm held in several towns and cities across Serbia on Friday 4th August, which commemoration denies Serb aggression, continues to promulgate lies about forced deportations of Serbs from Croatia and justifies Serb genocide and ethnic cleansing over the Croatian people when they set out to break away from communist Yugoslavia.

If one wants to achieve true and lasting reconciliation then it is essential to clearly delineate between the aggressor and the victim. The events around marking Croatia’s victory over Serb aggression, whether those in Croatia (where accent is given to the victim-hood of the aggressor) or those in Serbia (where Serb victim-hood is accentuated even though such was self-imposed), all give the sense of the undying political exercise of equating the aggressor with the victim. In every war there are victims on the side of the aggressor but it needs to be recognised and maintained that those victims would not be so if the aggression and the need to defend oneself did not occur in the first place. In that sense any Serb victims deserved no mention at Croatia’s victory celebration. The intention of Serb aggression in Croatia was to destroy Croatia and Croats and both the fighting forces and many Serb civilians participated in that destructive energy.

Croatia’s minister for veterans’ affairs
Tomo Medved (Second from R) in Slunj
Photo: Dnevnik 2017

Hence, when it comes to this year’s celebration of Operation Storm 1995 in Croatia I (and multitudes) place my preference on the one held in the town of Slunj where the Croatian minister for veterans’ affairs, Tomo Medved, said that the Croatian forces, in that magnificent military operation, succeeded in destroying the bloody feast of aggression and brought back the citizens from a four-year deportation.

We succeeded, we liberated all of the occupied regions, we made it possible for people to return to their homes, but we paid an enormous price for our freedom, 352 lives, in this area alone, of Croatian defenders and civilians,” Medved said before some 10,000 people.

Yes, Croatia has succeeded in winning the 1990’s military war imposed upon it by Serb and communist Yugoslavia aggressor, however, Croatia stands forced into decades long, largely unyielding, distressing battles against the remnants of communism that suffocate strong democratic progress and keep the distressing and utterly unfair push for equating the aggressor with the victim thriving. No more red dresses or shirts on occasions of official celebrations of Croatian victory over its aggressor, please! Ina Vukic


  1. The red dress can be forgiven as a faux pas, but what she said was objectionable. It’s totally inappropriate to be talking about Serbia and the Serbs on a day on which the focus should have been Croatia’s victory and liberty. Quite distasteful!

    • I agree Mishka, and on occasions like this one it’s also the red colour worn by the top person in coutry that raises concerns even if “not thinking” was afoot, but that’s hardly going to be the case I believe

  2. Pretty silly to wear red on such an occasion! How ignorant of her!

  3. ANTUN dRNDELIĆ says:

    Bez ikakve primisli stavio sam svoju zahvalu Braniteljima – HVALA BRANITELJIMA – na crvenu, od FB ponuđenu. podlogu. Sada se moram sam sebi ispričavati i propitivati jesam li izabrao odgovarajuću boju. Po mojem mišljenju nisam pogriješio jer je jedna trećina hrvatske zastave crvena, a polovica kockica na hrvatskom grbu je crvene boje. Niz zemalja glede dresova koristi kombinaciju sa zastave, pogotovo u nogometu. Tako bi naš dres, po ugledu na zastavu bio crvena majica, bijeli donji dio i plave dokoljenice. Ne bi bilo pogreške, i nije tako. Kakvi bi tek bili komentari medijskih i inih “siledžija” da je Predsjednica bila u crnoj haljini, koja bi bila jedna od boja među odgovarajućima za prigodu… Članak 5+

    • Kombinacija Crven. bijeli plavi je sasvim nesto drugo u ovom slucaju, Antune. Ta trobojnica izaziva sasvim druge sentimente od cisto crvene i kad dodate sto je sve u govoru receno onda se stvarno mnogi zbrinu

  4. Red dress is topic now!?!? Tomo Medved did not wear anything red and yet he is part of of political prostitution that is at play and nobody analize work that is being done by these. Yes, it is unapropriate to wear red but Medved is responsible for molesting our comrades for “Za dom spremni”! Krstičević, Plenković and Medved together. President of the Croatia, Mrs. Grabar-Kitarović has flaws, but joining the stupid hunt over the dress is exactelly what crocked politicians “pushed” and you fell for it. Yesterday was a sad day for us veterans, you people seem to miss that.

    • I fell for nothing, Zeljko, except the thought that must have been in the head of the wearer of the red dress. And when it comes to minister Medved his actions can be analyzed and are, on this blog at least, if you care to search. Red dress at a function like this one is purely and sinply wrong and offensive as everything about everybody send a message and in her case a political message. It is time rhetoric is done away with and actions taken up that see real changes

    • Agree with you. Symbolism of course is important; it sends many unspoken messages, but the deeds of the despicable political horde in Croatia are the main issue. As for red, yes we could read into it, but then what do we do about our national colour including red; or the grb being red and white; all which were designed long before the evil of communism was born. Personally I also felt red was suggestive of communism, but that was tempered with the fact that red is part of our national colours and chose to believe the symbolism was patriotic. DIversion and deception continue to be the hallmarks of Greater Serbia and communism.

      • Take your point Sunman, however the Grb (coat of arms), national colours red white and blue are all colour combinations not pure red or only red…

      • it is not about symbolism. We, in Croatia are long past symbolism. There are much, much more openly done things you should worry about. I am a veteran and I was not in Knin, nor I will be there next year by the looks of things. Part of our troubles are things like chasing symbolism insted of fighting neoliberalism. Croatia is antifa playground, Soros amusement park and former communists “chest of gold”. In short, there is a big coalition now at play, HDZ+SDP and they want our president gone! Why exactly l do not know but it might be over american influence. It seems that Kolinda is on president Trump side and that is not what HDZ+SDP likes. So be carefull about joining the “hunt”on Kolinda. Also, I agree over the color but not over the importance of it.

  5. Ina sorry, your comment is inappropriate, Croatian soldiers wear red berets, and our president looked great in her red dress.

    • It is not a comment, Angelo, but an analysis of possible meaning and real symbolism of red on this occasion, Angelo. Besides, I did say that a red dress can look good and glamorous. Wearing a red beret is in no way associated with the wearing of red dress at Oluja, which included the fight against communism that still stifles Croatia. A uniform is a uniform! Besides the things contained in her speech were the real inappropriate stuff for that occasion and that too is an opinion not comment.

  6. Thank you for your visit and like for you on my blog, Ina ! 🙂
    A pleasant summer ! 🙂
    Alioșa ! 🙂

  7. I agree with you.

  8. Splithead says:

    Hi to all, keep it simple, I think leading up to the day of Oluja the video of the Serb leader Milan Babic in the Hague apologising to the Croatian people and clearly accepting responsibility should be mandatory programming for each media outlet. It would be good if any media could get Pupovac to provide comment on it directly. The Serbs forced Croatians to go to war and defend themselves. Babic’s statement in the Hague is sufficient for all of us to prove our point.

  9. As the first female President of Croatia who is by now familiar with the attention she draws from both her supporters and detractors ; and as one who has shown a penchant for being impeccably coiffed and garbed at all times, I have no doubt that her choice of attire was well-considered one. But one need not only look superficially at her appearance to draw conclusions as to her political leanings, for she has publicly through word and deed done far more to make us aware of exactly where she is positioned on the political spectrum. She is an adherent of the league of “antifascists” which as we all know in Croatia translates to communist, partisan, Jugoslav, etc. so “red” is definitely a color that is close to her heart.

    Za Dom Spremni!

  10. Yes truly unwarranted for that occasion…. obviously her advisers are not advising well… but really dont we have bigger and better things to spend our energy on…. and it seems voicing a point on any platform must be taken with great care these past days… passions are high and we all have a point to share be it right or totally out of this world… its important that we all respect ones view how silly it may be thats called democracy and freedom of speech if we loose that then were in deep trouble… as for all the self appointed blogs out there that censor peoples comments i say good luck… the only true original blogger in my book which i read with great intrest is our very own INA VUKIC… Ina keep it up and never ever stop doing what you do best…. xxxxxxxx

    • Thank you, Steve – freedom is liberty and we want it even if the road can get thorny. The bigger and better things to do I think are associated with the colour red – lustration!

  11. I know how you felt, Ina. One of my friends bought her little grandson a t-shirt “onesie” with a Confederate flag on it. In our country, some of us (myself included) consider the South, with past history of slavery, to be offensive. Why purchase this t-shirt to have baby become a symbol of something all of us are glad it is not an issue anymore? So, clothes do have messages, I agree with Ina. 😊 Hugs, dear friend and best wishes on this subject matter. 💐 🕊


  1. […] times, waged by Croatian authorities, one of those attacks of most recent dates was in the town on Knin on 5 August 2017, at the official celebration of the liberating military Operation Storm 1995 when war veterans were […]

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