Independents For Croatia – Impress

It’s often been said that if the law won’t do it, the people will! This goes particularly so with matters that dig painfully deep into national pride that comes with victory for independence and installing democracy. After a ten-year determined rallying battles organised by “Circle for City Square” (“Krug za trg”) association from Zagreb, whose main aim is to rid Croatia of all totalitarian regime symbolism in public places the ongoing focus on removing former communist Yugoslavia’s leader’s (Josip Broz Tito/Marshal Tito) name from the most beautiful Zagreb city square gained stronger than ever political impetus during the May 2017 local elections in Croatia, when an “Independents for Croatia” political party and movement (steered by Bruna Esih, Zlatko Hasanbegovic and Zeljko Glasnovic) made it their electoral promise, if the Bruna Esih list won seats for the Zagreb city assembly.

Having won seats at the local elections, Bruna Esih and Zlatko Hasanbegovic offered support to the beleaguered Zagreb mayor Milan Bandic, who needed partners in order to form a majority in Zagreb Assembly, on condition that the Josip Broz Tito square’s name be changed. The populist mayor was re-elected for a sixth term but he struggled to form a majority in the new city assembly. For several years, Bandic refused to change the square’s name and said the issue would be decided at a referendum.

At its long meeting through the night between 31st August and 1st September 2017 the Zagreb City Assembly voted to strip the name of late Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito from the prominent opera-house square in the city. An historic vote that has delighted multitudes even though opinions coming from the left wing politics continue to raise protests against the vote. One wouldn’t expect anything else from the die-hard communist-loving lot. Given that 29 deputies voted for, 20 against and 1 abstained from voting it is to be expected that a wielding of red axes will last for some time in the camp of the disgruntled communist lot, hence the political unrest and polarisation within Croatia is set to continue.

But the removal of “Marshal Tito” name from that city square is a mighty lever for the pursuit of lustration in Croatia regardless of divisions and polarisation.

That city square will now be called the Republic of Croatia Square. A symbolism in that new name to the city square carries the very potent trait of freedom from oppression, from communism, that Croatian Homeland War victoriously ushered in 1990’s, having defended and liberated Croatia from the brutal Serb and communist Yugoslav army forces’ aggression.

No street or square in Croatia should bear Josip Broz Tito’s name,” said Zlatko Hasanbegovic before the Zagreb assembly vote.

It’s a small and belated satisfaction to all victims … of Yugoslav communist Titoist terror”, Hasanbegovic said after the voting was done.

Without a doubt, with several hundreds of thousands of innocent people murdered under the communist regime in WWII and post-WWII times Josip Broz Tito rates as one of the worst criminals in Croatia’s history and removing his name from the city square also serves as recognition that the era of communist Yugoslavia was a dark and oppressive age in Croatia’s history. Piles of human bones mark more than 800 communist crimes mass graves in Croatia and Tito and his communist regime organised and oversaw the murders.

To underpin Tito’s legitimacy, Croatia’s communists who wrongfully call themselves antifascists fostered and foster an image of Marshal Tito and the Partisans as humane, heroic liberators of all of Yugoslavia’s people from fascism and nationalism. But when one is confronted with the facts of communist crimes of mass murder, torture and oppression this painting of the communist regime makes the head spin with abhor. With the removal of Tito’s name from the Zagreb city square the political system that’s laden with former communist operatives will no longer be able to hide uninterrupted or justify the horrid truth behind the communist regime. Whether this will lead to a new political instability in Croatia is yet to be seen, but no objective reality-check in the circumstances of a relatively thriving communist mindset still present in Croatia would tell us that lustration will be an easy task to achieve, anyway. Cornering a dog always requires vigilant defences as the dog will attack and bite. And so it is of no wonder that the road to ridding Croatia of the communist mindset and exposing communist crimes has seen an increased labelling of it as neo-fascism or fascist moves.

The above labeling of any lustration attempts in Croatia (which still has not passed a lustration law that would have been a government obligation after Homeland War victory that ushered in democracy and rejected communism) would appear to evidence the fact that the procedural and legal-institutional issues occupy a marginal place in any “official” debate about lustration, and that main sources of discord are more ideological and political than legal. The two main strains within the lustration discourse could well be identified as:

(1) dystopian discourses that paint a frightful picture of a lustrated society and imply that the upheaval of lustration would ruin the chance for democratic evolution, and

(2) affirmative discourses that assert the need for lustration and portray the refusal to implement it as a barrier to successful transition to democracy.

The dystopian opposition to lustration is linked with the left-wing political affiliation or self-identification and the affirmative discourse with the right-wing orientation. The taking down of Josip Broz Tito from the Zagreb city square may serve as to open up a new era in Croatia where pursuits to lustration will take a formal and official shape and see all relevant communist Yugoslavia archives open and lustration law finally delivered by the parliament. Having in mind that the prevailing ideological and political resistance by the left to lustration is seeing increased pressure against the ruling centre-right HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union party as well as the centre-left SDP/Social Democratic Party opposition resulting in popularity polls plummet, as they’re both seen as resisting lustration, real progress towards actual lustration may indeed be on the horizon. It is of no wonder that with rather frequent changes of government Croatia has been in a serious and continuous political crisis for over three years in particular and this aura of political unrest yields itself to fresh political forces paving the ground for lustration. That fresh political force could well prove to be in the hands of the emerging “Independents for Croatia” party and political movement. A significant sway of voters to its side would be a prerequisite to success and as the past two decades have shown new political parties and movements are not news to Croatia. However, a new political movement that centres around completing the task Croatian people had set for themselves in 1991 referendum – to rid the country of communism – has the silver lining required to finally bring Croatia out of its dark communist age. Ina Vukic


  1. I believe that Esih, Hasanbegovic and Glasnovic are the shining light in Croatian politics and that they provide the hope and willingness to move Croatia forward. In their actions and words, they honour the sacrifices of those who died while defending Croatia.
    In my opinion, HDZ have moved to the centre-left under Plenkovic and this is not same party that it once was. SDP I will even talk about. It seems that their flag was shown at a rally in the streets of Zagreb in recent days and it has a red star through it. How shameful!
    I hope that the Independents for Croatia continue to grow and gather momentum as this is the third party that Croatia desperately needs. The problem is that they will go up against the communist media. Just remember the harassment and lies that were reported about Hasanbegovic by the media when he was the Minister of Culture.

    • Indeed, Suzy, the mainstream media is riddled with communist rot it seems but, hey, in this day and age of many media sources and ways the old saying “there’s more than one way to skin a cat” may just come to life, again…we need to remember that when Croatia started on the path to independence in late 1980’s the Yugoslav media wasn’t to be counted on either…

  2. This is great news! that criminals name shouldn’t be anywhere in Croatia.

    • Amazing happiness, Anna

      • I have a friend on Facebook who is deadset opposed to the name change. He thinks Zagreb should be ashamed of itself. I’m quiet shocked to be honest. Didn’t expect him to be like this. I guess some people won’t be liking the change, but I hope most Croats will.

      • Given the current climate with lots of romantic notions about Tito the mass murderer opinions against the removal of his name to the city square will vary. But one thing stands for sure: the world simply cannot afford to glorify murderers, not our world at least

      • Amen!

  3. Stevie10703 says:

    Thank God this finally happened and its also happening or has happened in other parts of Croatia. Now, what they need to do is make Kumrovec a museum to those murdered by this evil man and his minions and not a memorial place for this filth of a human being.

    As horrible as communism/socialism is, I would have had no problems for a Trg named after this guy if Croatia remained an independent State but communist State after WWII ended because we at least would have had a country to call home and as we’ve seen eventually that system would die and the people would then be free. But, this never happened and what I cannot understand is how in the world can anyone even call this man a Croatian when he was anything but and the Croatian state ceased to exist when the Yugoslavia was once again formed. Tito scoffed at the idea of Croatian independence. What I find funny is the pro-Tito crowd speaks of “nationalism” and how Tito rid the area of it…but, why doesn’t anyone talk about Yugoslav Nationalism? After all, wasn’t it Yugoslav Nationalism that suppressed the Croatian people and treated us like dirt? I remember reading a few years back, and this showed how much Tito hated the Croatians, that 65% of the political prisoners in Yugoslavia were Croatian and I believe the second most were Albanians who were around 20% of the political prisoners and the rest were from the other republics. Now tell me again how much Tito loved Croatia?

    Those that came out to protest the name change a week or so ago, showed their true colors when they came to protest with everything but the Croatian flag. Lustration must happen for Croatia to move forward, hopefully it will.

  4. Tito was anti-fascist between 41 and 45, but after the war, he started killing, torturing, imprisonments, Goli Otok, Jasenovac and he never stop killing his own people until his last day. So, who wants to cherish such a man good luck

    • Ditto, rb

      • Stevie10703 says:

        rb….Tito killed during the war. His Yugoslav Partizans went on rape and murder sprees throughout Croatia/ BiH during WWII and it only got worse after the war. His killing didn’t just start after the war ended. Just look at the town of Srb in Lika which the far left celebrates to this day. They are celebrating the ethnic cleansing and killings of Croatian civilians out of that town which happened during the war and not after that.

  5. Reblogged this on Ace News Desk.

  6. I believe the only way any country or nation can be ruled is by indecency of the state ….As state control wether by EU or other stifles people’s futures …. So independence for Croatia gets my vote Ina

  7. I always enjoying coming here to do some serious reading about serious subjects in history. Thank you.


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