On High Alert – Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina


Slaven Raguz
Croatian Republican Party
Bosnia and Herzegovina

With October 7th general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) approaching fast, preparations have entered into their final phase after all running political parties and independents have submitted their full candidates’ lists to the Central Election Commission (CIK), which among other things verifies candidates. This election comes in the middle of the country’s worst crisis since the 1992-1995 war and may not even lead to the establishment of new governments on all levels due to the broken election law and the competition among local political rivals is fierce, perhaps more fierce than ever.

Given that the BiH Constitution guarantees composition of BiH as a conglomerate of equals, i.e. three constitutional ethnic peoples (Bosniak, Croat and Serbs) and given that the equality status has not so far in practice been afforded to or asserted by the Croats the fierceness of electoral competition naturally takes the battle of asserting Croat’s rights to the highest of levels. It is also a justified high level as Bosniaks keep pursuing the lines of electing Croat representatives «for Croats», clearly towards the agenda of keeping Bosniak superiority over Croats to the level of keeping alive the possibility of renewed conflict. Then, senior officials from the Republika Srpska (Serbian Republic) entity are still denying the federation’s statehood and advocating eventual secession.

The backdrop to BiH crisis and asserting the ethnic equality guaranteed by its Constitution is charged with strong political currents within BiH when it comes to international influence. On the one hand, there is the current espousing of Russia’s prominence in BiH and while Russia’s encroachment in the Balkans is widespread, it’s most pronounced in Republika Srpska, where denial of its 1990’s genocide remains a prominent political weapon. But, regretfully, the Federation (made up of Bosniaks and Croats) also shows strong leaning towards Russia. Current Croat leader in Presidency of BiH, Dragan Covic of Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party is aligning himself with Russia and Republika Srpska. Although campaigning for Croats’ asserting equal power in BiH, Covic seems to have taken his rhetoric to the extreme nationalist levels that appears a convenient (to him) lip service, instead of sticking to equality of all peoples as a measure of justice; the only measure for future success of BiH. The Bosniaks are and have been pressing on with their allegiance to Turkey and other Muslim forces, thereby significantly increasing Turkey’s involvement in the country. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wants Bosniaks to recall that their country was once part of the Ottoman Empire!

Personally, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan have oscillated between warm friendship and heated rivalry over the 15 years the two men have held power in Moscow and Ankara. What they now share is resentment of the West − Mr. Putin’s Kremlin has been locked in a sanctions war with the United States and the EU, while Mr. Erdogan believes some Western leaders supported a 2016 coup plot against him − as well as a desire to redraw the international order.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has become their “new” playground and the matter of equality of Croats there is their “sacrificial lamb”. It’s all about their own power and influence, it’s not about enforcing the BiH Constitution and spirit and deed of the 1995 Dayton Accords.

Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, still in a subordinate position to the Bosniaks in the Federation, are at these upcoming general elections, once again, in the sharp focus of disappearance or oblivion.

On the street level, the rational reasoning that prevails is that the country must be organised so that it can stimulate the enhanced culture and education that are important for the identity of each of the three ethnic components.

If the concept and backbone of Dayton Accords are to survive, the building of such a Bosnia-Herzegovina is a moral imperative for all its people and nations seeking to remove existing iniquities and realise their individual and common good. International help, especially from the United States and the European Union, would appear indispensable for the realisation of this aim at this time of crisis and foreign interference from Russia and Turkey.

More than 70 parties and scores of independent candidates are set to take a part in the run for positions in the next parliament to be moulded through the results of October 7 general elections. The old worn out phrase when it comes to general elections race there that “the greatest surprise is that there is no surprises” could in fact be toppled this time around when it comes to political parties/candidates representing Croats of BiH.

Croatian Republican Party BiH logo

The Croatian Republican Party, formed in 2014 and mainly active on local government levels has now registered some 70 candidates across different cantons/electoral districts.

Acting with Christian-democratic and right-centre principles the Croatian Republican Party (HRS) of Bosnia and Herzegovina is headed by Slaven Raguz; a seasoned politician determined to achieve that for which HRS is advocating: respect for the legitimacy of the will of all people, not only the Croat but of people from all ethnic backgrounds who live in BiH. Furthermore, the HRS drives home the determination that only Croats have the right to elect their own representatives, even if they choose their representatives wrongly.

In a published statement, August 6, 2018, Slaven Raguz, among other things states: “The exclusive aim of our politics is the entry into the system of government so that, within 4 years, we can send onto the scrap heap of history all of you mental communists who have dispersed us all over the world with your arrogant, greedy, selfish and blind politics. We are not certain if we will succeed, as you have privatised even the electoral process, but one thing is certain – despite everything we will not stray from our course.

These are the kind of determination and dedication to Croats’ rights in BiH that are needed – absolutely. A great deal of the current sub-ordinance suffered by Croats in BiH and shocking inequalities are due to the fact that Croat official leaders in BiH have been and are deeply brushed with the communist mindset that has no room for full assertion of Croats’ rights. It’s akin to a “Men’s Club” for favours and deals which have everything to do with the individual leader and nothing with the people/nation.

The position of the Croat member of the BiH Presidency, Dragan Covic, has triggered in past months a lot of discussion about changes to the Electoral Law (as found necessary by the Constitutional Court some 20 months ago). The problem is that Bosniak voters elect the Croat member and this needs to change. Covic (HDZ) is a candidate in these elections, however, his campaigning for Croat rights and equality appears more like an agenda with ulterior motives than a true dedication to the status of Croats in BiH. Judging by his past performance, his allegiance to Russia and friendship with Serbian Republic’s Milorad Dodik he cannot be trusted to deliver for Croats.

The current political climate in BiH when it comes to Croats appears not to be about Croats or the HDZ in BiH, despite Covic’s loud rhetoric about Croats’ rights, but about Dragan Covic and ensuring there can never be another challenge to him. It appears as a personality cult building assisted by Russia and Serbian Republic.

This is an incumbency agenda masquerading as a collective rights protection agenda. The same stuff communist Yugoslavia was awash with!

Furthermore, the other loud candidate for Croats in BiH in the Democratic Front’s leader Zeljko Komsic whose scandalous history with Social Democrats, former communists, and allegiance with Bosniaks, on whose votes he appears to depend significantly, also leaves no trust nor hope for Croat equality rights in BiH.

With Covic and Komsic in the electoral matrix one can clearly see Russia and Turkey competing for power and influence in BiH and its future.

The question that could be asked is whether the current political impasse in Bosnia and Herzegovina has the potential to become the ultimate litmus test for the fragile political setup and lead to an outbreak of renewed hostilities. Certainly, if a new government is not formed after the elections the scenario would lend itself to a total breakdown of the social and political system. The physical prelude to such a breakdown would inevitably be the inability to pass the budget (due end of March 2019), which in turn would lead to inability to pay out pensions and public sector salaries… What mechanisms and skills would be needed to prevent such a breakdown may yet be a plot that’s unfamiliar to all.

It does appear, though, that if the seats delegated to Croats are won by “right wing” parties, particularly those truly dedicated to Croats’ rights of equality as well as the rights of other Constitutional ethnic groups, placing each on equal footing, who, like the Croatian Republican Party, oppose the political trails Covic and Komsic are taking, there won’t be a conflict or an exacerbation of its possibility in BiH. Ina Vukic


  1. Reblogged this on Ace News Desk.

  2. As I read this, it sounds as if things are fragile and are reliable on several things happening Ina… While I do not know a lot about Croatia’s political arena, it does not look as if it is in for any easy ride…
    Lets pray they all get their acts together for the right reasons and not personal agendas..

    Love and Blessings my friend..

    • When you have former communists fighting with all means available to retain power you get this sort of tragedy, Sue. Protecting the interests of ones people should be the politics of every nation but many nations fail as personal agendas and interests overwhelm…We live and learn. Hugs to you my friend

      • Yes, we are but the pawns and the means to extending bank balances.. The world over the next couple of years is about to see some major changes that will expose much of personal agendas, that show lack of really caring for their citizens,or ‘Flock’. At least that is how I perceive with my inner eye.. ;-), And so it is… and will be… and nothing we mere mortals can do to change what is in
        written in the stars.. lol.. Except I hope I am wrong..
        Your devotion to exposing the truth is profound my friend.. Love and Blessings to you Ina, and big hugs back <3

      • We develop shields and pray to secure ourselves against such changes so we can survive, Sue <3 <3

      • 🙂 indeed and Like the Song.. says..’ I will Survive..’ 🙂 HUGS

      • Me tooooooo 😀

  3. It seems incredible that to this day, Putin’s influence can be so deeply rooted in those countries. In advance, and for what you expose very clearly, will achieve its purpose, which is the same, unrestricted adhesion to Russia. And it becomes concrete, the Croats will tend to disappear. Finally, those elections of October 7, will say the last word in the composition of that nation with so many aspirants. Nothing like enjoying your articles.

    • The survival of Croats there as one of the three Constitutional peoples is truly on shaky grounds, macalder. The failure to pass new Electoral law as directed by the Constitutional court in Dec 2016 helps this sad scenario. Such a tragedy, really.

  4. Ina, you should host your own political/news commentary TV program. You are better than anyone on CNN or MSNBC. Keep it up! Have a great day my friend.

  5. This is a fantastic article!

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