Zeljko Glasnovic MP and “The Lion in Winter”

Zeljko Glasnovic MP in Croatian Parliament 13 Feb 2020
Delivery of anti-corruption speech
Photo: Screenshot

When I watched the live video broadcast of Croatian Parliament sitting on last Thursday, 13 February 2020, while the Parliamentary representative for Croatians living abroad (for the diaspora), retired General Zeljko Glasnovic, it was his usually ardent presentation of the perilous woes that continue afflicting and stifling progress of democracy and, indeed, a society that provides opportunities for all its citizens to better themselves without the fear of nepotism, bribery and political allegiances. Without corruption as mainstay! His speech was about the urgent need to stamp out corruption, which, as he emphasised, even “SOA (Security and Intelligence Agency in Croatia) says represents the biggest danger for the Croatian state”. But, as he said, nothing is being done to actually deal with this debilitating issue; nothing is being done to call the “red directors of companies” (former communists) to account, who have destroyed multitudes of public companies and amassed personal wealth in the process, alarmingly impoverishing Croatia’s public wealth. That is why “there is no money for Croatian Defence Council/HVO, no money for Kindergartens and other critical matters…because at least 30 billion kunas (4.1 billion Euro) are stolen every year and taken out of the country. The left and right wing of the Party (meaning Communist party) are to blame for this. Life is good for them, but why not start with them, when we talk of the provenance of property legislation … what’s with the dossiers of former UDBa (Communist Yugoslavia Secret Police) operatives, some of them sit today in this Parliament…and when I talk about that it is prohibited on HTV (Croatia’s public TV channel), instead we have to watch shows that serve as confessional for those Khmers Rouge and those where their children rule like emperors…that in fact is censorship and we don’t come across discussions about that…What’s with the stolen properties by the Reds  … until academic and other lustration are implemented we will not get far…but that is a taboo topic for HTV.”

Now comes the crunch of the day!

The real and distressing marker for the relatively widespread and repugnant animosity against Croatians living outside Croatia, or émigrés, which is constantly fed to the public by those in Croatia who had profited living under the Communist Yugoslavia regime and circumvented or refused to fight for an independent Croatia in 1990’s once 94% of voters voted at 1991 referendum to secede from Yugoslavia.

Croatian Peasant Party representative in parliament, Zeljko Lenart (otherwise a “torchbearer” for the likes of  Kreso Beljak who says that communists did not kill enough Croats in their purges during and after WWII) stood up protesting against Glasnovic, saying: “…Glasnovic insults me as a parliamentary representative and I would like to say that in my family no one was member of the Party but I will also tell you that we did not flee to Canada and hide in Canada for 30 years like you and now you hold moral sermons and continue insulting …”. Glasnovic then approached Lenart, protesting to Lenart’s ugly provocation, calling him names (monkey, nit/louse…) saying: “I did not flee, you chased us out …”. And that in fact is the truth. Retired general Glasnovic was only 8 years old when in 1962 his family was forced to emigrate to Canada; their sizeable properties stolen by communists, family persecuted, denied the right to work, and members imprisoned as political prisoners in Communist Yugoslavia. His story of emigration is the story of hundreds of thousands of Croats who emigrated from Yugoslavia. But Glasnovic (like many others) returned to Croatia in 1991 to voluntarily join the Croatian defence forces (after having served in Canadian Army for 5 years and then French Foreign Legion/The Gulf War) to defend Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from Yugoslav/Serb aggression once Croatians voted overwhelmingly to secede from communism and become an independent Croatian state. Croatian communities in the diaspora joined the fight for freedom once those living in Croatia had overwhelmingly voted to secede from Yugoslavia. This was their God-given and moral duty.

Croatian Parliament 13 Feb 2020
Zeljko Lenart MP (L), Zeljko Glasnovic MP (C), Miro Bulj MP (R)
Photo: Screenshot

Lenart, to my opinion rightly called “a nit” from political perspective that affects a nation struggling to implement that for which it fought and gave blood, has the gall to provoke Glasnovic with such malicious lies! Lenart has proven beyond any doubt that Croatia has indeed much to attend to if it is to decommunise and become a fair-for-all country. Instead of supporting Glasnovic’s speech and standing behind the need to stamp out corruption, Lenart attacks with provocation the man who advocates blanket and decisive actions to rid Croatia of corruption – the cancer that has all but chomped away the opportunities for many to make a decent living in Croatia. Croatia finds itself periled by mass exodus of young people, who have and are leaving the country in droves in order to earn a decent living abroad. Even if it were true that no one from Lenart’s family was in the communist party during the times of Yugoslavia, one thing stands out like a sore thumb: they must have sucked-up to or tolerated/supported communists for personal gain. The fact that he stands behind Kreso Beljak, instead of being abhorred by the murders of innocent Croats by the communists, for which Beljak says there weren’t enough killed, is an unshakeable indication that the latter must have been the case for Lenart’s family.

Croatian media had in its usual biased manner reported this incident from Croatian Parliament on Thursday 13 February as an incident where Glasnovic called Lenart by seemingly derogatory names! There was nothing about the real and critical issues for Croatia Glasnovic was talking about to which Lenart responded with provocation, and none that I could come across sought Glasnovic’s comments afterwards. All this is very symptomatic of the dire problems Croatia has and about which Glasnovic talks loudly: the absolute need to stamp out corruption and delve into the provenance of the wealth amassed through corruption and theft by many former communists, many of whom, or their descendants, are currently in positions of power in the country.

What became painfully obvious from Lenart’s malicious provocations is that it serves as proof of  a vicious war going on in Croatia for the survival without repercussions of those who have illegally and through corruption amassed wealth by being in power, and/or who have participated in or shut their eyes to the mass murders of innocent Croatian people by communists during and after WWII. The battle for power between the former communists and most of their like-minded descendants and those who actually and with much sacrifice fought for an independent and democratic Croatia during 1990’s has reached the stage where possibilities do not exclude a justifiably brutal reckoning for the political trajectory Croatia will take.

The ugly resistance by communist (or former Yugoslavia) sympathisers to delve into real combat against corruption reminds one, in a way, of the political backdrop in James Goldman’s 1960’s acclaimed play “The Lion in Winter”, an intended political comedy about politics in the Middle Ages that transforms contemporary battles for political survival into often tragic consequences for a nation.  Questions about the battle for succession and the demands of leadership have never felt more pertinent to me. What makes the messages from The Lion in Winter feel so immediate and fresh is how it bridges great political posturing and intense personal and domestic intrigue. The play is overwhelmingly about the battle over succession. After Croatia’s Homeland War ended completely in 1998 and after Franjo Tudjman’s death in 1999, those who placed their own life at independence’s disposal (the war veterans) and those who worked alongside them ensuring political lobby and financial backing as well as providing combatants to defend Croatia from aggression (the Croats in the diaspora) were the natural successors who would see Croatia rid itself of communism and its corrupt ways. Those who would preserve Croatia as independent and develop it into a full democracy. But, after Tudjman’s death the former communists would do anything to ensure that Tudjman’s and Homeland War’s natural successors were run into the ground and even pronounced the Homeland War as a criminal enterprise. It took 12 years for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague to acquit in 2012 Croatian Generals of “Joint Criminal Enterprise” (politically-driven) indictments.

The Lion in Winter” political agendas translated into today’s Croatia, would see the plot where with the fate of their ideal country (communist Yugoslavia) at stake – forever – there are many former communists and their followers or descendants who are willing to survive by any means necessary and thus prevent the ultimate demise of the communist regime, threads of which still perilously remain ingrained in Croatia’s public administration and society. In these times of heightened attacks against those who fought and fight against communism, questions about the battle for succession and the demands of leadership have never felt more pertinent for Croatia.Those who are among the natural successors, including retired General Zeljko Glasnovic, continue to have a fight on their hands that needs to bring about the real positive consequence and values of the Homeland War come “rain, hail or shine”: to decommunise the country and usher in real or functional democracy to the streets (not the one on paper only) by any means necessary. Many in the political arena, though, fail miserably at recognising leadership, support it actively; it’s the old woe of egomania palpable in many. Regretful as this is, it is not insurmountable. This is the time to draw the battle against communism to a close and bring the combatants against it together to a conclusion. Will Croatian combatants against corruption know how to do that, how to join forces against the enemy, once again? Ina Vukic





  1. One day your Communists will be all gone or voted out. The wealth they have amassed will be questioned before they can disappear with it. Just think where Croatia will go that day.

  2. General Glasnovic is one of the leaders you talk about in this article! No doubt about that! But, sadly, the Tall Poppy syndrome reigns still and it’s Red in colour! Hopefully with persistence others will realise and act!

  3. Matt Relja says:

    Of course the communists and those whom they helped live well don’t like Croats from the diaspora. They are threatened and should have been shaking in their boots a long time ago! Better late than never – as long as they are put where they belong – awful history.

  4. Croatia is suffocating from communist nits!

  5. Robert Kavkaz says:

    A bunch of derelicts and delinquents for personal gain – that Lenart stands out for sure! No shame no decency.

  6. Louis Bartolovic says:

    You nailed it, Ina! Every time you do! Astute! The sheer indolence that appears to have afflicted Croatia’s governments in the past 20 years when it comes to dealing with corruption is awful. From time to time they come up with a “big wig”, take him or her to the courts for corruption and fraud, courts drag their feel for decade or more and in the meantime the thugs find ways of wriggling out of jail or pretend they are poor…millions of public money gone into some black hole…Just shocking

    • Yes Louis, big and small thieves seem to rule the roost so to speak, just like during Yugoslavia reign…not enough organised forces to fight this in sight…perhaps, perhaps…

  7. That will be a great day when Corruption and Politics part company!! …
    Another eye opening post Ina..
    Have a wonderful weekend where you are..
    Much love Sue <3

  8. Zeljko makes a good point in pointing out corruption but I don’t see him proposing a way forward, like an independent body or legislation or policy. Where is that reported? It’d be good to see reporting on each parties policies and what issues they see nd how they’re attempting to address them
    Endemic corruption and the politicisation of government positions and contracts is the most blatant issue, if neither party is willing to tackle corruption because they profit from it and can keep winning elections with funding from tax payers, who is trying to introduce policies to curtail them?

    Name calling in the Sabor isn’t going to solve this

    • Policies, legislation text proposals etc are not a matter for a 5-minute speech in Parliament, Zeljko, I presume you are aware of that. However, in such short speeches over time by General Glasnovic if closely followed one can definitely see that he indeed has policies, processes etc that should be implemented. As to name-calling that at times becomes inevitable and appropriate, I dare say because some don’t understand or don’t want to understand and/or don’t want to hear the messages given etc. Thanks on your comment

      • I reckon if the General Glasnovic was in government we would see the right policies, laws etc being passed in parliament, this way the best one can do is propose amendments to laws, new Acts etc but when and if those proposals come to parliament voting it’s the government majority that votes them out … and there have been many such cases…Croatian government is hopeless really, even if they have policies or laws that may help stamp out corruption they lack the resolve and knowhow to build in monitoring of the implementation of legislation at all levels in society…

  9. We need someone strong like Gosp. General Glasnovic running the country. First step, absolute first process HAS to be lustration. Great article Ina.

  10. Now a sleight of hand manoeuvre to confiscate property of diaspora and re-zone as national parks !
    Only to sell to their connected international brother/sister hoods.
    Maximum profit, from crime and corruption, by stealing the toils sweat and tears of all generations going back Millenia or more.

    Freemasonry is communism is kabala.
    The enlightened ones work quietly, behind the scenes, in government, business, science, the arts etc.
    “It has done these things and many things more with a hypocritical pretence to virtue and love of humanity that could scarcely be surpassed by the father of lies, from which it springs.” – James W. Wardner

  11. this is a very in-depth analysis of Croatia! I wish the numb skulls who would vote in American socialist communism could read this and open their eyes, too!

  12. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  13. Ina,
    What can the diaspora do for these coming elections???

    Best regards

    • We shall get the opportunity to know but for now let’s urge all to vote Splithead. Help voters to fill in Registration to vote on time etc prior to elections when Registrations open. Cheers

  14. vielen Dank !! toll Und sehr Starken analyse abwarten und Teetrinkern !!!! mit Hoffnung auf wunder von Zufriedenheit.!!
    danke dir sehr.

  15. You just get better by the moment.

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