Croatia: Communism Camouflaging as Liberalism and/or Conservatism?

Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic seems increasingly irritated by the fact that the Anti-corruption Parliamentary Council, intended for monitoring progress of fight against corruption, is largely comprised of parliamentary opposition members who have wowed to investigate further the biggest heist, theft, of the century associated with the national INA petroleum company. In the past several days he has threatened to come down against anyone trying to bring down his government, even those seeking the truths about national affairs affecting all citizens, with all repressive measures available to him and accused the opposition in the past week, without any proof or evidence, of being puppets of some external forces that are trying to topple his democratically elected government! His loudest partner in attacking the opposition is the repulsive, allegedly perpetually corrupt Branko Bacic, former communist operative, current President of HDZ Party parliamentary club whose time in government and parliament would have ceased a long time ago were it not for corrupt elections and corrupt-like pressures that had surely swayed many voters in his electorate to vote for him. Both Plenkovic and Bacic in their public outbursts fail to appreciate, most likely purposefully, that toppling an inefficient or allegedly inefficient government, particularly the one whose ministers have been brought down from their position due to corruption or associations with it, is the most holy duty a democracy has!

It is certainly deeply vexing that a government would invest so much energy in attacking members of its parliamentary Anti-corruption Council and those invited to give testimony etc. Andrej Plenkovic’s government has been doing just that and one must ask why.

The right thing to do in anyone’s books, except in those of the corrupt, is that matters of corruption should be freely examined by anyone who wishes to do so without fear of insults or reprisals. Evidently, not in Croatia!

The Parliamentary Anti-Corruption Council is convening a new round of public hearings “in order to shed light on the management issues of the trading company INA”. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, former Economy Minister Tomislav Coric, recently dismissed Croatian members of the INA board Niko Dalic, Barbara Doric and Darko Markotic, and their predecessors Ivan Kresic and Davor Mayer have been invited to give evidence at the hearings. The goal of the new round of hearings is to “improve management and prevent corruption in companies and legal entities owned by the Republic of Croatia, especially those that are of special importance to the Republic of Croatia.”

It will be interesting to see if any of these invitees appear at the hearings. It would seem that governing HDZ party’s labelling the Council via Branko Bacic illegal may be another way of making the fight against corruption even more difficult or simply a symptom of underlying fear of the truth?

The Anti-corruption Council is the only working body of the Croatian Parliament in which the majority members are from the opposition, and it is indicative of deep corruption and/or dishonesty that attempts are made to ban public hearings only when Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic is called to answer before parliament about one of the biggest corruption scandals in the country’s history (INA affair). Referring to illegality of the Council is wrong, and Branko Bacic is acting abominably and deceitfully if for nothing else then because the Rules of Parliamentary Procedure are not a law of the country, but a parliament by-law, and therefore, there should be no question of the illegality of the work of that working body by anyone.

In a country riddled with corruption, such as Croatia, the obstruction of the work of the Anti-corruption Council is a horrific blow to democracy and it shows well that the Government’s fight against corruption is more about stopping the full truth and the processing of such crimes than about healing Croatia from that crippling disease Croatia was infected with during its life within communist Yugoslavia. Obstruction and cover-up of the Government’s and HDZ’s responsibility in the INA affair has, in effect, been the current and past anti-corruption strategy of all ruling political parties since year 2000 – and that in essence is communism as Croatia knew it under the totalitarian regime of Yugoslavia.

Lo and behold, on 13 October Plenkovic said he would not attend the Anti-corruption Council’s hearings as invited. Journalists asked him why he would not respond to the Anti-Corruption Council received the following reply from him: “To whom? Who should I respond. You have a team there that is inviting a guy who is accused of mega-scale corruption. What are we going to learn about his skills there, how to throw a cell phone in a river, carry huge sums of money in bags? What are we talking about? You also must look at it realistically what is the credibility of these people. On the other hand, you have MOST (Coalition of Independent Parties), who, since I kicked them out of the government, have a fixed idea of ​​overthrowing the government, that is their main sport. I don’t care who they will call and who will respond to them. I will not respond.”

My question to the Prime Minister of Croatia would be: What kind of a person, what kind of a Prime Minister characterises a citizen accused of a crime as a criminal before that citizen is found guilty by the courts!? In a true democracy the answer is clear!

Independent Member of Croatian Parliament Karolina Vidovic Kristo has October  13, 2022, emphasised the following in her speech in parliament: “Plenkovic and leading politicians in Croatia, starting with self-proclaimed analysts, insult anyone who asks for informed and evidence-based explanations or presents facts… Public opinion agencies have found that about 70% of citizens believe that Croatia is going in the wrong direction… Examples are the case of INA in which the facts are indisputable because Andrej Plenkovic’s and his government’s corruption in the case of the Sisak refinery has been proven, and treason has also been proven…Croatian citizens feel the dysfunctionality of all important state segments…In 2022 the current German Chancellor Olaf Scholz properly responds to the invitation of the investigative committee of the Hamburg city senate, the federal level outside his formal responsibility, regarding the so-called CumEx affair. This is exactly an example of a functional rule of law and European values. Croatian Prime Minister Plenkovic does not come to the Croatian Parliament to answer for his actions, he does not respect the laws, he does not respect Croatian citizens, he does not respect the Croatian state. He keeps Croatia in lawlessness and the Balkan mire. But know, you arrogant powerful people, the time of reckoning is coming very soon, and we will organise Croatia as a fair and just country.

I have written several articles in the past several years on the issue of lack of government will and skill to rid Croatia of corruption and nepotism even though a few high-level personalities have been found guilty of corruption while others remain in courts after more than a decade of indictments being served upon them. Even in these cases one has always been left cheated, as if something was missing, someone being protected. Justice has certainly not been seen as having been done and for justice to be seen to have been done is a very important ingredient of true democracy and well-functioning state. Whatever the government’s reasons to trash the Anti-corruption Council composition and its work at this time when INA grand theft of public money affair weighs heavily upon the Croatian people and their future no reasonable person could agree with such government behaviour. One would think that the government that boasts of its efforts to fight corruption would never try and stop or stifle anyone trying to do the same! After all, the more people included or involved, the better the chance of capturing most corrupt activities!

To transition fully from communist Yugoslavia and its legacy of corruption, to cleanse a country of communism after five decades of communist totalitarian rule is only achievable with a strong, dedicated, unwavering national strategic plan, which no government in Croatia in past three decades, SDP/Social Democratic Party or HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union, has maintained or fully enforced. That was the first task of the democratic government after the Homeland War had ended and all Croatia’s territory returned to it from Serb occupation. No doubt, too many “skeletons” in the cupboard.

I guess Croatia is just one country in the modern world purporting to nurture pure democracy but if one digs under the surface, voila – pure communism wrapped up in liberalism or conservatism, depending on which political party holds the government.  The biggest lie in modern politics is that there is a genuine spectrum of political thought tolerated under a liberal democracy including its conservative variant.

While Croatian government and even leading opposition political parties such as SDP may portray themselves as subscribing to liberalism and the so-called progressive lot, and HDZ may often see itself wrapped up in liberalised conservatism, the reality is that in Croatia all these political ideologies and platforms are a pure camouflage for communism and its heritage. All governments in Croatia since year 2000 have been inflexible, oppressive, repressive in that they belittle and insult all views and opinions and efforts that are attempted in the name of democracy and against those in authority and power. There is, thanks be to the Lord, much opposition to this political charade that is impoverishing people’s lives and pushing multitudes to leave Croatia and seek a decent livelihood elsewhere.

The reality in Croatia is that every political idea that is presented to the public must not in any way criticise the government or suggest that it is not doing a good job, or it will be smothered and stifled and insulted by those in government authorities. It will be lost and pushed behind the life scenes to be forgotten.

It is through a kind of political kabuki theatre that the tropes are perpetuated for three decades now in Croatia, thus keeping the totalitarian communist Yugoslavia regime on life-supports!

The camouflaged communism in Croatia is seeing the increasing intrusion of authoritarian powers in democratic public discourse and one must pray it will crumble from within if not from external forces in Croatia. Not only does the Croatian Prime Minister and his government use authoritarian powers to pursue the government’s agenda, but they insist conceitedly he and his political partners are superior human beings who know best.

This translates into the frame of a democracy within which HDZ considers itself supreme, better, and more skilful at leading the country than any other political party or movement. With the control of mainstream media this is easy to install into the society but then again it is easy to see that such pursuits are far removed from democracy. In reality,  they are, communism camouflaged as liberalism and/or conservatism.   

When it comes to futile struggles in Croatia for the weaving into its Constitution, laws, and life the values of the 1990’s Homeland War, one cannot but confirm the correctness of widespread perceptions that Croatia is ruled by the former communist Yugoslavia mindset and immediate families of its operatives. The well-known slogan ‘Dare to fight, dare to win’ that originated from communist Mao Tse Tung seems to be and to have been the unspoken slogan adhered to by Croatia’s former communist operatives or their children or grandchildren holding any position of power or authority. It is because of this that Croats have come to know that victory against Serb and Yugoslav aggression in the 1990’s war of independence from communist Yugoslavia only prepared for repetition of what was hateful to the people, restoration of communist Yugoslavia values. But hopefully all that will change through general elections in the near future as the multitudes who have stayed away from casting their votes because of disappointment in politicians head to the polls. Ina Vukic

Comments

  1. SIMILARLY HERE!

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