Still At Political Crossroads – Croatian Parliament and Statehood Turn 33 

The Republic of Croatia celebrates its Statehood Day on May 30. That was the date in 1990 when the first democratically elected parliament that would lead Croatia out of the communist Yugoslavia oppressive clutch was inaugurated. It was the time that threatened and preceded unseen horror, Yugoslav Army and Serb aggression, mass murders, ethnic cleansing – epic cruelty and destruction against Croatia and Croats. It was the year after the fall of Berlin Wall when communist regimes came crushing down across Eastern Europe and around it. This was evidently a million times easier for most countries there than for Croatia. Croatia was part of Yugoslavia that was stitched together by Allied imperialistic forces siding with ominous ambitions of the dictatorial Serbian Monarch immediately after the First World War. During World War Two the emerging communist forces crushed the Croatian fight for independence amidst this yet another war marked by brutal politics and destruction on all sides. 

2023 marks the 33rd anniversary of the constitution of the first democratic and multi-party Parliament, and we remember May 30, 1990, when, after decades of communist rule, the foundations of the modern Croatian Parliament were created and its historical role in preserving Croatian statehood was confirmed. But, as far as freedom from communism it is more than clear that those foundations of a new, democratic, and independent of communist fibres state, were indeed false. Communist mindset and communist heritage like a constant pest evidently remained in deeds of many, underground or out in the open.

The complete victory over Yugoslav communist and Serbian aggression occurred in late 1998 and the year after that saw the death of Croatia’s first president, Franjo Tudjman, who was undoubtedly the human force of liberation and freedom from communist Yugoslavia that held the majority of Croatians in Croatia and across the world together. As a force of unity and freedom to be reckoned with. Then, year 2000, general and presidential elections, with the emergence on the political scene of communism prone politicians who were either communist operatives in former Yugoslavia or personally associated with those. This transition into would be democracy saw problems arising in several aspects of Croatia’s democracy, steepest decline occurring in the area of corruption (that was exceedingly prevalent in communist Yugoslavia), or rather, stamping it out. 

Albeit with minor changes or cosmetic fiddling, most laws in Croatia even today are reported to be dating back to communist Yugoslavia. Very little, if any, radical or appropriate changes in legislature that would thoroughly reflect the needs of a developing democracy, free from communist indoctrination. The independence of the judiciary, for instance, are merely writings on paper and in real life the Croatian judiciary is not independent of political influence and interference. An example of this appalling state in Croatia could be the one I recently experienced during my current visit to Croatia: the Croatian Orthodox Church (that gathered together in faith Serbs living in Croatia who considered an independent Croatia their home), crushed by Serb-led communist Yugoslavia regime in May 1945 (murdering its leadership in the process), had for at least a decade been endeavouring to achieve its registration as a religious community in Croatia, like any other, only to be faced with the government Minister’s overturning of court of law judgment, after a seven year court battle, permitting its registration with government authorities.  All that time Croatia’s government generously finances the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia, totally ignoring the fact that there are thousands of Serbs of orthodox faith living in Croatia who do not wish to belong to the Serbian Orthodox Church. So much for religious freedom in Croatia! To me this looks more like political freedom that ignores all the values of Croatia’s 1990’s Homeland War and the fight for freedom for which 94% of voters had once said “Yes” to and for which rivers of blood were spilled.

The judiciary had its ups and downs, resistant to change, resistant to asserting its obligatory independence within a democracy!  In 2021, for instance, the Supreme Court finally issued a verdict in the long-running Fimi Media case against former prime minister Ivo Sanader and the ruling Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ, finding Sanader guilty and the ruling party responsible for siphoning public funds from state enterprises. Several other high-profile corruption cases have emerged since then, arrests of government ministers among other heads of companies or organisations. However, the judicial branch has not even begun to improve, and the justice system remains under the influence of the HDZ. Social Democratic Party/SDP (former League of Communists), by the way, wore the same boots when it held government during the past 33 years. 

One may indeed ask what’s the use of implementation of government’s various models to fight the runaway corruption in Croatia when in, 2023, its Minister can overturn a Court judgment with a blink of an eye and no repercussions!  I know how this would rate on an independent scale measuring progress of democracy in Croatia!

Indeed, just as it was in communist Yugoslavia, the judiciary in Croatia remains the weakest link in Croatia’s anti-corruption framework: on ‘perceived independence’ it scored lowest in the EU in a 2022 Eurobarometer survey

Corruption cases were a constant in recent years, involving judges, high party officials of the ruling HDZ and opposition, former ministers, and local officials. Although corruption is characterised as one of Croatia’s biggest problems, institutions and the political elite have continued to do only the bare minimum to fight it. And despite registering high levels on corruption perception indexes, citizens also do not use the tools at their disposal, especially elections, to get rid of corrupt politicians. Less than 50% utilise their right to vote at elections within Croatia, while access to polling places for others, such as those living abroad, is brutally restricted or made impossible due to distance and unreasonable personal expenses needed to “catch” a ballot paper.

Given that the judiciary system is a backbone of every functioning democracy it disappoints enormously that 33 years on, in essence and despite existing official statements, Croatian justice system continues as if it was still operating within corrupt communist Yugoslavia.

What tragedy this is!

33 years after its inauguration the Croatian Parliament has only it seems produced worries about independent and democratic Croatia for which multitudes of lives were lost and sacrificed in 1990’s. Through the 33 years one has come and comes across individuals who say that they are better off than what they were in former Yugoslavia – especially those living on the Adriatic Sea, which breaks new tourist records every year (income from tourism is a single major contributor to the state budget). But it seems, the future of the country, to many, looks bleak. More and more young people emigrate (hundreds of thousands in the past decade) because they reportedly don’t see any prospects there. The economy and its self-sustainability have been brought to a crisis point that depends on funds dished out by the European Union. Harvesting of the enormous potential which the Croatian diaspora represents has only been a play of politicians’ words, without follow up in actions. No commitment in all these decades has emerged to place into action a national strategy of making the return (on a larger and needed scale) or the investments from its diaspora happen. Well, I would conclude, former Yugoslavia loathed the Croatian diaspora (because it represented fleeing from horrible communist oppression) and the current official Croatia has done little in attracting and systematically supporting that diaspora to return. Instead, Croatia appears to be allowing the key people for its future to leave the country or not come in at all!    

2024 as a huge electoral year in Croatia (General, Presidential and European Parliament elections) is lining up in the minds of many people as “make or break what Croatia fought for in the 1990’s”, is at the doorstep. The HDZ rule, coupled with its aggressive anti-Croat Serb minority coalition, has proven quite incapable of taking the country there where its founder Franjo Tudjman (and 94% of the voting population) headed (free from corruption, communism; a prosperous Croatian state). The SDP/ Social Democratic Party, found among opposition parties and once quite strong on the political and electoral platform, is utterly incapable of changing anything. The other political parties forming the so-called parliamentary opposition together with SDP resemble an army of leadership hopefuls, ego warriors, that do not have the will or the wish to collaborate with each other to make changes for Croatia as a nation that would bring it back on track with the values cemented by the battle for independence and democracy in 1990’s. While it is in life prudent and necessary for progress not to enter into collaboration with anyone or everyone, but surely, a select few could form a formidable force of change; but only if individual egos are left outside the door. Alarmingly, the ultra-left communist Yugoslavia prone smaller parties appear to be on the rise in the parliament and in the streets. They show no decency nor respect for the grave price Croats paid in 1990’s for an independent state. I often wonder whether this is so because such politicians are not about to admit to the horrendous communist crimes against Croats perpetrated by the regime their family members or friends collaborated with willingly; they are not about to return to the rightful owners the valuable properties their communist ancestors stole from freedom-loving Croats post World War Two.

Is the fight against communist mindset in Croatia still worth our energy, one might ask! You bet it is! 

On my personal spiritual note, Jesus Christ was 33 years old when the persecution, horrible torture against his good teachings culminated in his crucifixion; but he gloriously arose from the dead, anyway! Has the 1990 will of Croatian people for freedom from communism been living the same destiny in the past 33 years? Ina Vukic 


  1. Inavukic ! Congratulations on celebrating 33th year of the Independence of Croatia from the yoke of communist Yugoslavia on 30th May 2023 .

  2. I hope for the resurrection of the fight for true Democracy within Croatia at the willof the people very soon Ina. Hugs.


  4. Such an amazing war in the 90’s in Croatia. So sad

  5. 33 Years…. I remember the 90’s very well, and the horrors of that war, even from the safety of being in England… I couldn’t comprehend it then, and it still takes some digesting now, given the revealing since of the horrors inflicted.

    It had a huge impact upon me, as it brought home how from one moment a community living in peace could be so divided and terrorised ..

    Reading through your post Ina, and understanding even more of how these War Lords operate within society… We see Democracy ALL over the World is often a false face as it pretends to be one thing while being the opposite.

    We have to accept, that corruption on a very Deep Level throughout many of our Higher Officialdom has been Highjacked for more nefarious purposes, and that there are still lots of Evil pockets within our governing bodies in many places around our world

    Our Courts, Education, the Big corporations have all played parts and Greed and corruption is entwined within many..

    Not all I know are guilty… But those who sit in high places and Do nothing are just as guilty if they allow the communism ways to infiltrate and destroy true democracy and freedoms…

    33 is a magic number…. And I hope by 2024 we may well have seen a shift into understanding HOW, Why, and Whom, are behind such structures, as we the people around the world, may find ourselves being enlightened into being educated why such wars were instigated throughout history and who gained the most from them.

    We have still a long road yet to travel Ina… And its people like you who History will thank, as you seek justice for those who no longer can speak for themselves..

    Sending LOVE and well wishes and many thanks for your love and support dear friend.. Good to be back in WP for a while 🙂 <3

    • At least in most democratic countries those even in high places suspected of corruption stand down or aside from their positions and await results of investigations, often their properties blocked in case itturnes out there are proceeds of crime in them… one day oneway Sue we shall see the light. Hugs

      • Oh I am certain that that day will arrive Ina… I just hope we may witness that Day 🙂 <3 .. Sending Love and Light to you Ina.. <3

  6. A heartfelt share.May God bless the family in interview. 🙏

Leave a Reply

Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions:

All content on “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is for informational purposes only. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is not responsible for and expressly disclaims all liability for the interpretations and subsequent reactions of visitors or commenters either to this site or its associate Twitter account, @IVukic or its Facebook account. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The nature of information provided on this website may be transitional and, therefore, accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. This blog may contain hypertext links to other websites or webpages. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information on any other website or webpage. We do not endorse or accept any responsibility for any views expressed or products or services offered on outside sites, or the organisations sponsoring those sites, or the safety of linking to those sites. Comment Policy: Everyone is welcome and encouraged to voice their opinion regardless of identity, politics, ideology, religion or agreement with the subject in posts or other commentators. Personal or other criticism is acceptable as long as it is justified by facts, arguments or discussions of key issues. Comments that include profanity, offensive language and insults will be moderated.