Croatia, Corruption, and Serb Ethnic Minority Terror

Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenkovic (Front); Back row from Left to Right: Deputy Prime Minister Boris MIlosevic, Minister for Pension System, Family and Social Policy Josip Alardovic, (former) Minister for Construction and Public Property Darko Horvat (arrested), former minister for Agriculture Tomislav Tolusic

Identifying and processing corruption in Croatia that defined Croatia under communist Yugoslavia as well as all these past thirty years since the secession from communism still yields the impression of governments playing peekaboo or hide and seek game. Whether it be the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) or SDP (Social Democratic Party) led government, fighting corruption had not been consistent nor determined. Undoubtedly, the reason for this lies in the fact that many former communists and their family members had indulged in corruption and theft of public goods or the practice of either hiding the crimes of corruption and theft or being heavily involved in it continued. And so, every once in a while, the Croatian government had seemingly gladly permitted the processing by public prosecutor, government attorney, or anti-corruption authority of crimes perpetrated by some current or ex-high-government functionary so as to leave the (false) impression how the government is serious about fighting corruption. However, the office of public prosecutor has evidently never in the past thirty years been independent of government in its activities of pursuing processing of crimes and suspected crimes just as this was the case under the communist party regime in former Yugoslavia.

Everyone will agree that to successfully transition from communism into democracy (or any totalitarian regime for that matter) it is essential to shed habits and behaviours practiced especially by authorities and their collaborators at all levels – local, regional, and national – that were shaped and condoned under the communist regime. Croatia has failed miserably at this, and the failure appears purposeful. Too many people in important or powerful positions or their family members have had, and still have, their fingers stuck in the proverbial cookie jar. Corruption exists in all countries, however, in the developed democracies it does not define a nation and its governments like it does Croatia – still.

On Saturday 19 February, another case of corruption probes surfaced in Croatia when the police began searching the apartment of the government minister for Construction and Public Property Darko Horvat in Donja Dubrava, Zagreb. Furthermore, and at the same time, the police broke into his house in Medjimurje County (North of Zagreb) due to suspicions of his connection with the abuse of power by his former assistant, and now the suspect in crimes of corruption – Ana Mandac. According to Croatian media Horvat is suspected of 2.6 million kuna in illegal incentives. Reportedly Horvat requested funds (non-refundable) from the program ‘Development of small and medium enterprises and crafts in areas inhabited by persons belonging to national minorities’, i.e., to benefit some companies and people who were not entitled to those funds, this time of Serb ethnicity.

Soon after the search of Minister Darko Horvat’s house he was arrested and taken away by the police for further questioning. Almost immediately, Horvat reportedly requested from the Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic that he be removed from his duties as government minister and Plenkovic did relieve Horvat of his ministerial duties late Saturday afternoon 19th February.

“If someone is arrested, he cannot be a minister, it is clear as day. Especially if he stays there,” Plenkovic said at a press conference in Banski dvori Government Offices convened over Horvat’s arrest and an investigation into several other current and former state officials. Officials, including some ministers…Someone had a motive for this timing to be right now. To me, that timing doesn’t seem neutral. Neither the State Attorney’s Office nor anyone else will overthrow the Government, but this is interesting,” Plenkovic said.

Well, it is evident that the current government in Croatia is all about timing and control of corruption revelation and processing of those crimes. Why else would Prime Minister question the timing of these arrests!? Did he, himself, in fact know of possible corrupt practices but did nothing about them because “it was not the right time”!? Or is Plenkovic so odiously arrogant that he dares to question the timing of arrests for suspected crimes or is he sinking further into a political mudslide that will see him disappear into oblivion of power-hold.

Shady and unsavoury business of politics indeed.

In addition to Horvat, the Croatian mainstream media reports that the police and USKOK (Office for the Prevention of Corruption and Organised Crime) also hold suspicions against the current Minister of Pension System, Family and Social Policy Josip Aladrovic, Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milosevic and former Minister of Agriculture Tomislav Tolusic. Aladrovic is suspected of suspicious employment in the period from 2017 to 2019, when he was the director of the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute. Milosevic and Tolusic are suspected of awarding grants to small and medium-sized enterprises in 2017 and 2018, while Ana Mandac was Horvat’s assistant, and they both allegedly lobbied for Serbian entrepreneurs who had no right of access to these funds.

Whether Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic reaction to his minister Horvat’s arrest and suspicions of corruption being aired against two of his other ministers and a former one is associated with his fear that his HDZ-led government is experiencing fatal crumbling is not clear. There are strong indications that his, HDZ’s, coalition as minority government with the SDSS (Independent Democratic Serb Party in Croatia) is experiencing continued heavy blows from the public or voter body, including within HDZ party itself. A coalition with Serb minority party would most likely never have been a problem had that Serb party in Croatia been made up of Serbs living in Croatia who fought with Croatians (not against) to defend it from Serb aggression in the 1990’s Homeland War but SDSS is closely and personally associated with the 1990’s rebel Serbs and those Serbs who committed horrendous crimes against Croatia and its people. The fact that, say, a brother or sister or niece of a rebel and murderous Serbs are part of current government coalition in Croatia is simply unthinkable and unacceptable to most people. Besides heavily damaging and thwarting the implementation of Homeland War values such a coalition increases the chances of successful equating of victim with the aggressor. This simply cannot be permitted for a nation that lost rivers of blood in defending itself from Serb and communist Yugoslavia aggression.

Having the above bitter reality in mind, minister Horvat’s arrest pending further investigation into corruption is a heavy blow to both the government and HDZ Party; it may rattle and shatter both to the core. Reported suspicions of influencing government subsidy funding to companies owned by members of Serb minority population in Croatia who had no right even to apply for such funding, the fact that Boris Milosevic. Deputy Prime Minister of Serb minority extraction in parliament, is suspected of favouring certain persons during the awarding of grants from the program “Development of small and medium enterprises and crafts in areas inhabited by members of national minorities” – corruption and nepotism favouring Serbs associated with rebel Serb politics during Serb aggression against Croatia in the 1990’s is enough to make one both ill and angry, as well as bitter. Such outpours of corrupt politics have been known in history to ignite people to (political) arms.

Obviously HDZ as the leading political party in government will need to reinvent its governing strategies and its coalition choices very quickly if it intends on surviving this time. Post minister Horvat’s arrest some opposition parties are calling upon Prime Minister Plenkovic to disband his government and call for new general elections. It is close to mid-term in its government mandate and HDZ constantly continues to experience and/or generate scandals that have the capacity of paralysing the nation into political crises, one after another. These scandals and crises bring about not only possible new elections, shakedown of government coalitions and loyalties but also the likelihood of causing more voter fatigue, which always brings about further reduction of voters turning up at next elections. Of course, the electoral legislation in Croatia needs changes but its current and past panorama has seen an ever-decreasing number of voters turning up to cast their vote. In such a climate some party has and will always win a relative majority, but such lack of voter number strength creates significant illegitimacy of representation within the nation and deeper insecurities for livelihood and living within it. Minorities, including the Serb one in Croatia, simply do not have strong potential of contributing to increasing decisively voter numbers in Croatia. On the other hand, other “right wing” or conservative political milieu has those potential numbers which could strengthen HDZ chances at winning minority government in the next elections. I say this because it is, to the regret of many, still not possible to even imagine the “right wing” or conservative political milieu to win the next government without HDZ being a part in that winning formula, however seemingly leftward HDZ may have drifted. Relatively narrow spans and directions of political activities engaged in by these smaller patriotic political parties on the right are the reason why perhaps they scrape into the parliament with a limited number of seats that, even if joined, could not form a government, not even a minority one. If things will shift away from the current HDZ politics in government, it is essential for HDZ party itself to shift its internal politics towards working with patriotic right-wing parties and not parties that condone Serb aggression and actively engage in any form of equating victim with the aggressor.

Obviously, the Serb minority leadership in Croatia, in coalition with HDZ government is heavily compromised with these new revelations of possible corrupt and criminal activities syphoning government funds to benefit Serbs in Croatia that have no right of access to such government funds. It is a form of sheer and intolerable corruption. One would see it logical for HDZ at this time to recalibrate its weapons of ideological political values and rid itself of the coalition with the SDSS, that is so directly associated with politics against independent Croatia in recent past.

There is no doubt in my mind that HDZ would do well to consider “changing horses midstream” at this time – extinguish its coalition with SDSS and enter a new one from the pool of patriotic political parties represented in the parliament. Otherwise, all that Croatians have to look forward to, for the remainder of this government’s mandate, is more poison being fed into the values of Croatian Homeland War and standard of living generally. The imminent entry into the Eurozone in January 2023 when Croatia plans to swap its kuna currency with the euro will dawn with distressing political crises and thousands more living below the poverty line.

Certainly, the terror over the Croatian nation caused by ethnic minorities having parliamentary representation seats, needs to stop. It is unnatural, it is damaging. Instead of allocating seats in the parliament (where a seat can be earned at elections with merely a few dozen of votes) government departments/offices ensuring ethnic minority rights and services as is the practice in fully functioning democracies should be opened to cater for minority needs. Ina Vukic

The Vomit Principle in Serbia’s Political Spin

 

The “Vomit Principle” in modern marketing trends hasn’t eluded Serbia’s politicians. The vomit principle is a political tactic that wilfully disgusts people in order to grab their attention. When it comes to Serbia’s denial of its horrendous crimes in its pursuits of a Greater Serbia, stretching into Croatian territory and the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1990’s, then it has almost perfected the “art” of the “Vomit Principle”.  Serbia’s politicians, whether in Serbia (for example Aleksandar Vucic, Ana Brnabic, Ivica Dacic) or in Croatia (for example Milorad Pupovac, Boris Milosevic) or in Bosnia and Herzegovina (for example Milorad Dodik) are sticking to their marketing message, sprouting their their passively-aggressive slogans and genocide denials ad nauseam. You’d think they’d get sick of saying the same thing at every turn. And if by any chance, you are asking why I’m putting Serbs from Serbia, Serbs from Croatia and Serbs from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the same cauldron here it’s because both Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina had ethnic Serbs living there who emerged as rebel Serbs (rebelling against the states’ secession from communist Yugoslavia), mounted terror against non-Serbs in those two countries, and were joined in that fight by Serbia with its deadly viciousness. If Croatia’s minority government had the courage and prudence to side with the Croatian Serbs that fought with Croatians against Serb aggression (and there was a significant number of them) we would surely now be looking at a different political scenario, perhaps even at a good progress in reconciliation. But it didn’t and it doesn’t! It sides with Croatian rebel Serb camp that promotes Serbia’s politics in Croatia.

No matter how many times they repeat their spin based on fabrications, there will always be someone who has missed it.  So, repetition is essential to the point of making people feel sick. This is the “Vomit Principle” and it shows particularly at that time when you realise that the spin, the message, the slogan, has been said so many times that you feel that if you hear it or say it once more you are just going to throw up and that is the point at which people hear it. In other words, all marketing that achieves intended results relies on a message which resonates, repeated often enough until it penetrates the minds of your intended audience and gets them to take whatever action you want.

And Serbia wants the world to forget that its aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina ever occurred! That the genocide, the ethnic cleansing, the mass rapes, the torture, the sheer wanton destruction it committed during 1990’s did not occur and if it did occur then it was justified to pursue such course of action because Serbs say in deceit that Croatia, for example, engaged in genocide during World War II. I will not go deeply here into the fact that WWII history regarding Croatia when it comes to, say, Jasenovac camp and the numbers of people who perished there, was largely fraudulently written by Serbs and other communists and, judging by relatively recent research into WWII, it does not represent the true picture, or actual facts. I will not go deeply here into the fact that, for example, Serbia (its leaders of the 1990’s aggression) were convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague of genocide in Croatia, and Croatia was not.

Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic took part in a commemoration ceremony Tuesday, 4 August 2020 in Sremska Raca near the borders with Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ceremony marked the day when, in 1995, the Croatian military’s Operation Storm, which marked the end of the war for Croatia’s independence from communist Yugoslavia and was organised by official Serbia in remembrance of the Serbian victims and refugees.

We will not celebrate the tragedy of the Serbian people, the killing of Serb civilians, the killing of the Serb children. We will not be humiliated,” Vucic said at the commemoration in Sremska Raca. “Reconciliation, yes. Humiliation — no,” said Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic!

Knowing the fact that there are no known civilian victims during Croatia’s Operation Storm on 4th and 5th August 1995 and that the exodus of some 200,000 of Serbs from Croatia at the time was actually an ordered evacuation that was directed by Serbia itself puts a bitter taste and outrage to these words uttered by Vucic, yet another of many times!

Then, at around the same time, Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, regurgitated Vucic’s vomit against Croatia.  “We want reconciliation, peace, we do not ask you to apologise, admit the genocide in Jasenovac, but we want you to let us mourn that day or those days. We want reconciliation, but not humiliation, which we will not agree to.”

Serbia continues pressuring Croatia to admit to genocide it did not perpetrate in WWII against Serbs in order to continue denying the genocide it, itself, perpetrated in 1990’s in both Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina! The gut-wrenching thing in all this is that pro-communist Yugoslavia political/government leadership of Croatia does nothing to alert the world not to succumb to the nausea infecting the world from Serbia. Even, if that leadership or government of Croatia is in coalition with the Serb activists in Croatia in order to sustain its minority government, it has no right to keep silent in the face of continued barrage of lies and denials of the 1990’s murderous aggression coming from Serbia!

Whether Serbia’s usage of the “Vomit Principle” strategy in its politics to wash away its 1990’s mortal sins against the Croatian people, as if they were never willfully committed, will force Croatian current leadership to further compromise the absolute need of Croatia to defend itself from the murderous Serb aggression is yet to be seen. According to some media sources Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Barnabic has even during the past week “told” Croatia to stop using the term “Serbo-Chetnik aggression” when it comes to Croatia’s Homeland War! Will Serbia’s use of the “Vomit Principle” force a reconciliation founded on the cruel equalisation of the victim with the aggressor? It’s certainly heading that way it seems and it spells no blissful future that depends on truth; it spells a long painful future of unrest among the Croatian people, for certain.

Let’s take a look at what is evidently standing behind Serbia’s leadership’s words – behind what Vucic and Brnabic are saying. In terms of psychology Vucic’s and Brnabic’s, indeed of all Serbia’s leading politicians of decades past, telling lies and pointing fingers at others especially for unrelated acts (for example WWII) has evidently become a way not to admit that which makes them feel ashamed and they do not want to be judged for crimes Serbia has perpetrated. Serbia should be ashamed of its aggression against Croatian people who wanted out of communist Yugoslavia, which, by the way, Serbs controlled to a large extent. Then, of course, the relatively recent trends in historical research into facts of WWII Croatia have revealed several crucial facts regarding WWII Jasenovac and regarding Blessed Alojzije Stepinac that cause anxiety and panic among Serbs who had participated in writing the history of WWII Croatia, based on lies and cruel fabrications. There is the extensive research by American dr Esther Gitman on the rescue and survival of Jews in WWII Croatia which point to the fact that there were Croats, including Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, who made it their task to rescue Jews and others, but still, after WWII Serbs led the persecution against Blessed Alojzije Stepinac with trumped-up charges of Nazi collaboration. Then, British dr Robin Harris published also a biography of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, based on similar facts. But, wouldn’t you know it (!), Serbia has recently placed Israeli historian Gideon Greif on its payroll and Serbia’s lies get new reinforcement.

Historical archives being open after Croatia seceded from communist Yugoslavia in the 1990’s has enabled historians to delve into researching the history of Jasenovac camp. The results that are emerging from this research give a significantly different picture of WWII Jasenovac. This picture based on discovered documentation is definitely set to throw the false picture Serbs and their allies painted into garbage; onto the heap of human misery and deceit. Serbs and their allies have already maliciously dubbed this research as “Holocaust denial” and “Historical Revisionism”! Some notable researchers into WWII Jasenovac camp have been Blanka M. Matkovic, Igor Vukic, Vladimir Horvat and Stipo Pilic, to name just a few. They all point one to the fact that the myth about WWII Jasenovac camp was a cruel myth devised to prop-up the oppressive communist Yugoslavia regime and the Serb determination to cover up their own terrible participation in the WWII extermination of Jews and their hatred for any kind of independent Croatia.

And so, it has surfaced relatively recently that the myth of Croatian genocide against Serbs in WWII is based on lies and fabrication – and this feeds Serbia’s “Vomit Principle” with ammunition made up of lies. Associated with this principle are Croatian Serbs’, who were directly or sideways associated with the rebel Serb faction in 1990’s Croatia (Such as Milorad Pupovac and Boris Milosevic), constant attempts to characterise the “For Homeland Ready” (Za Dom Spremni) Croatian salute, used for centuries as a mark of patriotic love, as a salute that promotes a genocidal character of Croatian fight for independence! Serb aggression and the need for Croats to preserve their lives amidst the brutal aggression means nothing in their warped minds. They lived in Croatia as the 19990’s war of aggression arose, they live in Croatia today and yet they are activists for Serbia’s anti-Croatian politics!  And with this, they all call for a future that is threaded together by peace and reconciliation between Croatia and Serbia!

Surely, Serbia’s use of the “Vomit Principle” cannot possibly succeed in achieving reconciliation because that would mean that Croatia has finally cowered to the pressure of liars and aggressors and that, in no small ways, spells out yet another myth Serbia has managed to forge and place on the world’s stage! To the detriment of humanity and truth! Ina Vukic

 

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.
%d bloggers like this: