Croatia: Mentality Change Equals Croatian National State

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, President of the Republic of Croatia

26 April 2019 (last leg of Grabar-Kitarovic Presidential mandate):

Addressing a special session of Karlovac County Assembly on County Day on Friday, Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic said that the most significant measure at the moment needs to be “reforming our mentality,” in order to make the Croatians think and work faster, more resolutely and in a better organised manner. She acknowledged with praise Prime Minister the Andrej Plenkovic’s cabinet for reducing taxes and administration levies, however, she claimed that the “most significant reform we need to implement is to reform our mentality,” so that at all levels, we can think and work more resolutely, faster and in a more organised manner.

1 July 2015 (first leg of Grabar-Kitarovic presidential mandate):

“The key for solutions and for coming out from this economic crisis is in increase of jobs but also in change of mentality, strengthening of accountability and political courage,” said Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic at the inaugural meeting of her presidential committee for economic affairs in Croatia, “that is what I want to see in Croatia – economic growth, opening of new jobs, increase of employment, creation of new values and new products, export, fiscal discipline and productivity in public administration. We need to change in order to come out of this situation we are in. Solutions exist, it’s just that we must have enough political courage and accountability in order to implement them.”

The Constitution of the Republic of Croatia in the last point within the Historic Foundations section says the following:

“At the historic turning-point marked by the rejection of the communist system and changes in the international order in Europe, the Croatian nation reaffirmed, in the first democratic elections (1990), by its freely expressed will, its millennial statehood and its resolution to establish the Republic of Croatia as a sovereign state.”

About the need for mentality change

Bravo President Grabar-Kitarovic for reiterating the need to change mentality in Croatia but it’s a clear as a sunny day that Croatia’s government and presidential forces have not rejected the communist system (mentality), rejection of which is fortified in the country’s Constitution. With a heavy dose of bitterness I can understand why, after the Homeland War ended and all Croatian Serb-occupied territory liberated (1998), communist presidents Stjepan Mesic and Ivo Josipovic never bothered to even accentuate to the people of Croatia that a change in mentality was needed in order for Croatia to move ahead; in order to rid it of communist mentality. I say communist mentality even if Grabar-Kitarovic did not define it as such because neither she nor anyone else needs to spell this one out.

And now we have the case of four years wasted since the President had stated the obvious – that Croatia needs a change in mentality – also! President Grabar-Kitarovic is still, after four years, telling Croatian people they need a mentality change or reform. I guess when one doesn’t really seem to care about what one says, just as long as it sounds good for political grandstanding, one is not likely to roll ones sleeves up and do something about it. Her repeated expressions of need to change mentality are evidently mechanical – a parroting exercise.

It is a fact that former communist countries have since 1989 (since the fall of Berlin Wall) been going through a painful metamorphosis on a confusing path toward acceptance of the individual responsibilities freedom brings and of acceptance of democratic values. Croatia is no different except for the fact that nothing has been officially done to drive a mentality change. Individual politicians and academics have been constantly addressing the problem of enormous barriers to progress that communist mindset or mentality represent in Croatia. So it’s not as if Grabar-Kitarovic would have been without allies were she truly mindful enough of tackling mentality change.

It is time for change – now!

The debilitating impact of the communist moral and psychological legacy on the socioeconomic transition into democracy means that even after three decades (almost) of formal independence as a sovereign state, Croatia is still struggling to find its way forward. The fact that former highly positioned communist operatives still hold the fort of key socio-economic and political structures has been and is a source of painful discontent and disappointment; a source of apathy that continues to see dismally low voter turnout at elections and a source of staggering brain drain from the country. It is a source, I believe, that drives the much present call for togetherness and unity of all Croatian patriotic political parties these days of election campaigns for the European Parliament. The sad part is that only very, very few of those calling for such unity mention the need to affirm a Croatian national state; a state of Croatian people (with minorities respected). This line of action would among other benefits, return to the forefront the intentions and plights within the massive and united movement all those years ago of late nineteen eighties and early nineties when almost 94% of voters in Croatia voted at a referendum to rid themselves of communist Yugoslavia.

The communist Yugoslavia regime succeeded in penetrating very deeply into many people’s minds and influenced their way of working, doing business and the sphere of public administration. Corruption, bribery, political pressure, nepotism, theft of public property, reliance on borrowed money to pay wages…all were the hallmarks of the communist mindset and mentality. These echoes of the communist Yugoslavia period are still alarmingly evident in Croatia and while the task of getting rid of them, or mellowing them down to insignificance or non-intrusive level, appears difficult, it is definitely not a Sisyphean one! We have seen that in other former communist countries of Europe, where communist regime’s practices were and are taken head on.

The Croatian governments’ inability to coordinate efforts and prioritise challenges of transitioning from communism resulted in failure to implement judicial and pragmatic economic reforms had further exacerbated many social problems. This political chaos supported wild privatisation, so that the major state-owned companies passed into the hands of well-connected apparatchiks, who continued turning the gaps in institutional and legislative control to their own advantage from the start. The wave of privatisations in the 1990s turned post-Yugoslavia Croatia into a society largely run by new-tycoons, where newly emerged elite with enormous wealth and often decisive control over public policy transformed their economic power into political influence to preserve their dominance; to preserve communist mentality. The roots of nepotism and corruption that existed in communist Yugoslavia are alive and kicking in Croatia.

Promotion of Croatian national identity was considered practically a criminal act in communist Yugoslavia, and Croats living abroad who identified themselves as Croats were hunted down one way or another. All the Yugoslav republics were subject to domination by communist bureaucrats, who were sent far and wide to preserve the Josip Broz Tito’s dictatorship even to remote outskirts of the Western World where Croatian nationals who rejected communism had settled, where the communist Secret Police UDBa assassinated scores. Party control became brutal after WWII, and hundreds of thousands Croatians murdered in communist purges. The fear factor contributed vastly and intentionally to the development of unique national behaviour, which in turn influenced ideology and the operations of various organisations and social institutions. Massive corruption, deeply rooted in the public consciousness, has interfered with post-Yugoslavia economic and political systems in Croatia. Without a change in mentality, the very corruption fuelled by political elites, including those holding the judiciary, will be the bullet that will destroy the Croatian peoples’ dream (a human right) for self-determination.

The theory of behavioural economics suggests that national self-awareness is an important pre-requisite for economic decision-making. Western principles, when forcefully applied to the dominant communist (anti-capitalist) mentality, look like expensive make-up on the wrinkled face of reality. Socio-cultural factors that determine successful transformation (from communist mentality) include individualism vs. collectivism and power distance. The former is self-explanatory as to any healthy thriving of economic development; competition and individual responsibility are at the forefront of thriving economies. In societies with a large power distance, professionals are not consulted but are instructed by the power centres; Croatia still suffers much from this communist regime’s ailment because of which some “elites” think they know everything but will still pretend to seek professional advice.

Today, calling oneself a Croatian patriot (usually meaning the one who was and is against communism) or uttering the age-long greeting “For Home Ready” (Za Dom Spremni) exposes one to being branded as fascist or neo-Nazi, and criminally prosecuted or fined for that greeting! Today, wearing or displaying the communist Yugoslavia red five-pointed star, or Yugoslav flag, does not brand one as anything, nor is it punishable by law! Communism and communist mentality is alive and kicking in Croatia.

Yes, Madam President, political courage is needed and you and most of Croatia’s government cabinet members do not have it! And, courage cannot be learned!

All Croatia needs now is for those who have demonstrated political courage by loudly and continuously advocating for changes from the communist mindset to get voted into government. All Croatians need now is to assert their national right that was asserted through the bloody and brutal Homeland War of Serb aggression; to assert their Croatian national state and measure the extent and values of State sovereignty through it. After all, it was the Croatian people by vast majority who voted to secede from communist Yugoslavia, who fought and lost thousands of lives for it and they have earned the right to finish the task of decommunisation. After all, rejection of communisim is embedded in the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia.

Decommunisation is the only agent that will bring the mentality change President Grabar-Kitarovic is talking about, albeit unconvincingly as to her determination and courage to implement the processes and socio-political structures needed for it. Ina Vukic

Croatia: Now Minister Predrag Sustar Under Red Attack

Predrag Sustar Minister for Science, Education and Sport Croatia Photo: fah

Predrag Sustar
Minister for Science, Education and Sport
Croatia
Photo: fah

 

It’s been reported by Croatia’s portal Index.hr Tuesday 16 February 2016 that Croatia’s new Minister for Science, Education and Sports Predrag Sustar believes that God is the designer of the world and that the question of evolution remains open. Media outlet in Croatia – Index.hr – makes malicious allegations that Croatian scientists claim that Sustar cannot stay as a minister, writes Index’s journalist Martina Paucek Sljivar without actually giving the public some clue as to how many of Croatia’s scientist might think this way, apart, of course, from the two men from Split the article mentions (further on in this post) – and, oh boy – is Split red as in communist red!

Index.hr seems to have dug out an article written by Sustar in 2012 “Science and Religion of Rudjer Boskovic”, in which he reportedly states that the question of evolution remains open and that the God option (as the one who created the world) remains open, for testing the waters in order to see whether yet another minister of the new government in Croatia could be pinned up for ridicule and eventual sacking or resignation (first the minister of veterans’ affairs Mijo Crnoja was on this agenda, he resigned from pressure ….then came Zlatko Hasanbegovic who still honourably survives). Destabilising the new government so it’s incapacitated to do its work is very much the agenda of the left side of politics, former communists, who simply have no interest in seeing significant progress and advancements in all aspects of democratic life and independent Croatia.

 

USA Currency "In God we trust"

USA Currency
“In God we trust”

“It seems that so far the theory of evolution did not offer any definitive solutions, which still leaves room for God as the designer. In other words, that means that the God option is open “, Index.hr says Sustar wrote in 2012 in the article together with his colleague from the Faculty of Philosophy Aleksandra Golubovic.
“Many scientists in modern times believe that the design can be perfectly explained by the theory of evolution and that God in this context is redundant. How can the organization of the universe be supported by the evolution? Evolution, it seems, is sufficient to explain the process of natural selection, which results in adaptation of organisms to their environment. The only question is whether the theory of evolution can constitute the final explanation for the organization of the whole universe or whether it explains only one aspect, one segment? If the evolution cannot explain the whole of reality, and it seems that it cannot, than there is space for God”, wrote Sustar as reported by Index.hr.

USA Currency "In God we trust"

USA Currency
“In God we trust”

“Theism, that is the view that God is the one who in an optimal way ‘arranged’ the interplay of forces seems like the best explanation for the fact that life in the universe is possible, because if the values of forces were different (or if there was even a minimum deviation in their values), the likelihood of survival would be extremely low or even non-existent. This interpretation could be seen as the best explanation, which tells us that of all the solutions we should choose the one which has the highest probability. God, as the one who ‘arranged’ the forces in an optimal way, is according to theists the best explanation”, Sustar reportedly added.

Pope Francis 2014: “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

Pope Francis 2014:
“Evolution in nature is not
inconsistent with the notion of creation,
because evolution requires the creation
of beings that evolve.”

Even though it quotes from 2012 the journalist wickedly compares them with what Pope Francis said in 2014 as if the two were occurring at the same time – today! “These statements by the Croatian Minister of Science are at odds with what Pope Francis said two years ago. “’The theory of evolution and the Big Bang are accurate, and God is not a magician with a magic wand’, said Pope Francis and put an end to theories about God as the creator and designer of the world,” says that evidently ridiculous and seemingly malicious journalist of Index.hr, obviously manipulating Pope Francis’ words and cutting the full truth of Pope’s words from the Croatian public. What Sustar reportedly wrote in his 2012 seems not all at odds with what the Pope said in 2014, indeed if anything both opinions are quite commensurate with one another.

 

Furthermore, the Index.hr article goes on to refer to what two scientists in Croatia have said about the 2012 Sustar article as though the article was fresh off the press! Those two scientists Ivica Puljak, Split Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Shipbuilding: “…The strangest of all statements in the article (Sustar’s) is that the world has obviously been designed. I do not believe that someone could write something like that. Not a single serious religious person would say that. This is totally wrong because the world has not been designed. Science and religion have nothing in common. All that we know about nature and the universe we have learnt through science, and it will remain so in the future. I would like him to explain what he meant when he said that the question of evolution is open and that the world has been designed”, said Puljak.

 

Well Mr Puljak – and Index,hr – check out Pope Francis’ words in full from 2014, including: “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

10 Euro coin Austria St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna image

10 Euro coin
Austria
St Stephen’s Cathedral
in Vienna image

Dejan Vinkovic, School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Split and the director of the Institute of Synergy Between Science and Society, who also spoke for Index.hr on this issue, was reportedly “shocked by ministers words and went a step further and said that a person who does not accept biological evolution is not capable of heading a science and educational system of a country.” Again Vinkovic refers to a 2012 article as if it represents current views of its author and at no time has Index.hr written about any attempt to seek minister Sustar’s current views on “evolution Vs divine creation”; besides and contrary to insinuations made here against Sustar he did not in his writings reject evolution. Indeed, Vinkovic tells us “Creationism advocates the view that the world is a few thousand years ago, and that God created everything as it stands now. These views are equivalent to those who believe that the Earth is flat.” What a ridiculous man – he and not minister Sustar needs a brush-up on how Catholic religion accommodates evolution and creationism as hand-in-had process to the world we have today.
“The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it,” said Pope Francis in 2014 on the issue.

10 Euro coin France Notre Dame Cathedral image

10 Euro coin
France
Notre Dame Cathedral
image

It is apparent that the article in Index.hr by Martina Paucek Sljivar had no intention of educating the Croatian public as to where evolution stood against creation when it comes to the world’s origins as we know it, but to pluck out bits and pieces of a 4 year old article written by the scientist Sustar in 2012, who is a government minister in Croatia in February 2016, and use those to start a public lynch against him regardless of the facts or full truth – as it stands then and now. “The Council of Europe has warned about the expansion of creationism in schools, but Croatia is making a step backwards by having an education minister who advocates a milder version of creationism. The only responsible thing would be for the minister to resign, or for the prime minister to dismiss him. Everything else would be putting the religious over the secular, pseudoscientific over the scientific”, concluded Vinkovic and proves the correctness of my analysis of the intention of the article on Index.hr.

 

2 Euro coin Germany Cologne Cathedral image

2 Euro coin
Germany
Cologne Cathedral image

Oh dear!

Well now, all the free and democratic world needs to do right now to satisfy Index.hr and its collaborators’ as to how much religion should guide secular democracies includes: the USA must erase “In God We Trust” written on its Dollar bill; EU countries such as France, Germany, Austria – almost all – must remove from their Euro currencies in circulation all religious symbolism; and such. I do trust the new government in Croatia will know how to swiftly kill-off stumbling blocks to progress such as this Index.hr attempt to vilify and destabilise represents. Secular governance does not exclude personal religious beliefs and should not require it and the sooner the Croatian government acts in discrediting these social and scientific dilettantes from Index.hr the better. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: New Payments For Sports Excellence Reflect Communist Mentality

1960 Olympic Gold Medalist  Ante Zanetic

1960 Olympic Gold Medalist
Ante Zanetic (click photo to enlarge)

 

A new article/regulation within Croatia’s Sports Law has since late 2013 made provisions for the “permanent monetary monthly payments to Olympic and Paralympic games medal winners, to winners of medals at Olympic games for the deaf and world competitions in Olympic sports and disciplines”. This applies to medal winners within the national representation of former communist Yugoslavia as well as of modern and independent Croatia. And so it should be, after all winning Olympic or World Championship medals has always been a hard and demanding career filled with big personal sacrifices pursued for the love of sport and one’s country, for international prestige and respect of a whole nation, not just for the sportsperson winning the medal involved.

But when it comes to Croatia, the country evidently ruled by a government heavily influenced by nostalgia for the former communist Yugoslavia regime, matters of respect and merit become contaminated and bitterly twisted – all in the pursuits of hiding, whitewashing and distorting the truth about the oppression that Yugoslav totalitarian regime served upon multitudes, many of whom fled or left the country to live in the free world of Western democracies.

Ever since the death of Franjo Tudjman (1999), modern Croatia’s first president, there has been a strong presence of renewed alienation of Croatian diaspora championed by those politicians who call themselves antifascists. The diaspora is a strong reminder that communist Yugoslavia was, in fact, not the “great” regime the antifascists promote it to have been and these communist regime crimes and oppression apologists don’t want such reminders around! Instead of reconciling with the past and recognising all Croats as equally meritorious in helping build or be a part of true democracy, no matter where they might live, the current government of Croatia slides into biased and discriminatory practices in legislation, just as it used to happen in Yugoslavia.

These new regular monthly payments to medal winners represent recognition of sporting excellence. But, this new provision for “Olympic medalists’” also excludes the deserving sports legends living abroad from any such recognition! One must live in Croatia to qualify for such payments! The truth is that there are Croats who won the Olympic and other world championship medals for Yugoslavia (and Croatia since 1991) who have lived abroad for many years and decades and yet they do not qualify!

So a law or provision under a law targets a specific merit (Olympic medal for Yugoslavia or Croatia) and the reward for that merit but discriminates the meritorious on the basis of their place of residence! It fails purposefully to honour the fact that sports Olympic champions are known to reside abroad; its exclusion particularly targets those who had sought freedom from communism in the West! Such legislative machinations are a mentality from communist Yugoslavia, which often excluded from benefits and punished those who were against its regime regardless of their personal merits and skills. It’s a reminder of the “old” days when laws were passed to serve and benefit “the boys of the communist brigade”!
On 15 September 2014 the Croatian newspaper Vecernji List published an article about these new payments for Olympic medalists. It caught my eye particularly because it published the name of Ante Zanetic who lives in Australia and it said that he, a golden Olympian, “who escaped from communist Yugoslavia to Australia” is not taking advantage of this entitlement. This intrigued me so I decided to contact Mr Zanetic and ask him about it.

 

Ante Zanetic Olympic

He said he knew nothing about the Olympic medalist regular monthly payments and had never been contacted by anyone to even comment on the law.

This law is discriminatory,” he said. “It seems to me the law is tailored for rewarding those who were faithful and are faithful to communist Yugoslavia, friends of minister Zeljko Jovanovic and his former assistant Petar Skansi. It is tragic that this Croatian government is passing laws on these payments for Olympic medalists, many of who are wealthy, while the population is to a great extent hungry and rummages garbage bins for food.

Of course this law is discriminatory. How can you devise monthly payments for Olympic medalists for former Yugoslavia and exclude those who no longer live there but are medalists! How can you deny the right to recognition of a person’s proven excellence just because they no longer live in the country!

Beside, I did not escape from communist Yugoslavia to Australia, as the Vecernji List article says. The truth is that when about two weeks before Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito was to head the big celebrations in Split, 50th anniversary of Hajduk Split football club, in 1961, the Yugoslav representation football team, of which I was a part, went on tour to play in Germany and Denmark. I did not return to Yugoslavia with the team, knowing the Yugoslav secret police UDBA assassins were all over Germany at the time, targeting Croatian nationals, I traveled with a forged passport to Belgium, spent time in prison for that, but thanks to the help of the president of the FC Bruges, I was finally successful in obtaining political asylum in Belgium.

I had already been recognised worldwide as one of the top 11 world football players and so I played football for FC Bruges, but by 1963, the painful condition from which I suffered all my life – Spina Bifida – required surgical attention to my spine and my football playing days were over. It was in 1967 that I came to Australia, where I joined my brother Marko who had also left communist Yugoslavia and had been in Australia for several years.

So, to put it as it is: the communists of Hajduk Split football club have never forgiven me for noticeably spoiling Tito’s big day of celebration in Split, 1961, by seeking political asylum in Belgium. They could not bear the thought that one of the world’s top football players had so publicly rejected communist Yugoslavia by not returning to it after the well-publicised matches in Germany and Denmark had ended. They (Hajduk club) did not acknowledge me in 1996 when I visited after the war in Croatia had ended, they did not invite me to the club’s 100th anniversary celebrations in 2011, and so they did not contact me regarding this new Olympic medalists’ monthly payments law. They in Croatia passed a law by which people in the diaspora have no rights even though they are entitled.

The young people in Croatia do not know that the conflicts between football clubs Hajduk and Dinamo had been caused by the communist Yugoslavia secret police UDBA and it’s still going on and if it turns out that Ivo Josipovic gets another mandate as president of Croatia, it’ll be the end of any hope of Croatia becoming a truly democratic and fair and decent country.”

Croatia’s Prime Minister, Zoram Milanovic, had stated that this monetary reward for excellence is the fairest possible because there is no means testing! You have a medal, you can get the payments if you’re poor, you can get them if you’re wealthy –  but you cannot get them if you did not win a medal or if you won a medal but you live abroad! What’s fair about that!

 

If this is not a living proof of communist mentality kicking about in Croatia today I don’t know what is. It is not as though the authorities do not know about Zanetic and those medalists like him and how to contact them – it as much about suppressing the fact that truly great people of Croatia (Yugoslavia) did not agree with communist Yugoslavia and its regime as it is about the utter discrimination between those with equal merits, just as communists operated during Yugoslavia – political agenda took precedence over professional and other merits. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

 

___________
About Ante Zanetic – football merits earning him the title of sports excellence covered by the new law in Croatia:
Born in 1936, Blato on island of Korcula, Croatia. Completed Teacher’s college in Dubrovnik. Started playing football (soccer) in local Blato club at young age and then played for Dubrovnik during tertiary studies to end up in 1955 playing for Hajduk in Split, Croatia (Yugoslavia). He played 250 games for the club, numerous matches in the state of Croatia representation team and 15 games as member of Yugoslav football representation team. At the Olympic games in Rome, 1960, he won Gold and soon after Silver medal at the 1960 European Nations’ cup in Paris. In 1960 he was proclaimed as the best right midfielder in Europe while the UK World Soccer magazine listed him among best 11 football players in the world (GROSICS, BERGMARK, SANTAMARIA, N.SANTOS, VERGAS, ZANETIC, JULINHO, PELE, DI STEFANO, PUSKAS and GENTO).

Ante Zanetic Bruges

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