Communist Yugoslavia Secret Services Archives Needed To Fight Against Organised Crime

The report on cooperation in the fight against organised crime in the Western Balkans was adopted by the Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday 26 October 2021 by 60 votes in favour, 4 against and 6 abstentions.  In the report Members of the European Parliament urged governments in the region to significantly increase their efforts to go forward with reforms in the rule of law and the fight against corruption and organised crime. The report says that the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Serbia) are countries of origin, destination, and transit for human trafficking, and they serve as a transit corridor for migrants and refugees and as a location for money laundering and firearms trafficking.

There is a lack of genuine political will in fighting the organised crime in these countries and MEPs want Western Balkan countries to address fully the shortcomings of their respective criminal-justice systems, including the length of legal proceedings. While not located within the Western Balkans for the matters addressed in this report, Croatia as a country that used to be a part of communist Yugoslavia until 1991 still has a great deal to answer for and fight against when it comes to organised crime and corruption.

The report said that Members of the European Parliament insisted that “fighting organised crime and advancing towards European Union integration are mutually reinforcing processes and call for an accelerated integration process.” The EU should, according to its Members of Parliament, support these efforts through financial assistance and practical cooperation. Call me a pessimist and a cynic in this if you like, but judging from the fact that organised crime and corruption are rooted in these societies of former communist regimes or similar political and social realities, the EU money dished out to root out corruption will be largely swallowed up by the same corruption, to feed itself, unless political power landscapes are changed in those countries or the EU actually controls every euro given and does not give money away.

As a member state of former Yugoslavia Croatia has also inherited widespread corruption as organised crimes from it. As such, Croatia could play a significant role in its input into fighting organised crime in those countries of Western Balkans that have their eye on being members of an extended EU member country because it possesses “inside knowledge” of organised crime. But given the alarming level of organised corruption still plaguing Croatia one must doubt as to whether much will change in Western Balkans on account of Croatia’s input. To be effective in this Croatia would need to shed most of its public administration heads and replaced them with those who have no links whatsoever with the corrupt echelons. Or, assisting the EU in this role from Croatia should be persons who would not qualify for lustration if lustration was to occur as well as not be a descendant, child, or grandchild of those who would qualify to be lustrated whether now living or not. It sounds like a big ask but, in essence, it is not because Croatia has quite a number of those who would qualify and who had during the life of former Yugoslavia either lived there or lived abroad as part of the diaspora.

Croatia’s criminal-justice system is certainly there where Western Balkans’ is and it needs a complete overhaul, however, we are not likely to see this occur while those aligned with the former communist Yugoslavia mental set control all aspects of public administration including judiciary.

The Report says that the main factors that make Western Balkans societies vulnerable, are the lack of employment opportunities, corruption, disinformation, elements of state capture, inequality, and foreign interference from non-democratic regimes such as Russia and China. Croatia, even after 30 years of seceding from Yugoslavia still has these problems plaguing its progress and everyday life.

Links between organised crime, politics and businesses existed before the break-up of Yugoslavia and have continued since the end of the conflicts of the 1990s, and Members of the European Parliament “condemn the apparent lack of will of the responsible authorities in the region to open the former Yugoslav archives and for files to be returned to governments if they want them.”

The report welcomes the conclusion of cooperation agreements between Eurojust and the governments of Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, as well as the authorisation to open negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina. MEPs urge the Council to authorise as soon as possible the opening of negotiations for a similar agreement with Kosovo.

It is of great interest to monitor how the recommendation from the Report that says that “Responsible authorities should open the former Yugoslav archives” will fare. Knowing the utterly corrupt persons that held the corrupt and criminal Yugoslavia together, influence of whom poisons many a responsible authority in former Yugoslavia countries, including Croatia, the opening of all archives is likely to be stalled for generations to come. Unless of course there comes a time when the political landscape changes and new generations, unpolluted by communist Yugoslavia nostalgia, come to be the authority that makes such decisions.

Suffice to say that there are multitudes of politicians in power or those holding authority in Croatia for whom the opening of Yugoslav archives would reveal alignment with UDBA (communist secret services in former Yugoslavia) communist purges operations and grand thefts for personal gain; an abominable, criminal past that included persecution and assassinations of anti-communist Croats and stealing public wealth for personal gains. Further problem for the opening of Yugoslav archives rests in the fact that when former Yugoslavia crumbled apart Serbia retained much of the archival material pertaining to the country’s federal depository held in its capital city Belgrade. Serbia did not do the decent thing and returned to all the former states of Yugoslavia their rightful archives – Serbia kept them all and it is not a member state of the European Union. Those archives would undoubtedly also reveal, among many other facts, the nasty historical fabrications Serbia has engaged in against its neighbouring countries, particularly Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.     

Communist Yugoslavia Secret Service files (UDBa) hide everything that the lustrated or those prosecuted for endangering human freedoms, political and civil rights, destroying families would be accused or members of the service lustrated or those prosecuted for endangering human freedoms, political and civil rights, destroying families and various blackmails and interfering in political and economic life and installing in political parties would be charged with. But Croatia’s criminal justice serves largely those it needs to protect from such lustration or prosecution. Secret service files hide everything unknown that would shed light on various historical and political deceptions, montages and that it would produce grounds for a different understanding of the 20th century history that is based on facts rather than communist or Serb fabrications.

Plights by several Croatian politicians in the opposition to the HDZ or SDP governments since year 2000 for the opening of accessibility to all Yugoslav archives, wherever on the territory of former Yugoslavia they may be held, have been numerous. Lobbying for the opening of the archives has been quite rich. But all to no avail! Will EU succeed where others have failed!?  The answer to the question “what is in those secret services files” appears with more urgency as Yugoslav secret services files continue to remain a “taboo topic” despite the landscape where, on surface, all the government officials and leaders swear to their personal commitment towards the truth! EU has been asking for access to those archives for over a decade and this Report regarding fighting organised crime on Western Balkans is just another notch in the string of asking.

The Report’s other significant recommendation is that political and administrative links to organised crime must be eradicated. This all sounds very great, just like the European Parliament’s declaration condemning all Totalitarian Regimes from the past some 12 years ago (2009). But the European Union authorities still to this day fail to punish or impose consequences upon Croatia for encouraging symbols of communist Yugoslavia totalitarian and murderous regime to thrive on the streets of Croatia that lost rivers of blood in the 1990’s while trying to secede from communist Yugoslavia. All this tells me that the European Parliament and the EU authorities have no real political will to contribute effectively to the achievement of recommendations from the Report on cooperation in the fight against organised crime in Western Balkans. I, for one, would love to see Yugoslav secret services archives open for all to access and study and show the truth but somehow, I fret that in my lifetime I will not see that without a miracle of political change. There appear to be too many individuals with power at some level within the countries’ machinery involved with organised crime in both Croatia and in the Western Balkans and only a miracle can rid the people of that scourge. The miracle, of course, can be shaped at the next general elections. Ina Vukic

Croatia: When Flippant Psychiatry Deals At Helm Of Parliament



Bozo Petrov Speaker of Croatian Parliament Photo: Damir Sencaar/HINA/POOL/Pixsell

Bozo Petrov
Speaker of Croatian Parliament
Photo: Damir Sencar/HINA/POOL/Pixsell

The need for lustration in Croatia is at a critical stage. The inadequate and ineffective jurisprudential addressing of this absolute and unquestionable need, that serves the purpose of cleansing Croatia of communist mindset and practices, is creating destructive social pressures on an already ideologically divided nation, often stirred into contagions of despair due to aggressive resistance in dealing with and condemning communist crimes in Croatia. Croatia’s MOST/BRIDGE of independent lists leader Bozo Petrov is the current Speaker in the Croatian Parliament and he happens to also be an educationally qualified Psychiatrist, who has 4 February 2017 announced his parliamentary group’s upcoming proposition to parliament for changes to State Archives Act, which proposed changes announce a confrontation with the past by recommending that state archives pertaining to matters (especially the Communist Party) prior to 22 December 1990 be opened to the public. Reportedly the majority coalition partner in government, HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union, has signalled its support for the proposal.


When asked by Vecernji List journalist Tea Romic if he was aware that the consequences of that move could include a certain form of lustration, which has been a constant open topic in Croatia for years, he replied:


The opening of the archives is only the first precondition for the confrontation with (or facing) the past. It’s exclusively through the correct and complete determination and evaluation of historical facts that their relativisation and the skewing can be prevented. Once everything is arranged in black and white there will be no possibility for some political party manipulating the public through the use of incorrect information, and our children will learn history the way it was and not as the one according to some options.

Our aim is to use transparency to arrive at a better society. Of course there will be individuals for whom the opening of the archives will be disagreeable, however, our citizens have the right to find out the facts about happenings and people who had influenced Croatian history.

The opening of the archives is at the same time the closure of the chapters that serve no other purpose except creating needless antagonisms. I will be the happiest when news are new and not from the last century. At least we’ll be able to move from the 1945 theme to the 1990 one. Given the discussions up to date that will be a quantum leap for the politicians.


The alarming problem with MOST’s and Petrov’s announced proposal for changes in the State Archives Act includes according to Roman Leljak, a leading Slovenian researcher into communist crimes, the fact that these proposed changes also include proposed sealing off of certain personal information related to criminal records of crimes post-1945 committed in the name of the people. As these records were/are available to the public it’s clear that Petrov’s plan to open up State Archives hides some sinister intent to protect criminals against the nation and these were – communists. This in effect means Petrov is promoting the burial of the identity of people who committed crimes against Croatians as part of communist purges. Simply – will not do!


Furthermore, a major and alarming problem with this proposal is that Petrov evidently believes that facing or confronting the information or records of the evil of communism via opening State Archives will on its own heal the Croatian nation of distress caused by the non-processing of communist crimes and the often paralyzing division it causes in the society!


Petrov is either a political and medico-professional fruit loop or a twisted product of the communist echelons needing lustration – quick smart! HDZ is not looking better, either, if it supports this dangerous, half-baked, flippant psychiatric prescription for the healing of the nation of its terrible communist past.


Our society,” the Psychiatrist come Speaker of the Parliament Petrov said, “is burdened by the divisions that largely rest upon twisted facts and purposeful divisions for political point scoring. I had hoped that, with time, reconciliation would come without the full opening of that wound. I subscribed to the opinion that forgiveness and reconciliation can happen without such a step although I know through my profession that trauma cannot disappear without it being dealt with…That’s why I finally want to finish with that topic and place everything on the table. I believe that this will bring forth the essential confrontation with the truth that is needed, because reconciliation in the still divided society is a precondition for the building of the future that’s unburdened with unproductive discussions…”
So, now, all of a sudden Croatia’s Psychiatrist Speaker of the Parliament has decided that confrontation with the ugly, vicious and painful truth pertaining to Communist Yugoslavia/Croatia is the way to heal the nation. And that – without making sure that the essential elements of that healing process are actually there – such as, some kind of a law that prescribes and regulates lustration. One simply cannot confront someone with their source of trauma and deny them the avenues to properly deal with the source and sanction it, if required.


Healing through confrontation and/or exposure is a most serious matter in the health discipline and not a matter to address flippantly as Petrov seemingly thinks that just because he holds qualifications as Psychiatrist he can prescribe a path to national divisions healing through confrontation with the truth, without the need to be professional and fair about it. What a disaster. If planned and controlled carefully confrontation/exposure can be quite a potent path to healing in all sorts of mental health, addiction etc. issues but also in healing divisiveness of an ideologically crumbling or restless nation. It is, however, simply professionally and humanly irresponsible to implement confrontation without ensuring the absolutely necessary processes needed to deal properly with discoveries or arising issues during confrontation.


Had MOST and Petrov at least mentioned the need to address lustration legislation as part and parcel of their proposal for opening up State Archives from the communist era then one could only say “thumbs up”. This way, Petrov falls into the category of politicians who fall into the group I wrote about in one of my previous posts: “ Engineers, doctors, lawyers, teachers … without functional education and jumping cognitively constrictive barriers usually imposed by long-term pursuits in a particular profession have no adequate capacity to manage a State properly…”


Let’s keep in mind, Petrov proposes opening the communist era State Archives for the reason of quelling the distress within the society due to matters relating to unprocessed communist crimes and damaging aspects of that totalitarian regime but offers absolutely no proposals for lustration, which would become a natural and expected consequence of pertinent information found in such archives. Without adequate means to deal with the wounds either opened anew or exacerbated by the examination of those State Archives Petrov now seeks to open, the society will not, cannot, move forward as a reconciled society. Reconciliation process always requires, as an essential part of its lasting success, avenues to deal adequately with residual pain and having access to these communist archives has the potential to create much more pain and resentment if lustration laws and related formal processes are not in place. That is simply the historically and psychologically (if you like) corroborated fact on all levels – individual and national. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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