Croatia: Sorry Prime Minister – There’s Nothing Sober About Communist Crimes

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic Photo: Screenshot HRT TV news

Croatian Prime Minister
Andrej Plenkovic
Photo: Screenshot HRT TV news

Like in some disturbingly teasing political oh-no-not-this-reality-show-again, Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic keeps showing us through his actions that he is out of touch with reality when it comes to duly acknowledging the serious divisions in society sprouting from the past totalitarian regimes and is alarmingly way off the mark when it comes to dealing with the victims of the communist regime, which topic, by the way, is a cancerous wound dividing the country – and he knows it. Plenkovic’s bluntly dismissive and discriminatory approach towards victims of the communist totalitarian regime is shocking and intolerable – utterly unacceptable!

 

He says that his announced commission for dealing with Croatia’s past, with the 20th century totalitarian regimes needs to condemn the WWII Ustashi regime up front and then sit back and analyze, soberly, what occurred after 1945 under communist regime even though there are more innocent dead in the hundreds of communist crimes’ mass graves than in the graves of those killed under the WWII Ustashi regime! What a perverse, wicked, mocking way of discriminating against the victims of communist crimes, whose mass graves have been unearthed just as those of the other victims have!

 

January 26 on HRT TV news interview regarding the first 100 days of his government Plenkovic, after being informed that the Croatian Jewish Council has announced its boycott of all events commemorating remembrance of victims of the Holocaust because the memorial plaque for the Croatian defenders killed by Serb forces in Jasenovac 1990 with For Home Ready/ Za Dom Spremni inscription on it had not been removed, he was asked what he would do about that. His reply recited his “resolve” that he “will fight against anti-Semitism, intolerance, hate speech and against any type of discrimination in our society … yesterday I have even spoken to Mr Kraus (Ognjen Kraus, president of Jewish Communities in Croatia)…we will work on a commission that will in professional and pluralistic way, legal, historic … formulate a framework on basis of which we could reach a political consensus and state our position vis-à-vis 20th century totalitarian regimes and their symbols, and the plaque there in Jasenovac is not a plaque that praises some leaders from WWII … it is a plaque for the 11 killed defenders who lost their lives in the defensive and just Homeland War…”

 

And surely enough, not even a day passed since this TV News appearance and PM Plenkovic announced matters regarding the commission to be formed, which will deal with the Croatian past. And in his announcement he does what he said he would fight against: discriminates. Discrimination against the victims of communist crimes.

 

Judging from Plenkovic’s announcement about what the commission will do, forget about this commission being independent of government in its deliberations, fair and reasonable and truthful to the past – the commission it seems will do what the Prime Minister says with doubtful freedom to set its own priorities and deal fairly with the past within the terms of reference set for it; unless, of course, the composition of the commission’s membership is strong enough to fight against Plenkovic’s announcement and analyze both regimes equally before any is condemned ahead of the completion of the commission’s work. The Prime Minister has already set the political tone of its work and its research and capturing of pure truth about all totalitarian regimes has thus been poisoned. He has done that practically by saying that the commission must condemn one regime straight away and then “soberly” analyze the other (the communist one).

 

Plenkovic had just returned from his visit to Israel last week and sought to use that event where he paid respects to the victims of the Holocaust to inflict yet another awful wound to the victims of communist crimes. “Croatia must seek consensus and establish its position towards the question of the past, the 20th century totalitarian regimes, clearly condemn the 1941 to 1945 regime, that is the Ustashi regime during which numerous crimes were committed, but also in a sober way analyze everything that had happened after 1945.” He said that that discussion had never been thoroughly carried out in modern Croatia and that “using dialogue we can come to qualitative solutions with which those questions could be put forth for discussion among the most professional people from differing professions and, with that, close the still open questions regarding the 20th century history”.

He further said that the terms of reference and members of that commission will be ready by end of February, reiterating that the interest in it is quite large.

 

Well of course the interest in that commission is large, it’s announced to deal head-on with what happened in the past and most politicians still really have not placed communist crimes where they should be – condemned. There’s nothing sober about communist crimes or communist criminals. One does not need to analyze, as Plenkovic insists, what occurred in Croatia after 1945 because there are hundreds of mass graves everywhere. That evidence alone, just as the one to do with the Holocaust, must be enough to condemn first up and then analyze, if you must – so to speak. Just like he intends to do with the Ustashi regime. Or, better yet: no condemnation by the commission of any totalitarian regime until the commission’s work is done. This of course would remove the pressure to “act as expected by the Prime Minister” and yield much more valid results; ensuring, of course, no political subscriber to any of the totalitarian regimes should sit on that commission. Fat chance of that after Plenkovic’s “directive” that the commission will first condemn one crime and not the other! Sad and unjust times for victims of communist crimes continue in Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: Jews Commemorating Holocaust Fuel Political Havoc

Ognjen Kraus, front left, head of Croatian Jewish Councils Coordination at Jasenovac 15 April 2016 Separate commemoration of victims of Holocaust Photo: Nikola Cutuk/Pixsell

Ognjen Kraus, front left,
head of Croatian Jewish Councils Coordination
at Jasenovac 15 April 2016
Separate commemoration of victims of Holocaust
Photo: Nikola Cutuk/Pixsell

 

Some 300 Croatian Jews from Croatian Jewish Councils have held their own Holocaust commemoration at the WWII Jasenovac camp site Friday 15 April, a week ahead of the official commemorative ceremony, in protest at what they say is government inaction in the face of what they maliciously insist is surging neo-Ustashi (pro-Nazi) sentiment in the country. They refer to, among other individual incidents, some “pro-Ustashi” chants at soccer games no government without taking away freedom of speech and bringing the army can control (!). The ceremony at Jasenovac was attended also by representatives from a handful foreign embassies in Croatia, by Croatian members of parliament representing the Italian (Furio Radin) and Serbian minorities (Milorad Pupovac) in Croatia, the ex-president communist die-hard Ivo Josipovec, some handful of other so-called antifascists in Croatia whose sole role in society seems to be negating and covering up communist crimes, which by the way were larger in numbers of victims than the Holocaust.

We have commemorated the victims of Jasenovac but also all the Jews who had perished in NDH (WWII Independent State of Croatia) under the then race laws. We came here because there is a presence in Croatia of a revitalisation of the WWII Ustashi movement and a complete negation, regardless of some statements made after we announced our intentions not to participate in the official ceremony at Jasenovac,” Jewish association leader in Croatia, Ognjen Kraus, said, accusing the First Deputy Prime Minister, leader of the Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ, Tomislav Karamarko, of never having set foot on the Jasenovac Holocaust memorial site.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic President of Croatia

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
President of Croatia

The “statements made” Kraus refers to here include the statement made by Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, president of Croatia, concerned about the divisions with regards to commemorating the Holocaust victims in Jasenovac, said 11 April 2016 that “NDH (WWII Independent State of Croatia led by the Ustashe forces) was the least independent and it protected the interests of the Croatian people the least, and that the Ustashi regime was a criminal regime. Anti-fascism is in the foundations of the Croatian Constitution, and modern Croatia has grown from the foundations of the Homeland War.”

Croatian Constitution may be based on anti-fascism but certainly not on communism and given that Croatia’s communists who arise from Yugoslav communists call themselves antifascist even if they were nothing like anti-fascists but thugs and criminals, President Grabar-Kitarovic made a serious error here in missing this opportunity to make that distinction and calling the communist/Partisan WWII opposition to Ustashas also a criminal regime, then. For that is what they had proven to be and today’s leaders of Croatia must acknowledge that, no matter what the pain and what the political cost to them personally.

The truth is that while there were killings committed by both sides in WWII, the Ustashas goal was an independent Croatia and the Partisans’ one was communist Yugoslavia – no independence for any of the states forced previously into the Serb-led oppressive Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the president and all would do well to remember that especially when relating to the 1990’s Homeland War behind which is the thousand-year of Croat plight for independence.

A pot cannot call the kettle black and get away with it. People at large are neither blind nor stupid. If President Grabar-Kitarovic was intending to settle the political spirits causing upsetting divisions around the Holocaust victims commemorations then her statements needed to cover fairness to all victims of WWII and post-WWII not just one side. She did disappoint quite a lot of people this time and demonstrated that her advisors may have absolutely no skills in political conflict resolution, which Croatia needs to rid itself of remnants of the criminal communist regime.

That is what today’s Croatia, today’s world – require and demand. Throwing sand into the eyes was a thing that may have worked in the past – not today, not in a world of democracy where everyone’s rights are equal and knowledge-base and courage of “ordinary” citizens are much larger than decades before.

Zlatko Hasanbegovic Minister for Culture, Croatia Photo: zagorje.com/ Kruno Pavlina

Zlatko Hasanbegovic
Minister for Culture, Croatia
Photo: zagorje.com/ Kruno Pavlina

Whilst attending a cultural event in Krapina, Zagorje region outside capital Zagreb, Croatia’s minister for culture, Zlatko Hasanbegovic, responded to Kraus’ statements that Tomislav Karamarko had never been in Jasenovac and to his organisation of a separate commemoration in Jasenovac:

 

I regret that we are placed in situations where such statements can be heard, especially at the time leading up commemorations when we pay respects to the innocent. Whoever heard what Tomislav Karamarko was saying, can conclude that those (statements like Kraus’) are not truthful statements… the organisers have had their reasons for organising one more commemoration and I respect them. We live in a free country,” said Hasanbegovic.

 

The blind, let alone those with full vision, can see that such public displays of lies as has come out of the Jewish organisation’s leader Kraus, particularly representing a place of note – like the Croatian Jewish council coordination in this instance – seem to be more about desperate measures to protect communist crimes from full exposure and avoid a possible scenario where in relation to WWII and post-WWII Croatia the Holocaust crime would, in relation to number of innocent victims, take a second place in the realm of the worst and most atrocious crimes in human history to the crimes committed by the Yugoslav communists. Wanting to acknowledge and unearth further the true extent of communist crimes in Croatia is labelled, sadly, it seems, even by some Jewish representatives as a return to Ustashi regime, to Nazism – in the hope perhaps to intimidate those trying to unearth the whole truth of communist crimes!

 

One can imagine nothing crueler towards victims of crimes than this.

 

As far as I am concerned and from this vantage point, Ognjen Kraus and those who attended the commemoration designed to shun the official one to be held on 22 April under falsehoods and malicious accusations against the current centre-right government can hang their head in shame.

Using remembrance of the Holocaust victims for dirty communist crime cover-up politics is just not the world of piety I want to be a part of.

Attempts to uncover the full truth of communist crimes in Croatia have been labeled as resurgence of Nazism, Ustashism, of historical revisionism in the negative sense that allegedly negates the truth of the Holocaust. And so it seems WWII Croatia when it comes to “bad guys” only had the Ustashas and not the Communist Partisans under Josip Broz Tito. What utter codswallop.

Nobody has the right to stop or intimidate those wanting to unearth the truth about crimes and victims – not even those commemorating the Holocaust. In fact, I believe, that those commemorating the Holocaust should all encourage the seeking of the truth for all innocent victims.

 

James M. McPherson. Historian, Princeton University

James M. McPherson.
Historian, Princeton University

The eminent American historian James M. McPherson, Princeton University, said in 2003, “that historians know that revision is the lifeblood of historical scholarship. History is a continuing dialogue, between the present and the past. Interpretations of the past are subject to change in response to new evidence, new questions asked of the evidence, new perspectives gained by the passage of time. There is no single, eternal, and immutable ‘truth’ about past events and their meaning. The unending quest of historians for understanding the past — that is, revisionism — is what makes history vital and meaningful…Without revisionist historians, who have done research in new sources and asked new and nuanced questions, we would remain mired in one or another of these stereotypes.”

 

 

I hope Croatia’s leaders in government and others will know how to draw strength and courage from the words of this brilliant historian when it comes to pursuing the truth of communist crimes. In Croatia as part of communist Yugoslavia, investigating WWII and post-WWII crimes committed by communist regimes, as well as a revision of the ‘official history’ about the events that took place during the Second World War, was not possible before 1990, after the democratic changes in Eastern Europe and Croatia. Resolution 1481/2006 of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly strongly condemned human rights violations committed by totalitarian communist regimes and the 2008 Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism stated that these crimes were comparable with Nazi crimes but very few people have been tried for committing such crimes.

 

Moreover, 28 years later, in former Yugoslav republics (e.g. Croatia) “this topic is still a matter of political and scientific debates, and those who dare to ask ‘new and nuanced questions’ are often labeled as the revisionists who should be treated by medical specialists,” said Blanka Matkovic, PhD dissertation Warwick University, UK. And “thanks” to the likes of the Jewish Councils coordination head in Croatia, Ognjen Kraus, those who question WWII crimes or their extent against the form we have been led to believe, those who cannot control or prevent extremist outbursts of individuals in the streets or sports arenas… – are Nazis! Nothing less than Nazis! What an outrage! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: Communist Remnants Defy Sanctions Against Russia

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

 

Turning to prostitution (unworthy use of abilities) to relieve poverty has always been the road taken by very few and those few have more often than not been seen as having the morals of a toerag.

 
While Croatia’s economic crisis demands alleviating actions it’s contemptible that at this time of burning political tension between EU and USA, on one side, and Russia, on the other, the current Croatian government is sending a delegation of 80 people to Russia for the so-called Russia-Croatia Economic Forum. The delegation is said to arrive in Russia for 17 February meeting under the excuse of lobbying for investments in Croatia by Russian investors. The leaders of that delegation from Croatian side are the minister for the economy, Ivan Vrdoljak, and Croatia’s ex-president Stjepan Mesic. Suffice to say both still very attached to communist ideals of former Yugoslavia who have evidently perfected the art of politically corrupt undermining of Croatian independence from communist Yugoslavia.

 
This latest move to undermine Croatia’s standing as a dedicated member of the EU and, therefore, Trans-Atlantic trade and investment alliance, is a stark reminder of modus operandi communist Yugoslavia’s Josip Broz Tito used in order to play both sides during the Cold war era for gain and furtherance of his oppressive and murderous communist program. Tito hid his alliance with communist Russia very well through his public endeavours that saw him not siding with either the “West” of the “East”; in 1955 Tito contributed significantly to the milestone that saw the strengthening of the Non-Aligned Movement and he cunningly used that very act to fool the “West”, in particular, into thinking he had given up any affiliation with communist Russia when he broke away from Stalin’s Soviet Union in 1948 – hence, securing a great deal of financial aid from the “West”.

 
An attentive pupil of Tito’s agenda, Stjepan Mesic, is doing the same today as Tito did during his days: playing for both sides of political fields and socio-economic spheres, very possibly under the delusional excuse that Croatia could play an important role in the mediation of some resolutions to the political tensions between EU/US and Russia (?).
Of course, this visit to Russia by the Croatian delegation predicts questionable economic benefits and significant damage to Croatia’s political standing as EU member state. It demonstrates that the Croatian left oriented government and its supporters have not fully taken on board the moral fiber of belonging to a union such as the EU. Still sitting on two chairs, playing opposing sides for clearly economic and politically suspect reasons. The fact that the Russian investors to be present at the said forum are subject to the EU sanctions imposed against Russia amidst the Ukraine crisis obviously means nothing to these delegates from Croatia except that joining with them in a conference/forum will undermine Croatia’s reputation and standing within the international circles. To demonstrate the foul mindset this Croatian delegation to Russia thrives on, one needs only to refer to the statement made for Croatian television news February 14 by Stjepan Mesic: “business not under the sanctions will be discussed at the Forum”. So, according to the Croatian delegation it’s OK to mingle with the sanctioned subjects, do business with them, as long as you talk about something other than the business or industry subject to sanctions against them!

 
Utterly contemptible!

 
The reader may well ask: how is it possible that at this time of intensive Russian aggression against Ukraine, Croatia is behaving as if it is not a member of the EU? The US Ambassador to Croatia, HE Kenneth Merten has expressed grave concerns over this visit to Russia by the Croatian delegation. France and Germany are at this time investing a lot of energy into stopping the war and Russian aggression in Ukraine, and here we have a number of Croatian political prostitutes undermining even this by putting a “feather in Russia’s cap” with their mere presence there.

 
Utterly contemptible!

 
The inauguration of Croatia’s new president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic occurs on Sunday 15 February 2015 although her duties as president do not commence until the 20th. It’s to be expected that the visit of Croatian government delegation to Russia, with which she has no connection, will negatively reflect upon the make-up of delegations to attend the inauguration from leading EU countries and beyond. Sabotaging the new president’s inauguration in such a perfidious manner as sending a delegation to Russia at times of sanctions against it is an example of how the former communists work in Croatia. Had their Ivo Josipovic won the presidential elections they would not have entered into such dirty dealings, I’m quite sure. One trusts that Grabar-Kitarovic’s presidential mandate will see clearer allegiance to the EU and the Trans-Atlantic trade and investment alliance in all aspects of political and economic life than what is happening under the presidency of Ivo Josipovic. Perhaps calling the government to task will trigger early general elections and subsequent unity of Croatians for a better future. The road ahead is not an easy task by any means – multitudes still “hold the fort” for the former communist Yugoslavia, some are vicious, and they are capable of anything that undermines progress of democracy and unity with countries that openly condemn the totalitarian regime of former Yugoslavia. Perhaps this visit by these former communists from Croatia to Russia will open many an eye in the “West” to see the real fraudulence of Tito and his followers, who, by the way, did not want an independent Croatia in 1990’s and are now undermining even Ukraine’s plights for self-determination by giving credence to Russia, the aggressor against Ukraine. The West is cautious about going to war against Russia over Ukraine and the main tools to get Russia to back away from Ukraine are economic sanctions – and look at what the Croatian government and ex-president are doing: going to Russia to give it new business opportunities! Also, Serbia is holding onto its strong friendship with Russia at the same time it works on becoming a member of the EU – and look at how helpful Serbia’s communist friends from Croatia are: Croatia is a member of the EU and is doing business with Russia, the current enemy to the EU over Ukraine!   Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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