Croatia’s likely new foreign minister Vesna Pusic – feeble foundations for honesty

Vesna Pusic is likely to be appointed as Croatia’s new Foreign Affairs Minister this week. She is the president of the Croatian People’s Party (HNS) (a part of the Kukuriku/Cock-a-doodle-doo centre-left alliance that won majority votes in December 4 general elections). She has also served as chairperson for Croatia’s National Committee for Tracking Croatia’s negotiations in the accession to EU.

She entered politics in 1997 when she wanted to use “all possible means” to oust from government the late dr Franjo Tudjman and his ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) ( She didn’t succeed.

At general elections in 2000 Vesna barely made it to parliament, but she was still elected HNS president. She was the only candidate and was elected unanimously.

The support she receives from the former communists, anti-fascists who will stop at nothing to protect from prosecution or questioning the communist regime’s crimes, has been her ticket to success it seems.

She worked closely with Stjepan Mesic, ousted as Speaker of Croatian Parliament and member of HDZ in 1994 due to attempted coup against Tudjman. In 1997 Mesic’s Croatian Independent Democrats (HND) party merged into HNS.

The newspaper article on Pusic’s father Eugen Pusic (died 2010) in Croatia’s Vecernji List ( article in Croatian) reveals that Eugen Pusic was a Lieutenant Major Judge in the Ustashi run Independent State of Croatia World War II, worked in high ranks of headquarters of the army etc.

Vesna’s father had completely omitted and suppressed  the years 1939- 1945 from his biography on the Croatian Academy of Sciences (HAZU) website ( in Croatian/accessed 11.12.2011) and since Vesna is well on her way to becoming Croatia’s next foreign minister it’s deemed in public interest to look at all aspects of her life.

Given her political rise within Croatia’s anti-fascist echelon since 1997 it stands to reason that her father’s  hiding of the “darker” side of his biography from public knowledge may have served as a significant advantage to her own political career.

After all, even though Ustashi individuals who had committed war crimes during WWII have been convicted and sentenced in the post WWII Croatia, and wider, the Croatian anti-fascists haven’t stopped persecuting the pro-Nazi part of Croatia’s World War II, if anything, they’ve increased it. So why wouldn’t Vesna Pusic, who counts herself among the anti-fascists, want to hide her father’s suspicious and uncomfortable past?

The above newspaper article reveals facts uncovered about Pusic’s father from Croatian state archives. It includes the wording of oath sworn and signed by Eugen Pusic in 1942: “…that I will in my working capacity and outside it keep sacred every official secret I know …that I will not join any secret organisation and that I will evade every gathering/organisation that’s banned by the laws of the Independent State of Croatia …”.

Vesna Pusic has attacked the journalist Zvonimir Despot who wrote the article and accessed archives that show her father’s past in the pro-Nazi Croatian regime of World War II was not of anti-fascist nature, but opposite. She said that Despot has “attacked her father posthumously and that this is an embarrassment of monumental proportions” for Despot.

Evading the ugly truth by attacking the person who’s telling the truth is and has been the way anti-fascists have worked; Pusic is no different it seems.

Her beckoning of some kind of public’s sympathy – accusing the journalist of offending her father posthumously – doesn’t wash, especially not since she herself has on numerous occasions attacked dr Franjo Tudjman posthumously. ;

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, Vesna!

In her reply to Despot’s article Vesna Pusic stated that her father worked as an “illegal” within the Ustashi movement. This is the same as saying that he was a secret collaborator for the anti-fascist movement (Partisans) from within high ranks of Pavelic’s men.

The blatantly odd and suspicion-arousing thing about Vesna Pusic’s defence of her father’s past is: why would he (and she) hide the assertion in anti-fascist run former Yugoslavia, and in modern Croatia, that he was a secret collaborator for the anti-fascists from within high Ustashi ranks during his life?

As the newspaper article points out: anyone who had worked for the anti-fascist cause during World War II took enormous pride and public accolades for it after anti-fascists won the war; why not Eugen Pusic, or his daughter Vesna?

Certainly nobody can be blamed for what their parent did, nor should that cast aspersions against the offspring, but if that offspring hides or is insincere about the deeds of that parent then that’s an another matter entirely.

In her biography, on her party’s website ( accessed 11 December 2011) Vesna Pusic says:

I have learned the most important things of life from my parents – about love, honesty, dignity and how every person is valuable and special…

Well, given the purposeful suppression from the public (dishonesty) of important parts of her father’s biography and, if her own biography is anything to go by when assessing the character of her honesty, then Croatia itself is in for an embarrassing ride.

As a sociologist Pusic would be aware of the “nature versus nurture” dilemma world scientists have been grappling with when it comes to attributing the effects of both/either on personality and character of adult human beings.

In the case of Vesna Pusic the dilemma seems to disappear: it seems both the “nature and nurture” from her family have contributed to a stark dishonesty equally.

Who is Vesna Pusic and what nature of “honesty” has she learned from her family?

What honesty will she employ as a minister in Croatia’s new government?

Will she join the ranks among Croatian population for prosecutions against Communist crimes, or will she ignite yet another candle to keep Tito’s ghost warm in Croatia and send the new democracy back to dark ages of communist lies and false economies? Ina Vukic, Prof.(Zgb), B.A., M.A.Ps.(Syd)

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