Croatia: A Seriously Flawed Democracy

Photo: The Economist Intelligence Unit, eiu.com

The rise of disinformation about politics and public affairs represents an existential threat to democratic governance in many countries, and Croatia is no exception. After all, democracy rests on citizens having access to accurate and reliable information sources in order to make judgments about how they should be governed.

Although I receive email comments, letters and submissions by readers of my blog articles from all over the world on a daily basis, I have not written an article about these before. Several weeks ago, I received an anonymous three-page letter that caught my particular attention, perhaps because it, more than any other, made me ask myself the question as to why I started this blog “Croatia, the War, and the Future” in the first place in October of 2011. The anonymous writer claims to be a leading member of the Australian-Croatian community (I have no way of knowing whether this is true) and questions the need for me to write about the Serb aggression against Croatia and ultimately about the need to decommunise Croatia (for which rivers of Croatian blood were spilled in the 1990’s Homeland War)! The writer claims that such content of my articles (indeed anyone’s) serves as fuel for hatred between Croatian and Serbian community in Australia etc.! Well, for one, I personally have never felt that hatred on Australian soil and am not aware of it. All efforts to try and help Croatia develop a decent functional democracy in Croatia have always to my knowledge concentrated on issues within Croatia, not the diaspora, not in Australia.

In a recent survey UK poll regarding information available to the public, the role of government and the journalists more generally, it has been claimed the public want health information not adversarial journalism at a time of national crisis to do with Covid-19.

Some participants, for example, echoed those politicians asking for a “rally-round-the-flag” approach to reporting, saying that it’s not appropriate to criticise the government at a time of national crisis. But most people called for more – not less – scrutiny of political decision making. While the BBC and ITV were singled out for not being critical enough, many respondents wanted both broadcasters to hold the government to account more robustly.

And so, I return to the above mentioned three-page letter I received a few weeks ago. When it comes to the development of a functional democracy Croatia has been in a national crisis since year 2000, that is, after Franjo Tudjman’s death in late 1999. Former communists and sympathisers of the former Yugoslavia communist regime increasingly took power or came into power and the intent and goal to decommunise Croatia post the Homeland War was pushed further and further away from the national forward plan or goal. And to answer the above letter anonymous writer:

Yes, it is absolutely essential for me, and everybody else that cares, to write about the Serbo-Yugoslav aggression against Croatia in the 1990’s. It is absolutely essential particularly because, although the Homeland War had officially ended in 1998, it continued and continues on moral, cultural and national goals levels! The turn in politics during the decade starting with year 2000, to equate the victim with the aggressor has been a particularly troubling platform that ensured communist heritage in Croatia had a life even in a supposedly developing democracy! And this is particularly evident in a dysfunctional public administration that promotes and aids corruption and nepotism as part of that heritage. It is also evident in the almost aggressive and nationally destructive imposition of ethnic minority rights that saw the Serb aggressor wielding their way into the Croatian government, thus belittling, even damning Croatia’s right to defend its citizens’ lives during the war aggression.

As a reminder, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991 cleared the way for the formation or restoration of democratic institutions not only in Eastern Europe, but also in Croatia. This surge of progress towards a fully functional democracy conceived by Franjo Tudjman and detailed in 1990 in his inaugural speech for the new Parliament in Croatia had almost immediately after his death begun to roll back.

The reversal in the case of Croatia is evidently the result of Croatia not having a leader that would stand in Tudjman’s decisive shoes of complete abandonment of the communist regime and its laws. Hence, the euphoria for the free and democratic Croatia that had expanded among Croats worldwide during 1990’s experienced increased pressure of dampening as former communist “bigwigs” (who rejected the idea of a free and democratic Croatia from the very start) took hold of power. As that momentum of the euphoria wore off, Croatia struggled to accommodate the political swings and contentious debates intrinsic to democracy and the meaning and the values of its Homeland War. Rapidly erected so-called democratic institutions, most of whom promoted values of former communist Yugoslavia regime rather than a desired democratic Croatia, have resulted in sustained attacks of the Homeland War values and notched up fights to suppress responsibilities of the 1990’s Serb-rebel crimes against Croatians; creating a false but unnerving picture of ethnic rivalries where there are none if one accepts the realities that minorities are only minorities and should not interfere in national aspirations generally.

Amidst all this Croatia remains an economically fragile country. Its internal politics that have since year 2000 abandoned the focus on national identity as a fully developed democracy, away from former communist Yugoslavia regime, in 2019 Croatia still remains in shambles as a democracy. The 2019 world Democracy Index, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, registered Croatia at the bottom of the Flawed Democracy category. Indeed, in 2020 it is blatantly clear that there is further decline and deterioration of democracy in Croatia. Power is being centralised to an almost dictatorship level where fear of losing ones livelihood due to political opinion expressions or disagreements with the government is widespread; exodus of young and middle-aged people during the past five years has almost surpassed the alarming levels of emigration or fleeing from oppressive communist Yugoslavia during 1950’s and 1960’s; the control of mainstream media in Croatia is foul; the courts are manipulated and protests or dissenting opinion – squelched; denial of reasonable access to polling stations at times of general elections is widespread in selected electorates akin to voter suppression.

Democracy in Croatia has a competitor and that competitor wears the robes of denying the Croatian people the dignity of developing a democracy for which they fought for in the Homeland War and the undergarments are weaved from communist mindset that includes not calling the Serbian aggressor to account for all the Croatian suffering in their own country at the hands of Serb aggressor.

The challenges for Croatia now are more fundamental than political slogans waved around during elections. The challenges are how to stimulate democracy in Croatia and discourage and stamp out the communist mindset laced authoritarianism that has sadly outwitted the democratic trend since year 2000, and how to support democracy where it is under siege because of government’s poor performance, appalling judiciary, distancing from national cohesion for democracy, failure to condemn the former communist totalitarian regime. Responding to these challenges has required and requires a greater willingness to pressure authoritarian leaders who offer short-term economic and security benefits to Croatia but spell long-term trouble. Hence, dear anonymous letter writer, I simply cannot write only about the magnificent physical beauty of Croatia’s tourist attractions. I have a responsibility like all others to write about the flaws of Croatia’s political scenes that cause suffering in everyday life of citizens because of the intolerable flawed democracy and try and act in such a way that may contribute towards obliteration of those flaws. I want full democracy to thrive in Croatia one day. I wanted that in 1989 and I want it now! To achieve that one must show and criticise firmly the things that stand in the way of full democracy and citizens’ enthusiasm and thirst for life and national pride. Ina Vukic

 

 

Croatian Operation Storm – A Moral And Military Victory By An Exceptional People

General Slobodan Praljak
“played an enormous role in the protection of Jews. It is a historical truth that needs to be repeated thousands of times” (Jakov Bienenfeld, Bet Israel of Croatia)
Photo: Screenshot

Operation Storm – a new documentary film by Nikola Knez. In English.

Operation Storm was the single-most decisive battle of the Croatian War for Independence. Launched by the Republic of Croatia in August 1995, it was the largest European land battle since the Second World War. The success of this remarkable military action by Croatia came after four years of brutal fighting. Outnumbered, outgunned, but not outmaneuvered, this tiny new democracy prevailed in a David versus Goliath battle, a moral as well as military victory by an exceptional people. Storm ended the massive humanitarian disaster and genocide committed by the Serbian Army and Chetnik terrorists. It led to the liberation of one third of Croatian territory seized by the enemy, and it made possible the Dayton Agreement that brought peace to the region. This film documents the events surrounding this extraordinary battle, demonstrating that Croatia, along with its army and generals, deserve commendation from the world community, if not a Nobel Peace Prize.

 

 

(Operacija Oluja – novi dokumentarni film Nikole Kneza

Operacija Oluja bila je najodlučnija bitka hrvatskog rata za neovisnost. Pokrenuta od strane Republike Hrvatske u kolovozu 1995., bila je to najveća europska kopnena bitka od Drugog svjetskog rata. Uspjeh ove izuzetne vojne akcije Hrvatska postigao je nakon četiri godine brutalnih borbi. Ova malena nova demokracija brojčano nadmašena, oružano nadmašena, ali ne i izmanevrirana, prevladala je u borbi Davida protiv Golijata, u moralnoj i vojnoj pobjedi izuzetnog naroda. Oluja je okončala masovnu humanitarnu katastrofu i genocid koji su počinile srpska vojska i četnički teroristi. To je dovelo do oslobađanja jedne trećine hrvatskog teritorija koje je neprijatelj zauzeo, i omogućila je Daytonski sporazum koji je donio mir regiji. Ovaj film dokumentira događaje oko ove izvanredne bitke, pokazujući da Hrvatska, zajedno sa svojom vojskom i generalima, zaslužuje pohvalu svjetske zajednice, ako ne i Nobelove nagrade za mir.)

Ina Vukic – Biography and How to Vote In Croatian Elections

Ina Vukic, June 2020

Election campaigning silence for the Croatian Parliamentary elections (4th and 5th July) starts from midnight Thursday 2nd July. As all who have visited my blog are aware, I am a candidate on the Election List No 10, for the 11th Electorate (representing Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Croatian Diaspora worldwide). List 10 is the Independent List Zeljko Glasnovic. I am certain that all of you in my blogger circles will understand and forgive my absence from corresponding with you during the past week. As such matters go, I have been very busy with the Election Campaign. I do, however feel the warmth presence of all of your creations in my heart and mind. I have been privileged with you and with worldwide readers who visit my blog portal on a regular basis. Thank you!

In the 100-second video presented here, in the Croatian language, I provide my brief biography. For the readers who do not speak the Croatian language the following statements in the video are translated:  

Ina Vukic:

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Disability including Mental Health, funded by the Australian Government, Sydney
  • Master of Psychology / two university degrees in psychology and a postgraduate degree (University of Zagreb, University of New South Wales and University of Sydney)
  • Accomplished specialist in clinical and political psychology
  • Management diploma from the Australian Institute of Management
  • Vice President of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in the Diaspora and Homeland / HAZUDD, based in Switzerland
  • The most prominent woman activist in the diaspora in the creation of an independent state of Croatia today
  • Awarded in 1995 by Dr. Franjo Tudjman with the Homeland War Memorial Medal and the Order of the Croatian Trefoil Medal for special merits and contribution in the creation of the democratic, Independent Republic of Croatia
  • Influential worldwide English-language blogger on Croatian truth and the transition from communism to democracy
  • Candidate on the Independent List Zeljko Glasnovic, List No. 10, for the 11th Electorate in the elections for members of the Croatian Parliament 2020.
  • Ina Vukić, who endured the many storms during her activist advocacy for Croats, was born on the island of Korčula and stands firmly on the defence barrier to continue tirelessly advocating for Croats.

 

VOTERS PLEASE REMEMBER, IF YOU HAVE NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE BY 24th JUNE YOU ARE ENTITLED BY LAW TO REGISTER ON THE DAY YOU GO TO VOTE, EITHER ON 4th or 5th July 2020 BETWEEN 7.00 am and 7.00 pm AT YOUR NEAREST CROATIAN CONSULATE OR EMBASSY

 

HOW TO VOTE:

  1. CIRCLE THE NUMBER IN FRONT OF THE LIST (IN OUR CASE IT IS NUMBER 10/ INDEPENDENT LIST ZELJKO GLASNOVIC

  2. CIRCLE THE NUMBER IN FRONT OF THE CANDIDATE’S NAME ON THAT SAME LIST TO WHOM YOU WISH TO GIVE YOUR PREFERENTIAL VOTE

VOTE FOR LIST No. 10 – Independent List Zeljko Glasnovic – 11th Electorate

WE ARE YOUR VOICE!

 

Ina Vukić – biografija

Ina Vukić!

  • Glavna izvršna direktorica (CEO) za mentalno zdravlje i invaliditet financiranih od vlade Australije, Sydney
  • Magistar psihologije/ dvije sveučilišne diplome iz psihologije i poslijediplomska akademska sprema magistra (Sveučilište u Zagrebu, Sveučilište Novi južni Wales i Sydney sveučilište)
  • Usavršena stručnjakinja u kliničkoj i političkoj psihologiji
  • Manadžment diploma Australskog instituta upravljanja
  • Dopredsjednica Hrvatske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti u dijaspori i domovini/HAZUDD sa sjedištem u Švicarskoj
  • Najistaknutija žena aktivistica u iseljeništvu u stvaranju neovisne države Hrvatske današnjice
  • Odlikovana 1995. godine od strane Dr Franje Tuđmana Spomenicom domovinskog rata i Redom hrvatskog trolista za posebne zasluge i doprinose
  • Svjetski utjecajna blogerica na engleskom jeziku o Hrvatskoj istini i tranzicije iz komunizma u demokraciju
  • Kandidatkinja na Neovisnoj listi Željko Glasnović, Lista broj 10, za XI Izbornu jedinicu na izborima za zastupnike u Hrvatskome saboru 2020.
  • Ina Vukić, koja je izdržala bure tijekom svojih zalaganja za Hrvate rođena je na otoku Korčula i čvrsto stoji na braniku da neumorno se zalaže za Hrvate.

 

BIRAČI (GLASAČI) MOLIM NE ZABORAVITE, AKO SE NISTE USPJELI REGISTRIRATI ZA GLASANJE DO 24. LIPNJA TO PRAVO MOŽETE OSTVARITI PO ZAKONU NA SAM DAN KADA OTIĐETE GLASATI 4. ili 5. srpnja između 7.00 i 19.00 SATI U VAMA NAJBLIŽEM KONZULATU RH ILI VELEPOSLANSTVO.

UPUTE ZA GASANJE:

  1. ZAOKRUŽITE BROJ ISPRED IZBORNE LIST. NAŠA IZBORNA LISTA ŽELJKO GLASNOVIĆ JE LISTA BROJ 10. ZAOKRUŽITE BROJ 10 ISPRED IMENA NAŠE LISTE AKO ŽELITE GLASATI ZA NAS
  2. ZAOKRUŽITE BROJ ISPRED IMENA KANDIDATA ILI KANDIDATKINJE NA ISTOJ LISTI KOJOJ VI ŽELITE DATI SVOJ PREFERENCIJALNI GLAS, ZA OSOBU ZA KOJU VI ŽELITE OSOBNO GLASATI

GLASAJTE ZA LISTU 10 – NEOVISNA LISTA ŽELJKO GLASNOVIĆ – XI IZBORNA JEDINICA

MI SMO VAŠ GLAS!

Ina Vukic

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