The Perils Of Enemy Of The People Climbing Into Croatia’s New Government

 

While getting relatively most seats as single party, Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ did not get enough votes in recent General Elections in Croatia on 5th July 2020 to form a majority government. It will need coalition with other parties.

Touting on Croatia’s streets and media that the composition of the new government could include a former rebel Serb whose immediate family, if not he himself, participated in ethnic cleansing and murder of Croats during the Homeland War, is generating increasing bitterness and despair among people such as the one were Israel of today to appoint a high-ranking WWII Nazi official as one of its deputy Prime Ministers. Certainly, any Croatian Prime Minister’s plan for the appointment of Milorad Pupovac as one of the deputy Prime Ministers would push a large number of Croatians to the brink of despair and there is no telling which way that would evolve if Andrej Plenkovic embarks on that path in the composition of his new government. Would it set off a higher than the usual high number of people leaving Croatia, or would it trigger massive unrests? Milorad Pupovac has stated publicly a couple of days ago that candidature for a high position (such as deputy Prime Minister) in Croatia’s government would be discussed in his Serbian party room early next week; indications are that it could also be his condition for forming part of the coalition of the new HDZ minority government.

Milorad Pupovac has been re-elected into the parliament by his Serbian minority under the Croatian electoral laws that permit an ethnic minority representative win seats with barely a couple of hundred votes! There are 8 seats in the Croatian Parliament reserved for ethnic minorities! It’s no secret that Pupovac’s seat in the parliament has always been the subject of condemnation and strong opposition with the Croatian population. Essentially because he works against Croatian people and the truth.

Indeed, it is no secret that the leader of the Serb minority community in Croatia went to his village of Ceranje Donje near Benkovac during the 1990’s war of Serb aggression against Croatia and during Serb occupation of Croatian territory, which the Chetniks (Serbs) kept under control after ethnically cleansing all Croatians and other non-Serbs from that region of Croatia. Pupovac’s brother Vojislav was a member of the murderous Serbian paramilitary forces in Croatia, and his other brother Mladen wasn’t far behind. There have also been testimonies and conclusions in the Croatian media over time that Milorad joined his brothers and rebel Serbs in Croatia in the armed aggression against Croatian people.

Justifiably, serious concerns and disapproval by people regarding any possibility of appointing of Milorad Pupovac as deputy Prime Minister is a warning of sorts that increased conflicts about the values and goals set in the Homeland War are likely to erupt even more in the not so distant future.  It is almost unfathomable why a government that is supposed to serve the values cemented in the foundations od the state’s very existence would actually take the road of purposeful insult against its own people. Yes, appointing Milorad Pupovac as deputy Prime Minister

  • would be a deliberate and ultimate insult against Croatian people who fought off the Serb aggressor in the 1990’s;
  • it would be a deliberate insult against the thousands killed during the war;
  • it would be a deliberate insult against hundreds of thousands of Croats ethnically cleansed from their homes and sent on a road of torture, rape and murder;
  • it would be a deliberate insult against the enormous material damage done to Croatia by the Serbian aggressor;
  • it would be a deliberate insult against independence Croatians paid for with life and blood;
  • it would be a deliberate insult against facts of history of Croatian suffering;
  • it would be a deliberate insult against common sense and human decency and dignity;
  • it would be a deliberate insult against the human right of self-preservation;
  • it would be a deliberate insult to me personally and, I am certain, to millions of others.

And, at the end of the day if, by any chance, an excuse for such deputy-primeminstership appointment is claimed within the bounds of reconciliation then that excuse would be nothing short of a lie! One cannot achieve reconciliation by inflicting pain upon subjects of such reconciliation. Offenders against Croatia’s independence and its people and their representatives must be brought to suffer for their wrongdoing and not rewarded! How can Croatia ever even hope to achieve the sought result of Serbia and Serbs paying compensation for war damages to Croatia and its people if its government places a representative of those who perpetrated the damage almost at the helm of its government!?

Reconciliation requires that facts must be faced, nor avoided. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic is and has been avoiding the facts of Serb aggression against Croatia in 1990’s in many instances. The fundamental truth of the stories of those in Croatia who were murdered, who were raped, who were tortured and placed into torture camps, who were ethnically cleansed and banished from their homes and their pain, cannot be denied.

Reconciliation requires accessibility to records and all state archives. This is not done in Croatia. Reconciliation requires culturally appropriate healing, and this is not being done in Croatia. Reconciliation requires placing the victim of aggression at the forefront of politics and human rights, and this is not being done in Croatia. Indeed, if Croatia’s new government appoints Milorad Pupovac as deputy Prime Minister it would make yet another abominable step in trying to water down the brutal aggression against Croatian people and deny the victims the human right to justice.

Ultimately, reconciliation is about bringing in justice and there is no justice in appointing and active anti-Croat such as Pupovac as a member of executive government of Croatia.

Among the communist left, there is a common tendency to see fascism within every manifestation of nationalism or patriotism. Indeed, the very Milorad Pupovac has constantly labelled all patriotic Croatians as fascists or Ustashe! The fact that he himself stood behind and is aligned with Serb Chetniks does not seem to bat an eyelid of the present Croatian government nor any government reeled in since Dr Franjo Tudjman’s death in late 1999. In right-wing circles, in contrast, “fascism” is a curse that is to be evaded, a kind of persistent suspicion that must be rebuffed – as exemplified by their much-portrayed image and desire for a full democracy, for lustration, and national identity that would stand by its people through thick and thin.

Croatia’s, the nation’s, values are being eroded by former communists, by universal liberal tenets and by “foreign” influences, including those within the European Union. The British fought for retention of national values by voting for Brexit; I hope that Croatians will have the strength and determination to fight off this prostitution of national values as is entertained by some with the very notion that Pupovac could have a role in the executive government.

It’s very possible that the constant sense of crisis in which the Croatian political consciousness has been immersed for two decades, hinders the creation of a feeling of a single, sharp and acute crisis that would spur or incite the masses into action for needed change. The ongoing state of emergency in economic downfall, in the continual degradation of Homeland War veterans who brought independence, the ongoing belittling of Homeland War values, the ongoing corruption and nepotism and clientelism akin to former communist Yugoslavia, the ongoing denial of basic rights such as voting to the massive diaspora … dulls the sting of urgency:

When “bombs” slam regularly into parts of the country’s existence, they too become routine, albeit a lethal routine.

In parallel, Croatia’s political and legal institutions have also undergone further erosion as former communists continue holding key positions. If bringing a rebel Serb, such as Milorad Pupovac, around the table of executive government doesn’t bring the sting of urgency to save the Croatian people from the pit of hand-to-mouth existence – nothing will! The reality is that for most Croatians in Croatia there is hardly enough food or money to live on, hence tens of thousands leave the country each year. The government is about to blame Covid-19, coronavirus, for all the country’s perils; why else would it appoint dr Vili Beros, the leading personality in the build-up of public coronavirus panic since February this year, who was relatively unknown before that, as new Health Minister!

We can argue all we want about the appropriate role of government in the economy, but the outcome will be determined in the political sphere, not the intellectual one. And the political reality in Croatia is that while some voters (at 2020 general elections only about 17.5% of voters voted HDZ in as leading party to form new government) appreciate what governments do for them, they generally feel that public policies are beholden to powerful special interests. And they are not wrong – concentrated interests are powerful and do dominate much policymaking. Those concentrated interest groups in Croatia revolve around former communists; those who help corruption and theft, clientelism, thrive! And now, if Milorad Pupovac enters as deputy Prime Minister, added to that we can, regretfully, be certain that these interest groups are not only about holding on tight to communist mindset but also about degrading and terminally running into the ground those groups who fought for, suffered for, sacrificed for the independence of Croatia from communist Yugoslavia.

To top the insult against the Croatian people, the very people Pupovac and his Serbs attacked viciously in 1990 with the aim of wiping them off their very own lands, said a couple of days for the Croatian media that “he wants to be an equal partner in the Croatian government”! The audacity and disrespect of that man is repugnant! He or any other enemy cannot be equal partner in the government that arose from bloodied ashes of Serb aggression against Croatia. Croatian people were not aggressors they were victims of Serb aggression! Ina Vukic

Croatia: Sovereignty Should Equal Decommunisation

 

“Croatian sovereignists” press conference
9 February 2019
Photo: Screenshot

It’s been several years since Croatian politics had entered largely uncharted waters of political survival and political assertion in a democratic system, which fundamentally promotes freedom of political and other association. The struggle for political survival and assertion in Croatia among the voting population, which has until 1990 lived for five decades under a one-party (communist) system, has shown the full plethora of rewards and backlashes that Western democracies have been seeing for much longer. But, for Croatia, assertion of this democracy has meant for political parties and citizens’ political initiatives swimming or sinking in unchartered waters, particularly when the need for political coalition or union is seen by some (or many) as rather imperative for political survival.

Croatia, as most countries of democratic tenure, has particularly in the last two decades seen minority governments elected where coalition with other parties was essential in order to form a government. The thorn in the eye over recent years has, it seems, been the coalition with ethnic minority political parties to form a government, which left and leaves among the population the uncomfortable notion that ethnic minorities are dictating the direction and reality of the Croatian state that is increasingly seen as “anti-Croatian”, “anti-sovereignist”. A particular discomfort and voter-irritation is associated with the government coalition with the Independent Serb Democratic Party/Milorad Pupovac. Indeed, such a coalition had also meant that much of kudos and deserved recognition and practice of Croatian Homeland War values had slowly and unacceptably fallen to the wayside. In all the desperation and hopelessness that has ensued, dozens of new political parties, dozens of new political citizens’ initiatives – “to save Croatia from utter ruin” – have emerged.

A new political culture is emerging in Croatia.

In this new political culture, attitudes that the right-wing/conservative politicians are the true sovereignists, true saviours of Croatia, and that the others (including current government) are globalists who want to destroy the Croatian national being, are emerging daily through some public media outlets as well as through social media. Moral judgments, political myths and realities, beliefs, and ideas about what makes for a good Croatian society appear to be dished out almost incessantly these days. When there are little or no practical solutions offered or visibly worked on for a better, “an ideal”, Croatian society, a state of political culture of confusion and wandering in unchartered waters emerges.

There is an increasingly present expression from the conservative, right wing political plethora in the community that all conservative political parties and leaders should unite and form a political force that would topple the current HDZ-led (Croatian Democratic Union) government at elections as well as drown the chances for SDP (Social Democratic Party), the other historically major political party, at coming elections. Even some of the media in Croatia is addressing this issue of late. At times they appear to suggest to the public that if a party or some political figure of note, from the conservative political orientation, does not join such a union then – well – then they “don’t want” to be a part of this “union of saviours”! That these are not sovereignists, is what’s suggested!

Nothing could be further from the truth, though!

There have been and there are numerous political parties, individuals and citizens’ initiatives that are and have carefully and specifically tended to the preservation and assertion of Croatian national interests and national being. If we accept that in a democracy, and we should accept it, a political party is created in order to benefit the people, either generally or on specific issues, then the concept of uniting with others for greater election results beckons the question what or who will need to compromise their vision for a better country.

And, is that compromise worth the union?

International experience of coalition politics shows that instability is never far away. Indeed, the Croatian experience also shows this. However, that doesn’t mean that tightly and clearly founded coalition cannot work – at least for the achievement of particular and specific goals the country must achieve to move ahead.

The relatively recent shenanigans in frequent changes of Croatian government, in fallings out between government coalition partners, are testimony of what can go wrong in coalitions that are set up badly or in a rush of electoral win euphoria. What began as a rift over the Agrokor, for example, between HDZ and MOST (Bridge), spilled over, threatened and demolished the then existing coalition in government and a new one had be devised.

Like a Formula One car, if something small fails, the whole complex machine can fall apart and come off the road.

Worldwide experience shows that there is a clear danger for coalition partners surrendering the uniqueness of their identity. They are forced to compromise to accommodate the policies of others indispensable to the numerical ability of the coalition to govern.

Coalitions can result in significant electoral gains. But involvement in coalition, or union into a political force for that matter, does have electoral backlashes, particularly if siding with some traditional enemies is present. Coalitions are also inherently adversarial. It’s a necessary condition that parties work together. But empirical evidence from across the world shows that the primary rationale for coalition formation is the acquisition of political power.

There is nothing inherently objectionable to this. The best intentions for positive change are of little consequence unless coupled with the power to implement them. The acquisition of power through legal means is therefore a legitimate and fundamental objective of any political party that has the best intentions for the people that it seeks to serve.

But this inevitably generates conflict as coalition partners continuously manoeuvre themselves to ensure that they get the best return for their investment in political compromise. While each must work together, the end goal for each party or citizens’ initiative is its own success. And sometimes fights among friends can lead to more destructive and enduring fallouts than fights among foes.

Lessons from Germany are that successful coalitions have been founded on written agreements that create formal structures for engagement among partners (e.g. allocating responsibilities for specific tasks/matters/issues to specific individual members of the union) but also, that great coalitions stand, after all, on wobbly legs. The recent emergence of the right wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) from a marginal party to the game-changer in federal and state politics shows that great coalitions do not necessarily cater for all significant needs, emerging needs and aspirations among the people.

When a political coalition or union is assembled among several strong, and capable, political leaders the inevitable result is that only one can be seen as “The” leader and the others fall behind. This, in a strong sense, means that the country loses on active individual political leadership pool and, consequently, the diminution of that pool of needed publicly active innovation.

International experience shows a clear and direct relationship between well written coalition agreements and the stability of the coalition/union. But they’re not easily enforceable. That’s because they’re political agreements rather than legal agreements.

Therefore, the only way to ensure that coalition partners stick to a deal is to offer each partner enough benefits to ensure that it derives more political advantage by staying in the coalition, than if it were to ‘go it alone’ or offer its allegiances elsewhere.

On Saturday 9 February 2019, in Croatia’s capital Zagreb, a union of some right wing/conservative political parties, some citizens’ initiatives and associations was announced at a press conference. This political union calls itself “Croatian Sovereignists” and members say sovereignism is their platform for political engagement. Leading personalities from the small Hrast party (Ladislav Ilcic, Hrvoje Zkanovic MP, retired general Zeljko Sacic) Ruza Tomasic MEP from small Croatian Party of Rights Dr Ante Starcevic, Marijan Pavlicek of small Croatian Conservative Party, heads of a couple of critizens’ initiative including of Truth About the Istanbul Convention and Croatian Bedem (Bulwark) and associations spoke at the press conference.

President of Hrast Ladislav Ilcic said that the Croatian people seek the unity of all those who see Croatia as a sovereign state. He believes that the new political platform will achieve excellent results in the upcoming European and later Croatian parliamentary elections. “Plenkovic’s HDZ has turned sharply to the left and Croatia under that leadership has become one of the most open countries that follow globalist ideas that are very often in contradiction with Croatian national interests, Croatian pride and values that Croatian people have fundamentally determined over the centuries,” Ilcic said.

So we need people who will represent us with an open mind, who don’t hesitate saying what they think and what is best for Croatia and that we don’t go to Brussels for our opinion but with our opinion. If the voters decide to continue supporting those who are for a big Europe, when we become marginalised, no one will be to blame but ourselves,” Ruza Tomasic said.

Hrast representative at Croatian Parliament, Hrvoje Zekanovic, said that the Croatian sovereignist means to be against the Istanbul Convention imposed by the EU, against the Marrakech Agreement as it is bad for Croatia, for the blocking of Serbia on its way to the EU so that aggression against Croatia could finally be recgonised and acknowledged and war damages paid/compensated as well as for defending the rights to life and defending the Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina and on question of the diaspora.

When asked by journalists whether they have approached other political parties and citizens’ initiatives to join this union Ilcic said that they were “…open for collaboration with all those who think like we do, who have similar opinions regarding Croatia as we do …they say that they are going to elections independently, the future will show if that is good…”.

One would prefer to have heard at the press announcement some more concrete, practical ways this political union intends to strengthen the sovereignty of the Republic of Croatia. To list the blocking Serbia on its path to the EU, or getting Serb aggression against Croatia finally recognised or ensuring compensation for war damages just isn’t enough, nor most important – by a long shot. This way the press conference felt more like the springboard to an election campaign than an organised body o forces that is clear on all paramount tasks for the future of Croatia.

The most important platform for real sovereignty of Croatia are decommunisation and lustration.

It goes without saying that were Croatia to rid itself from largely ineffective public administration riddled with corruption it would inject new trust, new optimism for the much needed foreign investment in the country that would stabilise if not improve the much ailing economy. Clearing of former communists and their like-minded people from public administration either physically or through new and tightened regulations and laws is the only and natural step to full sovereignty. I say this because the Homeland War was fought and won in order to establish full democracy and you cannot have a full democracy with so much of the communist Yugoslavia practices, conducive to corrupt practices, in public administration continuing practically unimpeded. Ina Vukic

Mini-Yugoslavia in Croatia (?)

Zeljko Glasnovic, MP for Croatian Diaspora

Many Australian Croats as part of the Croatian diaspora are looking forward to the Croatia Uncensored tour that commences next week, headed by the Member of the Croatian Parliament for the Diaspora, retired general Zeljko Glasnovic. Much to talk about, much to ask, much to pursue especially given that Glasnovic has been one of the leading voices and staunchest promoters in the Croatian Parliament and in public for a decommunised and lustrated Croatia.

Croatian people are certainly not the only nation in the world where, when it comes to the state of the nation, people at large are attracted to the problem rather than the solution. Whether a solution to a problem comes, or not, can only depend on actions devised, employed and implemented from the pool of complainants, the unhappy, the angry, the disillusioned, the devastated, the desperate… And so we come to the burning issue of pervasive, in terms of democracy repulsive communist mindset in Croatia despite the brilliantly successful defence of Croatian independence during the war of Serb/Yugoslav aggression in early 1990’s.

Post year-2000 in Croatia there has been no government in power in Croatia that has had a “smooth run”. On the contrary, every such government is marked by loud protests from the masses as well as from individual politicians (usually the independents and opposition) that not enough is done to successfully transition Croatia into a fully functional democratic state by way of reforms and lustration. Lustration, or ridding Croatia of institutionalised communist habits and mindset was/is The “weapon” essential to democratic progress. But, no doubt about it, nepotism, corruption tied to political favouritism, dependency on government/state bred into the nation by the communist regime, among other tactics employed by a totalitarian regime had a life of their own, resisting viciously and indiscriminately needed change and progress.

Despite the economic and standard of living persistent crises, what Croatia had since year 2000 was every government telling or boasting to the nation of reforms and progress it has pursued and achieved but the most important reform – lustration – was not and is not a part of that progress. And yet real progress depends on lustration – absolutely! Lustration for Croatia is akin to the foundations of a solid house; in the sense of building a democratically functional state of Croatia all facets of operational communist Yugoslavia must be excavated from the foundations and Croatian values pursued during the Homeland War, War of Independence, must be cemented into the foundations. Disillusionment and bitterness about the fact that this still has not been done continues and is seen on almost every corner.

And, yet, the fact that the people (i.e. masses / general population) are the ultimate authority in this and every country has it seems eluded the disillusioned. That is to say, much to the government’s delight – I dare say – one cannot see a unification of all that are pursuing lustration, i.e. raising to the top as the national priority of values fought for, paid for in blood and devastation during the Homeland War. And so the past governments thrived on this, as does the current one.

The current Croatian government, as those before it, continues to push the Brussels (EU) so-called Western Balkans project as the key statehood question! Bypassing and downgrading, as all others since year-2000 have, the actual key Croatian statehood question that’s embedded in the values of the Homeland War. To make matters alarmingly worse, Prime Minister Andre Plenkovic has at a public forum in Dubrovnik last week in his speech referred to “some conflicts that have occurred in this region” (not calling those conflicts by their real name “Serb aggression)! The Croatian public was rightfully outraged, for even if after the speech Plenkovic insisted that he was just referring to conflicts in Kosovo, the sensitive and disillusioned public took those words as also referring to the war of Serb/Yugoslav aggression against Croatia in the early 1990’s. After all, why wouldn’t they? The values of Croatia’s Homeland War, apart from hollow rhetoric at certain commemorations, are neither upheld nor promoted through essential reforms, which must include lustration.

There are many examples throughout the past couple of decades or so of government and presidential public rhetoric holding or suggesting that what occurred in Croatia in early 1990’s was a “civil war”! Such statements are malicious and designed to keep communist Yugoslavia breathing, in the hope for a new lease on life; they are fodder for the so-called Western Balkans project. This project factors highly in the heads of some EU leaders, movers and shakers; promoted by Germany’s Angela Merkel especially. The resolve to support Croatia’s independence during the early 1990’s demonstrated by Germany’s key supporters for an independent Croatia Helmut Kohl (former German Chancellor) and Hans-Dietrich Genscher (former German Foreign Minister) has with the coming of Merkel been drowned into insignificance. Plenkovic’s reported ambitions to succeed at leading the EU Commission after Jean-Claude Juncker goes can safely be associated with his line of pursuits that includes supporting the Western Balkans project. To add weight to this, however repulsive and unwanted that weight is to a great majority of Croatian people, Plenkovic’s government, in its seemingly tight coalition with the Independent Serb Democratic Party in Croatia and its president Milorad Pupovac, has opened wide gates for Serbs to wield power and cause distress in Croatia, pushing the line of belittling Croatia’s Homeland War and attempting to negate the bloody and brutal Serb aggression against Croatia in early 1990’s; keeping alive the Greater Serbia project within Croatia; supporting Serbia’s deplorable denial of aggression against Croatia and the utterly repugnant Serbia’s propaganda relating to World War II in Croatia. At this point suffice to say, that Pupovac has, as recently as last month, threatened one of Croatia’s leading researchers into WWII facts on Jasenovac camp, Igor Vukic, for unveiling research results/facts that blow the communist and Serb propaganda against WWII Croatia out of the water!

When in August 2018, on the Day of Croatian Homeland War Victory celebrations, Pupovac accompanied Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic in Backa Palanka, Serbia, to give weight and meaning to Vucic’s statement in which he maliciously compared modern Croatian state to a Nazi state, there were no sanctions in Croatia against Pupovac (Member of Croatian Parliament) nor against Serbia. Not even sending Serbia’s Ambassador in Croatia packing, like most countries would do!

No lustration, active degradation of values of Croatia’s Homeland War, negligence and dismissiveness of the importance Croatian veterans and victims of Serb aggression should play in society, active support of Serb anti-Croatian independence politics in Croatia, to name but a few spurs lining the path of keeping the notion of a Yugoslavia alive in Croatia; it is like Yugoslavia still exists there, albeit in a mini version.

A good example demonstrating this for a fully functional democracy (thoroughly rid of communist Yugoslavia) atrocious state in Croatia is perhaps entwined in the recent words by Vukovar’s Mayor Ivan Penava, who is calling the people to a public rally for human rights in October 2018:

All crimes have a first name and a surname, after all that has passed, not all Vukovar citizens can remain hostages of past, present and future deals and negotiations. I seek that we take a clear and decisive stand towards the events of the past, the Yugoslav People’s Army, the Greater Serbia and that we embed without compromise such a relationship in everything we do, on every occasion. It’s impermissible that as a State and a system we have no strength for pointing out the perpetrators, for demanding the acknowledgment of the evil perpetrated by the criminal regime, seek apology and compensation for the victims. Besides all that, we are pursuing alliances with those who among themselves hide the guilty, who know everything about certain crimes but choose to stay silent…In light of that, the City of Vukovar is organising and invites people to a peaceful, non-political rally for basic human rights, and against the shameful silence of institutions of Croatian society…”  Ina Vukic

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