Croatia – A Case Of Crumbling Self-Determination Under Communist Pressure

Top: retired general Zeljko Glasnovic during former mandate in Croatian Parliament
Bottom from Left: Furio Radin (Italian minority), Milorad Pupovac (Serb minority), Andrej Plenkovic and Goran Jandrokovic (HDZ party),
Gordan Maras, Nenad Stazic,Arsen Bauk, Davor Bernardic (SDP)


It took a willing fight of only one exceptional Homeland War veteran (retired General Zeljko Glasnovic) for the main parties of Croatia to show their intolerance towards independent Croatia!

Trebala je spremna borba samo jednog izuzetnog branitelja Domovinskog rata (generala Željka Glasnovića) da glavne stranke Hrvatske pokažu svoju netrpeljivost prema neovisnoj Hrvatskoj!

Congratulations, Madam President Of Croatia – Now Comes The Hard Part!

11 January 2015 Victory Night Centre: Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, President elect of Croatia Right: Jadranka Juresko-Kero, Election Campaign Leader Standing behind Grabar-Kitarovic to left: Tomislav Karamarko, President of Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ

11 January 2015 Victory Night
Centre: Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, President elect of Croatia
Right: Jadranka Juresko-Kero, Election Campaign Leader
Standing behind Grabar-Kitarovic to left:
Tomislav Karamarko, President of Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ


Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the newly elected President of Croatia has achieved an amazing victory even though the winning margin between her and her opponent Ivo Jospovic in numerical value is considered minimal or very low. But to achieve victory in so profoundly politically divided country at this particular time of economic slump and brinks of threatening bankruptcy is a result worthy of greatness in its own right.

Since Sunday January 11, when the highest voter turnout in the last 15 years voted for a new president – aroused from a rather deep democratic sleep by the emotions unleashed by the Centre-Right (Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ and coalition currently in parliamentary opposition) and Centre-Left (Social Democrats and coalition currently holding government) face-off – Croatia is being forced to take the temperature of its body politic. For months, the former have, rightly so, accused the government as incompetent and responsible for the country’s dire economic woes with unemployment running at over 19% and some 70% living in relative poverty, while the latter wrongfully, in efforts of imputing collective guilt, keep accusing the former as being a criminal and corrupt organisation because its former leader, Ivo Sanader, had been convicted of corruption and fraud.

To demonstrate the deep divide in the country one needs only to look at the reaction of Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic: even three days after the presidential victory he has not found the decency to congratulate Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and thereby acknowledge, if not applaud, the democratic rights expressed through voting by Croatian voters that voted for her! Furthermore, he announces his unwillingness to collaborate with the new president of his state!

So the great irony of Croatia’s current situation is that it’s facing both a cliff and a standoff. Grabar-Kitarovic has won the election despite the enormous and seemingly unconquerable divisions in the country. The division is building up into a vicious standoff between former communists (often representing those who did not want the breakup of communist Yugoslavia in the early 1990’s) and those who fought and defended the nation’s right to self-determination and an independent Croatia. But all are facing a looming “fiscal cliff,” and the new President must overcome the divide and navigate towards achieving a greater unity within the nation against the backdrop of Centre/Right – Centre/Left face-off.

Indeed, Grabar Kitarović stressed in her first interview that now was a time that Croatia united and did not become divided which is what has happened over the last few years. She stated that she wants now to get to work on lifting Croatia out of the deep economic crisis it is in together with Prime Minister Milanović. Grabar Kitarović, says she will call Milanović herself if he does not call in the next few days.

That is a sign of a good leader: duty takes priority. Something Croatia’s Prime Minister Milanovic evidently lacks. A true leader is a master of bringing together two opposing bodies to form a single, cohesive group – or at least as cohesive as possible. The extreme polarisation in politics has caused a splintering of the public’s perception, trust, and faith in government and the government insists on staying put!

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has worked very hard campaigning for a better Croatia and captured the trust of multitudes. But the hard part of her path to the presidency is just getting started. The Social Democrats holding government and their political coalition partners are behaving like two-year-olds with a temper-tantrum! They’ve dug their heels in and keep attacking Croatian democracy with utterly unfounded and unfair nationalistic slur and awful vilification against those voters and the political parties who stand by Grabar-Kitarovic. Croatia is so very lucky to have a new President in Grabar-Kitarovic who knows well how to handle the twisted suggestions that try to portray her modern conservative politics as akin to nationalism, and blow them right out of the water. She is a world-class politician who has earned most of her stripes living and working in Western democracies, which cherish patriotism and unity towards the benefit of all.

But elements within those same democracies play the same hateful games with nationalism as do Croatia’s former communists who did not want an independent Croatia. So, often you may across articles by BBC, by AP, by New York Times … that enter into the same unfounded allegations of nationalism against Grabar-Kitarovic as Croatia’s former communists.

For example, in New York Times article “Croatians Elect Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic as Their First Female President” (Jan 11, 2015) Joanna Berendt and Joseph Orovic, without any reference or specification of facts they rely on, say that the victory speech given by the Croatia’s President elect on Sunday 11 January “suggested a return to the nationalistic politics that dominated Croatia in the postwar dissolution of Yugoslavia”. They quote a part of Grabar-Kitarovic victory speech “Let’s go together. A difficult job awaits us. Let’s unite. Let’s unite our patriotism, love and faith in our Croatian homeland,” and in it see nationalism with negative connotations!

One needs to wonder why Berendt and Orovic found no other to quote but Mr Dejan Jovic, who is a former advisor to Croatian president Ivo Josipovic and recently sacked from his advisory position as Croatian media reported in association with his abominable publicised views that the 1990 Croatian referendum on secession from communist Yugoslavia was “very illiberal”, a known opponent of Croatian independence and the breakup of communist Yugoslavia, to flesh out their mean-spirited and utterly unfounded nationalistic innuendo.

The authors of this NYT article lead us to believe that patriotism and sticking together for the betterment of ones nation, democracy and independence are something nationalistically negative!


My goodness, what might they have said about the part of US President Barrack Obama’s 2012 victory speech when he said: “Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward…It (union) moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people”?
Or is this NYT article attempting to portray a message that self-determination is not a human right of all nations?
No doubt about it: Croatia is at crossroads to either economic/existential ruin and political unrest or to unity and economic prosperity. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic wants the latter and is prepared to work hard to achieve it.

So, I would say that one of the most important tasks ahead of her, preferably within the first three months of her mandate, is to confront reality and take action. Although her presidential powers for direct action may be limited I would say there are more ways than one to achieve a goal. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: Happy Statehood Day!

Ina Vukic – Commemorative Medal of the Homeland War and Order of the Croatian Trifoil

Today, 25 June 2012 marks the 21st anniversary of Croatian independence.

“I declare to the whole world that on this day the Republic of Croatia is proclaimed sovereign and independent state,” were dr Franjo Tudjman’s words on 25th June 1991.

Video Transcript: “ In the surrounds of Greater Serbian threats and world diplomacy cynicism the historic 25th June 1991 the Croatian Parliament proclaimed Republic of Croatia, till then a part of Yugoslavia, an independent and sovereign state. With this act Croatia placed in motion the process of separation from other Yugoslav Republics and sought international recognition. 

Tudjman’s speech in parliament: We can no longer support life in the joint country in which there is constant secret and public aggression, pathological hatred and evil against everything authentically Croatian, in a state community in which we are faced with continuous threats of violence, both joint and illegal in the form of rebellion and terrorism. Proclaiming the sovereignty of Croatia we are doing the same as all nations of the world on their path to independence, and out of same natural and transcendental reasons.   

Historic decisions about the free path to the future were based on the results from the referendum in which 93.2 % of Croatian citizens chose independence and sovereignty. In that way, Croatian people had democratically expressed their will to govern their own destiny.  The referendum rejected other variations on offer which placed Croatia in an unfavourable position – including the proposition by federal Premier Ante Markovic for some democratic Yugoslavia and Slobodan Milosevic’s Greater Serbia concept, so called modern federation, i.e. new Serboslavia. The Croatian parliament had unanimously voted for the declaration of independence, but that unanimity was somewhat eroded by the fact that the reformed Communists, then named parties for democratic changes, stood against the constitutional decision and law. Parliamentary Social Democrats’ club sought that at the same time of secession the process of alliance with other Yugoslav republics commence. The proposal was rejected and the parliamentary majority, led by HDZ, decided for full Croatian independence, unconditionally.  On the same day Republic of Slovenia brought the decision for their independence and Yugoslavia was no more. Although, international forces, as remedy for the old, advocated for some new Yugoslavian community. That’s why they imposed a three-month moratorium and an embargo on arms import, which left them (Croatia) at the mercy and disfavour to Great-Serbian aggression.   Nevertheless, Croatia defended herself and in January 1992 the international community was forced to recognise the new political reality of South-East Europe.”

Croatian independence was not achieved peacefully. Indeed, between 13 and 16,000 lives lost in defending Croatian people and territory from Serb and Serb led Yugoslav Peoples Army. To preserve its people, its territory – its very life – Croatia paid dearly.

It is to the lives lost in the preservation of Croatian peoples’ right to self determination – in the Homeland War of 1991-1995 that I pay tribute and remain forever grateful. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb),; B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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