Croatia: Distancing From Communist Yugoslavia Still Like Having Teeth Pulled Out Without Anaesthetics

Upper left image – removed mural dedicated to victims of Serb aggression/Vukovar, with inscription “People will never forget”

If there is a living example of a miserably painful transition from communism into democracy it is Croatia. At times the moves that those in power make which degrade and offend those who fought or participated by other means in the war for Croatia’s independence during the 1990’s feels to such patriots like having one’s teeth pulled out one by one – without the anaesthetics or pain-numbers!

During the past couple of weeks, the newly elected President of the Supreme Court, Judge Radovan Dobronic, wasted no time to publicly declare that the age-old greeting for Croatian patriots “For Homeland Ready” (“Za dom spremni”) has no place anywhere, must not exist, and that people were killed under that greeting during WWII in Croatia!  Of course, he did not do the same for the communist greeting “Brotherhood and Unity”, or its red star symbol or that many more innocent people were killed under “Brotherhood and Unity” greeting during WWII and after it than under any greeting known to Croatian history!  What Dobronic said was just what the former communists and Yugoslav nostalgics wanted to hear. He omitted completely to say that in 1990’s the people that formed HOS units (Croatian Defence Forces) whose official symbol and greeting was “For Homeland Ready” are owed utter respect as they contributed significantly to today’s freedom and independence. For over a decade there have been cruel attempts to make the greeting “For Homeland Ready” illegal in Croatia in all instances of life and having a Supreme Court head judge whose one of the first public declarations that touches upon national morality undertones certainly signifies that communists and pro-Communists now have a new friend in Croatia that will continue targeting the values fought for during Croatia’s Homeland War in 1990’s.

A few days after Judge Dobronic stated that the Croatian patriotic greeting “For Homeland Ready”, on 27 October 2021, wall murals on the walls of electric power station in the capital city of Zagreb dedicated to Croatia’s Homeland War, Vukovar and Victims of Serb Aggression during that war were painted over; disappeared. Public revolt and protest, against these acts, occurred in some media, not mainstream that is government controlled, and especially in social media. Protest by members of former HOS units occurred as did from politicians from the right side of political spectrum.  

Mural in Zagreb Erased or painted over
Erased Mural in Zagreb dedicated to General Slobodan Praljak and suffering of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina

This depraved act of erasing the patriotic murals can also be compared to the pain of having teeth pulled out without anaesthetics. It signifies pure hatred for the glorious victory Croats had over communist Yugoslavia in 1990. These acts were done by the City of Zagreb administration (via HEP/Croatian Electricity) whose new Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic brought in a leftist administration riddled with communist Yugoslavia nostalgia. Coupled with the fact that on the state level the HDZ government is kept alive by its coalition with Serbs in Croatia who sided with the Serb aggressor against Croatia during the Homeland War there is no doubt in many minds that this act also forms an ongoing plan to keep wearing down Croatian patriotism and the values fought for during separation from communist Yugoslavia. Within a day or two Mayor Tomasevic came out saying that the painting over the murals dedicated to Vukovar, victims of aggression, war, Homeland war was a mistake that the only mural that was meant to be painted over was the one that had the late General Slobodan Praljak’s face on it (Slobodan Praljak was a General in the Croatian Defence Forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1990’s who committed suicide (29 November 2017) in the Hague courtroom of the International Criminal Tribunal insisting he was innocent of war crimes charged with and convicted of.)

Of course, it was only a matter of a day or so after the murals were removed or painted over that new mural on the same walls appeared – thanks to patriotic citizens who were among those abhorred by the act of murals dedicated to Vukovar and Croatian Homeland War being removed.  

New mural dedicated to Vukovar and victims of Serb aggression in Croatia being painted again on same wall by protesting patriots

Often we hear that the sadness of attacks on Croatian patriotism will turn into defiance against current political leadership and into political assertion of values fought for during 1990’s for a free and independent Croatia. This though is proving to be a task of gigantic proportions as former communists or their offspring hold onto their family’s past during which most profited – they still reside in properties stolen from Jews or wealthy pro-Croatian citizens after WWII, they still know that nepotism and corruption is their only ticket to success in life … 

Forty-one years after the death of Josip Broz Tito. The one and only president of former communist Yugoslavia ever. All other presidents were presidents of the Presidency set-up in accordance with his wishes after his death in 1980 so that no other living person could become a lifelong president of Yugoslavia ever.  This Presidency ensured that seeds are planted after Tito’s death among people that would not tolerate, that would hate with a vengeance any expression of national pride or independence from it by any of its republics.

It has been thirty years since in 1991 Croatia severed all its ties with communist Yugoslavia, bravely forging its independence through a brutal was of Yugoslav Army and Serb aggression. The later twenty years of those thirty, i.e., from year 2000, after President of Croatia Franjo Tudjman passed away in December 1999, Croatia has proven to be a continuance of the same hunting ground that it was under communist Yugoslavia for any and every sign or display of Croatian patriotism taking hold among the public. More and more people from the communist Yugoslavia “family” breed crept into the power echelons of Croatia, not having spilled a drop of blood for her freedom, not wanting her free and independent in the first place, not having deserved to have power by merit but placed there through communist-bred corruption and nepotism.

If most offspring of former Yugoslav communists did not hold such a commitment to their families’ past, then every public debate about Tito would not still create unrest among Croats and push them into antagonistic opposing sides and conflicts as it occurs even forty years after his death. On the one hand there is an ideologically blinded and noisy group of Croats of Yugoslav orientation, who persistently claim that Tito saved the Croatian people and laid the foundations for the establishment of today’s state of Croatia, and on the other hand, there Croats who reject that and, rightfully so, claim that the 1990’s Homeland War was and is the foundations of today’s modern and independent Croatia.

The absolute truth about Josip Broz Tito and his communist Partisans is that they committed horrendous crimes and genocide against the Croatian people who fought for an independent Croatia, not Yugoslavia, not within Yugoslavia. The absolute truth is that Josip Broz Tito is today counted among top ten mass murderers of the Twentieth century as his state ordered purges ordered many hundreds of thousands of anti-communist citizens (more than 500,000). Thankfully, after the disintegration of Yugoslavia, with the appearance of new facts as more than a thousand of mass graves of victims of communist crimes were unearthed, as state archives of historical records were opened, merits and positive opinions about Tito began to decline and today, more than ever, people in Croatia and the world consider him a dictator and a criminal of suspicious ethnic or national origins. But this “more than ever” is not enough to it seems to place communism far far behind those who live in a supposedly democratic Croatia.

Tito used all possible means and methods in the destruction of Croatia and the Croatian people. Unfortunately, along with the Belgrade authorities, Croatian Yugoslavs, the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian national minority in Croatia helped him a great deal. The consequences of his long-term policy towards the Serbian minority and bribery of certain members of that minority, whose ancestors in the time of Ante Starcevic were considered Croats of the Orthodox faith, were well felt by the Croatian people in the 1990s in the Greater Serbia aggression.

Today’s Croatia and Croats who wish Croatia well cannot legally or morally deny civil rights to members of minorities living in Croatia, but at the same time the Croatian people rightly expect members of all national minorities to act in accordance with Croatian law, without being required and enjoying special privileges and serving foreign masters. Above all it is expected that minorities in Croatia adhere to and respect the values and significance of the Croatian Homeland War of Independence. But they do not do this, and one would be completely correct in saying that it’s because the governments have not developed the mechanisms that would police and monitor matters of that importance for the nation.

It needs to be kept in mind that with the establishment of communist Yugoslavia, Tito created the conditions for the killing and persecution of Croats and devised a system whose purpose was the biological destruction of the Croatian people. For the killing, imprisonment, and persecution of Croats in Tito’s Yugoslavia, it was enough to declare someone an enemy of the people. So too, it needs to be kept in mind that the victims of Serb aggression against Vukovar, against Croatia bother Mayor of Zagreb Tomasevic and they bother the leftist political parties, including those in power since year 2000. They do not like the fact that Croats fought for and risked their lives for Croatian patriotism and democracy while most of them hid away while the war of aggression against Croatia raged. All of them should have long ago banned the Red star symbol of communism and torn down all monuments to the criminal dicator Tito and his communist Yugoslavia regime. But they did not, they continue hounding Croatian patriots, throwing their dearest symbols into the waters of worthlessness and criminal connotation.

The removal or the painting over the patriotic murals in its capital city of Zagreb may continue to remain politically significant and encourage the right-wing patriotic parties and movements to unite into a force that may change Croatia’s political and moral future into that what it should have become after 1998 when the last occupied areas were reintegrated into Croatia. Let’s hope that the protests against this incident of trying to erase the victims of Homeland War from those city walls will not constitute a yet another short-lived protest and become just a point of street-talk for a while, until it dies out with a shrug of the patriotic shoulder. Perhaps we will see much more action that will result in a new Croatia after the next general elections; a new political landscape that cemented the Croatian resolve to defend itself from communist Yugoslavia and Greater Serbia onslaughts.

Retired General and former Member of Croatian Parliament Zeljko Glasnovic

The reactions to the erasing of the patriotic murals were many and one so well and succinctly put (that also demonstrates the political landscape in Croatia at present as related to transitioning from communism) on a Facebook profile was that by retired General and former Member of Croatian Parliament Zeljko Glasnovic on 29 October 2021 and it was as follows:

“Mausoleum of Vukašin Šoškočanin in the middle of Borovo selo – permitted, monuments to partisans all over Croatia – permitted, hundreds of pits full of Croatian bones – permitted, streets and squares named after the biggest mass murderers – permitted, five-pointed stars on buildings and flags – permitted, graffiti of the unrepentant Yugoslavia, bloody locksmiths and communism – permitted, marching through the cities to the beats of ‘White Violet’ (song about Tito) – permitted.

Murals dedicated to Vukovar, the 204th Guards Brigade, General Praljak and Dinamo – not permitted. They made criminals out of heroes and made heroes out of criminals. They made an aggressor out of a victim; they made a victim out of an aggressor. It only exists in Croslavia. To celebrate the executioners and the anniversaries of their monstrous crimes committed against their own people and to humiliate, belittle and degrade their liberators. To live in Croatia and to hate and despise everything that is Croatian. Fight for independence and freedom and sell that same freedom for a couple of silver coins. Frightening. The selective memory of the Croatian people has reached its peak. Apathy, amnesia, and indifference are just some of the characteristics of the average Croat who still sits passive in his home hiding behind his keyboard. And while he is virtually fighting for his country, with popcorn in his hands, he is waiting for the solution and the continuation of his carefree future, which he will not fight for alone. Why would he? He brought these people to power with his indifference. Good night Croatia.” Ina Vukic

CROATIA: President Milanovic – You Are Fired! An Open Letter To The President Of Croatia

Zoran Milanovic, President of Croatia
Inset: Jasenovac Plaque honouring fallen Croatian defenders during Croatian Homeland War
Foto: Robert Fajt / CROPIX

President Zoran Milanovic,

Were I confident that this letter would not end up in a wastepaper basket in your office then this letter would not be an Open Letter, but sadly my confidence is justifiably shaky. Were the matters I will address in this letter not matters that are of utmost importance for Croatia and its people in the 21st century then this letter would not be written.

I am writing to you to add to the public awareness that you, as President, must do everything in your power to ensure that the values, the victims and the meaning for Croatia and its people of the 1990’s Homeland War receive the full respect they deserve. After all, that is one of the most important roles of the President of the Republic of Croatia under its Constitution! When you do not do what you should be doing then you have no place to sit in the Office of the President; the highest office in the land representing Croatia and all it stands for, so to speak.

Article 94 of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia includes the clause that says: “The President of the Republic of Croatia shall be responsible for the defence of the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Croatia.”  Adding from the Historical Foundations of the Republic of Croatia in the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia that  Croatia’s foundations lie “in the new Constitution of the Republic of Croatia (1990) and the victory of the Croatian nation and Croatia’s defenders in the just, legitimate and defensive war of liberation, the Homeland War (1991-1995), wherein the Croatian nation demonstrated its resolve and readiness to establish and preserve the Republic of Croatia as an independent and autonomous, sovereign and democratic state,” it follows that the President of the Republic of Croatia must act and show morally, politically and in every way adherence to and promotion of the values of the Homeland War and must not compromise them in any way for, such compromise jeopardises independence. Otherwise, if the president does not act in accordance with set principles and expectations, he or she has no place sitting in that office and if the appropriate authorities do nothing to impeach him or her from the Office when he or she has breached his or her duties as President then the people must act towards that goal. After all, the people directly elect their President in Croatia!

The Homeland War and those who lost their lives so that Croatia may be free and independent, so that it can carve its own future in a democracy, far removed from communist Yugoslavia heritage, cannot and must not be bullied, ridiculed, insulted, belittled, threatened or intimidated! And you do and have done that exactly that! Accordingly, you have in mine and many other eyes committed treason; betrayed the modern Croatian nation!

It is, of course, your latest public statements at Jasenovac on 22 April 2020 when you, regarding the plaque dedicated to 11 Croatian Homeland War of Independence defenders from HOS unit, which fought under the slogan “For Homeland Ready”, said that “the plaque should be moved to somewhere else, thrown away…it has no relevance to the Homeland War… Those who fought in 1991, thought they were fighting under the salute For Homeland Ready (Za dom spemni), did not fight only for the Croatian state but for the restoration of the 1941 Croatian state,”  shined a spotlight on your incompetence and your despise for the Croatian state, you are supposed to protect and uphold.

These statements of yours unequivocally demonstrate that you disregard and betray purposefully the fact that almost 94% of Croatian voters (among which you evidently were not) voted in May 1991 for independence and that this fact and national resolve gave the mandate and legitimacy to those fighters and defenders who fought under whatever slogan and salute reinforced their loyalty and self-sacrifice to independence they were defending, fighting for. This May 1991 referendum had nothing to do with NDH and everything to do with the long-standing oppression at the hands of the Yugoslav communist regime.

You, President, should be ashamed of yourself and the Croatian people must have no other alternative but to remove you from the position they recently elected you for! I am quite certain you will not willingly resign from it all by your own self.

Your denial of the legitimacy Croatia’s Homeland War defenders, including those fighting under the slogan “For Homeland Ready” has turned into deception and lies — lies to a nation of frightened people. For it has, due to statements like yours, become increasingly scary to express pride in the independence of Croatia and its war veterans, leading to a generalised fear of being labelled as some unwanted extremist because of one’s expressed pursuit of joy and pride for what Croatia had achieved via its war of defence against Serb-led aggression!

Why do you need to prostitute the way you do the outcome of the 1991 vote for independence by almost 94% of Croatian voters? What drives you, President Milanovic?  Hatred for the independence of Croatia? Contempt for the independence of Croatia? What!?

You were a professed Communist before you saw possibilities for personal advancement within the League of Communists of Croatia Party/ Social Democratic Party that would set itself up to benefit personally from the blood lost from those whose names are written on that HOS plaque in Jasenovac and thousands of others fighting for and defending today’s independent state of Croatia. I’m not writing about your obvious infatuation with the dictatorship of Josip Broz Tito.  It’s obvious that you salivate over the thought of you being able to exercise the same unbridled power when it comes to degrading the will of the Croatian people for independence and secession from Yugoslavia.

But, President Milanovic, the buck does stop at your door; therefore, “you’re fired.”

Will the “shipping clerks” (the people) please come forward!

Ina Vukic

Sydney, Australia

9 May 2020

Croatia: Abomination In Hauling Out Communist Memorabilia

“…look at the money these constitutional, supreme judges have
in all of them squats a lilttle little Tito…
They cannot change!”
Zeljko Glasnovic, Member of Croatian Parliament
Photo:Screenshot

The time has come – communist threads must be torn away.

The mind boggles at the reality today that there are still too many pro-communist Yugoslavia people walking the streets of Croatia. The nostalgia for the long-gone days of Yugoslavia encountered on the streets often wears the cloak of misguided memories of a life that was supposedly carefree and good, of course missing all the elements of personal responsibility for a greater good (the Party, or foreign debt took care of everything).

The communists in Yugoslavia suppressed or significantly limited free markets, stole private property, crushed political dissent, murdered or imprisoned political opponents, imposed materialist ethics, installed a culture of intimidation, forced multitudes into exile or emigration, and exalted ruthless dictatorship. The result was a sustained assault on the history, traditions, ethics, and very essence of the Croatian people.

No wonder the Croatian people at a referendum voted overwhelmingly (94%) in 1991 to secede from communist driven Yugoslavia!

While Croatia cannot escape its history, it should stop glorifying the country’s turn down of one of history’s great deadends. Although an unjust despotism, Josip Broz Tito as the absolute master of former communist Yugoslavia (1945 to his death in 1980) left behind in his dedicated followers those that fostered the culture of absolute Party power albeit in some cases by stealth through placing in key positions of public service only the politically fit. Hence, weaved into almost every point of high-level decision-making the communist mindset survived even one of the bloodiest of wars Croatia has had to fight in the early 1990’s in order to secede from Yugoslavia and go it alone into democracy and sovereignty.

The obstacles to change into a true democracy, after the military victory over the Serb/Yugoslav aggressor that opposed secession, remained great as the highly positioned former member of the former Communist Party either backed away from some reforms promised via Croatia’s new Constitution or dodged true democratic changes by keeping much of the country’s legislation fundamentally unchanged or maintaining the communist practices and processes in applying any true reforms through new regulations. Such was the response in Croatia to the 1990’s Homeland War victory that secured Croatia’s sovereign borders.

Last year Josip Broz Tito’s name was taken down from the most beautiful city of Zagreb squares and replaced with Republic of Croatia Square. This was a move that signaled a dying-away of Titoism, of idolising Tito (and communism) in at least some circles of local power brokers that could catch-on in other places across Croatia. After all, Tito was no humanitarian whose dream was perverted by his successors. He likely the murder of hundreds of thousands of Croats after WWII. Tito insisted on solitary Communist rule despite all the committees and presidencies flaunted around as some form of collective government, tolerated no dissent even within the Party, established the UDBA secret police that hunted down worldwide any opponents to his political agenda, employed terror against opponents, and led the supposedly “victorious” side in one of history’s most horrid periods for people desirous of independent Croatia.

With Tito’s name coming down from city square and street names it would appear that Titoists in Croatia have recently found a new way to keep the memory of Tito and his communist Yugoslavia alive in Croatia! And this is distressing.

A once imposing but now rusting yacht (Galeb/Seagull) that in 1953 took the Yugoslav leader Tito up the Thames to meet Winston Churchill is to be turned into a museum and tourist attraction in Croatia. During WWII it found itself in the crosshairs of the Allies and was sunk by Allied bombers in 1944 on the coast of Croatia. After WWII it was hauled up from the seabed, restored and converted into an official yacht for Josip Broz Tito. He used it not only as a floating residence and office, but also as a party boat, hosting celebrities and high-calibre politicians including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sophia Loren, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Naser, Greek King Peter, Moroccan King Hasan H., UK Prime Miniser Winston Churchill, USSR President Nikita Khrushchev, Libia’s Moammar Gaddafi, Sudan’s General Abboud and so on. For years the 385ft-long ship has been quietly rusting away in the Adriatic port of Rijeka in Croatia.

Rusting hulk of Galeb/Seagull and Tito

Around mid January 2018 it was announced that some 6 million Euro from EU funding has been approved to restore the yacht and turn it into a museum. That’s 6 million Euro that Croatia does not have to return to EU coffers!

In a country on its knees economically, such as Croatia, one would expect applications for EU funds of that size to be dedicated to creating jobs and bettering the standard of living, which by the way, has not improved since its steep dive during 1980’s Yugoslavia when inflation reached astronomical 1200%!

If this isn’t a gigantic step back in the struggling but urgently needed attempts to rid Croatia of the communist mindset, what is? No one can tell me that such a museum will not feed and maintain the romantic notions of how great communist Yugoslavia was. How great Tito was! What a disappointment. There are plenty of existing museums dedicated to life in Yugoslavia that tourists can visit so why erect another one! Especially one that blatantly covers up and shamelessly negates the actual reality of how horrible and destructive a person and a leader Tito was to Croatian people who pursued independence and freedom.

Whatever happened to banning all symbols of totalitarian regime in Croatia? Communism is still enjoying free displays of its symbols and EU itself – that declared its member countries should observe European Remembrance Day of Victims of Totalitarian Regimes and condemn them all and yet it funds one of the largest new monuments to the totalitarian communist regime! Catastrophe for human kind! Utterly abominable towards the hundreds of thousands of Tito’s totalitarian regime victims!

Someday Croatians will be truly free. Not just from communism, but also of less forms of soft authoritarianism that trickles through from the communist mindset. Liberation will come only through the Croatian people’s own efforts, however, not from the EU or the West. Only they can make their own future. The day this liberty arrives will be the real end of Croatia’s Homeland War. Ina Vukic

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