Croatia: No Justice For Victims Of Communist Totalitarian Regime

Retired General Zeljko Glasnovic
Photo: Screenshot

Never kid yourselves that the future does not rest upon the history; the history of struggles and sufferings regardless of their sources from everyday life or everyday people. Russia is fighting fascism to the last swastika; Ukraine is combating communism to the last red star (and so have other Eastern European countries that have been fighting the red star communism ever since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989). They have been racking up success after success.

Tomorrow, 23 August is the Black Ribbon Day in the European Union, marking the Day of Remembrance of Victims of Stalinism and Nazism and, it is a Day of International of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes. This day symbolises the rejection of extremism, intolerance and oppression. Of recent years, some of the more successful countries in the process of lustrating communist mindset in order to transition fully into democracy have been labelled as developing a new breed of authoritarian rule or undemocratic regime. Hence, one can easily find these days media writeups that, say, Hungary is becoming a hybrid regime rather than a semi-consolidated democracy because its Prime Minister Viktor Orban continues his assaults on Hungary’s democratic institutions! Poland is not far behind being a target of these attacks that mainly come from the leftist or communist-prone establishments within the EU and beyond. It is a demonstrable truth that in Hungary or Poland, just like in Croatia, these democratic institutions are a far cry from democracy – they are riddled with former communist red star apparatchiks and its today’s apologists.

These critics conveniently circumvent the fact that in order to rid a nation of its oppressive totalitarian regime such as communism one must be firm and controlling in policy and process. No pain, no gain – says the well-ingrained idiom when it comes to success stories, especially!

Sadly, and infuriatingly, the picture of Croatia’s fight against totalitarian regimes of the past is a selective one to the point of cruelty. The victims of the WWII Ustashe regime (often wrongly referred to as a fascist or pro-Nazi regime by those who seem to lack knowledge of profound truth) have been given much deserved justice through continued commemorations and monuments over past decades, while the memory of victims of Tito’s communist regime is more often than not tossed into a dark ditch where it can’t be seen properly as the communist former apparatchiks and today’s apologists occupying high positions in the so-called democratic institutions still wear the red star with sickening pride; they say they were and are Antifascists! Antifascism was never a regime of oppression and murder, and communism was.  Croatia’s communist murderers and oppressors had thrown the Antifascist cloak over their shoulders a long time ago, as directed by one of the top ten mass murderers of the 20th century world – Josip Broz Tito.

The resolution on European conscience and totalitarianism passed in the European Parliament in April of 2009 recommended declaring 23 August the day of remembrance for victims of communism and Nazism. In September 2019 the EU Parliament passed a resolution declaring both Nazism and Communism (and other totalitarian regimes of the past) criminal regimes.

On 7 December 2016, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic spoke at his government cabinet meeting about a memorial to fallen soldiers of HOS (1990’s Croatian Defence Forces) at Jasenovac. The memorial had become a focus of national and international attention, since it contained a logo which includes the inscription “Za Dom Spremni” (“For Homeland Ready”), which was used during the Second World War by the Independent State of Croatia but also HOS defence forces in defending Croatia from the brutal Serb aggression in the 1990’s Homeland War:

“The Croatian government expresses reverence for all the victims of Jasenovac (Jasenovac camp WWII), as well as for the Croatian veterans who lost their lives there during the Homeland War. We are aware of the sensitivity aroused by the symbol; however, such symbols were approved in the past, at institutional and government level”, said Plenkovic.

He pointed out different rulings issued by the courts related to the symbols of totalitarian systems and announced that the government would establish a committee to consider the issue in a calm and rational way. The goal is to adopt an acceptable legal solution, in order to determine the position of the society towards the symbols of totalitarian regimes.

Well, in 2018 Croatia’s government formed a Committee that would deal with “confronting the past”, which committee was full of former and current communist operatives! Suffice to say, nothing came out of that exercise that would, for example, outlaw the communist red star.

And here we are in August of 2020 and Andrej Plenkovic is Croatia’s Prime Minister again (despite the fact that with a low voter turnout under 17% of voters voted for his HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union party. He formed a government, again in coalition with the Serb minority representatives who achieved a parliamentary seat by special electoral mechanism which does not require of ethnic minority representatives to have sweeping numbers of votes in their court – they can get a seat even with one hundred or less votes! Plenkovic has even given the Serb minority representative the position of Deputy Prime Minister (Boris Milosevic, Milorad Pupovac’s puppet in installing Serbia’s anti-Croatia politics in Croatia!).

Disaster! As I wrote only recently, fearing such an outcome.

Andrej Plenkovic’s government has, in effect, done nothing bar spread rhetoric about the need to bring about legislation on criminalising symbols of past totalitarian regimes, including communism that defined national politics of former Yugoslavia. And it’s painfully clear that Plenkovic is not about to do anything on this front in this new four-year mandate as Prime Minister. His close political allies from Serb minority have amplified their demands for the usage of “Za Dom Spremni” (For Home Ready) slogan to be criminalised, while there is no mention of criminalising the red star!

Have no doubts about it: Plenkovic’s and Milanovic’s pockets still keep the metal communist red star badge warm!

They are not about to criminalise its use any time soon! They are not about to afford real justice to any victims of communist crimes no matter how many more new mass graves with their remains are discovered.

Some say that one of the problems for those supposedly advocating for the ban on the red star is the fact that the current Croatian Constitution determines that Croatia as it now exists was founded as part of the antifascist struggle during the Second World War, whose symbol was the red star. But they omit the fact that the current Croatian Constitution also states that today’s Croatia is founded on the 1990’s Homeland War – the terrible war of Serb aggression that took place because Croats (94% of voters) wanted out of communism or communist Yugoslavia. The absolute truth is that the WWII Croatian antifascists (communists) did not fight then for an independent Croatia but for Croatia to remain within Yugoslavia! Hence, they must be removed from the Croatian Constitution of today.

It is not a surprise, although it is very sinister against Croatia’s democracy or its full development, that Plenkovic’s HDZ did everything it could to ensure that the retired general Zeljko Glasnovic does not get into this new Croatian Parliament makeup! Reports of electoral fraud and theft of votes (11 votes) from Glasnovic have persisted in some of the Croatian media since 5th July 2020 General Elections. Indeed, Glasnovic has according to these reports, taken steps to rectify the claimed electoral fraud against him. One may ask at this point: but why would Plenkovic and HDZ party do that? Well, one answer that pops to mind is the fact that while a member of Croatian Parliament Glasnovic was the leading politician in Croatia who insisted and persisted on lustration, on banning the symbols of the communist regime, on decommunisation so that Croatia may have a fair chance of a functional democracy, etc. Without Glasnovic in the parliament we may see some sporadic speeches along those lines or individual MPs coming out from time to time with similar demands but there will most likely be no pressure imposed for the chance, no consistency and persistence in demands for change. The focus on the absolute need to condemn the communist totalitarian regime of former Yugoslavia and its symbols will thus be washed away and communists with their apologists will literally get away with murder!

Is this what most Croatian people want? I don’t think so! A time will come in the not so distant future when 94% or more voters will let us know that, just like they did in 1990.

One of the most disturbing things about Yugoslav communism is how quickly Croatia changed after WWII ended and they took power. Croatia went from pursuing independence and self-preservation to being taken hostage by Serb-led communist stronghold where political prisons arose like mushrooms after rain, where communist purges by mass murder and individual assassinations cleared the terrain from anti-communists, where hundreds of thousands fled the closed borders fearing for their lives or the taking away their human right to work etc. All this with about fifteen years from the end of WWII.

In her work “The Origins of Totalitarian Regimes” Hannah Arendt wrote: “The success of totalitarian movements among the masses meant the end of two illusions of democratically ruled countries in general and of European nation-states and their party system in particular. The first was that the people in its majority had taken an active part in government and that each individual was in sympathy with one’s own or somebody else’s party. On the contrary, the movements showed that the politically neutral and indifferent masses could easily be the majority in a democratically ruled country, that therefore a democracy could function according to rules which are actively recognised by only a minority. The second democratic illusion exploded by the totalitarian movements was that these politically indifferent masses did not matter, that they were truly neutral and constituted no more than the inarticulate backward setting for the political life of the nation. Now they made apparent what no other organ of public opinion had ever been able to show, namely, that democratic government had rested as much on the silent approbation and tolerance of the indifferent and inarticulate sections of the people as on the articulate and visible institutions and organisations of the country. Thus when the totalitarian movements invaded Parliament with their contempt for parliamentary government, they merely appeared inconsistent: actually, they succeeded in convincing the people at large that parliamentary majorities were spurious and did not necessarily correspond to the realities of the country, thereby undermining the self-respect and the confidence of governments which also believed in majority rule rather than in their constitutions.”

As in many modern democracies so too in Croatia, we can see evidence of indifference and pervasive feelings of helplessness. There is low voter turnout and an assumption that things will be the way they are no matter what an individual does, whether he/she votes or not.

There is significant pent-up energy in apathy. Arendt suggests that the desire to be more than indifferent is what totalitarian movements initially manipulate until the individual is totally subsumed.

“The disturbing factor in the success of totalitarianism is … the true selflessness of its adherents: it may be understandable that a Nazi or Bolshevik will not be shaken in his conviction by crimes against people who do not belong to the movement…; but the amazing fact is that neither is he likely to waver when the monster begins to devour its own children and not even if he becomes a victim of persecution himself…” Arendt wrote.

It’s important to understand that it is simple to isolate people who already feel isolated. When you feel disconnected from the system around you and the leaders it has, when you believe that neither your vote nor your opinion matters, it’s not a huge leap to feel that your very self has no importance. This feeling is what totalitarianism figured out how to manipulate by random terror that severed any form of connection with other human beings. And, indeed, the very inactions in Croatia to rid the state system and its operations of former communists and their apologists reeks of a mosaic constructed to keep alive the authoritarianism of former Yugoslavia that instilled corruption.

The fear is a requirement – fear is what keeps that anti-Croatian identity movement going. In Croatia there is already very noticeable fear of saying anything against the government; the fear of losing one’s job is among the most frequently encountered fears on the streets of Croatia. So, how does a government get this “power”?

Arendt argues that there is a “possibility that gigantic lies and monstrous falsehoods can eventually be established as unquestioned facts, that man may be free to change his own past at will, and that the difference between truth and falsehood may cease to be objective and become a mere matter of power and cleverness, of pressure and infinite repetition.”

You may find here the reasons why murderous Yugoslav communist regime still lives on the streets of Croatia. The lies about prosperity of living in Yugoslavia still fill the cracks that appear to reveal the ugly truth of communist Yugoslavia.

This battle with truth is something we see today in Croatia. Opinions are being given the same weight as facts, leading to endless debates and the assumption that nothing can be known anyway. The research being carried out into WWII facts including the facts of Jasenovac Camp are aggressively labelled as historical revisionism. The government does not support them, especially if the uncovered facts go against the grain of communist and Serb -written history. The unearthing of almost 1000 mass graves of communist crimes’ victims since 1991 is barely afforded a mention in the controlled mainstream media and new mass grave dig-sites are often stopped and a ban put on them!

It is this turning away from knowledge that opens the doors to totalitarianism. “Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it,” wrote Arendt so many years ago. To our alarm, her words ring true to today’s Croatia, the Croatia since year 2000 when former communists swindled their way into governments promising democracy and prosperity. Their words still linger in the ears of those who still vote for them even though their children and grandchildren have either left Croatia in search of a gainful employment and decent, prosperous living!

Had Plenkovic’s HDZ government and all Croatian governments since year 2000 collaborated with the Croatian Serbs who fought alongside Croats in defending Croatia from Serb aggression Croatia would today be many steps ahead in condemning the former Yugoslavia communist regimes, in justice for its victims. But, no, he and they chose to collaborate with the likes of Milorad Pupovac who stems from and is aligned with those Croatian Serbs that formed a part of the Serbian aggression forces against Croatia in 1990’s.

No justice for victims of communist regime crimes yet! The fight for it must continue for the sake of a better future. Our future rests on our past and that past must be dealt with in all its depravity when depravity defined it, and for Croatia it is so defined through depravity of the communist mindset. Ina Vukic

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!

Australian Croatian Voters Have Lustrated From Their Lives Croatian Communists and Former Communists!

Candidates for Croatian General Elections
4th and 5th July 2020 on “Independent List Zeljko Glasnovic
From left front row! Marko Juric, Zeljko Glasnovic, Ina Vukic, Mate Knezovic Back row from left: Milena Matic, Tomislav Sunic, Marina Sunić-Zakman, Elizabeta Mađarevi, Srecko Telar Candidates not on photo: Marko Perkovic, Martina Ćurić, Franjo Miroslav Perkovic,
Marina Sabljic, Kresimir Tabak,

 

Only about 18 months ago I wrote that lustration in Croatia starts in Australia. Yesterday’s General Elections for Croatian Parliament results have proved that is the case.

Knowing in advance that candidates running for Croatian Parliament from the diaspora have no chance of getting in due to discrimination built into the Electoral law I am pleased to say that an overwhelming victory by our Independent list Zeljko Glasnovic in every polling booth in Australia where I live was achieved, with the highest percentage of votes being in Sydney (states of NSW and Queensland) 77% and Melbourne (States of Victoria and South Australia) 63% Canberra 51%…

The sadly realistic point about running as a candidate at elections for the Croatian Parliament from the Croatian diaspora has never been about possibility of winning because winning, due to brutal discrimination within the Electoral legislation, which makes winning a parliamentary seat an impossible outcome! The point about running as a candidate at elections for the Croatian Parliament from the Croatian diaspora is about fighting for justice and fighting against discrimination and collecting evidence of that abominable discrimination against people (the Diaspora) who were crucial in the fight for independence from communist Yugoslavia. Croatian HDZ and SDP governments since year 2000 have ensured that they place the Croatian diaspora within the same Electorate (XI) as Bosnia and Herzegovina and that they reduce the number of seats from 12 to 3! Furthermore, more than 90% of Croatian eligible voters in the diaspora physically cannot reach a polling booth due to distance and prohibitive personal costs for travel to the booth. Bosnia and Herzegovina has thousands upon thousands more voters who are able to access polling places on election day than the Diaspora. In the Diaspora in 2010 the Croatian government has done away with accessible voting booths that used to exist within Croatian clubs etc in the diaspora and limited the polling booths to Croatian Consulates and Embassies!

Talk about passive aggression against own people! This is a painful example!

This is purposeful discrimination against citizens by a government and it cannot be ignored nor unattended. This is a purposeful action of former communists and their followers who want corruption, nepotism and citizen-unfriendly laws to continue, to thrive just as they did in former communist Yugoslavia. I have felt it on my own back as a candidate from Australia but Australian Croats have done me proud, have done retired General Zeljko Glasnovic proud. Overwhelming majority of voters in Australia – true fighters for democracy and freedom and lasting well-being of all Croats. Even if official Croatia has failed miserably at lustration, the General Elections’ results in Australia (and I am quite confident it will be the same for rest of the Croatian diaspora, e.g. USA, Canada, South America…) overwhelmingly demonstrate that they themselves have managed to implement lustration in their local communities. They have managed to decimate HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union and SDP/Social Democratic Party to smithereens!

This should be a glorious wake-up call for democracy-loving Croatians of today whose voices have been silenced by discrimination and lies!

My personal gratitude to all Croatians in Australia who have been able to reach a polling booth and who voted, in droves, voted for the Independent list Zeljko Glasnovic on which list I myself stood as a candidate! The fight for truth and justice continues! Ina Vukic

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