MPs Comment on Russian Criticism of Prime Minister Plenković

By 23 November 2016

Yesterday’s strong reaction from Moscow to Plenković’s statements about Ukraine was a topic in Parliament today.

After Russia yesterday reacted strongly to recent statements made by Croatian Prime Minister Plenković with regards to Ukraine, members of Croatian Parliament commented on Croatian-Russian relations, reports N1 on November 23, 2016.

Ivan Pernar (Živi Zid) complained not about Plenković’s position, but about his priorities, adding that the Prime Minister should first deal with his own country, and not Ukraine. Pernar said that the response of the Russian Federation missed the target. “If Russia wanted to criticize something, it should have first criticized the economic situation in Croatia. They should have told him that there are a lot of poor people in Croatia who eat at soup kitchens and are leaving the country. They needed to say to him that, in order to ingratiate himself with the European Union, he was dealing with problems in Ukraine, which are beyond his reach.”

“It is not that I think that the Prime Minister should not deal with such problems, but the issue is that the problems in our country are not being solved, while he travels around the world and offers them his solutions”, said Pernar. “My problem are not his views, but his priorities.”

“If the government does not believe that it is in its interest to have an ambassador in Russia, then that is sad, but that is a consequence of politics in which Croatia is not the one making any decisions. I am afraid that someone told us that we must withdraw our ambassador”, concluded Pernar, alluding to the fact that Croatia has not had an ambassador in Moscow since 2014.

Former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Vesna Pusić (HNS) also commented on the issue. “Of course, it is in Croatia's interest to try, given our size and position, to have normal relations with all major powers. I think that it is obvious that their political conflict is taking place in the territory of Southeast Europe. It is a general problem that we have, which is how to develop relationship with the Russian Federation.”

“The very idea of peaceful reintegration of territory is not anything blasphemous. We have interest to have good relations with Russia, and we need to send someone strong as an ambassador to Moscow. With such a gesture, we would begin to repair our relations. I do not think that we should adapt our opinions to other countries, but with such a move we would improve our position”, concluded Pusić.

Late on Wednesday afternoon, Prime Minister Plenković reacted to Russian criticism.