Zagreb City Assembly Renames Marshal Tito Square

By 1 September 2017

The proposal was supported by 29 assembly members, with 20 voting against and one abstention.

At a marathon session which started on Thursday morning and lasted far into the night on Friday, the members of the Zagreb City Assembly passed the decision by a majority of votes to rename Marshal Tito Square to the Republic of Croatia Square. The voting was preceded by a long and heated debate in which the representatives of the Assembly majority defended the proposal by saying that Tito, although an anti-fascist, was also a dictator. Members of the opposition defended Tito by saying he was the leader of the antifascist movement in Croatia and a great world statesman of his times, reports Index.hr on September 1, 2017.

One of the leading proponents of the initiative, former Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegović, said that this was a truly historic moment, which will be recognised by future generations as well, which will be free of Tito-idolatry. “I am sure this is the last thing which you had to say in this honourable house in defence of the Yugoslav communist dictator named Tito. I am certain that there will never again be a majority in this assembly which would support Tito,” he said, adding that the decision was “a small and late satisfaction for all the victims of wartime and post-war Yugoslav communist terror.”

The decision was also supported by Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, a former member of the Communist Party. “Nobody here wants to undermine the importance of Marshal Tito from 1941 to 1945. We know where Croatia was, where Tito was, how the Second World War ended,” said Bandić. He urged the government to remove all the symbols which celebrate totalitarian regimes, no matter which and where they were.

On behalf of SDP, HSS and Forward Croatia party, Rajko Ostojić (SDP) said that “the goal is to hide the economic situation, to put a mask on the biggest problems we are witnessing.” “There is a whole series of challenges, but we are coming back to the Ustashas and Partisans issue. Who is the next Croat from whom Hasanbegović will take away a street or a square,” Ostojić asked. He “congratulated” him on the full implementation of his election manifesto.

On behalf of HDZ, Ivan Ćelić said that, although Tito was the leader of the antifascist movement and had merits because he brought Croatia to the winning side in the Second World War, after the war he was responsible for the communist regime and all the crimes committed by that regime. He stated that Tito's regime was responsible for the deaths of more than 570,000 people, which is why, he said, Tito belonged to a list of the greatest criminals of the 20th century.

Mato Kapović (Workers Front) said that the number of 570,000 victims was not right, since “the source of this information is the British junk media.”

Petar Paradžik, president of the District Council of Donji Grad, to which the square belongs territorially, pleaded against the renaming. The reason he was opposed to change was because he knows who and why launched the initiative. “You want to make us celebrate the ‘For Homeland Ready’ greeting, to celebrate the Ustashas and the Independent State of Croatia. I have a problem with that,” he said.

Anka Mrak Taritaš, a former member of HNS and Bandić’s opponent at recent mayoral elections, warned that renaming will not solve any problems, but will create new ones.

“We will not compete with which names will be returned. If you want divisions, you will have divisions. This majority cannot survive for long,” said Rada Borić (New Left).

Independent Marko Torjanac argued that the renaming of Marshal Tito Square was not a fight against totalitarianism, but against anti-fascism.

During the vote, the decision was supported by assembly members from Milan Bandić’s party, HDZ, Independent for Croatia party, and several assembly members elected on other lists. The proposal was supported by 29 assembly members, with 20 voting against and one abstention.

Translated from Index.hr.