Serbian Minister’s “Civil War” Statement Causes Protests

By 2 October 2017

Serbian Defence Minister Vulin is known for his provocative statements.

Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin commented on Sunday in Šibenik on relations with Croatia. He said that his government did not want to interfere with internal Croatian issues, but that they also could not allow Croatian internal affairs to have an impact on Serbia. He added that he expected from Milorad Pupovac, the Serb national minority member of Croatian Parliament, to defend the rights of Serbs in Croatia, and also used the opportunity to respond to the criticism about the recent unveiling of a monument to Milan Tepić, a Serbian officer who tried to blow up a Croatian town during the 1990s war in Croatia, reports Večernji List on October 2, 2017.

“In every civil war, there are as many truths as there are sides. It is not possible for me to convince you that the Serbian truth is the real truth, or that Croatian truth is the real truth. We will never be able to agree about that. For example, the Operation Storm will for us always be the most tragic day, while for many in Croatia it will be a great and beautiful day. What we should be saying and doing is to see what we can do for people to live a better life,” said Vulin, who was in Šibenik to attend the inauguration of the newly-elected Dalmatian bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krstičević reacted to Vulin’s statement. “At first, I did not want to comment on the so-called 'civil war' claims. But, as the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence, and also as a general of the victorious Croatian Army, I want to say to everyone: There are not two truths, but only one. Croatia did not take part in any ‘civil war,’ but in a just Homeland War against a brutal Greater Serbian aggression. The Croatian soldier fought within the borders of Croatia for peace and freedom, and in that imposed war we have defended ourselves and defeated the enemy. Today, we are focused on the future, on strengthening the Croatian Army's abilities and on the development of the homeland security system, in order not ever to find ourselves in the situation like we were in the early 1990s,” said Krstičević.

MOST leader Božo Petrov asked on Monday why Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was silent about the Greater Serbian views about the civil war in Croatia. “On Sunday, we again had the opportunity to witness Greater Serbian verbal attacks in a statement made by Serbian Defence Minister Vulin. On behalf of MOST, I strongly condemn the statements which are trying to distort the historical and legal facts about the war in the 1990s, which was the result of the Greater Serbian politics of the then Serbia,” wrote Petrov.

“Bearing in mind that these statements were given by a minister in the Serbian government, it should be concluded that this is the official policy of the Republic of Serbia, that the Croatia’s government must condemn it in the sharpest possible terms,” Petrov continued.