Wednesday, 26 June 2019

President Holds Reception on Statehood Day

ZAGREB, June 26, 2019 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on Tuesday evening held a reception on the occasion of Statehood Day, celebrated on 25 June throughout the country, and on that occasion, the head of state underscored that she firmly believed in the future of Croatia which "has great people, and the nation with many virtues which are demonstrated when it is most essential and necessary."

"Long live our only and eternal Homeland Croatia!" she said and then specified some of tasks which should be done to ensure the further development of the country.

The president says that the demographic issue is the issue of all issues, which cannot be resolved by one generation but that it requires systematic, comprehensive and persistent action of all social stakeholders from the politics, economic life, culture and religious communities.

"I do not doubt that we will resolve that issue. We have already achieved many epochal successes in a high number of fields," the president said.

In reference to 25 June 1991 when the Croatian parliament adopted the constitutional decision and declaration on Croatia's independence and sovereignty, the president said that "the adoption of the Constitutional Decision on the Sovereignty and Independence of the Republic of Croatia and the Declaration on the Proclamation of the Sovereign and Independent Republic of Croatia not only marked the ultimate State-legal severing of ties with the republics of the former State (Yugoslavia), but also Croatia’s departure from its centuries-old attachment to complex State communities."

"At last, the name of the Croatian State is forever inscribed on the political map of the world," she emphasises.

Grabar-Kitarović says that Croatia remembers, with utmost respect, its first president Franjo Tuđman who decisively led the Croatian people in the creation of an independent state in complex internal and international circumstances.

Despite the fact that democratically elected authorities in Croatia provided constitutional guarantees for the exercise of human and minority rights, Croatia was exposed to the Great Serbian aggression, she said recalling that the country was defended by the courage of Croatian defenders and the prudent statesmanship of President Tudjman.

Simultaneously, we assisted in the defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina in which the Croats are the constituent people, she added

Grabar-Kitarović also says that Croatia's symbols, flag, anthem and other insignia are displayed in centres of international institutions and at sports events, nevertheless, having one's own state is not only pride but also obligation, she added.

In this context she called for unity and for making use of Croatia's potential and advantages.

She also recalled that Croatia is a member of the United Nations, the European Union and NATO, which paves the way for other opportunities such as the project of the Three Seas Initiative.

In attendance were Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and cabinet ministers, representatives of the judicial authorities, high-ranking military officers, and prominent figures from the public life as well as religious dignitaries.

More news about Croatian history can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Officials Send Messages for Statehood Day

ZAGREB, June 25, 2019 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković underscored in his congratulatory note on the occasion of Croatia's Statehood Day that 25 June 1991 will be permanently inscribed in the nation's history as the day when the Croatian Sabor, as the Croatian people's legitimate representative legislature that has preserved Croatian sovereignty for centuries, unanimously adopted two decisions essential for Croatia's present-day sovereignty and independence.

On 25 June, Croatia observes Statehood Day in memory of the parliament's decisions to adopt the Constitutional Decision on the Sovereignty and Independence of Croatia and the declaration proclaiming the country's sovereignty and independence.

The public holiday commemorates 25 June 1991 when the Croatian Parliament adopted a historic resolution initiating the process of disassociation from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia based on the results of a referendum held on 19 May 1991.

Jandroković said in the message, released on Monday that the process of international recognition of Croatia and the country's disassociation from the Yugoslav federation were preceded by the referendum at which the large majority of the Croatian people opted for building their future in "a free, sovereign, independent, democratic and pluralistic Croatia."

He recalled that unfortunately many Croatian people gave their lives for that cause and for the defence of the homeland against the Great Serbia aggression.

"We must always be grateful for the unselfish sacrifices of our soldiers and their families."

"We must never forget that the Homeland War is the foundation of present-day Croatia in which we live, enjoying peace and freedom and whose values are bequeathed to us forever," says Jandroković.

Croatia is celebrating its birthday as a democracy whose values are peace, freedom, pluralism, the rule of law, the respect for human dignity and human rights, equality and inclusion.

It is the permanent duty of all of us to make those values stronger, he said pointing out the role of the parliament and its contribution to creating a positive political climate conducive to the further progress of the Croatian nation and society.

"In a world faced with rapid changes and numerous challenges, the Croatian Parliament and its deputies are supposed to resolutely take responsibility and address many demands and needs of Croatian citizens, primarily through the adoption of legislative frameworks as a guarantee for the implementation of responsible, true, viable and lasting policies for the future development of Croatia."

He also urged for further strengthening the stability of institutions, the safety and security of citizens, economic growth, legal certainty, social sensitivity, justice and solidarity as well as demographic revival, paving the way for enhancing living standards.

We can build our common future only by our joint and concerted action and mutual respect as well as true patriotism and strong self-confidence, he added.

Until 2001 Statehood Day was observed on 30 May to commemorate the inauguration of the first multi-party Croatian Parliament in 1990. Today 30 May is observed as Croatian Parliament Day.

Statehood Day might again be celebrated on 30 May as of next year, as announced by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who said that that date was more popular among citizens.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Monday extended his congratulatory message on the occasion of Statehood Day underscoring that 25 June 1991 is one of the most important events in the recent history when the national parliament declared Croatia's independence and sovereignty.

We particularly thank and pay tribute to Croatian soldiers, notably those who gave their lives for the defence of the homeland, thus making it possible for us to live in a free and democratic Croatia, he said in a press release issued by the government.

This national holiday is also an opportunity for us to remember the visionary statesmanship of the first Croatian President, Franjo Tuđman, and to remember all who have contributed to efforts that Croatia's dream of independence comes true, the premier says.

Croatia is nowadays a modern and well-functioning state and a reliable and committed member of the European Union and NATO, and a state that is achieving results in many fields of the social and political life. Nevertheless, many goals are ahead of us which we strive to accomplish so as to make our homeland better and more developed, Plenković says.

In the recent period, in parallel to ensuring political stability, the government has been continuously implementing reforms and making the national economy stronger. The unity we demonstrated 28 years ago gives us an incentive to continue creating together conditions for a better and more prosperous life for all Croatians, reads the message.

"We are committed to building a society marked by developed democracy. freedom, equality and solidarity as well as human rights and social responsibility," the premier said.

More news about Croatia’s history can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Croatia to Celebrate Statehood Day on Tuesday

ZAGREB, June 24, 2019 - Croatia celebrates Statehood Day on Tuesday, the 28th anniversary since declaring independence from Yugoslavia.

On this occasion, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović will hold a formal reception in her office, and the Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Josip Bozanić, will celebrate the Holy Mass for the Homeland in St Mark's Church.

Statehood Day commemorates 25 June 1991 when the Croatian Parliament adopted a historic resolution initiating the process of disassociation from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia based on the results of a referendum held on 19 May 1991.

Until 2001 Statehood Day was observed on 30 May to commemorate the inauguration of the first multi-party Croatian Parliament in 1990. Today 30 May is observed as Croatian Parliament Day.

Statehood Day might again be celebrated on 30 May as of next year, as announced by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who said that that date was more popular among the citizens.

The Declaration of Independence was announced by the first President of Croatia, Franjo Tuđman, in an address broadcast by radio and television on 25 June 1991.

"It is with undisguised satisfaction and pride that we are notifying all republics and federal bodies of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the whole world about the sovereign will of the Croatian people and all citizens of the Republic to declare the Republic of Croatia an independent and sovereign state on this day, and we are inviting the governments and parliaments of all states to accept and recognise the free decision of the Croatian people, an act of freedom whereby one more nation wants to become a full member of the international community of the free world," Tudjman said then.

Through the mediation of the international community, the entry into force of the constitutional decision of 25 June 1991 was delayed for three months to facilitate disassociation negotiations among the former Yugoslav republics.

At that time, namely since August 1990, Croatia was subjected to military aggression by Serb extremists and the Yugoslav People's Army. A quarter of its territory was under occupation, and the Croatian people rose in defence of their homeland. The country suffered extensive destruction and heavy casualties during the war.

Most of the occupied territories were liberated in 1995 in combined military and police operations known as Storm and Flash, and the remaining territory under Serb occupation, Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srijem, was peacefully reintegrated in 1998.

Croatia joined NATO on 1 April 2009 and the European Union on 1 July 2013.

More news about Croatian history can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Officials Mark Tuđman Birthday Anniversary

ZAGREB, May 14, 2019 - Speaking at a commemoration of the 97th birth anniversary of Croatia's first president, Franjo Tuđman, Prime Minister and HDZ leader Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday that as time passed by, the greatness of Tuđman's achievements and his wise statesmanly decisions seemed to gain in importance while respect for him grew clearer and more widespread.

The commemoration took place in Veliko Trgovišće, Tuđman's place of birth northwest of Zagreb, and the PM was accompanied by MP Miroslav Tuđman, Veterans Minister Tomo Medved, senior HDZ official Vladimir Šeks, and the HDZ candidates for the European Parliament, Dubravka Šuica, Tomislav Sokol and Nikolina Brnjac.

Plenković recalled that this year Croatia marked the 20th anniversary of Tudjman's death as well as the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the HDZ, whose leader Tudjman had been.

"The HDZ is the biggest and strongest Croatian political party which, owing to Tudjman's leadership, led Croatia towards freedom, independence and international recognition, as well as towards the strengthening of democracy and market economy, which eventually paved the way to the EU and NATO membership," said Plenković.

"It was owing to his policy, leadership, vision and the fact that he was forward-looking that a modern, free Croatian state was established. As times goes by, I believe that the greatness of his achievements and the way he dealt with problems, with statesmanly wisdom, make everything greater and that respect for him grows clearer and more widespread," said Plenković.

Asked by reporters about a proposal by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović to introduce a new state order, the Grand Order of Franjo Tuđman, Plenković said that consultations were under way to amend the relevant law. "I believe that 20 years after Tuđman's death that initiative is very good. I agree with it and think that we will reach a consensus," he said.

The mayor of Zagreb, Milan Bandić, and a delegation of the City of Zagreb on Tuesday laid a wreath and lit candles at Tudjman's grave at Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery, with Bandić saying that without Croatian defenders and Tudjman and his philosophy of reconciliation, there would be no free and democratic Croatia today.

"If it hadn't been for Croatian antifascism in World War II, Croatian antifascism in the Homeland War, and the first Croatian president and his philosophy of Croatian reconciliation, we would not have a free and democratic Croatia today," Bandić said.

More news about Franjo Tuđman can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Immortal Partisan Detachment March Held in Zagreb

ZAGREB, May 9, 2019 - About a hundred people participated in the Immortal Partisan Detachment march that was held for the second consecutive year in Zagreb on Wednesday to mark Liberation of Zagreb Day, Victory Over Fascism Day and Europe Day.

Speaking on behalf of the organisers, the head of the Alliance of Antifascist Fighters and Antifascists (SABA), Franjo Habulin, said that the events being commemorated on Wednesday and Thursday were interrelated. "Had there been no victory over fascism, there would have been no Europe Day," he said.

He recalled that on 8 May 1945 Partisan units of the Yugoslav army had liberated Zagreb, ending the four-year rule of the Nazi-allied Ustasha regime.

"Today there are those who say that with the entry of the Partisans into Zagreb, Zagreb was occupied by the Yugoslav army. They say that Croatian citizens were not allowed to speak Croatian and that we were not allowed to play the Croatian anthem. That is a blatant lie!" Habulin said.

He said that only Ustasha sympathisers could say that Zagreb had been occupied on 8 May, adding that historical revisionists were deceiving the citizens with their lies, especially young people.

The organisers said that a similar initiative, called the Immortal Regiment, had first been launched in the Russian city of Tomsk on 9 May 2012 and has since spread to 91 countries across the globe.

The Zagreb march was attended by Russian Ambassador Anvar Azimov, who said he was proud that Victory Day was celebrated together. "Today's event has important political significance. It is a remembrance day for those to whom we owe a debt, and our debt is to remember the soldiers of the countries that opposed fascism and liberated Europe," the ambassador told those gathered.

Azimov said that the Yugoslav Partisans had the support of the Red Army, adding that over 10,000 Soviet soldiers had been killed on Croatian soil and 28 million in the world.

He, too, said that recent years had seen falsification of history. "The role of the Partisans and the Soviet Union in the victory is being downplayed, while at the same time there is a trend towards guerrillaisation of fascism," the Russian ambassador said.

More news about the Second World War in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Croatia Marks 24th Anniversary of Operation Flash

ZAGREB, May 1, 2019 - Croatia is marking the 24th anniversary of a combined military and police offensive, known as Operation Flash, which ended nearly four years of Serb occupation of the Western Slavonia region.

The operation was launched on May 1 and ended on May 3, 1995. During less than 32 hours Croatian troops and police regained control of 500 square kilometres of land, including the main west-east motorway and the railway line leading to Eastern Slavonia.

About 7,200 troops and police officers took part in the liberation of Western Slavonia, of whom 42 were killed and 162 wounded. It was the first time during the 1991-1995 Homeland War that the Croatian Air Force had used airstrikes on a larger scale, and the enemy was further surprised by tanks that were brought in by rail and deployed in combat.

Okučani is located about 130 kilometres southeast of Zagreb. During the war it was the centre of the Serb rebellion and a staging area for terrorist attacks in Western Slavonia.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković visited Okučani on Tuesday on the eve of the 24th anniversary of Operation Flash. Plenković, accompanied by Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Gabrijela Žalac and Minister of Veterans' Affairs Tomo Medved, laid a wreath and lit candles in tribute to 51 Croatian soldiers killed in the operation.

After the ceremony, he met with the mayors of Western Slavonia towns and municipalities, and Minister Žalac presented them with agreements aimed at promoting the development of social, economic and municipal infrastructure and entrepreneurship.

Top Croatian state officials attended a ceremony in Okučani on Wednesday. The ceremony in Okucani was attended by President and Armed Forces Supreme Commander Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, Interior Minister Dražen Božinović, Veterans Minister Tomo Medved and other top officials.

More news about Homeland War can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Red History Museum Opens in Dubrovnik

ZAGREB, April 20, 2019 - After months of preparations, the Red History Museum in the southern Adriatic town of Dubrovnik opened its doors on Saturday.

Located in the Carbon Graphite Products Factory - TUP premises in Gruž, the museum brings some new content about the origins of the socialist idea and how it spread around the globe and to the area of today’s Croatia.

The idea was to create a time capsule for visitors, however, the museum is not only an exhibition space. There will also be movie screenings and lectures to help visitors learn about different versions of Communism.

More news about Croatia during the times of Yugoslavia can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 15 April 2019

GLAS and HSS Support Criticism of Government over Revisionism

ZAGREB, April 15, 2019 - GLAS president Anka Mrak Taritaš said on Sunday "it's necessary to deal with the past so that we can have a future," while Croatian Peasants Party leader Krešo Beljak called out the government, saying it "tolerates flirting with fascism."

Both opposition officials supported Ognjen Kraus, president of the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities in Croatia, who said on Friday that historical revisionism in Croatia was continuing and that, because of the inaction of state institutions, the extreme right was becoming increasingly aggressive, calling on the government to stop that and respect Croatian laws.

Speaking in Rijeka, Mrak Taritaš said "the prime minister wants to find favour with everyone" and that it was "unacceptable" to have two commemorations for the victims of the WWII Jasenovac concentration camp. There will be two commemorations as long as the government doesn't ban the Ustasha salute "For the homeland ready," she added.

She said President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović visited the Jasenovac Memorial Site alone on Saturday "because she evidently doesn't want to go with either side because she wants the votes of both."

Beljak said that Kraus's appeal to Prime Minister Andrej Plenković "to respect Croatian laws in the way he will respect Austrian laws" was frightening and that "for this to pass without consequences is a disgrace for the Croatian prime minister."

Beljak said today's state commemoration for the Jasenovac victims was "ridiculous when open flirting with fascism is tolerated more and more every day." The government is doing nothing and it's sad that minorities, people who were killed in WWII, have to ask the government to respect Croatian laws, he added.

He said the constitution cited antifascism and that "allowing such rampant revisionism of WWII, the Ustasha etc shows what kind of people are at the helm of the state."

Mrak Taritaš and Beljak were in Rijeka to present their Amsterdam Coalition's platform for the European Parliament elections, which highlights tolerance, freedom, equality, EU enlargement and Croatia's joining the euro area.

Commenting on the questioning of parliament deputy speaker and HDZ vice president Milijan Brkić in connection with the fake text messages case, Beljak said that "in any normal state, such a party would be banned and everyone participating in such scandals would be eliminated from any public activity."

Mrak Taritaš said it was unacceptable that the ruling party "is using state institutions to settle scores within its ranks." Plenković should run the country and not settle scores with opponents in his ranks via institutions, she added.

More news about historical revisionism can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Knights Templar Gather in Zagreb

Over the weekend, Zagreb hosted the 9th International Knights Templar Conference that brought together members of the Templar groups from all over Europe. "The Templars’ activity has always been mysterious; however, we are not a secret society, but a fraternity which studies medieval history,” said Vinko Lisec, the head of the Croatian Order of Knights Templar that was founded in 2006 at the Trakošćan Castle, reports Večernji List on April 10, 2019.

It is a secular Christian ecumenical organisation that brings together dozens of knights from all over the country, but also from the Croatian diaspora, and is entirely apolitical. “New members come when they hear their inner calling. The Grand Council considers their application. If the conditions are fulfilled, the candidate gets a mentor, trains for a year and then gives an honourable knight's oath with a hand placed on the Bible,” explains Lisec. With the oath, they confirm their affiliation to Christianity and their allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church and the Templar tradition.

“There are quasi-Templar associations that talk about the Holy Grail and so on, but our work is based solely on historical documents, and in its centre is ecumenism,” said Lisec, who became a knight in 2006 and was named the Templar commander a year later. He added that there are several different factions of Templars in the world, and the goal of their association is to bring various groups together. It is also one of the goals of the international conference that has been organised in Zagreb for the last four years. This year, it brought together knights from Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Slovenia and, for the first time, Serbia.

“We discussed the global Templar movement, the possibilities of rapprochement, possible problems, and we also exchanged experiences,” Lisec pointed out. This year, for the first time, the Croatian Order of Knights Templar organised an exhibition on the rich history of Templars in Croatia.

The first Templars in Croatia came from France and Italy after they received a papal order in the 12th century, and their task was to secure pilgrimage paths to the Holy Land. “Since they defended the secular authorities, they received estates where they built fortresses and churches. They were the intellectuals of their time,” said Lisec, adding that the Templar heritage can be found in almost all of Croatia: in the coastal areas, such as Senj, Šibenik, Split and Klis, but also in inland Croatia, in the region of Koprivnica, Psunj and Požega.

In Zagreb, they had their headquarters at Nova Ves, where the modern-day Knights Templar order is also located. “The Templars have returned to Nova Ves after seven centuries," concluded Lisec, adding that they plan to set up a memorial plaque in Nova Ves. It would be an excellent tourist attraction to link Nova Ves with its medieval history. They hope to cooperate with the ministries of culture and tourism on this project since the Templar heritage has a strong tourist potential.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Stela Lechpammer).

More history news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Prince Eugene of Savoy's Castle in Croatia to Be Reconstructed

ZAGREB, April 6. 2019 - Agreements on partnership in the implementation of the renovation of Prince Eugene of Savoy's castle in the eastern town of Bilje was signed in the city of Osijek on Friday, setting the conditions for the renovation of this historical building.

The documents were signed by the property's co-owners, Osijek-Baranja County Prefect Ivan Anušić and the Bilje Mayor Željko Cickaj.

The preparation of the project documentation will cost some 2.2. million kuna, and 1.8 million kuna of that amount is to be covered by European Union funds. The preparation of the documentation and public procurement procedures are to take two years.

The project is supposed to usher in a new cultural and tourist route called "The Route of Prince Eugene of Savoy", local authorities reported.

County authorities are collecting funds for the reconstruction of two more castles in the town of Našice.

The projects for the reconstruction of the castles are estimated to cost 75 million kuna. After the completion of its refurbishment, the Bilje castle will offer programmes in connection with hunting and wine tasting tours.

Prince Eugene of Savoy, who was born in 1663 and died in 1736, was a general of the Imperial Army and statesman of the Holy Roman Empire and the Archduchy of Austria.

The Bilje castle was constructed in the 17th century at his request in the vicinity of the Kopački Rit Nature Park.

The municipality of Bilje is a few kilometres north of the biggest eastern Croatian city of Osijek.

More news about Slavonia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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