Saturday, 10 July 2021

Total Croatia in Ukrainian: Word of Support by Former Ukrainian Diplomat and Writer Jurij Lisenko

July 12, 2021 - As the Total Croatia site offers translations on all things Croatian in various languages, former diplomat and a famous Ukrainian writer Jurij Lisenko gave his opinion on the Ukrainian translations of the articles. Check out the video, acquired by Ivor Kruljac and edited by Jose Alfonso Cussianovich.

The tourist season is underway, and the goal is to get tourists from all over the world while providing safety in challenging times of corona – both for locals and visitors. As TCN reported, despite the tourist season in 2021 already being 58% better than that of 2020, it also seems that even with predicted Croatian tourism growth for this year, 2019 levels are very far.

With these predictions, Croatian tourists boards should do as much as possible in informing and promoting Croatia to have the best possible outcome. But given that doesn't always work out for the best, TCN is here to help.

Total Croatia: TCN's Multilingual brother

Well, more precisely, not TCN but rather TC or Total Croatia, if you will, the sister site that explains Croatia in detail. TC offers you in-depth articles to explain Croatia from head to toe: What you need to know about Croatia, how to come and travel around the country, detailed views on Croatian destinations, and info on everything you can see and do during your stay.

In addition, articles are translated to various European and world languages!

Word of support from an established Ukrainian writer

One of these languages is Ukrainian and in an effort to see how we did, we reached out to a Ukrainian writer Jurij Lisenko.

„Regarding the text itself, it is really well written. It contains very significant specific business information on various aspects, such as finding apartments or finding jobs for foreigners. At the same time, it is written lively, objective, bit ironic, but with great love for Croatia“, said Lisenko commenting on the Ukrainian translation for the article „Living In Croatia“.  

Check out the video to see his verdict for yourselves. 

Jurij Lisenko sends a special greeting to Total Croatia News and Total Croatia from Ukraine.

Famous Ukrainian writer helping Croatian writers

In a pool of quality Ukrainian writers, Jurij Lisenko is particularly interesting, not just for his excellent writing, but also as he was a former diplomatic advisor at Ukrainian Embassy in Zagreb.

As Akademija Art wrote, Jurij Lisenko was born on May 9, 1958 in Kyiv. Educated in Slavic languages, he lectured the Ukrainian language as well Serbian-Croatian in the Journalist faculty in Kyiv from 1980 to 1997. He also published over 20 scientific papers on philology and is a known poet publishing under the name of Jurko Pozajak. In 1998 he moved to diplomacy and worked for the Ukrainian Embassy in two terms (1998-2002 and 2013-2017), and also in Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia, from 2004 to 2008. He was also a speechwriter for Ukrainian president Viktor Juščenko and continued to work for Ukrainian's Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2017.  

Lisenko captured the attention of the Croatian public when along with his daughter Daria, he made new Croatian words, and the two co-authored a book of poetry for kids „Ide Svašta!“ (Everything coming).

As Večernji List reported back in 2016, their book was published back in 2002, and an expanded edition was printed in 2014.

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Jurij Lisenko reading his poetry at the exhibition opening of Ukrainian folklore "Petrikivski Rospis" in Samobor screenshot / Gradska knjižnica Samobor 

Apart from that, the Lisenko family was very active and beloved on the Croatian poetry scene, and apart from presenting Ukrainian culture in Croatia, Jurij also introduced Croatian writers to Ukrainians.  

The best instance of that is the Ukrainian translation of Croatian slam poet and writer Žarko Jovanovski and his short story collection „Tales of Lenin and Stalin“.

In addition, the good cooperation of the Ukrainian and Croatian writers is evident in an international literary magazine, Alternator, published by Sisak's Association For Alternative Culture, where Lisenko is a member of the editorial staff.

And the relevance of Lisenko as a partner for promoting Croatian writers in Ukraine was perhaps best described by the head of Edicije Božičević publishing house, Josip Ivanović.

„For a number of years, I knew a poet, diplomat, and genius Jurij Lisenko who I deeply respect. He is known in Ukraine more or less as an Avant Gard poet. And he published his book a long time ago. We walked around Lviv, and when there is a Lviv Book Fair, there are quite a lot of people and the atmosphere is as on a festival. Students approached him asking him to sign a book that he, as a poet, published 20 or 30 years ago. I never saw anything like that in Zagreb“, recalled Ivanović for Podcast Sekstant.

This shows not only that Ukrainians in general respect literature more than Croatians, but it is evident Lisenko is quite the rock star on the scene.

„I was very happy to see on Total Croatia a text on possibilities of foreigners in Croatia and that it was translated to 16 or 15 languages, including Ukrainian. I was very pleased with that. This means that connections between Ukraine and Croatia are significantly stronger. Indeed, in the last 10-15 years, Croatia became a favorite holiday spot for Ukrainians“, commented Lisenko.

Ukraine and Croatia – similar and friendly

With some differences between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavian communist practices, both Croatia and Ukraine share the same history of denied independence under a multi-national regime.

Đuro vidmarović, Croatian writer and former diplomat, told Laudato TV how the first Croatian president Franjo Tuđman appointed him as a Croatian Ambassador to Ukraine and how he was afraid as he wasn't sure what will await him there. But in the end, Ukraine for Vidmarović became a great topic and a happy period of his life. đuro_vidmarović.jpg

Former Croatian ambassador in Ukraine and writer Đuro Vidmarović, screenshot / LaudatoTV

„After I very quickly learned Ukrainian, a big area of Ukrainian culture and heritage opened up to me“, said Vidmarović adding that he met a lot of good colleagues there, particularly writers. As it was his mission to present Croatia, he also learned a lot and remained fascinated with the country of his mission.

„Ukraine is big, huge, contradictory, magical, unique, with a culture that makes it impossible for someone to stay indifferent. You come to Kyiv, and you see the Saint Sophia Cathedral from the 12th century with beautiful frescoes and architecture. My god, someone had to build it, had a sense for it. It was a civilization stronger from the majority of European countries at the time“, said Vidmarović for Laudato TV mesmerized with Ukraine he researches even to this day.  

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Breath-taking view of Kyiv © Pixabay

As Lisenko acknowledged, Croatia is also very famous in Ukraine too.

„Ukrainians discovered Croatia for themselves. Croatia is a beautiful country. You know that for yourselves. But, for Ukrainians, it is particularly pleasant in Croatia that they don't feel like strangers. But, for Ukrainians is a particular joy that languages are similar and Ukrainians, after several days, start to orient themselves in the language, to understand a bit, and can communicate with Croatians in cafes, restaurants, shops, streets, anywhere“, explained Lisenko for TCN.

He added that a lot of Ukrainians also come to Croatia searching for a job. While this may not be the best thing from the perspective of the Ukrainian economy (same as Croatians leaving Croatia isn't great for Croatian economic interests), Lisenko recognizes that the trend „also brings our two nations close“.

 Discover Croatia in your native language

Apart from the article Lisenko commented on, Життя в Хорватії 2021: Витрати, дозволи, стиль життя та зустрічі з людьми, Ukrainians can also follow latest reports on COVID-19 in Croatia as well as 10 речей, які роблять Хорватію найкращою країною (or for English audience, 10 Things Croatia Does Better than Anywhere Else).

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View of Total Croatia site and languages

So far, only these three articles are available in Ukrainian, but no doubt the future will bring more to make Croatia more accessible to beloved Ukrainian visitors.

Currently, TC counts 15 languages with the most translated content from English: Croatian, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Polish, Chinese (both traditional „zh-Hant“ and simplified "zh-Hans"), Slovenian, Czech, Romanian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Norwegian (Bokmål), and Russian.

If you want to learn more about diplomatic relations of Croatia, and everything regarding diplomacy and Croatia, check out TCN's series "Friends of Croatia" by Ivor Kruljac.

For more about Ukraine in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Friends of Croatia: Basic Terms of Diplomacy

April 29, 2021 - The second article in the series "Friends of Croatia" covering all things diplomatic, looks into an overview of the basic terms of diplomacy both for a more accessible following of the series,as well as for safer travel and for being more informed in general.

When exploring Croatian diplomatic relations, terms such as diplomats, embassies, ambassadors, and consulates are the keywords of the topic. Diplomacy is important of course for countries to communicate, express and arrange mutual cooperation, push their respective interests, and offer help to their citizens in another country. But, what is for what and who is for who?

The embassy is for everything, the consuls are for more minor details

As Postoffice.uk points out, to a fellow traveller these questions may not be of too much importance, but having a bit of trivia knowledge never hurts.

''An embassy is the base for a country’s diplomatic mission abroad – meaning all of the political, cultural and social relationships between the two countries. There will only be one embassy for one nation in another country, as it is where the country’s ambassador works (and sometimes resides). A consulate is where consular services are performed. Embassies will normally have a consular section. While there will be only one British Embassy in the country you visit, there may be a number of consulates. These would usually be in cities with the most tourists,'' writes Postoffice.uk.

It's worth noting that while the aforementioned explanation is written from the British perspective, this difference is appliable to any country.

The Thought.com page illustrates that very well, explaining the difference in the case of the United States of America.

''An embassy is responsible for representing the home country, for handling major diplomatic issues (such as negotiations), and for preserving the rights of its citizens abroad. Consulates (and their chief diplomat, the consul) handle minor diplomatic issues such as issuing visas, aiding in trade relationships, and taking care of migrants, tourists, and expatriates,'' writes Thought.com. The site adds that usually when a country recognises another as being sovereign, an embassy is established to maintain foreign relations and provide assistance to travelling citizens.

Embassies and consulates can help a person out with many things. For instance, if you lose your passport, the diplomatic representatives can acquire you a new one. If you get sick, they can offer you the contacts of local doctors or lawyers in case you're the victim of a crime.

They can't offer you healthcare which is of a different level than the one there is in the country already, nor can they lead any sort of investigation themselves; they can't even pay you money or offer remuneration, but the contacts they can provide as well as the advice they can give can help you tremendously when coming unstuck in a foreign country.

This is why its important to be informed where the embassies or consuls of your country are located in the country you're visiting. But, don't expected them to help you if you end up in trouble with the law in another country yourself, as they can't interfere in those legal processes in respect of other nation's sovereignty. Despite that, they can give you lists of lawyers and guides to the legal process in the country you're visiting, visit you if you're arrested, and maintain contact with your family to inform them of what happened. While you hopefully won't end up in a dire situation it is still better to travel while being as informed as possible. Usually, a bit of common sense and decency will let you avoid such incidents.

Your country is a host to the embassies of other countries too, and you can visit them if you want to travel to another country to check your visa requirements. Keep in mind that in embassies, the country where the embassy is located doesn't have jurisdiction in the embassy, and you can be arrested in the embassy by security forces or ask for protection to avoid arrest from the forces of the country the embassy is in. The ever-controversial Julian Assange finding refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid arrest is perhaps the best-known example of this, and he was arrested by the British police only after negotiations with Ecuador were conducted.

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pixabay

Ambassador and diplomat: the same job, but the ambassador is the boss

Similar to all toes are fingers, but not all fingers are toes – the ambassador is the highest-ranked of all diplomats in the embassy.

''The ambassador is the highest official in the embassy and acts as the chief diplomat and spokesperson for that embassy's home government. Ambassadors are typically appointed by the highest level of the home government. In the United States, ambassadors are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate'' writes Thought.com.

 As Wikidiff compares it, the ambassador is ''a minister of the highest rank sent to a foreign court to represent his sovereign or country there. (Sometimes called ambassador-in-residence )'' or ''an official messenger and representative''. A diplomat, in essence, is, as Wikidiff continues: ''A person who is accredited, such as an ambassador, to officially represent a government in its relations with other governments or international organisations.''

Marc Finaud, the Head of Arms Proliferation at Geneva Centre for Security Policy (an international foundation for promoting the building and maintenance of peace, security, and stability), writes that diplomats have five main tasks in accordance with the international Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations from 1961. ''Representation, protection of national interests, negotiations, reporting, and the promotion of friendly relations. Such skills can also be of interest for non-diplomats engaged in professional activities involving contacts with foreign people or cultures,'' writes Marc Finaud for GCSP.

Diplomacy is interesting, challenging, and above all, an important profession, and much more can be written about it than just this text. Still, these are the basic facts of diplomacy to follow in this series and to arrange safer and more informed travel abroad.

To read more from the series "Friends of Croatia", follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman Says Ambassador Hidajet Biščević Enjoys Government's Support

ZAGREB, 27 April, 2021 - Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Tuesday that Croatian Ambassador Hidajet Biščević enjoyed the support from the Croatian government, in his comment to the ethnic Croat leader's accusations against the diplomat.

Addressing a news conference in Petrinja, Minister Grlić Radman said that the experienced Croatian diplomat Biščević enjoyed the support of the government in Zagreb.

He says that exclusively Croatian institutions are in charge of assessing the performance of Croatian diplomats.

The minister said that the status of the Croatian community in Serbia is one of Biščević's priorities.

"Media speculations and such statements in media about Croatia's diplomats are not the best way of communication. Croatia's diplomacy does not deserve that and furthermore this could also be an indirect attempt from outside to impact the political relations in Croatia," said the minister who will travel to Subotica on Wednesday.

He also said that it was also inappropriate to disseminate reports against Biščević after the recent incident in which the Croatian flag was removed from the residence of the Croatian ambassador in Belgrade.

Following media reports about the criticism targeted against Biščević, President Zoran Milanović said that he would recall the ambassador for consultations to establish the truth.

Minister Grlić Radman also rejected Milanović's claims that it was him who appointed Grlić Radman to an ambassadorial post.

Grlić Radman said that he had been employed for diplomatic tasks for the first time in 1991 by the first Croatian president Franjo Tuđman and since then he has been an official in the foreign ministry.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

President Zoran Milanović to Recall Ambassador to Serbia Over His Alleged Disregard For Ethnic Croats

ZAGREB, 27 April, 2021 - Croatia's President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday that he would recall Croatian Ambassador to Belgrade, Hidajet Biščević, after the ethnic Croat leader Tomislav Žigmanov criticised the diplomat for working against the Croats in Serbia.

In the meantime media outlets have reported that Ambassador Biščević did not react to the developments in which ethnic Croats received death threats, and that he also failed to even telephone those members who received threats to express sympathy with them.

Žigmanov, who is the leader of the Democratic party of Croats in Vojvodina (DSHV), recently claimed that the Croatian ambassador had made a "tepid reaction" to attempts by Serbian authorities in Subotica to introduce the Bunjevci vernacular as an official language in that northern city and that the ambassador communicated with people whom Žigmanov described as persons "who are actively working on the destabilisation and dissolution of the (ethnic Croat) community."

All that prompted President Milanović to say today that he did not know whose policy Biščević "is pursuing there."

I cannot know whether all those headlines are true and I will summon him back to Zagreb for consultations, Milanović said in his address to the press at the Gašinci military range in eastern Croatia.

The Večernji List daily has reported that on 30 March, Žigmanov sent a letter to Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman to inform him that Biščević was working against the interests of the ethnic Croat community in Serbia.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

2020 Bittersweet for Croatian Diplomats

ZAGREB, Dec 19, 2020 - Croatian diplomats have mixed feelings about 2020, which began with the ambitious EU presidency becoming virtual due to the pandemic, but by the end conditions had been met for waiving U.S. visas, the two most important foreign ministers visited, and an exclusive economic zone was declared in the Adriatic.

Croatia spent a large part of 2019 preparing for taking over the rotating six-month EU presidency six and a half years after joining and at the start of the Ursula von der Leyen-led European Commission.

The presidency began dynamically, with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic going to Paris for consultations with French President Emmanuel Macron. Two days later, the new European Council President, Charles Michel, arrived in Zagreb, followed by the entire Commission for a meeting in the refurbished National University Library.

At the beginning of the year, the EU's agenda included negotiations on the next seven-year budget and an agreement on future relations with the UK. Croatia had announced that during its presidency it wanted to restore the focus on the European perspective of the Western Balkans, the culmination of which would be the Zagreb Summit, an informal meeting of the EU and the membership candidates.

A total of 161 events were to have taken place in Croatia, two thirds of them in Zagreb, but only a few were eventually held before the European lockdown.

Croatia's motto for its EU presidency was "A Strong Europe in a World of Challenges", which turned out to be prophetic as in January news started arriving from China about a new pneumonia, a virus that would soon infect the whole world.

The focus of the EU and its Croatian presidency soon shifted to the fight against the novel coronavirus, which arrived in Europe in February.

Croatia's political leadership said later that the presidency did not go as planned but that everything that could be, was accomplished in those circumstances.

EU enlargement

Croatia achieved one of the priorities of its presidency in March, when EU accession negotiations were opened with North Macedonia and Albania after a compromise was reached with the countries which had objected to it.

The Zagreb Summit, taking place 20 years after the first one which opened Croatia's European perspective, was held via video link due to the pandemic.

EU member states confirmed in the Zagreb Declaration their clear support for the European perspective of Western Balkan states, but some politicians were disappointed after the summit because the final statement made no mention of EU enlargement.

"I would be happier if we were stronger and clearer, all of us," Plenkovic said then.

The Croatian EU presidency was also marked by a magnitude 5.5 earthquake which struck Zagreb in March, but it ended with another success, the opening of the last chapter in the accession negotiations with Montenegro.

A month later, Croatia entered the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, a key step towards entering the euro area.

Exclusive economic zone

At the end of the year, Croatia decided to declare an exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic, 17 years after declaring the compromised-baed Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone.

During a visit by Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, his Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlic Radman said the two countries would declare their exclusive economic zones together.

Pompeo and Lavrov

After several years, Croatia was visited by the U.S. and Russian foreign ministers.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed in Dubrovnik in October that Croats would soon be able to travel to the U.S. without visas. He also said that a decision on the purchase of fighter jets was Croatia's sovereign decision and, lobbying against Huawei, called on Zagreb not to give strategic projects to the Chinese.

Several weeks later, U.S. Ambassador Robert Kohorst said that officially less than 3% of Croatia's visa applications were rejected, a key requirement for visa-free travel.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in Zagreb after two postponed visits. He said that Russia had good relations with Croatia despite the EU's unwillingness to have good relations with Russia.

New president

This year Croatia also has a new president. Zoran Milanovic defeated then president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in a runoff, taking office in mid-February and becoming co-creator of the foreign policy.

"The wars are over", he said at a modest inauguration which, for the first time, did not take place in St. Mark's Square. Milanovic announced that he would cooperate with everyone on the foreign policy front.

He chose Slovenia for his first official visit and has also visited Austria, Montenegro and Germany. He also made a private visit to Albania over which he quarreled with the prime minister.

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