Sunday, 15 May 2022

Few 20th Century Statesmen Measure up to Tuđman, Says Plenković

ZAGREB, 15 May 2022 - HDZ party leader and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Saturday, on the occasion of the 100th birth anniversary of Croatia's first president Franjo Tuđman, that few 20th century statesmen can measure up to Tuđman in terms of their historical importance for their own nation.

Tuđman's political legacy democracy, freedom and state

Speaking at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of Tuđman's birth at Zagreb's "Vatroslav Lisinski" concert hall, Plenković said that a free and sovereign Croatia was Tuđman's life's work.

Tuđman's political legacy is what we live today - democracy, freedom and an own state, Plenković said, adding that Croatia's first president believed that people of different worldviews could give a valuable contribution to the accomplishment of Croatian national interests.

He advocated reconciliation of the Croatian people and the unity of Croatians living in Croatia and the expatriate community, and those are the beliefs he built the HDZ on, said Plenković.

"Because of all of that we can freely say that few 20th century statesmen can measure up to him in terms of their historical importance for their own nation," Plenković said.

Today's HDZ has been advocating for six years now Christian Democratic, people's, patriotic and universal humanist values, which are the values Croatians rallied around under Tuđman's leadership, he said.

"His legacy is the foundation of both the home and the foreign policy of today's Croatia, which has a strong pro-European orientation and feeling of belonging to Central and Mediterranean Europe," Plenković said.

Speaking of those who "in the past 20 years have worked on the so-called de-Tuđmanisation, trying to downplay Tuđman's accomplishments and political legacy," Plenković said that they had not succeeded and would not succeed.

The commemoration in a packed Vatroslav Lisinski hall was also addressed by former parliament speaker Vladimir Šeks, who said that those who doubted that the HDZ was continuing Tuđman's policy should look at the gathering to see for themselves what Tuđman meant and still means to the HDZ.

Attending the commemoration were members and leadership of the HDZ, the HDZ government ministers as well as former ministers and party officials -  Ljubo Ćesić Rojs, Martina Dalić, Tomislav Ćorić, Josip Aladrović, Milan Kujundžić, Lovro Kuščević, and former HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko.

Also present were a delegation of the HDZ BiH party, led by Dragan Čović, the president of the Croatian National Council (HNV) in Serbia, Jasna Vojnić, Serbian MP Tomislav Žigmanov, Montenegrin minister Adrijan Vuksanović, and some members of the Tuđman family.

War Veterans Minister Tomo Medved recalled the successful military and police liberation operations of the 1991-95 Homeland War, the crown of which was Operation Storm, saying that Tuđman was a superior military strategist.

Jandroković: It is a perfidious lie that HDZ and Croatia were created by UDBA

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said that as the main champions of change and transformation, Tuđman and the HDZ had been constantly under attack by external and internal factors.

"Defamation has been going on the whole time. I heard the other day a perfidious lie, that the HDZ and Croatia were created by UDBA (former Yugoslav security service)," Jandroković said.

UDBA worked and killed for Communist Yugoslavia and Croatia was created by true patriots, defenders, and ordinary people for whom Croatia was above any ideology, said Jandroković.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Friday, 13 May 2022

100 Years Since First Croatian President's Birth

ZAGREB, 13 May 2022 - Saturday, 14 May would have been the 100th birthday of Croatia's first president, Franjo Tuđman, under whose leadership the sovereign, independent and internationally recognised Croatian state was created.

Born in Veliko Trgovišće on 14 May 1922, Tuđman participated in the Partisan movement and early in 1945, holding the major's rank, he went to Belgrade as one of the Croatian representatives in the National Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia Supreme Headquarters.

Tuđman also worked in the Yugoslav People's Army Chiefs of the General Staff and on the Military Encyclopedia's editorial board. In 1960, he was promoted to the rank of general, after which he left active military service.

Upon returning to Zagreb, he worker as a researcher and in 1961 founded the Institute for the History of the Workers' Movement of Croatia, becoming its director. Since 1963, he taught at the Zagreb Faculty of Political Sciences.

Due to his views on some historical issues, he came into conflict with the authorities and was ousted from the Communist Party, removed from the University of Zagreb, replaced as director of the Institute, and forced to retire.

In January 1972, after the Croatian Spring national movement was crushed, he was arrested and, in a rigged trial, sentenced to two years' imprisonment. Thanks to an intervention by author Miroslav Krleža, the sentence was reduced to nine months.

Due to an interview with Western media in which he advocated pluralist democracy, he was arrested in 1981 and sentenced to three years.

When pluralism was allowed in Yugoslavia in 1989, at a panel of the Croatian Writers Society, Tuđman outlined the platform of the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) party, of which he was elected president at a 17 June founding assembly.

After the party's victory in the first democratic election in 1990, parliament proclaimed him chairman of the Presidency of the Social Republic of Croatia.

After Croatia became independent, he won two presidential elections, in 1992 and 1997. His terms were marked by the military aggression on Croatia, its international recognition in January 1992, the 1991-95 Homeland War, the peaceful reintegration of the Danube region which ended in 1998, and the reinforcement of Croatia's international position.

In 1995, Tuđman co-signed the Dayton agreement, which restored peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He died in Zagreb on 10 December 1999.

Two separate events to mark Tuđman's 100 birthday

On Saturday, the HDZ will mark Tuđman's 100 birthday with a special programme. A symposium entitled "Always and everything for Croatia" will be held at the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, with speeches by HDZ president and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Tuđman's closest associates, HDZ founders, dignitaries and party officials.

Some of Tuđman's former associates will mark his birthday in Vukovar, including his younger son Stjepan.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Hollywood Actor Kevin Spacey in Zagreb to Film Franjo Tudjman Movie by Jakov Sedlar

January 14, 2022 - Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey is currently in Zagreb filming a Franjo Tudjman movie directed by Jakov Sedlar. 

The right-wing Hrvatski Tjednik is the only publication in Croatia to have the opportunity to talk to Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey, who arrived in Zagreb a few weeks ago to star in a film about the first Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, directed by Jakov Sedlar, Jutarnji List writes.

The article points out that Spacey arrived quietly. The controversial Hollywood movie star revealed that he has been working on the project about the first Croatian president for eight months, and very intensively for about three months.

"It's my usual work process. Tudjman was a fascinating person, definitely the most important person in the creation of your country," he said.

Spacey said that it did not take long for director Sedlar to persuade him to accept the Tudjman role. 

"We are friends, and I know he wouldn't try to do something bad to me. He spoke very honestly and with a lot of passion about Tudjman; he cared that I was playing his friend Franjo and we quickly agreed."

At the request of journalists, he tried to describe how he felt about Tudjman.

"Based on his available interviews and videos, it is clear that he was a very passionate man who believed in his ideas and in his Croatian people. I think he belongs to that old generation of politicians who were statesmen, not administrators, who thought that the people needed a leader to follow, and he did everything to make it so. He was happy, especially on the Freedom Train. I love his sincere passion that many politicians today lack."

At the end of the interview, Spacey said that he loves Croatia, especially Dubrovnik and Hvar, which he has visited before, and that he liked Zagreb. In the end, he said that Croats are a tough people and that he is sure that they will rebuild Zagreb after the earthquake.

In the interview, he did not want to talk about his problems back home in the US regarding the accusations against him for sexual abuse as he is convinced that the court will make a fair decision.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 1 February 2021

Miroslav Tudman, son of Franjo Tudman, has died from Coronavirus

February 1, 2021 – Miroslav Tudman, the first child of Franjo Tudman, died in Zagreb from complications caused by Coronavirus. A scientist and educator who followed a route into politics, he bore a striking resemblance to his father, the first President of Croatia

Miroslav Tudjman, HDZ member of parliament and son of Franjo Tudman, the first President of Croatia, died in the evening of Sunday 31 January 2021 in Zagreb. He was 75 years old.

Miroslav Tudjman had been hospitalized in Zagreb at the beginning of December due to complications caused by Coronavirus. He had been placed on a respirator. He sadly lost his fight for life at the Dr. Fran Mihaljevic Clinic for Infectious Diseases, Zagreb.

Born in Belgrade in 1946, the son of Franjo Tudman and his first wife Ankica Zumbar, Miroslav Tudman moved to Zagreb in 1961. He graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Zagreb in 1970 and later became part of the faculty, founding its Institute for Information Studies in 1989.

20150623vrgorac.tudjmanov.arhiv_32122.jpgMiroslav Tudman © HDZ

He took part in the Croatian War of Independence and in 1992 Miroslav Tudman became the head of the Centre for Strategic Research. He took up the role as the deputy head of the National Security Office before founding and leading the first Croatian Intelligence Agency (Hrvatska izvještajna služba, HIS). In 1998, Miroslav Tudman became a tenured professor at the Faculty of Philosophy where he had studied.

Miroslav Tudman had dallied with politics since before the war, but it was only after the passing of his father – who died while in office – that they became a more consuming affair for him. He flitted between running as an independent candidate, within fringe parties and as a member of HDZ, the party to which his father belonged. His longest duration with any party was from 2011 and 2021, during which he was a member of HDZ.

At the time of his death, he was a member of the Croatian parliament, head of the Parliamentary Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, a member of the Committee on Defence, Internal Policy and National Security, War Veterans and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation.

Bearing a very close resemblance to his father, Miroslav Tudman was named after Croatian writer Miroslav Krleža who his father adored at the time of his firstborn child.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that he received the news of Miroslav Tudman's death with sadness.

"It is with great sadness that I received the news of the departure of Prof. Miroslav Tudman, PhD, a dear colleague, friend and member of the Croatian Parliament, son of the first Croatian President Franjo Tudman, a prominent politician and a scientist dedicated to protecting national interests," he wrote on Twitter. "In these sad and painful moments, for the Tudman family, I express my sincere condolences and sympathy, on behalf of the government and myself."

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Sunday, 24 January 2021

Franjo Tudman Face Masks A Covid-Era Hit On Social Media

January 24, 2021 – First President of Croatia makes a Covid-era comeback, as new Franjo Tudman face masks become a hit on social media

So far, the nationally specific Covid-era face masks seen on the streets of Croatia have been rather divisive. The logos of the country's bigger football clubs look good but could land you in grief if you travel to the other side of the country while wearing one. The outlawed slogans and insignia of Nazi-allied independent Croatia are a rather more gruesome reminder of the minority of fascist sympathisers that sadly linger in the village. Thankfully there are few tourists here right now to be appalled at such.

Three cheers, then, for the arrival of a distinctly Croatian covering of which the whole country can approve. Though released relatively recently, the new Franjo Tudman face masks have already proved to be a Covid-era hit on social media.


The Franjo Tudman face masks were designed by nationally recognized Rijeka singer-songwriter Dražen Turina, best known by the nickname Šajeta, which is also the name under which his music is released. Along with Pula singer Alen Vitasović and his band Gustafi, Šajeta is a key composer of contemporary Croatian music that uses the Chakavian dialect. Dražen Turina revealed the Franjo Tudman face masks on his Twitter social media account, where they became instantly popular.

Distancing himself from any misunderstanding that the Franjo Tudman face masks had been inspired by sentiments of nationalism, Šajeta instead playfully bemoaned the wearing of masks by young Croats that feature the images of foreign figures. He said he deliberately choose a photo of the former Croatian president smiling for the Franjo Tudman face masks.

It is not yet clear if Šajeta plans to make the Franjo Tudman face masks widely available. Followers of the singer on Twitter were keen to ask if he would be making other masks featuring nationally famous figures.

The Franjo Tudman face masks are far from the first tributes to be paid to the first President of Croatia. There are more statues dedicated to Franjo Tudman in Croatia than any other person. Following Croatia's independence from Yugoslavia, Franjo Tudman became the first President of Croatia and served in the position from 1990 until his death in 1999.

All images from the Twitter account of Šajeta

Monday, 2 December 2019

Croatian Faces Possible 10 Month Sentence for Painting Franjo Tuđman Statue

The first hearing for the trial of Croatian Filip Drača, a 24-year-old who vandalized the Franjo Tuđman statue in Zagreb with sickle and hammer graffiti earlier this year, was held on Thursday, November 28, 2019. A criminal complaint has been filed against him for property damage, and the State Attorney's Office is seeking a sentence of 10 months and 3 years' probation.

Croatian Inquiry

After Filip Drača sprayed a sickle and a hammer on the Franjo Tuđman statue on January 5, 2019; a public inquiry was launched to bring this perpetrator to justice as soon as possible, as reported by Anja Vladisavljević/Balkan Insight on November 29, 2019. Police have released security camera photos, and many major media outlets have been implicitly urging citizens to 'make a difference'.

Such demonstrations of force appear to send the public a message that the character and accomplishments of Croatia’s first President Franjo Tuđman must not be criticized. To counteract apparent intimidation tactics, a group of left-wing parties and associations organized a protest, and around 20,000 HRK (2700 EUR) has been raised for Drača’s defense.

When Drača was arrested, he confessed immediately. But when asked in court if he felt guilty, he responded that he did not feel guilty for the alleged offence. In an interview with Novosti newspaper in January, he said: “My intent wasn’t that serious, I meant to provoke and tease a little. If I offended anyone, that’s their problem. There is something wrong with anyone who perceives Tuđman and his small comical country as sacred.”


Resembles Franklin D. Roosevelt

The controversial four-meter-high Tuđman statue was unveiled in December 2018, on the 19th anniversary of his death, and was met with protests which resulted in arrests.

Critics have pointed out that the statue doesn’t resemble the Croatian president at all. Defenders indicated that the sculptor had taken considerable artistic license (apparently by softening the president’s distinctive features). In fact, it might be argued that the Zagreb statue looks more like US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who led the United States out of the Great Depression and back to economic prosperity in the 1930’s.

Graffiti Normally Minor Offense

The first hearing was held Thursday, November 28, 2019 at the Zagreb Municipal Criminal Court. The prosecution claims that the property was severely damaged and that it was the perpetrator’s intention to damage the statue and alter its appearance. But as Drača’s lawyer Lina Budak pointed out, the statue was not severely damaged – nor has its value or usability been diminished.

Budak also believes that a criminal trial should have never been initiated because this is a "minor offense" and the case could have been prosecuted as a misdemeanor. It’s obvious that there are two sets of criteria, she emphasized, since official investigations into graffiti vandalism are rarely initiated, or ever proceed to a criminal trial. As Zagreb Mayor Bandić once said, “Don't make an elephant out of a fly ... if any (monument) is damaged, let us know and we will restore it in two days,” after the statues dedicated to anti-fascists/communists in Dotrščina were vandalized. The question is why don't the same principles apply to the Franjo Tuđman statue.


Croatian Anti-fascist Statues Destroyed

It’s worth noting that over 3000 anti-fascist statues have been destroyed in Croatia since the 1990s. That destruction is ongoing, and the culprit is often an "unknown perpetrator". In other words, there doesn't appear to be any government interest in prosecuting anyone who destroys monuments dedicated to anti-fascism.

Repair Costs Not Disclosed

Perhaps the most interesting detail from today's hearing is that the City of Zagreb, which owns the statue, has not yet provided an estimate of the alleged material damage. This means that the criminal complaint was filed without knowing the extent of the damage, which is problematic since the gravity of the offense is directly correlated to the repair costs - whether they amount to 100 or 100,000 HRK.

Regarding damage repairs, the City of Zagreb already pays lump sums of money, among other things, to two contractors who maintain the statue and grounds. Those maintenance contracts include removal of graffiti, so it seems excessive to claim any harm to the 'property owner' or the city.

The hearing ended after the plaintiffs and the defendants had presented their evidence. And, the next hearing is scheduled on February 21, 2020 at 9:00. The trial is open to the public.

To stay updated on the trial of Filip Drača and Croatian politics, follow our page here.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Most Successful Croatian Company Coming to Veliko Trgovišće

Veliko Trgovišće is a little place in the continental Croatian county of Krapina-Zagorje. If it wasn't for independent Croatia's very first president Franjo Tuđman having been born there, it would certainly be even less known than it is now, as this unassuming little Zagorje municipality has a mere 5,000 inhabitants and is very rarely talked about in the media.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of May, 2019, RTL Direct went directly to this small municipality to try and see just what it has to offer. They found out that Veliko Trgovišće is no stranger to the production of tablecloths, napkins and linens which travel from Veliko Trgovišće to London restaurants and even to Las Vegas casinos.

Finka has been working there for 37 years and she's one of eighty people working in this village's textile factory, and she states that people in Zagorje will ''never remain hungry'' when discussing what it's like to live in this very rural and little known part of Zagorje.

That same factory moved ten years ago from the Croatian capital of Zagreb, taking part of its workers with it.

"The Trgovišće Factory is the largest garment manufacturer, it exports to 25 countries all over the world, from England and Switzerland, to exotic destinations like Dubai,'' stated Dražen Kolarek, finance manager at the factory.

Mate Rimac and his company, otherwise one of the most successful companies in the whole of Croatia, Rimac Automobili, is also on his way to this little Croatian county, and you can read his entire interview here.

This Croatian municipality has a few successful businesses, unemployment there is at less than an enviable three percent, the first Croatian president was born there, and they also want the status of a city there. That ''city'' status will likely be obtained because, as Veliko Trgovišće's Robert Greblički has already stated, this little Croatian municipality meets all of the necessary prerequisites.

"The first president was born here, we're raising the number of people living here, we're developing entrepreneurship, so I think that we can copy Sveta Nedjela in time," Greblički added.

As soon as this completely unassuming little Croatian municipality gains its city status, it can truly become, as its name suggests: Big (Veliko).

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated business page for much more on Croatian business, Croatian companies and Croatian manufacturing.

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.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Politically Controversial Monuments in Croatia Under Siege

The monument of Franjo Tuđman, Croatia’s first president, in Zagreb is becoming a regular target of political protests. In January, the Communist hammer and sickle symbol was drawn on it, and just two days ago it was hit with eggs. This was only one of many attacks on what some consider politically controversial monuments in Croatia, reports Večernji List on February 16, 2019.

The hammer and sickle symbol was drawn by Filip Drača, a 24-year-old protester who was identified by the police and reported for a misdemeanour against public order and peace. He is one of few who has been fined for his vandalism since the police very rarely find the culprits, especially if the monuments being attacked are anti-fascist. For example, we still do not know who vandalised the monument to Partisan hero Ivo Lola Ribar twice in late 2017, after which the monument’s head was stolen. The Ustasha symbol U was drawn on the monument, which has not been attacked since.

“They have forgotten that it is here, which is normal because the people who write such things are not too clever,” said one Zagreb citizen. He believes that the same will happen with the Tuđman monument. “It is a new monument, so now there are some wise guys who do not like it. They will get used to it,” he said.

Ivo Lola Ribar is not the only antifascist whose monuments have been vandalised. Similar Ustasha signs appeared a year ago on the monument to the victims of fascism at Dotrščina, the location where several thousand people were killed during the Nazi occupation of Zagreb from 1941 to 1945. This is just one of the hundreds of antifascist monuments in Croatia which have been attacked and/or completely destroyed in recent years.

Still, not all attacks against monuments are intentional, like for example the one on famous inventor Nikola Tesla. It was hit accidentally by a delivery van, so it had to be temporarily removed from the intersection of Preradovićeva St. and Masarykova St. Before it was removed for repair, some of the more irresponsible citizens liked to use it to put garbage and cigarette butt ends in it. At least no one vandalised it with primitive symbols or had his head stolen.

Interestingly, the tradition of stealing heads of monuments began in antiquity, when people would take heads of statues of people they did not like. If you do something like that in Croatia and damage the property, you can get between six months and five years of prison. Unless of course, it is an antifascist monument, in which case you can be sure no one will ever find you.

More political news can be found in the dedicated section.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

“President Tuđman Is a War Criminal” – 15 Days of Prison

ZAGREB, February 13, 2019 - The Zagreb Misdemeanour Court on Wednesday handed down a conditional prison sentence of 15 days against activist Zoran Erceg for disturbing the public order at a ceremony on December 10 at which a monument to Croatia's first president Franjo Tuđman was unveiled, but Erceg went to the monument after his sentencing despite a court ban.

Erceg will end up in prison if in the next 12 months he commits the same offence. Under the ruling, he is to pay 500 kuna in court costs and must not get close to the Tuđman monument in Zagreb for a year.

However, after the court handed down its sentence, Erceg went to the monument on Wednesday morning.

At the December 10 ceremony, which was attended by the entire state leadership, Erceg shouted, among other things, that Tuđman had destroyed Croatia and was a war criminal.

Addressing reporters after his sentencing, Erceg said that the judge had sentenced him to a longer term than had been recommended by the police and that there was no instrument of repression or punishment that would avert him from repeating in public what he had said.

Erceg's attorney Lina Budak said that the judge in charge of the case did not explain his verdict. "The court did not have the courage to explain its verdict thus violating my client's right to a fair trial and the public's right to see for itself that the court conducts fair trials," she said, adding that Erceg was sentenced for saying something the authorities believe he should not have said.

The nongovernmental organisations Documenta, the Centre for Peace Studies and the Civic Committee for Human Rights on Wednesday expressed concern about the ruling, noting that "the Croatian judiciary has failed to protect (Erceg's) right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly."

"The free expression of a critical opinion at a rally that is held in a place where the highest state officials have gathered is a fundamental standard of a free and pluralist society," they said.

More news on the first Croatian President can be found in the Politics section.

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