Monday, 5 July 2021

Zagreb Gay Pride 2021 Analysis: Issues Still Exist, Pride Celebrates History and Present Equality

July 5, 2021 - Gay rights in Croatia still have challenges ahead, but even if all problems are resolved, Pride should remain a commemorative event. A look at the history of gay culture in Croatia and the current climate in this Zagreb Gay Pride 2021 Analysis by TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac.

Zagreb Pride is the oldest pride in Croatia. First held in 2002, it attracts more and more people every year, from LGBTQ members, straight people that support gay rights to NGOs, human rights activists, and even politicians from the left and liberal specter. Over the years, the event grew from a one-day pride to Pride month, full of educational and entertaining events regarding LGBTQ issues and a chance for people with the same preferences to meet and celebrate who they are.

Pride month is marked in June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan.

„The Stonewall Riots, also called the Stonewall Uprising, began in the early hours of June 28, 1969, when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City. The raid sparked a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents as police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of the bar, leading to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on Christopher Street, in neighboring streets, and in nearby Christopher Park. The Stonewall Riots served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world“, reminds History.com.

When it comes to LGBTQ in Croatia, as you can expect with the ideological divide Croatians generally experience, there are mixed feelings on the issue.

From street violence to a family event  

Participating in the first Pride in 2002 required that if you are a man loving a man ready to openly admit it, you had to have balls.

The attacks by skinheads and other „morally concerned citizens were fierce and violent. Participants truly needed police protection which was provided but also needed to be careful to not get hit by the incoming rocks that were thrown among the participants.

skin_arrest.jpg

Police arresting violent skinhead at the first Zagreb Pride in 2002, screenshot / Zagreb pride

But, at least for Zagreb, the situation got better and more open. Today, pride is the forthcoming celebration of love and freedom, and entire families can be seen to join the picnic at Ribnjak park to teach their children tolerance and that people are not sick or different from others because of their sexual preference. Other larger cities in Croatia, such as Split, slowly but surely, do follow that path too, and Rijeka, the pinnacle of liberal Croatia, is also a very gay-friendly city.

Of course, a political counterstrike is expected and quite strong. The first most notable one was the 2013 referendum, where it was voted that the Croatian constitution declares marriage as a „community between a man and woman“. The goal was to deny LGBTQ couples the same rights as enjoyed by straight people.

However, the bill on life partnership outplayed that attempt.

In the meantime, LGBTQ couples can also adopt children in Croatia, as Constitutional Court concluded that gay couples fostering children is not against the Croatian Constitution.

That decision and along with the general openness of Croatia towards LGBTQ was followed by a controversial carnival in Imotski where an effigy of a gay couple was burned. President Zoran Milanović demanded an apology from the organizers, and SDP's MP Arsen Bauk filed charges against the organizers.

Counting pluses and minuses, the report on Croatia being the 39th best country for LGBTQ visitors still seems to uphold. No changes for the better, but at least Croatia is still in the top third for this category of tourists.

 Haters strike back

2020 and 2021 sadly saw the uprise of violence towards LGBTQ in the Croatian capital. Apart from the occasional tearing down or burning of the rainbow flag, Croatia was shocked with an attempt of burning a man in Maksimir Forest Park as well, with his sexual preference being the sole motive for the attack.

 On the other side, this year's pride felt to start stronger than ever. The newly elected mayor Tomislav Tomašević joined the parade, along with stating that Zagreb is a city that is open to everyone. This year arranged a bit differently to adhere to corona measures; around 2500 participated in the event.  

„Twenty of our prides made our city and our republic a better, more democratic, and joyous place for the life of all citizens“, was the main message of the 20th edition of Zagreb Pride.

As reported by Index.hr, the Zagreb Pride association representatives stated that the Croatian LGBTIQ community „became a powerful, responsible and self-aware part of the country, but that the fight isn't over“.

„Our constitution and our laws still do not include in a complete and fair way. Our streets and squares are still not free of hate. We didn't forget nor we will forget victims of homophobic and fascist rampage in this year and all previous years“, stated Zagreb Pride.  

Sadly, while Pride itself went without issues, participants of the pride who walked the streets of Zagreb after pride with rainbow flags faced a series of physical attacks on several locations in Zagreb.  

A week ahead of Pride, conservative MOST Party parliament member Nikola Grmoja complained that commercials displayed during EURO 2020 commercials were LGBTQ propaganda and that kids need to be protected from it and announced that he might include it in his anti-pedophile package. Grmoja's statement caused strong disagreements among the Croatian public, with several people (including celebrities) teasing him that if he wants to start battling pedophilia, he should start from church (as Grmoja is quite clerical). Božo Petrov, president of the MOST party, added more fuel to the fire when he supported Grmoja, stating that „minorities can't dictate what my children can learn in school“. He added that minorities need to be aware that they are minorities and that „we tolerate that," sparking more enrage from the public, with many comparing MOST to the controversial Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Zagreb Pride linked the post-Pride physical attacks with Petrov and Grmoja's public statements, and Petrov and Grmoja announced they would sue Zagreb Pride for slender.

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Nikola Grmoja, screenshot N1

The Law: "Gay is OK". Popular opinion: "Do it in your homes, not on the streets".

In this political escalation, what does the average Croatian think? Looking at the comments on social networks, it seems the majority of Croatians don't mind gays being gays and living how they like (even if they are not always happy with legal rights the LGBTQ community received). But, one sentiment in that „tolerance“ is particularly worrying.

„Live in your house however you want it. You don't have to wave around, like its a best thing ever“, said one of the online comments on Index.hr beneath the news on Petrov and Grmoja.

So it seems the public does not understand why Pride is important. First of all, as evident, the political climate is such that the battle for equality truly isn't over in Croatia, and Pride is the best way for the community to express what issues LGBTQ still face in Croatia. Additionally, pride month is also educational and supportive, and public presence show to other people who feel the same that they are not alone, as they might feel lonely and unable to find people who feel the same in everyday life.

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© Zagreb Pride

But, even if the law and constitution give the same rights and solves the problem of intolerance of LGBTQ people completely, does that mean that Pride should then be canceled? Well, Croatia won its independence and the war in the nineties. Does that mean we should stop commemorating the Homeland War? Or is it nice to honor and celebrate the victory and triumph over all obstacles Croatia had to face in its independence? Pride is a cultural, commemorative event honoring those who were or still are victims and oppressed for their sexual preference, either in Croatia or in the world. Croatia is a democratic country. Every group, national, ethnical, racial, religious, etc. should have the right to gather and honor its heroes. The right to gather and honor its tragedies and their dates and connect with other people who feel the same. If political elites are so concerned with keeping Croatians in Croatia, then they can't afford to discriminate or attack part of Croatian society solely based on their sexual preference. A preference that, unlike being violent or intolerable, can't be chosen.

Learn more about LGBT rights in Croatia and what LGBT tourists should know on our TC page.

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

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Croatia-Slovakia Scientific Cooperation: Conference in Zadar Continues Academic Friendship

June 30, 2021 - In 2019, an agreement was reached on the start of the Croatia-Slovakia scientific cooperation. The June 18 conference held at the University of Zadar presented the current progress in that agreement.

Along with countries such as Serbia, Slovenia, and Northern Macedonia, Croatia is a south Slavic country. The former Socialistic Federation of Yugoslavia got its name because of southern Slavs, a branch of Slavs, ethnolinguistic groups that arrived in Europe along with many other groups in what history remembers as the „Migration Period“, when Europe was dominated by the Western Roman Empire.

Other Slavic countries include Russia, Poland, Bulgaria (also south-slave, but not part of Yugoslavia), Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, and also West Slavic country, Slovakia.

Sharing ethical and cultural heritage and diplomatic relations (formed on March 1, 1993), saw the intellectual cooperation with Slovakia raised on a high level and produced so much material, it required an entire scientific conference.

As reported by Ivo Pilar Social Research website, June 18 saw Zadar University host a conference „Intellectual relations of Croatia and Slovakia“, prepared by Slovakian-Croatian Board for Humanistic Sciences lead b professor Martin Homza from Comenius University in Bratislava and Ivo pilar Social Research Institute headmaster dr. Željko Holjevac.

The conference was supposed to be held last year but was canceled due to coronavirus, and the 2021 edition was managed in a hybrid model of the event, mixing live and online ways for participants to meet. Twelve Slovakian and Croatian scientists reported on the theme, and key Slovakian and Croatian players on the subjects of education attended and made speeches at the opening ceremony. This includes professor Zvjezdan Penezić, Zadar University's vice-chancellor. Peter Susko, Slovakian Ambassador in Croatia, Marián Zouhar, dean of the Bratislava's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Staša Skenžić from Croatian Ministry of Science and Education, as well as Martina Klofáčova from the Slovakian Ministry of Science and Education.

„Slovakian-Croatian Board for Humanity Sciences is active since 2019 as part of the program of collaboration between two ministries for science and education with the goal of developing bilateral scientific and educating activities in the field of history, linguistics, Latinism, art history, ethnology, and archaeology“, informed Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute about the program goals.

Is there a Croatian diaspora in Slovakia? Yes. You can learn more about the Croatian diaspora on our TC page.

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

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Documents Confiscated From Dubrovnik Archives Returned

ZAGREB, 23 June, 2021 - Documents that were confiscated from the Dubrovnik State Archives and were found in the Salzburg Diocese Archives were handed over on Wednesday in the presence of Croatia's Minister of Culture and Media Nina Obuljen Koržinek and Croatia's Ambassador to Austria Danijel Glunčić.

The operation ended successfully with the return of Croatia's cultural heritage, Minister Obuljen Koržinek said, noting this isn't the first or last time this has been done.

Ambassador Glunčić underscored that the Salzburg Diocese had full understanding that the medieval documents could not be considered to be part of Austria's or Salzburg's history.

The documents involved are two pontifical documents which the diocese was immediately prepared to return to Croatia, and this was also approved by Austria's state authorities, he said, adding that the documents will be placed in Dubrovnik's Archives.

Police working on issues related to cultural heritage

Police Director Nikola Milina said that the police were working on cultural heritage issues, adding that they have had good results so far.

A soon as the information was released, the Croatian police contacted the police in Austria and the documents were quickly identified which led to them being returned, he said.

Digitalisation to facilitate return of other missing documents

Director of Dubrovnik State Archives Nikolina Pozniak is convinced that digitisation will contribute to other documents that have gone missing from the archives and other institutions to be returned.

The head of the archive's collection, Zoran Perović, explained that the documents returned today are two pontifical bulls dated 1189 and 1252. The first notes that the Pope is deploying Archbishop Bernard to Dubrovnik while the other bull refers to the appointment of an archbishop to be a judge in a dispute between the Bar and Dubrovnik Archdioceses.

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

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

PM Andrej Plenković: Government is Sponsor of Antifascism Anniversary

ZAGREB, 22 June, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said at the Antifascist Struggle Day commemoration on Tuesday that this year the government was organising the observation of that public holiday and that it would be the same in the future, noting that the turbulent time of war should be viewed in all its complexity.

"I am pleased to greet you on behalf of the government on the occasion of Antifascist Struggle Day here in Brezovica forest," said Prime Minister Plenković in his speech at the central Antifascist Stuggle Day commemoration at Brezovica Memorial Park near Sisak, adding that the holiday was established in 1991 at the initiative of then president Franjo Tuđman.

The prime minister recalled that at the beginning of summer 1914 Hitler's Germany had taken control of most of Europe and had begun its senseless and criminal policy in which about six million European Jews had been killed and that after the occupation of Yugoslavia, "the Quisling NDH regime" had been established in Croatia.

Croatia had largest resistance movement in Europe relative to its population

"In reality Croatia was divided into German and Italian occupation zones, while most of Dalmatia, Gorski Kotar and Primorje were annexed to Italy after NDH authorities ceded them to fascist Italy, and racial laws were passed against Jews, Roma and Serbs," Plenković said.

He pointed out that 80 years ago about 70 fighters, mostly Croatian, had established the first Sisak Partisan resistance movement in Brezovica forest.

"Among them was a young Janko Bobetko, who would become a Croatian Army General and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces in the 1990s," the prime minister said.

He added that the Partisan movement in Croatia had 7,000 members, including many Croatian Serbs.

Plenković underscored that Croatia had had the largest resistance movement in Europe relative to its population.

"Last year we marked the 25th anniversary of the great victory in Operation Storm and the Homeland War, and then I said that we also mourned the victims of crimes committed by Croatia, which unfortunately happened, because a legitimate right to defence is not an excuse for crimes," the prime minister said.

Totalitarian regime in Yugoslavia betrayed antifascists

He added that regardless of the merits of Croatian Partisans, that turbulent time should be viewed in all its complexity.

Plenković said he was thinking primarily of the post-war crimes of the JNA (Yugoslav People's Army) near Bleiburg, Austria and the mass executions of disarmed soldiers and civilians along marches back to Yugoslavia, which he said was traumatic for many families, and which deepened the disastrous divisions in post-war Croatia.

He also underscored that the totalitarian regime in Yugoslavia had betrayed antifascists.

Here I'm thinking of post-war purges of political dissidents, such as the persecution of the Blessed Cardinal (Alojzije) Stepinac, who in his sermons publicly opposed the persecution of Serbs and Jews, and saved many of them from death, Plenković said.

Close divisions still present in society

Plenković said that the time had come for us Croatia a society to take a more sober view of the events of that time and to better evaluate the contribution of the Croatian antifascist resistance to Nazism.

"Only in that way will we close the divisions still present in our society and build the unity necessary to face the challenges ahead of us. Today we finally have a free democratic Croatia, a member of the EU and NATO, whose foundations are in the democratically expressed will of citizens and the victory of the defenders in the Homeland War, which also implies the value of antifascism," Plenković stressed.

He said that after the pandemic and last year's earthquakes, and in the context of increasingly rapid climate change, which would be by far the greatest challenge for the world in the future, Croatia needed unity and to look to the future more than ever.

"Therefore, it is up to all of us to rise to the task that awaits us," Plenković said.

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

 

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

President Zoran Milanović Says Croatia Was on the Side of Good in WWII

ZAGREB, 22 June, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday, speaking on Antifascist Struggle Day, that "the truth is a deep water," that it could hurt, but that there was nothing painful in Croatia's truth and that in WWII Croatia was not just on the side of the winners but on the side of good, too.

"The truth is a deep water and shouldn't offend anyone, but it can hurt. However, in this truth of ours there is nothing painful, it is actually beautiful. Difficult, bloody, but beautiful," Milanović said in his address at the central Antifascist Struggle Day commemoration in Brezovica Memorial Park near Sisak.

The commemoration was organised by the government and was attended by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković for the first time. This was the first time he and Milanović attended an event together after months of conflict over the selection of a new Supreme Court president.

We are doing Sisak Partisans no favor if we constantly underline they were Croats

Talking about the establishment of the First Sisak Partisan detachment 80 years ago today, Milanović said it was formed by "77 Sisak communists, revolution fighters, fighters for a better order and change."

He said "we are not doing a favour" to those people by constantly underlining that they were Croats and that that was a Croatian struggle. "Yes... they were all Croats. However, they were first and foremost communists fighting for revolution, for a Soviet Croatia, not democracy."

"Those were heroes, heroes of calibre, but other people as well, adventurers who often crossed the line and committed an injustice. All that is our history, our truth. It doesn't offend, it shouldn't be better."

Croatia was on the side of the truth and good

Milanović said he did not come to Brezovica to "force my truth on anyone" but to point to things that put Croatia where it belonged.

"Croatia wasn't just on the side of the winners, Croatia was on the side of the truth and good, the majority of the Croatian people and Croatian Serbs. To point out all the time that they were winners and not losers is a risky look on life and destiny. It means that we could have lost had the Axis, for example, won the war. Would that have made our resistance any less worthy?"

Croatia was also on the side of risk, danger and courage, therefore Croatia, just as Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro, has a deep reason to celebrate Antifascist Struggle Day, Milanović said.

The Sisak detachment was not the first one formed in Europe, but there was a symbiosis of the antifascist struggle that took place in Žabno and then in Sisak a month later, on 22 July 1941, when Ustasha forces surrounded the Partisans, he said.

Uprising with Serb brothers and sisters to preserve humanity

After that, the fighters went to the Banija region "to rise up to arms, together with our Serb brothers and sisters, to preserve humanity."

"Communist agitation on the one hand while on the other, because at that time the Croatian people wasn't ready for an uprising, the Serb people in Croatia, our brothers in arms in that war. Together with Croatian officers, they carried that people's uprising. It happened in Kordun and Banija."

Speaking of the role of Croats in WWII, Milanović said that joining the antifascist struggle was "an act of incredible bravery" for them because they lived in relative comfort in comparison with Serbs and Jews, who were persecuted and killed in the Nazi-styled 1941-45 Independent State of Croatia.

He said there were still people in Croatia, not just a few, who did not approve of celebrating Antifascist Struggle Day, "but that's how it is in a political system." He also underlined the fact that the whole state leadership was at today's commemoration.

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

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Milorad Pupovac: Ban on Ustasha Insignia is Civilisational Issue For All Political Actors

ZAGREB, 22 June, 2021 - Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) president Milorad Pupovac said on Tuesday that adopting amendments to the Criminal Code to ban Ustasha insignia and the salute "For the homeland ready" was a civilisational issue for all political actors in Croatia.

Adopting amendments to the Criminal Code is a civilisational issue for all political actors in Croatia do that it can get rid of the legacy of World War II, especially the consequences of the Ustasha rule from 1941 to 1945," Pupovac said ahead of Antifascist Struggle Day commemoration in Brezovica.

Asked whether adopting the amendments to the Criminal Code would be a condition for the SDSS to support the government, Pupovac said that no one should set any conditions about that.

"We can only discuss how to do it," he said.

He said that the president of the Zagreb Jewish Community Ognjen Kraus convened a new meeting for Friday to discuss further steps towards resolving the issue of the Ustasha salute "For the homeland ready", adding that the final version of the bill of amendments to the Criminal Code was being prepared.

Pupovac welcomed the fact that the government was the organiser of this year's central Antifascist Struggle Day commemoration in Brezovica, stressing that this was very significant.

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

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

President Zoran Milanović: "No Progress Without Harmony Among Croatian People"

ZAGREB, 22 June, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović attended a concert by the Croatian Navy Orchestra held in commemoration of Antifascist Struggle Day in Split on Monday evening, where he said that without harmony among the Croatian people there cannot be any progress.

"Without that harmony among the Croatian people, there cannot be any progress. We are few and only with joint effort, regardless of how worn out that may sound but it is worth repeating, can we go on further and can we progress," Milanović underscored.

This gathering here today, peaceful, civilised, civic, leftist, as well as traditionally Dalmatian, is an indicator that this is a normal and peaceful society that needs only a little to agree on some matters, he said.

He announced that he would attend the Antifascist Struggle Day commemoration in Brezovica on Tuesday, where the first antifascist uprising took place. 

Milanović said that he had come to Split "because of his grandfather and his brother and his grandmother and her brothers who did not go to war as antifascists, because they did not know what that meant."

He named those killed in the First Split Detachment comprising young communists from Split, saying that from today's comfortable perspective, that is difficult to comprehend.

"We do not have people like that today. They were the spark that lit the uprising, the people's uprising... I know that this day, these days, this holiday bothers some people in Croatia. I know that there was injustice, murder, unreason, because every revolution is rough, raw, unjust and quite often, if it doesn't eat them, it harms its children but that was the price they had to pay," he confirmed.

He recalled that the First Split Detachment comprised young communists from Split. "To be fair, they weren't fighters for democracy, they were revolutionaries, fierce, sometimes unjust," said Milanović.

He added that fifty years later some other people, Croatian fighters for freedom in the Homeland War, were prepared to courageously enter into battle, risking their lives.

Recently-elected Split Mayor Ivica Puljak attended the commemoration. It is our permanent obligation to create a society of equal opportunities in which freedom and mutual respect is accessible to everyone, he said.

"We always have to remember the fact that Croatia was founded on the values of antifascism and the Homeland War. In the hope that the contemporary challenges bring us even closer and strengthen our efforts to build a tolerant country open to everyone and to promote good on behalf of our future and the future of our children, I congratulate everyone on Antifascist Struggle Day," said Puljak.

The commemoration in Split was organised by the City of Split and Split-Dalmatia County as well as the county and city associations of antifascist fighters and antifascists, and the Association of Homeland War Veterans and Antifascists.

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

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Croatian Mountain Rescue Service Book Presented by Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute in Gospić

May 16, 2021 - Suitable for the 30th anniversary of one beloved Croatian civil protection organisation, the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service book was presented by the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute based in Gospic.

With many tourists and visitors (and Croats too), not being too careful when going on ''their little adventures'' up mountains such as the Dinara, Velebit, or elsewhere, the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) is as busy as Batman in Gotham. What with saving people who get lost, being bitten by poisonous animals that live on the mountains, or dealing with people who have hurt themselves in any way, they truly are praised as superheroes and are often the most beloved people on Croatian TV, either in commercials or when the press, telling their heroic tales.

Apart from mountains, their training was also shown to be useful for easing the numerous issues left following the 2020 earthquakes too.

Marking the 30 year anniversary of HGSS's station in Gospić, the Gospić Culture And Information Centre saw the presentation of the book ''The Day Replaced the Night, The Bura Wind Cleared Our View“ (Dan Je Zamijenio Noć, Bura Nam Očistila Pogled), last Friday. As reported by the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute website, the authors of this pop-science monograph are dr. Ivan Brlic, dr. Nikola Simunic and Dr. Anita Busljeta Tonkovic.

''The Gospic HGSS station, even though with a relatively small member count, operates on the biggest and toughest rescue surfaces in all of the Republic of Croatia. This monograph, through geographical, historical and sociological context, aims to explain how important, but also how difficult the mountain rescuer's job is. The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service book, covering over 150 pages in an honest and interesting way, shows why HGSS is one of the cornerstone operative forces of civil protection and that, in its professional, altruistic, and humane approach, contributes to the overall civil rescue system with the goal of saving human lives,'' they stated from the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute.

Apart from the authors of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service book themselves, the event saw HGSS Croatia's main man, Josip Granic, the director of the HGSS Gospic station, Josip Bozicevic, Deputy Interior Minister Damir Trust, as well as the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute Headmaster, Dr. Zeljko Holjevac sit down and speak. All of them agreed that this book is an important statement of gratefulness to HGSS members for all of the hard work they do.

The book is a product of the Ivo Pilar Institute's successful collaboration with the institutions in Gospic, and the wish for the further and deeper continuation of that cooperation was expressed too. In case of need, HGSS can be reached by calling 112. But, to prevent becoming yet another damsel (or a bachelor) in distress, it's not a bad idea to check their safety guidelines for enjoying the outdoors in Croatia.

Not to far from Gospic is the North Velebit National Park with its glorious mountains, about which you can learn more on our TC page.

For more about the Ivo Pilar Social research Institute in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

PM Andrej Plenković: 32 Years After Founding HDZ Remains Strongest Political Party

ZAGREB, 16 June, 2021 - A delegation of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) on Wednesday laid wreaths on the grave of HDZ founder and first Croatian president Franjo Tuđman to mark the party's 32nd anniversary, with the party leader, PM Andrej Plenković, saying the HDZ was the strongest political party in Croatia even today.

At the start of day-long events commemorating the party's 32nd anniversary, HDZ officials, led by Plenković, paid their respects at Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery to Franjo Tuđman, whom Plenković described as "a statesman, a visionary, the man who led Croatia to freedom, independence, with the plebiscite support of the Croatian people, and with the courage and bravery of Croatian defenders."

"Even today, 32 years later, the HDZ is the strongest political force in the Republic of Croatia, in Croatia in which we have achieved all basic national goals - freedom, democracy and the protection of human and minority rights, and have built institutions. Now in the fourth decade of our independence, the goal is the economy, demographic revitalisation, social inclusion, following key global processes and the fourth industrial revolution, but also the green transformation and the digital transformation," Plenković said in a statement to reporters.

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

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Mass-Scale Emigration From Croatia Has Led To Rise in Corruption - Study Finds

ZAGREB, 15 June, 2021 - The emigration of Croatian citizens, in addition to having incalculable implications for the country's pension, education and health care system, has also lead to a rise in corruption in Croatia, Večernji List newspaper said on Tuesday, citing a study by Tado Jurić, a political scientist and historian from the Croatian Catholic University.

The study showed that corruption and emigration were interrelated.

Jurić compared corruption and migration trends from 2012 to 2020, notably the number of Croatians who emigrated to Germany, the country where most Croatians go to in search of work and a better livelihood, and the ranking of Croatia in the global corruption index, and found that corruption was more pronounced when the number of people who left the country was higher. Croatia ranked 63rd among 180 countries included in the corruption index in 2019 and 2020, and 50th before the emigration wave reached its peak.

"Common sense says that if people who are not involved in corruption networks emigrate and those who stay are involved in such networks, corruption activities will be even easier to carry out and more frequent. If critics leave, all the better and easier for those criticised," Jurić says, adding that corruption is deeply rooted in Croatian society and has become a parallel system that undermines the economy.

"Corruption has done even more damage to the Croatian national identity, the sense of unity and solidarity, and to Croatian culture in general than it has done to the economy, which is unquestionably enormous. The main negative effect of corruption affected the country's human resources and political stability. In Croatian society, corruption has become a privilege of the elites, but so-called major corruption, political corruption and clientelism should not be confused with so-called civil corruption.

"So-called elite corruption has given rise to a special phenomenon in society which could be called 'a revolt of the elites'. It is the elites that use the media for their everyday protests against the media, citizens and institutions, making citizens accustomed to the practice that they should not express their dissatisfaction with politicians, but that politicians should express their dissatisfaction with them," Jurić said.

The study shows that 65.3 percent of 178 small, medium and large companies polled said that corruption has been on the rise in the last five years, while 32.4 percent believe that there has been no significant change.

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

 

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