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

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.

 

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Ruđer Bošković Institute Chemist Team Makes Progress in Life Formation Research

June 10, 2021 -  Do you ever wonder how life was formed? Always dedicated to scientific progress, the Ruđer Bošković Institute chemist team made progress in life formation research supporting the theory that the first molecules needed to develop life were formed on the surfaces of minerals in pre-historic times.

Science explores our present reality, but also the past. With many knowledge or credible theories on evolution, the very basic questions such as „how life came to form“, remain unclear. But why?

„Given that condensation (the process of water vapor turning back into liquid) of free amino acids is thermodynamically unfavoruable process in the water medium, it is a great mystery how it came to the formation of peptides before life on earth“, states the Ruđer Bošković Institute (IRB) press release.

It's worth noting that the thermodynamically unfavourabale process means the process is irreversible, which means it can't be reconstructed, and that's why scientists can see the formation of peptides, chains that connect amino acids that are crucial for life.

So, meet prebiotic chemistry – a study of chemistry dedicated to address and discover how organic compounds formed and self-organized for the origin of life, but so far without consensus.

But, progress is made once again thanks to the always active IRB. IRB's chemist team (José G. Hernández, dr Krunoslav Užarević, and Ph.D. student Tomislav Stolar,), in collaboration with colleagues from the pharmaceutical company Xellia (dr. sc. Ernest Meštrović, mag. chem. Saša Grubešić and dr. Nikolaom Cindro from the chemical department at the Faculty of Science (PMF), University of Zagreb), showed that with mechanochemical activation in a solid-state, the amino acids (organic compounds that combine to form proteins, with both being considered „the building blocks of life“) - such as glycine or alanine form peptides on mineral surfaces.

This supports the theory that life molecules could've been formed on Earth's mineral surfaces. The paper titled „Mechanochemical Prebiotic Peptide Bond Formation“, published in the prestigious Angewandte Chemie scientific journal published on behalf of the German Chemical Society presents these findings in greater detail.

Stolar_-_Užaervić_-_Hernandez.jpg

Stolar, Užarević and Hernandez © Ruđer Bošković Institute

„In this research, we showed that mechanochemical activation of free glycin ground with ball mill allows the new oligomers (molecules made of few similar or identical repeating units) by adding minerals that are basic components of earth surface and meteorites. With the identification of organic and inorganic molecules present in the Solar system, it's important in laboratory conditions to develop suitable processes that would explain the presence of these molecules. Such fundamental knowledge can then be applied in modern synthetical chemistry“, said a member of the IRB chemist team Tomislav Stolar. Stolar also participated in developing a new material known as CuZn-MOF-74 on which TCN previously wrote about.

The research was financed by the  Croatian Science Foundation (HRZZ), and the next step is to apply this knowledge to synthesize new chemicals, which was one of the purposes of the research described by HRZZ.

IRB adds that the fact that various geological processes change the earth's surface, there is no historic evidence that could definitely answer how life on Earth was formed. It is believed that the first simple molecules triggered complex molecules to form in a process called chemical evolution and from that, life further continued to develop. Liquids, solid surfaces, or the phases between the two could've been potential conditions for these reactions, and mechanical energy sources were most likely found in meteor strikes, erosion, earthquakes, and more while thermal energy was most likely supplied by geothermal sources.

Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

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

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Cultural Identity of Vukovar: New Book Presented in Vukovar

June 9, 2021 - The fascinating question of the Cultural Identity of Vukovar is researched in a new book edited by Dr. Mateo Žanić and Petar Elez. However, as the editors stressed in the introduction, further research is needed to encompass all social groups in Vukovar and their contribution to the heritage of Vukovar.

After being published back in April this year, the book „Cultural Identity of Vukovar – Contribution to Investigating Heritage and Successors“, was presented this Wednesday in Vukovar. As Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute writes on its website the book was published in cooperation with the Vukovar State Archive, so it was only suitable that the first book presentation was held in Vukovar at the videoconference hall of College Of Applied Sciences „Lavoslav Ružička“ (named after a famous Croatian chemist whose work is awarded a Nobel Prize). In addition, the event marked International Archive Day.

The book was edited by Dr. Mateo Žanić and Petar Elez, and the presentation, alongside editors, saw scientific experts Dr. Dražen Živić, Mirela Hutinec, and Dr. Domagoj Tomas talks about the book.

„Fast events triggered by globalization process and information revolution which paradoxically lead to today's societies being fiercely occupied with the meaning of past, and preserving its valuable traces. In that context, there is a spreading interest for heritage that holds an important component to understand the relationship between the past and present“, says the editorial introduction of the book.

The editors went on to explain how „the city proved to be futile to interpret the meaning of heritage and its contribution to cultural identity,“ and the editors wanted to present various aspects of Vukovar's cultural heritage.

Apart from editors Žanić (who wrote a chapter „Layers of memories and material heritage in modern-day Vukovar) and Elez (author of the chapter „State archive in Vukovar and development of archive service in Vukovar-Srijem County“), the book features eight more authors. Ivan Rogić (Whose Heritage? Who is the successor?), Dražen Živić (on Vukovar's feudalists), Vlasta Novinc („Danube, food, Corso“), Dragana Drašković (on the cultural life of Borovo Selo), and more by Dragan Damjanović, Toni Roca, Ivana Bendra and Ivan Hubalek.

With these broad presentations of culture and heritage in Vukovar, editors hope this book will encourage further research as they are aware this is certainly not the final word on these interesting questions and issues.

„As editors, we are aware that the book does not deal with topics that concern different social groups that left their trace in Vukovar end enrich the history of the city. We hope that future editions that will deal with this topic expand the reach of issues and help us to realize better what do we inherit from the past and why is that important“, concludes the introduction of the book.

So far, the book is available only in Croatian, and research that will, as editors say, deal with other social groups in Vukovar is yet to come. Keeping in mind the terrible aftermaths of the war in Vukovar in the 90s and inter-ethnic tensions, further findings on joint cultural contribution to Vukovar may indeed be the enlightenment needed for peaceful cohabitation and development of Vukovar as a perspective city in Croatia.

Speaking of heritage, learn more about UNESCO recognized heritage in Croatia on our TC page.

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

Page 2 of 15

Search