Thursday, 10 March 2022

Branko Roglic Doesn't Know How Russia Will Survive, Hopes They Go Bankrupt

March the 10th, 2022 - Branko Roglic is very well known name among business and investment circles across the Republic of Croatia, and he, one of the most wealthy Croats at the moment, has stated that he has no idea how Russia will survive the harsh sanctions placed on it, and that he hopes the country goes bankrupt.

As Jutarnji list/Novac HR writes, Branko Roglic, one of the most well off Croats who owns a company that operates in about 20 countries across Europe, including Russia and Ukraine, was a recent guest on Dnevnik Nova TV.

"We have 50 people over in Ukraine. We have 150 people in Russia, as that's a bigger company. At the moment we know that our employees have spoken out against the war and we paid those in Ukraine two salaries as soon as the Russian aggression against that country started, we also offered them relocation to Poland, to which they all said no and instead chose to remain in their homeland,'' Branko Roglic said at the beginning of the conversation.

"At the moment, almost all distribution chains have been cut off and this will affect product prices in every country and when it comes to Russia... I don't know how it will survive that," Branko Roglic said.

The biggest price increase, he said, will be for food products. Last year, a 30 percent increase in inflation was announced, and now he thinks that figure will be even higher. "The government is currently between a rock and a hard place. It can't help the economy much because it has to pay its own costs, it's not easy. No one has experienced blows to the government like Prime Minister Plenkovic has," Roglic commented.

He believes Putin will go on to ban exports to Europe. "They'll certainly do that. We're waiting for counter-sanctions. It isn't easy for the European Union either. Russia cannot last long," he said.

Russia's bankruptcy is predicted by some to occur on April the 15th, when they must repay their first loan to international institutions. "It would be good to get rid of another dictator and get another democratic country that will be a partner for Europe," Branko Roglic firmly believes.

"They thought they would just be able to walk easily through Ukraine and behave in such a way. That they would bring their man to the helm there - that didn't happen. It turned out that the Ukrainians are a much stronger opponent than they could have ever expected. This is a great advantage and opportunity for Europe to unite. I think that the war should end with negotiations and that the Russians should return to the borders of their own country," Branko Roglic added.

As for the question of the sensitivity of the Croatian economy to the ongoing war in Ukraine following Russia's recent unjustified invasion, Roglic believes we're very lucky to have Slavonia and the agricultural richness of that Easternmost part of the country.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Plenković: Women's Equality Precondition for Modern and Healthy Society

ZAGREB, 9 March 2022 - Referring to International Women's Day on Wednesday Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that equality between women and men "is a precondition for a modern, successful and healthy society that we are building together."

"Equality between women and men is a right and a fundamental value of our constitution and legislative framework," Plenković said in his opening remarks at a cabinet meeting.

He mentioned women in Ukraine, saying that their "fundamental rights and security are threatened in these difficult circumstances" of Russian military aggression.

Plenković said that International Women's Day is an opportunity to examine women's position in Croatian society, "inequality between women and men on the labour market, discrimination, and in particular psychological and physical violence against women, and prejudices and stereotypes that cause them."

He said that equality means equal status, equal opportunity, equal reward for the results achieved, dignity and respect.

He added that his government is focused on protecting women's rights and freedoms, and resolute in condemning and fighting any form of discrimination and violence.

"I think we are changing things for the better, creating a society in which women and men live in equality in all spheres of life. That is a precondition for a modern, successful and healthy society that we are building together," the prime minister said.

Plenković congratulated Ivan Paladina on becoming the new Minister of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets, after he had received the trust of the ruling majority in Parliament. He wished him success in his work, particularly in speeding up the post-earthquake reconstruction of Zagreb and the Banovina region.

For more information on this, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Croatian Parliament Adopts Government Report on Situation in Ukraine

ZAGREB, 9 March 2022 - The Croatian parliament on Wednesday adopted the prime minister's report on the situation in Ukraine, which strongly condemned the Russian invasion and praised the Ukrainian military and people for their heroic resistance.

Also adopted were government measures relating to the humanitarian, healthcare, financial, banking, energy, transport, defence and other sectors, and the government was called upon to consider the proposals put forward by MPs.

In the report, presented last week, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković expressed full support for the Ukrainian people "who are dying for European values".

"Supporting Ukraine and respecting the courage of Ukrainians not to flee before tanks, not to give in to blackmail, not to bow down their heads, to be inspired by love of their country as the Croats were in the Homeland War, let us stand together with Ukraine and Ukrainians today. Glory to Ukraine!" Plenković said.

Parliament adopted amendments to the Court Register Act and the Companies Act aimed at helping companies avoid a bankruptcy.

Also adopted was the proposal to declare 14 May, Croatian Diabetes Day. An estimated 500,000 people in Croatia have diabetes, and the importance of this topic will be marked twice a year - on World Diabetes Day (14 November) and Croatian Diabetes Day (14 May).

The ruling majority rejected the proposal by Marijan Pavliček (Croatian Sovereignists) to amend the Civil Protection System Act so that all decisions made by the national COVID-19 response team would be put to a vote in Parliament.

For more information on this and more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Monday, 7 March 2022

PM: If You Are on Russia's List, You've Pursued a Good Policy

7 March 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Monday commented on a list of enemy countries released by Russia, which includes Croatia, and added that "if you're on that list, then you've pursued a good policy, you can be proud of that".

He said that 1.8 million people had fled Ukraine to date and that according to estimates, the number would be higher and higher.

Plenković reiterated that he supported Ukraine's EU path, adding that the method of accession required some time.

"I understand that political desire, Croatia will definitely be a voice of support," he said, expressing some doubt whether all of that was realistic "in such a short time."

He also pointed out that the stability of Southeast Europe, especially Bosnia and Herzegovina, was in Croatia's interest.

"The most important thing is that a political agreement is reached between the constituent peoples on just changes to the electoral law which will stop the long-term practice of electoral engineering," he said.

The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leadership today also discussed the government decision on cushioning fuel price hikes.

"Our basic tasks will be to ensure energy supply, security, which has gained a new dimension, and we will try to reduce the impact on the citizens' standard of living," Plenković said, adding that the circumstances were such that they required intervention from the state.

Monday, 7 March 2022

Russian-Owned Croatian Villas Line Adriatic Coast, What's Next For Them?

March the 7th, 2022 - Russian-owned Croatian villas are dotted all along the Croatian coastline, but with harsh sanctions in place and Croatia freezing all such properties related to the Russian regime, what's going to happen next with these luxurious properties?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the fact that Kvarner has been very interesting for rich Russian nationals for years now when it comes to buying real estate is proved by the fact that some of the most beautiful villas there are owned by Russians. Opatija, meaning the entire Opatija Riviera, is truly one of the most sought-after destinations for Russians in Croatia to buy luxury apartments and houses in attractive positions. This was confirmed by some of the large property agencies that have been doing business with Russian buyers for years, Novi list writes.

"When we talk about the number of Russian-owned Croatian villas and other properties, as far as foreign buyers are concerned, Russians aren't in the majority here, but they're in the majority in terms of the number of the most exclusive properties owned. We can say that in the period until 2015, there was a craze of wealthy Russian people coming for the most expensive villas in this part of Kvarner, along the stretch from Volosko to Medveja. In that period, they bought property as residential buyers, namely the most exclusive real estate, which was often located along the first row to the sea or with a beautiful view of all of Kvarner,'' said Vjeran Saina, senior agent of the Remax Real Estate Centre.

He explained that Russian citizens could initially buy real property only if they set up a company here in Croatia, but later the situation was simplified and today they can acquire ownership of property defined by the law of reciprocity, ie reciprocity between Croatia and Russia as individual buyers.

Speaking about buyers from the Russian market, Saina said that in fact, after making a purchase, the Russians, as a rule, did not stay long in their newly acquired villas. In conversations they often mentioned that there is a lack of quality content in the Kvarner area, such as shopping and nightlife, which forces them to spend their money, for example, in neighbouring Italy.

As for the interests of Russian buyers, this real estate agent explained that after 2015, the wave of them buying residential real estate in Croatia subsided.

"Competing countries such as Montenegro, Cyprus, Spain, allowed Russians to enter the country without hindrance, but also through other benefits. For example, when buying real estate in Montenegro above the value of 500,000 euros, buyers from the Russian market get the right to permanent residence. Over recent years we've noticed an increase in the interest of Russian buyers in investing. They're interested in large investments in the area of ​​Liburnia. Several projects were successful, but we could also notice some not so successful investments, which were still too big for our area in terms of planning and implementation, and they were simply not well received by the market. Given the current political situation, we haven't noticed that the Russians are turning to Croatia for the sale of the real estate they own in Kvarner. That property has not been frozen and the Russians aren't expressing concern,'' Saina told Novi list, adding that several Russian investors have been operating in Croatia for many years now and said recently that they were doing business as before.

"As agents who are part of the international brand Remax, we're in constant communication with our colleagues, but also sellers and investors from abroad, and we are waiting for the situation to unfold further," concluded Vjeran Sain in reference to Russian-owned Croatian villas and more.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 6 March 2022

Croatia Has Taken in Over 2,000 Ukraine Refugees, Plenković Says

ZAGREB, 6 March 2022 - Croatia has received more than 2,000 Ukrainian refugees and does not plan to stop offering assistance, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Sunday.

The whole system which the government has established to receive Ukrainian refugees is "ready", he said in Dubai, where he attended the marking of Croatian National Day at Expo 2020 and visited the Ukrainian Pavilion.

"It's time we show big solidarity and we are indeed doing it," Plenković added.

Commenting on the Kremlin's claims that President Vladimir Putin has requested a list of the states which have imposed sanctions on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine, he said Croatia stood behind its actions regarding Moscow.

"We made our decisions, we are part of the European Union and NATO, part of those countries which respect international law and order and respect other states' borders. We stand behind our decisions, independently of what the list will be like," Plenković said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 6 March 2022

Ukraine War Affects Buying Trends, What are Croats Purchasing?

March the 6th, 2022 - With the Russian invasion of Ukraine sending shockwaves throughout the rest of Europe and indeed the world, buying trends are altering. What exactly are Croats purchasing as Putin's forces continue their disgraceful attack on neighbouring Ukraine and the threat of nuclear war looms?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a well known Croatian portal for comparative shopping, has quickly noticed the demand for certain products over more recent weeks, which was significantly marked by the aforementioned Russian invasion of Ukraine, and with it the threats of nuclear war, has shot up.

Comparing the demand of online customers in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) on the comparison platforms of the Heureka Group, the portal noticed significant matches in the interest of online customers. A sharp increase in demand can be seen in the categories of portable chargers, generators, sleeping bags, solid fuel stoves, and canisters.

When it comes to Croats purchasing items, this match in searches is visible in the category of portable chargers, which recorded an increase in demand of almost 70 percent when compared to just one week before, for neighbouring Slovenian consumers, a general trend of matching with consumers in the rest of the wider CEE region is visible in categories such as sleeping bags (which has recorded a 100 percent increase in demand for the Slovenes).

Of the six countries analysed, a significant diversification of demand for products which can be used for humanitarian and preventive purposes was observed in the Czech Republic. The greatest interest was recorded for solid fuel stoves (+112 percent), sleeping bags (+147 percent), walkie-talkie transmitters (+300 percent), solar chargers (+349 percent) and canisters (+536 percent). Similar demand was observed for online customers in nearby Slovakia and Romania, while customers in neighbouring Hungary included electric generators (+144 percent) in their increased demand.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 6 March 2022

Croatian Property Owned by All Entities Close to Russian Regime Frozen

March the 6th, 2022 - All Croatian property owned by entities close to the Russian Federation's regime have been frozen in response to the recent Russian invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

As Morski/Stipe Majic writes, at a working lunch held with the ambassadors of the European Union (EU), Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic clearly condemned the continued Russian aggression against Ukraine, and announced the sanctioning of all persons and real entities related to the Russian regime who own Croatian property, as reported by the Anadolu Agency (AA).

In Zagreb, Plenkovic participated in a working lunch with the Ambassadors of the European Union member states to the Republic of Croatia, hosted by the Ambassador of the French Republic Gael Francois Veyssiere on the occasion of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

After the working lunch, Frano Matosic, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MVEP), said that Croatian Prime Minister Plenkovic had informed the gathered ambassadors of EU member states about Croatia's views on the current situation in Ukraine.

Matosic pointed out that the condemnation of the aggression against Ukraine is unquestionable by all EU member states, including Croatia, and that support was expressed for the state leadership of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, while condemning the policy of the Russian Federation.

Matosic said that just before lunch, the Croatian prime minister visited the Plitvice Motel, where Ukrainian refugees are currently being housed, to welcome them and told them that Croatia was open to accepting them, providing adequate education for their children and employment opportunities for adults.

Matosic said that Croatia's sanctions would be directed at the very top of the Russian Federation, especially at oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin's regime and all "those who raised their hand for the independence of self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine."

''Croatia has a clear list compiled within the EU. These are 702 entities, of which about 650 are natural persons, and the rest are legal entities located on the MVEP website. We will sanction them in such a way that these assets (Croatian property owned by them) cannot be sold or provide any benefit. Their Croatian property will not be confiscated, but frozen in accordance with all rights,'' Matosic said.

He emphasised that there are intensive efforts underwat to identify the Croatian property owned by persons and legal entities close to the Russian regime, which are subject to a joint agreement on sanctions.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Former Yacht of Putin's Friend in Rijeka Port, Commenters Say to Burn it

March the 3rd, 2022 - Rijeka Port is currently home to the former yacht of one of Russian President's Vladimir Putin's friends, and news of that hasn't gone down too well on social media, with some commenting that it should be burned.

As Jurica Gaspar/Morski writes, one of the world's most luxurious yachts, the Royal Romance, was owned by Ukrainian lawyer and businessman Viktor Medvedchuk, a man close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. This yacht is far from a stranger to the Croatian coast, quite on the contrary, the captain of the ship is from Croatia. It is currently moored in the Rijeka Port.

Yachts belonging to both Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs closely linked to Vladimir Putin are the target of sanctions across Europe and the rest of the world, and many owners are panicking about where to store their floating wealth. It seems that the angry Ukrainians whose country was attacked also noticed this, and there has been quite a disturbing call on social media for this yacht to be set alight in the Rijeka Port.

"The Royal Romance yacht is in Rijeka!'' ''The boss is a sponsor of the war in Ukraine!'' ''His money is being spent on war and rockets!'' ''The boss is Putin's buddy and now he has fled Ukraine.'' ''This yacht needs to be set on fire!'' were just some of the comments published on the Facebook group "Ukrainians in Croatia", below which are messages of support, and even instructions on how to correctly throw a Molotov cocktail. However, there are also a few more creative comments, such as using the impressive vessel to accommodate refugees from Ukraine or to sell it and direct the money to support the Armed Forces fighting in Ukraine.

Since the message was published on social media and threats were being made towards the vessel in the Rijeka Port where a Croatian crew is taking care of things, the Rijeka police were asked, who were asked if the vessel was under special police protection and whether or not local police have an insight into these or similar threats, but they couldn't answer this over the phone, so same inquiry was then sent in writing.

In the meantime, the captain of the Royal Romance yacht, Bubica Saric, made contact, saying the following:

''The yacht was sold back in March last year and is no longer owned by the aforementioned person, because if it had, it would have been in Monaco, where it was before,'' he said, answering that he can't reveal who the current owner is. He is angry, he added, because of the public name-calling of the yacht in the capacity of the former owner, because that puts his crew in danger.

This ''skyscraper at sea'' was owned by Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch and a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Superyachtfan provides some interesting information about him, and among other things, it can be learned that Medvedchuk is the founder of a law firm based in Kiev, which is currently under siege. He is also known as one of the members of the so-called ''Kyiv Seven'' group, made up of seven very successful businessmen: Medvedchuk, Valentin Zhursky, Grigory and Igor Surkis, Bohdan Hubsky, Yuri Karpenko and Yuri Lijah, who died in 2004.

The K7 Group's business background began way back in 1992 through offshore companies, which imported oil into Ukraine to sell it internally.

Viktor Medvedchuk is, among other things, a pro-Russian politician who was arrested last year and allegedly escaped from house arrest amid Russian aggression against Ukraine, Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko confirmed on Sunday, although Medvedchuk's lawyer denied the allegations.

Medvedchuk, the leader of Ukraine's opposition Platform - For Life, was under house arrest after authorities launched treason proceedings against him, according to Reuters and according to He, of course, rejects such accusations. Medvedchuk's lawyer said that this client was forced to relocate the site due to threats from nationalist groups and informed authorities.

The luxury yacht Royal Romance is a frequent guest of the Rijeka Port, and it can accommodate 14 guests and is cared for by 22 crew members.

The yacht is 93 metres long, 14.3 metres wide, is designed to accommodate 14 guests in seven luxury cabins, and is cared for by as many as 22 crew members. The vessel has a maximum speed of 15 knots, has a draft of 3.85 metres, and the luxury facilities it boasts include teak decks, a gym, elevators connecting a total of five decks and a 12-metre pool with a waterfall on the upper deck.

It is a vessel that is on the list of the 100 best yachts in the world of all time and was built in the Dutch shipyard Feadship, which specialises in the construction of luxury vessels. It is powered by two 3,000-horsepower diesel engines. The yacht is reportedly used exclusively for private purposes and is not so easily rented out unless you're close to the owner or his wealthy elite circle.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Milanović: Had Europe Had Stronger Role, War in Ukraine Might Not Have Happened

ZAGREB, 2 March 2022 - If Europe had had a stronger role, maybe the war in Ukraine would not have happened, President Zoran Milanović said on Wednesday, expressing support for Ukrainians who are defending themselves against the Russian invasion.

"I feel terribly sorry this has happened. One cannot say anything else but express support for a successful defence," Milanović told reporters during a visit to Pakrac, where he attended an event commemorating the 31st anniversary of the start of the Homeland War in the area of that western Slavonian town.

"It is practically impossible to take a big city without completely destroying it. If someone is willing to defend it," Milanović said, recalling that the Iraqi city of Mosul had been defended for eight months before it fell.

Close to 700,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in the EU.

The Croatian president said that it was a question for the government if Croatia was ready to take in Ukrainian refugees, noting that he could say that "we are morally ready for it."

"There is an information blockade. The Russian side is releasing what it wants, and that is very little. The other side actually does not know anything," Milanović said, adding that Croatian ambassadors could not do much either, notably the ambassador in Moscow because Russia shared little information.

PM Andrej Plenković said earlier on Wednesday that Croatia's Ambassador to Ukraine, Anica Djamić, had left Kyiv and was on her way to Lviv.

Milanović said that "one should always be concerned" when anyone threatens the use of nuclear weapons, and that that "would be the end of the world" but he does not think that that is happening now.

Answering a reporter's question, Milanović said that he had not spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, adding that he did not know how it could help and that it was too late to send peace messages.

"I would not want the conflict to move to cities because if it does, it will become horrible," he added.

Milanović expressed confidence that the war could be ended only by Ukraine and Russia or Russia and the USA, adding, "This is their conflict".

"If Berlin and Paris had been in charge, and they could not do it, war would not have happened...the Minsk Agreement was not implemented, who is to blame?" he said.

"If Europe had had a stronger role in this, and it was incapable of it, this conflict might not have happened," said Milanović.

There is no threat to Croatia

Milanović noted that PM Plenković should not have said that the level of the army's preparedness had been raised.

"That has caused alarm in the public. This is a serious matter... the level of the army's readiness has not been raised and will not be in the current circumstances. The army operates as in normal conditions, there is a slightly higher degree of protection, but that is within the remit of the Armed Forces' Chief-of-Staff," Milanović said, explaining that "this means one more guard."

"That has nothing to do with a more serious or any threat to Croatia. That has not occurred for the time being and will not occur," he said.

Milanović noted that at present he did not see any reason for holding a session of the National Security Council, and that Croatia should focus more on the rights of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

BiH, Kosovo deserve EU candidate status, too

The presidents of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia said in an open letter on Monday that Ukraine deserves the prospect of immediate EU membership.

In addition to Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, too, deserve EU candidate status, Milanović said today.

"I was willing to sign (the letter) only if that status was granted to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo," with the latter not having been recognised by all EU members, said Milanović.

He added that Croatia "wishes BiH well" and that Sarajevo should understand that.

Milanović also called for making a decision to launch accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia "which the EU has been mistreating for years", noting that this "is equally important to Croatia as is Ukraine."

In a direct message to Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, Milanović said that "it would be good if they returned to BiH institutions" and that he could soon phone him.

"Republika Srpska cannot get out of BiH, that's impossible... They belong in the West, the the Serb people belong in the West, not in Russia," he added.

As for Belgrade, Milanović said that now was time for it to decide where it belonged, "whether it is the EU or Russia, for sentimental reasons which I can understand."

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić is not giving in to pressure from the West and does not want to introduce sanctions against Russia but has said that Serbia respects the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

For more on the Ukraine crisis and Croatia, as well as breaking news, follow our news section.

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