Saturday, 14 May 2022

Pupovac: Criminal Ideologies, Perpetrators Deserve Condemnation, Contempt

ZAGREB, 14 May 2022 - Serb National Council (SNV) president Milorad Pupovac said on Saturday, in a comment on the commemoration of the Bleiburg tragedy, that every victim deserved to be commemorated and remembered but that criminal ideologies and their executors deserved condemnation and social and moral contempt.

"Each victim deserves their suffering to be commemorated and remembered. Ideologies that are criminal deserve condemnation and contempt. Perpetrators of crimes deserve social and moral contempt. Those who do not want to make this kind of distinction are not guided by the highest of moral principles," Pupovac said at Petrova Gora, where the SNV, the Association of Antifascist Fighters and Antifascists (SABA) and local officials marked the 80th anniversary of a Partisan attack launched to break from enemy encirclement on that mountain in Karlovac County.

The operation helped establish a free territory and save 10,000 refugees and is considered the first organised case of resistance to fascism in Europe.

Reporters asked Pupovac how he interpreted today's commemorative events for the Bleiburg victims, to which he said that the preamble to the Croatian Constitution spoke of the Partisan movement and decisions by the State Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Croatia (ZAVNOH), of which the Partisan field hospital at Petrova Gora was part.

Preamble to Constitution does not communicate what present-day Croatian policies communicate

"The preamble to the Croatian Constitution and the part of the Mirogoj cemetery dedicated to the Ustasha and Home Guards do not communicate what our policies today communicate," he said.

The SNV said that at Petrova Gora today it remembered May 1942, when 730 Partisan fighters launched an attack on Ustasha and Italian fascists whose forces were ten times bigger, broke out of the encirclement and established a free territory, saving 10,000 people who had fled their villages.

"This is a very important place in the modern history of Croatia and in the struggle of the peoples of Croatia and Yugoslavia for freedom, against Nazi, fascist and local (collaborationist) forces," the SNV president said.

He called for restoring the Partisan hospital complex at Petrova Gora so that the place is given the treatment it deserves "in line with the freedom-loving traditions of Croatia and Europe."

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Homeland Movement Says Authorities Disregard Tuđman's Role

ZAGREB, 14 May 2022 - An event was held in Vukovar on Saturday to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Croatia's first president Franjo Tuđman, with speakers at the event saying that the current state leadership and Zagreb city authorities disregard the role of the late president.

Vukovar Mayor and Homeland Movement leader Ivan Penava, historian Josip Jurčević, the late Croatian president's advisor, former justice minister and member of parliament, Bosiljko Mišetić, and academician Josip Pečarić spoke about Tuđman at the event.

Jurčević said that the more "Tuđman is de-Tuđmanised, the greater symbolic importance he has."

Pečarić believes that the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU) treats Tuđman the same way the state does, with his membership of HAZU being regularly passed over.

Penava said that if the Homeland Movement had been consulted on how Tuđman's 100th birth anniversary should be commemorated, celebrations would be taking place across the country.

"Institutions, kindergartens, schools, research and other institutions would be discussing Tuđman's 100th birth anniversary the whole day. Military aircraft would be flying over Zagreb in his honour, instead of Macron's, as seen a few weeks ago," said Penava.

Commenting on Tuđman's younger son Stjepan's failure to attend the Vukovar event, Penava said that due to disappointment with events surrounding the 100th anniversary of his father's birth, Stjepan Tuđman decided to stay in Zagreb and visit with his family Veliko Trgovišće, where his father was born, as well as attend Mass in Zagreb.

Penava said that the state leadership and the Zagreb city authorities' treatment of the Tuđman family was the best proof of the authorities' attitude toward Tuđmanism, sovereignism and to Croatia as created by Tuđman and defenders in 1991.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Plenković: Tuđman Played Crucial Role in Croatia's Efforts to Become Independent

ZAGREB, 14 May 2022 - Prime Minister and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader Andrej Plenković recalled on Saturday that the basic principle of the policy of the first Croatian president and the HDZ founder, Franjo Tuđman, was "always and everything for Croatia".

Addressing a scientific conference in Zagreb on the occasion of Tuđman's 100th birth anniversary, Plenković said that Tuđman had played the key role in Croatia's efforts to become an independent state.

Plenković highlighted the achievements of the first Croatian president in the establishment of democratic institutions, the defence of Croatia's territory against the Great Serbia aggression from 1991 to 1995 and against the Slobodan Milošević regime as well as Croatia's return to the community of European and world nations.

 All that makes Tuđman the greatest Croatian politician and statesman, said Plenković.

Condemning the undemocratic movements in the modern Croatian political history and strong advocacy of Croatians' right to sovereignty and modern democracy are some of Tuđman's most important ideas, Plenković told the gathering.

Tuđman's advocacy of the democratic right to express one's own opinion and his struggle for the Croatian cause exposed him to repression during the Communist  regime, Plenković recalled.

Plenković also recalled that 23 years had passed since Tuđman's death, 33 since the establishment of the HDZ party, 32 since the first democratic multiparty election, 30 years since Croatia's international recognition and the country's admission to the United Nations.

Tuđman's "Always and Everything for Croatia" should be a guiding principle to all of us  policymakers who work responsibly for the benefit of the Croatian people in the homeland and for the benefit of the Croats as an equal constituent people in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the ethnic Croat minorities in the neighbouring countries, said Plenković, recalling Tuđman's commitment to permanent ties between Croatia and Croatian expatriate communities.

He praised the era of the first Croatian president as a period of Croatian national renaissance.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

HDZ Marks 100th Anniversary of Birth of First Croatian President And HDZ Founder

ZAGREB, 14 May 2022 - A delegation of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković laid a wreath and lit candles outside the house in Veliko Trgovišće, 40km north of Zagreb, where the first President of Croatia and founder of the HDZ, Franjo Tuđman, was born 100 years ago.

"I think that President Tuđman achieved all the goals he set out in his speech in the Croatian Parliament on 30 May 1990 after the first democratic election. It is up to us to improve them in new international circumstances and new economic circumstances in the face of global challenges. We should do all we can for the benefit of Croatian society and Croatian citizens," Plenković said, describing Tuđman as "a Croatian great and the biggest Croatian statesman in history."

Plenković said that Tuđman's political legacy is the obligation of all those who have won the trust of the Croatian people.  Thanking all Croatian defenders and citizens for supporting Tuđman in crucial times, he said that the situation in the 1990s was indeed difficult, given the military aggression by Serbia's Milošević regime, and required the courage and boldness of Croatian defenders as well as statesmanship and the wise leadership of the state.

The prime minister said that Croatia has been internationally recognised for 30 years now and has achieved all its strategic goals.

"It is a member of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. We have a democracy and developed institutions and are making continued progress on what was his goal and that is that we fight and work together to ensure a better life for every Croatian," Plenković said.

He also highlighted Croatia's care for the Croats abroad, saying that the great value of Tuđman's policy was to maintain ties between the Croats at home and abroad.

Presidential special adviser Mate Granić said that Tuđman had made historical moves that led to the creation of the modern Croatian state and pursued a policy that helped bring an end to the war in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina and achieve the peaceful reintegration of Serb-occupied territories in Croatia.

Asked if Tuđman would have been pleased with present-day Croatia, Granić said: "From a strategic point of view, absolutely yes. This government of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković runs a modern, sovereignist policy. This government was also among the first to recognise what would happen in Ukraine and supported Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in their defence against the brutal and unprovoked Russian aggression. This government cares for the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Unfortunately, after Tuđman's death, 15 years had to pass before a government came into power than put focus on the status of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina."

The HDZ delegation included Minister for Veterans' Affairs Tomo Medved, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, Health Minister Vili Beroš, Transport Minister Oleg Butković, Defence Minister Mario Banožić, Economy Minister Davor Filipović, Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek and former HDZ Secretary-General Ivan Jarnjak.

The HDZ delegation also laid a wreath at Tuđman's grave at Mirogoj Cemetery in Zagreb.

For more, check out our 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.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Lawyer: Tuđman Would Certainly Pardon Perković and Mustač

ZAGREB, 19 April 2022 - Lawyer Anto Nobilo formally asked the Ministry of Justice and Administration on Tuesday to pardon Yugoslav-era intelligence officials Josip Perković and Zdravko Mustač, who have been sentenced to life imprisonment for their roles in the murder of a political emigrant in Germany 39 years ago.

"I do not know what President Zoran Milanović will decide, but I do know that Franjo Tuđman, if he were still alive, would pardon them both and (the late defence minister) Gojko Šušak would be the first on the list of generals to sign it," Nobilo told the press.

Perković and Mustač's legal representative said he no longer had an active role in this case and that they would have to wait for a decision on a possible pardon. He said he expected the decision to be made within a reasonable period of time, "a week or two."

Nobilo said he was aware of Milanović's statement that generally he would not sign a pardon, adding that there was a possibility of an exception.

The lawyer said this case was an exception because Perković and Mustač had found themselves caught between "non-harmonised German and Croatian judicial systems."

He said they would have been sentenced to 15 years in prison had they been tried in Croatia. "When an injustice is done in legitimate proceedings, there is the institute of pardon to ensure justice in exceptional cases."

A letter of support for a pardon has been signed by retired Croatian Army generals Ante Gotovina, Ivan Čermak, Ljubo Ćesić Rojs, Pavao Miljavac, Davor Domazet Lošo and Marinko Krešić, Krešić has later withdrawn his signature, as did General Krešimir Ćosić before him.

Media say that the retired generals believe Perković and Mustač deserve a pardon on account of their contribution to the defence of Croatia during the 1991-1995 Homeland War.

President Milanović's Office said they had received the request for a pardon this morning and that the President would speak to the generals, but there would be no special meeting on this matter.

Perković and Mustač were sentenced to life imprisonment by a Munich court in August 2016 for aiding and abetting in the murder of Croatian political emigrant Stjepan Đureković in Wolfratshausen, outside Munich, on 28 July 1983.

At the time relevant to the indictment, Mustač was the political chief of the State Security Service in Zagreb, while Perković headed a department dealing with political emigrants. In the spring of 1982, Mustač ordered Perković to prepare the murder of Đureković in Germany.