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A Week in Croatian Politics – Croatian-Ukrainian Solidarity, Sundays and Eggs

February the 24th, 2023 – This week in Croatian politics, we’ve seen the marking of one year since Russia invaded Ukraine, messages of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, a deeper look into what makes Plenkovic tick, discussions around working Sundays… Oh, and some eggs.

An anti-war protest is held in Zagreb as the one year anniversary since Russia’s horrific invasion of Ukraine is marked

An anti-war protest has been being held today here in the heart of Zagreb on the occasion of the anniversary of the shocking Russian invasion of Ukraine.

”Expressing solidarity with the victims of Russian aggression in Ukraine, we, feminists and peacekeepers from Croatia, alongside the rally “Stop the War Now” want to encourage those responsible to stop the suffering of the Ukrainian people as soon as possible. We’ll send our requests to the addresses of the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic of Croatia, reminding them that Croatia, which itself survived the Homeland War with many scars, is morally and humanly obliged to make the maximum effort for peace.

On this day, demonstrations for peace are being held all over Europe and around the world. We’re joining all the people who demand an end to the war in Ukraine, the arms race and the start of peace talks! Negotiating does not mean surrendering, arming yourself does not mean winning. As peacemakers and feminists, we especially support related peace initiatives and efforts in Ukraine, in Russia and around the rest of the world. We demand the following from the Croatian Government and the President of the Republic of Croatia, the competent bodies of the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN), as well as international bodies in charge of security and cooperation:

– The immediate cessation of the war, killing and war-related destruction;
– Demilitarisation and serious diplomatic efforts to initiate negotiations and the peace process;
– The launching of a new security and peace agreement that would include all countries on the territory of Europe;
– The launching of a new global agreement on arms control, especially in regard to nuclear weapons;
– Systemic support for women in war zones because militarism and warrior machismo reinforce gender-based violence including rape, prostitution and trafficking in women;
– The ensuring of the rights of civilian victims, including victims of sexual violence in war, in accordance with international criminal law;
– Full respect for the rights and protection of all displaced persons and exiles, including conscientious objectors who refuse to participate in this or any other war.

We know that peace isn’t just about stopping war. Peace is a long-term process in which women are the supporting actors of social healing and the normalisation of life and care for the most vulnerable groups in our society. Therefore, as feminists and activists, we oppose:

– The imperial division of the world, the global escalation of conflicts, any new arms race and the maximisation of the profits of the military-industrial complex;
– The current atmosphere that generates preparations for further wars on a global scale;
– Hate speech and warmongering media coverage;
– Increasing the budget for further armaments because this means less funds for education, healthcare and social services and the fight against natural disasters and climate change;
– We’d like invite the media to report responsibly and impartially, including reporting on peace activities while respecting the majority commitment of European citizens to peace.

Peace building processes take decades and must take place at all social levels. Therefore, we’re asking all responsible political actors to act in accordance with international conventions on human security and peace and to prevent further destruction, human suffering, killing and forced displacement by starting peace negotiations,” reads the call to protest signed by the Ad Hoc Feminist Anti-War Coalition, which is supported by the following organisations:

The Centre for female victims of war – ROSA
The Centre for Women’s Studies in Zagreb
The Centre for Peace Studies
Documenta – The Centre for dealing with the past
Women’s room – The Centre for victims of sexual violence
The Croatian Women’s Network

Parliament speaker Goran Jandrokovic assures Ukrainians that they can count on Croatia’s unwavering support until the very end

As we mark the solemn anniversary of the launch of the full scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Croatian politics turned to the topic of solidarity. Parliament speaker Goran Jandrokovic has made sure to assure Ukrainian nationals, be they displaced and living in Croatia and the rest of the EU or at home fighting in Ukraine, that they can count on Croatia’s support until the end. A minute of silence in the Croatian Parliament then followed.

“I’d very much like to begin today’s session by recalling the events which took place back on February the 24th, 2022, as this marked the beginning of the brutal Russian aggression against Ukraine. We followed the news that reached us that morning in total and utter disbelief, deep concern and palpable anxiety. That day, war returned to our European continent, dragging the Ukrainian people into a bloody fight for their own bare existence. The defenders of Ukraine, despite many expectations, surprised their aggressors, they met the Russians with strong resistance, they showed and continue to show how to love their homeland even in the most difficult circumstances,” said Jandrokovic at the beginning of the session.

“We in Croatia can very much identify with that, and memories of the sacrifices made in the Homeland War are the reason for our special form of empathy towards the Ukrainian people. The Croatian Parliament reacted extremely quickly and just one day after the Russian aggression we almost unanimously adopted the Declaration on Ukraine, which sent a timely and strong political message of condemnation of Russia’s aggression and confirmed our support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine,” said Jandrokovic.

“The Ukrainian people can count on Croatia’s undying solidarity and continued support in their righteous struggle for freedom. We will remain at Ukraine’s side until their victory, because Croatia really does deeply understand the Ukrainian struggle. That’s why Croats are obliged to stand by Ukrainians, and we must make sure we’re on the same, correct side of history,” said Jandrokovic.

Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Goran Grlic-Radman also stated at the UN that Ukraine must not be forced to wait for years before it wins its freedom like Croatia had to.

In lighter news, a man has been arrested and fined for throwing eggs at HDZ’s official building

One Zagreb resident decided to take out his frustrations with Croatian politics and the way HDZ does things by launching eggs at their Zagreb building. The Zagreb resident, known to the public solely as Boris B (44), now has to pay a fine after having been found guilty at the Zagreb Magistrate’s Court for throwing the aforementioned eggs at the HDZ building during a protest back in September 2022.

According to the verdict, on September the 10th, 2022 at around 13:30 on Victims of Fascism Square, during a protest, he violated public order and peace as a protest participant.

“Arriving in front of the central office of the HDZ party, he took out the eggs, which he threw at the door of the aforementioned building, causing it to hit the front door and break, therefore, in a public place (the street), he disturbed public order and peace, thereby committing the crime misdemeanor from Article 13 of the Law on Offenses against Public Order and Peace, punishable under the same article of the same Law,” reads the explanation of the verdict.

The egg-thrower apparently arrived on a bicycle, pulled out a Cedevita box, and the eggs were taken out of it.

A police officer identified as Marko S testified at the trial, and according to him, he says he saw a man who left his bike on the pavement and came to the protective fence in front of the front door of HDZ’s headquarters.

“He took a Cedevita box out from his backpack, grabbed something from it and threw it at the front door, and then I saw that it was an egg that broke and spilled down onto the door, after which he walked away back to the bike,” the policeman testified. He added that approached the man and asked him for his ID, which he provided without any problem. After that, he was taken to the police station for further questioning.

Boris B. was sentenced in absentia, considering that he didn’t bother to respond to the summons of the court. He was ordered to pay a fine in the amount of 53 euros (which could buy a whole lot of eggs), and he must also pay 40 euros for the costs of the misdemeanor procedure, the judge decided. The verdict is final and can be appealed.

Political scientist Berto Salaj says it’s important for PM Andrej Plenkovic to be the longest serving Croatian Prime Minister

”Say what you like about him, but he gets things done” is one of the main messages taken from political scientist Bero Salaj’s opinions on Plenkovic published by Index.

Berto Salaj, a political scientist and professor from the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb, commented on Croatian politics for N1, more precisely on the opposition’s initiative to impeach Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic due to the latest scandals revealed in the media. Answering the question of whether anything could shake the prime minister, Salaj said that this initiative to impeach the prime minister will certainly not succeed. 

“If we look at public opinion surveys, HDZ is still between 25 and 30 percent. Not a single opposition party exceeds 15 percent. It’s questionable whether this way of pointing out corruption is a good way to fight against Plenkovic at all. It seems to me that we’ve already learned that when it comes to Croatian politics, this just isn’t a good way of going about things. Now there would have to be an affair where the clues would lead to the prime minister himself, for the prime minister to be caught on the spot with his fingers in the till, as it were,” Salaj stated.

“Neither Grbin, nor Bencic, nor Grmoja enjoy the trust of citizens like Plenkovic does”

The political scientist advised the opposition to start thinking about how to increase the turnout of citizens in the elections. He believes that this and this alone would be the key to their victory.

“It’s simply illusory to expect that HDZ’s rating could erode dramatically in the coming period. In the perception of the citizens, none of the current leaders enjoy the trust Andrej Plenkovic does from people. Say what you like about him, he is how he is, but he gets things done. On the other hand, we have all these corruption scandals and an attempt to control independent institutions,” says Salaj.

“I think it’s important for Plenkovic to be the longest-serving prime minister”

Salaj also believes that some changes could happen within Croatian politics only if Plenkovic fails to stop spiralling inflation, something that is affecting everyone and everything. He believes that it is important for Plenkovic to be the longesr serving prime minister of Croatia.

The Croatian Government has remained fixated on the topic of working on Sundays, and a document to reduce the amount of working Sundays has now been published

Source: Total Croatia News