In-depth Business Intelligence
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Books on Croatia
Update No: 132 - (01/06/08)
The pregnant past
The Croats are saturated in history - the history of the former Yugoslavia, not
just Croatia. Tito was a Croat (actually half croat, half Slovene) and the only
communist leader to be genuinely popular throughout his reign. But then he let
people leave, whereas all the others were prisoners of their peoples. Tito of
course led a victorious war against the Nazis, a really good foe.
In fact Tito had another foe nearer home, the Ustase and the royalist Cetniks,
fellow travellers of the fascists no less and ardently supported by the
Catholics and the Vatican (De Gaulle, a pious Catholic himself, had no illusions
about Pius X11, 'the Nazi Pope'). Croatia's history encapsulated the destiny of
fascism and communism in the former Yugoslavia. It did that, indeed, of the
defeat of fascism and the collapse of communism. In other words it is Croatia,
as well as Serbia, that was and still is key to the fate of the FYU.
It was a proxy war between these two republics in Bosnia and in the marches
between them that dominated the first half of the 1990s, with two battleaxes of
presidents in Tudjman and Milosevic. After Tudjmanís death it was discover
that in his office he had a telephone hotline to Milosevicís desk. It would be
intriguing to know how that was used!
Their departure in 1999-2000 has set the scene for their countries'
rejuvenation. Both need to be brought into the EU as soon as possible.
The Serb elections
The elections in Serbia in mid-May are decisive here. The genuine democrats and
pro-Westerners under President Boris Tadic, himself recently re-elected, did
unexpectedly well. It now looks as if their EU candidacy should be a shoe-in.
Certainly, both are now less plagued by corruption than Bulgaria and Romania,
which are already members.
The key for Croatia is their long-established amity with Germany. This may have
taken a dire form in the days of the Axis, but is now a boon. Many Germans have
holiday homes in Croatia, with its magnificent coastline, lovely countryside and
the richest architectural heritage in the Balkans. Neither Tito nor Tudjman were
any Ceaucescu, who obliterated the core of Bucharest. Indeed Dubrovnik has more
museums than any city on Earth.
Croatia can look forward to joining shortly the most select geopolitical club on
Earth, the EU. Both sides will be beneficiaries.