May is the month when two Memorial Days are celebrated in Croatia. The „Day of Victory over Fascism“ is being celebrated quietly and in the organization of anti-fascist associations. The government and the Church at the highest level mark the “Day of Remembrance of Croatian Victims in the Fight for Freedom and Independence” on the day when the Ustashas surrendered to the partisans, a week after the end of World War II in Europe. This year, as usual, the far right took revenge for the defeat by devastating anti-fascist monuments. In Bleiburg this year they were banned from “the largest gathering of fascists in Europe”. Austrian state also removed the Ustasha coat of arms from the monument and the inscription in Croatian “In honour and glory of the fallen Croatian army”.
Updates in the National Landscape
The public was very appalled by the case of a pregnant woman who was carrying a seriously ill fetus and who was refused an abortion by four Zagreb hospitals. Many citizens gathered in Zagreb to support the pregnant woman. At the same time, conservative forces marched in an increasing number of cities on the “Walk for Life”, which demands a ban on abortion. According to opinion polls, 75% of citizens oppose the ban on abortion. But the problem is that 60% of gynaecologists, who are politically recruited in public hospitals, have a “conscience appeal” and until 10 years ago, most of them performed abortions.
1.5. The Austrian-owned chain of stores Interspar has banned the sale of “Hrvatski tjednik” in its stores in Croatia. This is the most extreme publication of the Croatian extreme right. https://www.portalnovosti.com/interspar-zabranio-prodaju-hrvatskog-tjednika
2.5. The Serbian Orthodox Church in Petrinja was vandalized with Ustasha graffiti https://www.facebook.com/sasa.umicevic.5/posts/5252668778087319
4.5. Austrian state authorities removed the Ustasha coat of arms and the inscription “In honour and glory of the fallen Croatian army” from the monument on the Bleiburg field https://www.portalnovosti.com/austrija-skinula-ustaski-grb-sa-spomenika-na-bleiburgu
8.5. Monument to the fallen soldiers from Remete vandalized in Zagreb https://www.facebook.com/112188670182169/photos/a.112199086847794/902058597861835/
9.5. On the Day of the Liberation of Samobor, a monument to the founding of the Communist Party of Croatia was vandalized with a swastika and “bandits” graffiti. https://www.24sata.hr/news/beljak-pozivam-policiju-da-kukavne-neonacisticke-stakore-smjesti-ili-u-zatvor-ili-u-ludnicu-834316
25.5. Graduating students in Dubrovnik celebrated the end of high school with Ustasha flags, songs, shouts and a Roman salute. https://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/maturanti-na-stradunu-urlali-za-dom-spremni/2367316.aspx https://dulist.hr/foto-video-pomorci-slave-zadnji-dan-skole/769039/#&gid=null&pid=3
26.5. Graduating students in Slavonski Brod celebrated the end of high school dressed in imitation of the HOS uniform with fascist salutes. After a journalistic investigation, it turned out that their teacher who published their group picture with salutes on Facebook was already known for their Philo-Ustasha statuses on social networks, a member of an extreme right-wing party who took students to the commemoration in Bleiburg. https://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/foto-nacisticki-pozdrav-maturanata-u-brodu-s-njima-i-profesorica/2367246.aspx
31.5. The leader of the far-right HASP party Drazen Keleminec, right-wing historian Ante Nobilo and the Bujica TV crew interrupted with verbal attacks public panel about Croatian Army Airforce war crime against Serb civilians in exile in August 1995. https://www.portalnovosti.com/desnicari-prekinuli-tribinu-o-petrovackoj-cesti
Transnational Social Media Activity & Propaganda/Narratives
MEP Ladislav Iličić, a member of the Croatian Sovereignist, published a letter on his Facebook page to the Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Austria. He asks him to return the celebration of the Ustasha army and the Ustasha coat of arms to the monument in Bleburg. It relativizes previous gatherings and presents them as the service of the Catholic Holy Mass. He believes that the ban on the gathering in Bleibrug is the result of “anti-Croatian hysteria and strong pro-communist feelings” in Austria.
Transnational Political and Financial Cooperation
MP Marko Milanović Litre, a member of the Croatian Sovereignist, boasted that on May 19 and 20 he will participate in the largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world CPAC 2022. , in Budapest. It is organized by the American Conservative Union Foundation and Alapjogokért Központ (The Budapest-based Center for Fundamental Rights). Litre comes to the rally as a representative of the Think Tank New Direction and Croatian Sovereignists.