There are not so many countries in the world where the war made such a long-lasting impact as it did in the Republic of Croatia or Republika Hrvatska (as it is locally called). This country seemed to live in the continuous state of war. Starting from the ancient times and ending only in the beginning of the 21-st century, the war is deeply rooted in the consciousness of the Croatian people. Many generations of Croats lived in the unstable society in which the economy was in a very poor condition. To understand all the peculiarities of Croatian society we need to analyze this country beginning from the old times up to present summer 2004.
Because only in June, 2004 did Croatia get the final approval from the European Unity to apply for the membership. It is expected in 2007-2010 that the Republic of Croatia will join the EU. For this country it is an achievement of great importance. Finally, after so many years of war and economical unstability will Croatia gain peace and prosperity in its land. Let us start from some brief summary about the Republic of Croatia. Croatia is situated between central, southern and eastern Europe, because it has a rather peculiar shape that resembles a crescent or a horseshoe.
This accounts for its many neighbors: Slovenia, Hungary, Serbian part of Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegrin part of Serbia and Montenegro, and Italy across the Adriatic. Its terrain is diverse, containing: plains, lakes and rolling hills in the continental north and northeast (Central Croatia and Slavonia, part of the Pannonian plain); densely wooded mountains in Lika and Gorski Kotar, part of the Dinaric Alps; rocky coastlines on the Adriatic Sea (Istria, Northern Seacoast and Dalmatia). Croatia has a mixture of climates.
Northern Croatia has a continental climate; Central Croatia has a semi-highland and highland climate, while the Croatian coast has a Mediterranean climate. Winter temperatures range from -1 to 30°C in the continental region, -5 to 0°C in the mountain region and 5 to 10°C in the coastal region. Summer temperatures range from 22 to 26°C in the continental region, 15 to 20°C in the mountain region and 26 to 30°C in the coastal region. The total area is 56,542 km2, with an additional 31,067 km2 of territorial waters. Population is 4. 437.
460 Capital of Croatia is Zagreb (779. 145 inhabitants – the administrative, cultural, academic and communication centre of the country). Length of coast: 5,835 km – including 4,058 km of island, islet and reef coastline. Number of islands, islets and reefs: 1,185. The largest islands are those of Krk and Cres. There are 67 inhabited islands. Population: The majority of the population are Croats. National minorities include Serbs, Moslems, Slovenes, Italians, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, and others. Official language and alphabet are Croatian language and Latin alphabet.
The majority of the population are Roman Catholics, and in addition there are a number of those of Orthodox faith, as well as Muslims, and Christians of other denominations. Age structure: 0-14 years: 18. 3% (male 415,873; female 394,414), 15-64 years: 66. 1% (male 1,465,488; female 1,454,778), 65 years and over: 15. 6% (male 258,943; female 432,752) (2003 est. ). Median age: total: 38. 9 years: male: 37. 1 years female: 40. 7 years (2002) Population growth rate: 0. 31% (2003 est. ). Birth rate: 12. 76 births/1,000 population (2003 est. ) Death rate: 11.
25 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est. ). Net migration rate: 1. 61 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est. ). Sex ratio: at birth: 1. 06 male(s)/female, under 15 years: 1. 05 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1. 01 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0. 6 male(s)/female total population: 0. 94 male(s)/female (2003 est. ). Infant mortality rate: total: 6. 92 deaths/1,000 live births female: 6. 01 deaths/1,000 live births male: 7. 78 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est. ) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74. 37 years male: 70. 76 years female: 78.
2 years (2003 est. ) Total fertility rate: 1. 93 children born/woman (2003 est. ). History. In 229 BC, Croatia’s native Illyrians lost their land to the Roman empire – in AD 285, Emperor Diocletian built the palace fortress in Split, now the greatest Roman ruin in eastern Europe. The Western Roman empire collapsed in the 5th century, and around 625, Slavic tribes migrated to Croatia from present-day Poland. The Croatian tribe moved into what is now Croatia, occupying the former Roman provinces of Dalmatian Croatia and Pannonian Croatia to the northeast.
The two provinces were united in 925 into a single kingdom which prospered into the 12th century. In 1242 a Tatar invasion devastated Croatia. In the 16th century, as the Turks threatened to take over the Balkans, northern Croatia turned to the Habsburgs of Austria for protection, remaining under their influence until 1918. Meanwhile, the Dalmatian coast was taken by Venice in the early 15th century and held until the end of the 17th century, when it was taken by Napoleonic France and made part of the Illyrian provinces (along with Istria and Slovenia).
A revival of Croatian cultural and political life began in 1835 – the serfs were liberated, and northern Croatia came under the rule of Hungary, which granted it a degree of internal autonomy. When the Austro-Hungarian empire was defeated in WWI, Croatia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats & Slovenes, mercifully shortened to Yugoslavia in 1929. Croatian nationalists were angered that Belgrade was made capital of the union and, with the help of Macedonian nationalists, organized the assassination of King Alexander in 1934 in protest.
In 1941 Germany invaded Yugoslavia and set up a fascist puppet government (the Ustashe) in Croatia. The Ustashe tried to expel all Serbs from Croatia, and when this didn’t work they set the pattern for ethnic cleansing by murdering around 350,000 ethnic Serbs, Jews and Roma. Not all Croats agreed with this policy, and many joined with the communist partisans to overthrow the Ustashe. By the time the war ended, about a million people had died in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Postwar Croatia was granted republic status within the Yugoslav Federation, governed by the communist Marshal Tito.
As Croatia outstripped the southern republics economically, it demanded greater autonomy, bringing a series of purges down on the heads of its residents during the 1970s. When Tito died in 1980, a farcical political system was instituted which resulted in the presidency rotating annually between the republics, and Croatia’s economy ground to a halt. In the late 1980s, severe repression of the Albanian majority in Serbia’s Kosovo province sparked fears that Serbia was trying to impose its rule over the rest of the Federation.
As communist governments fell throughout eastern Europe, Croats began agitating for autonomy and an end to communism. In 1990 Franjo Tudjman’s Croatian Democratic Union won elections. A new constitution was instituted which changed the status of Serbs in Croatia to a ‘national minority’ rather than a ‘constituent nation’. Serbian rights were not guaranteed by the new constitution, and many Serbs lost their government jobs. In June 1991 Croatia declared its independence from the Federation, and the Serbian enclave of Krajina declared its independence from Croatia.
Heavy fighting broke out throughout the country, and the Yugoslav People’s Army, dominated by Serb communists, intervened in support of the Serbs. When things looked hairy, Croatia agreed to freeze its independence declaration for three months. Nonetheless, fighting continued, and a quarter of Croatia fell to Serb militias and the federal army. In October 1991 the federal army moved against Dubrovnik and bombed the presidential palace in Zagreb, sparking EU sanctions against Serbia. In November Vukovar fell to the Serbs after a three-month siege.
In six months, 10,000 people had died, hundreds of thousands had fled, and tens of thousands of homes had been destroyed. After a series of unsuccessful cease-fires, the United Nations (UN) deployed a protection force in Serbian-held Croatia in December 1991. The federal army withdrew from Croatia and in May 1992 Croatia was admitted to the UN, after amending its constitution to protect minority groups and human rights. In Krajina, Serb paramilitary groups retained the upper hand and, in January 1993, Croatia launched an attack on the area.
Krajina responded by declaring itself a republic and forcibly relocating nearly 98% of its Croat population. In March 1994, Krajina signed a cease-fire but, in May 1995, violence again exploded. Krajina lost the support of Belgrade, Croatian forces flooded the area, and 150,000 Serbs fled, many from towns where their ancestors had lived for centuries. The Dayton agreement of December 1995 eventually brought a sense of stability to the country, allowing the government to attempt to deal with unemployed ex-soldiers, housing for displaced Croats and a severely damaged infrastructure.
President Franjo Tudjman died in December 1999, and in January 2000 his Croatian Democratic Union, which had ruled since 1990, was convincingly ousted by the centre-left opposition coalition. The charismatic, earthy Stipe Mesic was elected president. The new government promised to improve international relations, freedom of the press, the state of the economy and to address the country’s atrocious human-rights record. Ethnic and cultural conflicts. The census of 1991 was the last one held before the war in Croatia, marked by ethnic conflict between the Orthodox Serbs and the Catholic Croats.
In the ethnic and religious composition of population of Croatia of that time, those two sets of numbers are quoted as important: Croats 78. 1%, Catholics 76. 5% Serbs 12. 2%, Orthodox Christians 11. 1%. After the end of the war of the 1990s and everything else that it entailed, the numbers are: Croats 89. 6%, Catholics 87. 8%, Serbs 4. 5%, Orthodox Christians 4. 4%. The population change since 1991 was dramatic. The population change is seen by some as a campaign of ethnic cleansing between 1990 and 1995.
In earlier stages of the war, most of the Croats of eastern Slavonia, Baranja, Banija, Kordun, eastern Lika, northern Dalmatian Zagora and Konavle fled those areas as they were under Serbian military control. Conversely, most of the Serbs from Bilogora and northwestern Slavonia fled those areas as they were under Croatian military control. In later stages of the war, most of the Serbs of western Slavonia, Banija, Kordun, eastern Lika and northern Dalmatian Zagora fled those areas as they came under Croatian military control.
There were several incidents of what can be pretty clearly explained as ethnic cleansing: the attacks on and the subsequent expulsion of population from the villages and towns of Skabrnja, Kijevo, Vukovar, Medak. Although widely assumed to be a war in which ethnic cleansing was generally used, no international institution has yet established a clear pattern that would indicate that either side in the war in Croatia committed ethnic cleansing on the scale of the whole country, including the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague.
However, the leader of the rebel Serbs Milan Babic was indicted, plead guilty and was convicted for persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds, a crime against humanity, which combined with the content of his indictment implies that there was ethnic cleansing on the whole area of Krajina. The war ended with military victories of the Croatian government in 1995 and subsequent peaceful reintegration of the remaining renegade territory in eastern Slavonia in 1998. The exodus of the Krajina Serbs in 1995 was prompted by the advance of the Croatian troops, but it was still mostly self-organized rather than forced.
All of them have been officially called upon to stay shortly before the operation, and called to return after the end of the hostilities, with varying but increasing degrees of guarantees from the Croatian government. All persons that participated in the rebellion but committed no crimes were pardoned by the government in 1997. Most Croat refugees returned to their homes, while two thirds of the Serbs remain in exile; the other third either returned or had remained in Zagreb and other parts of Croatia not directly hit by war.
The current reasons why many Serb refugees still haven’t returned vary: for non-civilians, it’s fear of prosecution for war crimes (Croatian legal system, like the ICTY, has secret lists of war crimes suspects) and fear of retaliation; for civilians, it’s unfavorable property laws, ethnic discrimination by local authorities, and last but not the least, appalling economic conditions in the rural areas they inhabited. The property laws, in particular, favor Croats who immigrated into the previously predominantly Serb-inhabited areas after having been forced out of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Serbs.
The refugee situation is politically sensitive, as the Croatian government denies any ethnic cleaning on a large scale as is claimed by some of the Serbs (though not their governments). Slow refugee return and slow prosecution of Croatian army personnel are some of the main obstacles to Croatia’s application to the European Union. The status of women’s human rights in Croatia. In socialistic system, women were not proportionally represented at higher levels of decision-making bodies (around 20%).
After the political system changes and after the first multi-party elections, participation of women in Parliament, County and Municipal Assemblies, was drastically decreased. On all levels in decision-making bodies, the percentage of women dropped from 22% to 4,8% which included Croatia into the same group of countries with Iran, Sudan and Romania. After elections in 1995 out of 127 seats in the House of Representative only 11 (8,7%) were held by women and in the House of Counties out of 68 representatives only 4 were women. In County Assemblies situation was even worse.
According to the data from 1996 out of 776 representatives only 3 (4,25%) were women and in Municipal Assemblies the percentage of women was 7,05%. In 15 Municipal Assemblies, out of 70 representatives there was not one woman. Therefore, during the first years of transition period in Croatia, political changes marginalized women and removed them from the sphere of public life and political decision-making as it has been happening in other countries in transition. During the last parliamentary elections held on January 3, 2000 the situation started to change for the better.
Women started to participate in political life of the country as carriers of political changes. Women’s NGOs contributed to these changes with their active participation in election campaign. During election campaign for the House of Representatives of Croatian Parliament in 1995 and local elections and elections for the House of Counties in 1997, women’s NGOs established Women’s Ad Hoc Coalition for monitoring and influencing elections which demanded that political parties put more women on candidate lists and develop and promote women’s programs. Conclusion.
We see that after so many sufferings and mistakes the Republic of Croatia is heading towards a better future. New government and new reforms are supposed to change the long-lasting bad economical situation of Croatia. The political stability and peace help the tourism industry to gain back its positions. And this is very important because Croatia has a very good geographical location. Croatia emerged into the new millennium from a decade in which it experienced a bitter war as the former Yugoslavia broke up, and several years of authoritarian nationalism under the late president, Franjo Tudjman.
By early 2003 it had made sufficient progress to apply formally for EU membership, becoming the second former Yugoslav republic after Slovenia to do so. Croatia became an official candidate country in June 2004. Presidential and parliamentary elections at the beginning of 2000 ushered in politicians committed to Croatia’s integration into the European mainstream. Since the end of the Tudjman era, the constitution has been changed to shift power away from the president to the parliament.
Croatia has joined the World Trade Organization and has pledged to open up its economy. Progress has been made in Croatia’s willingness to confront the darker aspects of its actions during the violence which flared in the 1990s after independence from Yugoslavia. A number of Croatian military figures have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in massacres of Serbs and other war crimes. The government has said it will cooperate with the international tribunal in The Hague, something the late Tudjman refused to do.
Works Cited The World Factbook. Croatia. 30 August 30, 2004. <http://www. cia. gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/hr. html>. “Croatia. ” Encyclop? dia Britannica. 2004. Encyclop? dia Britannica Premium Service. 30 August 2004 <http://www. britannica. com/eb/article? eu=119668>. Facts about Croatia. 30 August 2004. <http://www. hr/hrvatska/index. en. shtml>. Croatia: Map, Facts, General Info. 30 August 2004. <http://www. croatiaemb. net/main. html>.