Croatian culture has been influenced by the powers that have ruled parts of the country for centuries – Austria, Hungary and Italy. With the so-called Illyrian movement in the 19th century, a unified Croatian literature emerged. The movement’s goal was to create a united South Slavic kingdom with a common culture.
Until the First World War, modern Croatian literature emerged with authors such as Antun Gustav Matoš and the symbolist poet Vladimir Vidrić. From the outbreak of war in 1914 until his death in 1981, Miroslav Krleža, with his often socially critical writing, was a dominant figure. Writers who have attracted attention since the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991 include Vjekoslav Kaleb, Petar Šegedin and the poet Jure Kaštelan. A number of writers who took a stand against Croatia’s policy during the wars of the 1990s were forced to leave the country. This includes Slavenka Drakulić, known for her book Balkan Express, which is about the wars in the former Yugoslavia. The same theme concerns Dubravka Ugrešić in the Museum of the Unconditional Surrender.
The naive peasant painting, often on glass, has received international attention. Since the 1930s, artists from the so-called Hlebine School, such as Ivan Generalić, have depicted everyday life in the Croatian countryside.
The presidential election goes to the second round
In the first round of the presidential election, Social Democratic former prime minister Zoran Milanović gets close to 30 percent of the vote, conservative incumbent President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović close to 27 percent and independent right-wing candidate Miroslav Skoro just over 24 percent. Eight candidates get between 0.2 and 5.9 percent. The result means that there will be a second round of elections in January, between Milanović and Grabar Kitarović. The president led by a good margin in opinion polls to begin with, but lost ground after several criticized statements. In addition, singer Miroslav Skoro attracted many right-wing nationalist HDZ supporters who think the party has become too moderate.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Croatia, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Boycott of the Nobel Prize
According to Abbreviationfinder, Croatia boycott the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, protesting that the 2019 Literature Prize was awarded to Austrian author Peter Handke. Protests have come from many directions against the Swedish Academy’s decision in October to award the prize to Handke, who is known for his support for the Serbs during the 1990s war in the Balkans and his admiration for the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosević. The awards ceremony is also boycotted by Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Macedonia and Turkey.
Presidential elections announced in December
The government announces that presidential elections will be held on December 22, with a possible second round of elections on January 5, 2020. Conservative President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović is running for re-election, while former Socialist Prime Minister Zoran Milanović is considered her most difficult challenger. Milanović strongly criticizes the election over the Christmas holidays and accuses the HDZ party of wanting to keep voter participation down and in effect “kill” the electoral movement ahead of a second round of elections in January. The Catholic majority celebrates Christmas on December 25, while the Orthodox celebrate January 7.
Clear sign for Schengen
The EU Commission states that Croatia now meets the requirements for accession to the Schengen area, within which the citizens of the Member States can move freely. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker commends Croatia for adaptation in areas such as data protection, police, judicial cooperation and visa management. Croatia’s accession to Schengen must now be approved by other EU countries. The Schengen area is covered by 22 EU states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Renovation in the government
Six Ministers New Ministers proposed by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković are approved by Parliament. Among them is the new Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić-Radman, who succeeds Marija Pejčinović Burić, who has been appointed new Secretary-General of the Council of Europe. Of the other five ministers now replaced, two have already resigned, following disclosures about private shady real estate deals. Rumors of suspected real estate deals have surrounded another couple of the ministers who are now going. The government’s redevelopment is seen as an attempt to create greater stability when one year remains for the next election, and ahead of Croatia’s EU presidency in the first half of 2020.
The unions require a referendum on retirement age
Trade unions submit 740,000 signatures in support of the request for a referendum on retirement age. The government plans to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 from 2033, citing that the current system is not sustainable as the population ages. But the unions are protesting and have now collected more than twice the number of signatures needed to hold a referendum.
New trial against suspected war criminal
A new trial is initiated against former General Branimir Glavaš, who is suspected of war crimes against civilian Serbs during the 1991-95 war (see May 2009 and January 2015). After various legal trips he is brought to trial together with five subordinates in the Croatian army. All of them plead not guilty to the charges. Glavaš was one of the founders of the HDZ ruling party, later founded the breakaway party HDSSB and is now its only MP.
New parties win ground in EU elections
Several new entrants are mandated in the European Parliament elections. Largest will be the ruling right-wing party HDZ, which receives 23 percent of the vote and four seats, which represents a setback compared to the 2014 European elections. to twelve places. An alliance of liberal parties, the Amsterdam Coalition, gets a seat like the populist party Živi zid and Croatian sovereignists, which is an alliance of far-right parties. One seat also goes to an independent candidate: Judge Mislav Kolakušić, who is a judge of the Zagreb Commercial Court.
Protest march against abortion
Around 5,000 abortion opponents demonstrate in Zagreb. Several thousand trains at the same time also in Split and Zadar. Pressures from religious groups who oppose abortion law mean that more and more doctors refuse to carry out abortions. This applies, among other things, to about 60 percent of gynecologists at state hospitals, according to a recent survey.
Prison for ex-prime minister
The Supreme Court tightens the penalties for former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader from 4.5 to 6 years in prison, for having received € 2 million in bribes during his time as Prime Minister 2003-2009 (see April 2017). In another case, he was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison (see October 2018), but according to Croatian law, he did not have to serve the sentence as long as they signed five years and had been appealed. Now Sanader is being taken to prison. He continues to claim that he is innocent and subject to political persecution.
Protest against censorship
Several hundred journalists protest in Zagreb against increasing persecution and harassment of media representatives in the country. The protest is organized by the journalist association HND, which states that more than 1,100 lawsuit applications have been directed at journalists and media organizations. In addition, journalists are exposed to political pressure and threats. It is mainly politicians and other public figures who sue media representatives for such things as “mental anguish” or “shameful reputation”. For nearly two weeks, more than 40 citizen groups, with the support of some opposition parties, boycotted the public service TV company HRT, since the company itself sued other media, journalists and even the journalist association HND. The broadcasting company HRT is accused by critics of acting as the government’s spokesman and not a genuine public service company.
Ex-police chief convicted of theft
A former chief of the police department for organized crime, Željko Dolački, is sentenced to six years in prison for stealing gold and cash from the Zagreb police headquarters. In 2015 and 2016, Dolački brought over two kilos of gold and nearly EUR 380,000 in cash, according to the court. Neither the gold nor the money has been found. Dolački is also ordered to repay EUR 445,000. The Chief of Police and three other senior police officers resigned when the crime was discovered in 2016.