Monday, February 17, 2003


Maroje Mihovilović (Maroje Mihovilovic), BBC correspondent from Zagreb, claims that the anti-war demonstrations in Croatia were failure and that the government doesn't have any reasons to change its pro-war policy. That doesn't surprise me. Mihovilović, apart from working for BBC, writes articles for Nacional, weekly that took surprisingly blunt pro-war pro-US stand. Its main rival Globus, on the other hand, took anti-war stance, despite being often accused of too many links with Račan's (Racan's) government.

Mihovilović is correct in his estimate that the weekend demonstrations were less than spectacular. Some 10,000 participants in Zagreb and equal total in all provincial centres of Croatia is relatively low number for Croatian standards, and Croatian peace movement would have to put Herculean effort in order to reach number even remotely close to those in other European countries.

But the public pressure is not the reason why Račan's government ignores the peace movement and 70-80 % anti-war opinion among Croatian public. In normal circumstances that would be unwise, and in the election year it would be suicidal. But Croatia is hardly in normal circumstances. The government is paralysed by permanent cabinet crisis, economy is going down, right-wing opposition uses every conceivable opportunity to flex its growing muscles… The only glimmer of hope for Račan is the idea that USA or someone with such power would come to their rescue with financial aid or diplomatic action that could be presented with the public as such. So, Račan is going with the flow.

Besides, anti-war demonstrators, unlike some other Croatian discontents, don't enjoy widespread support within military and police. It is tad hard to be taken seriously if you don't have guns at your disposal.


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