Zagreb Assembly Launches Process of Renaming Marshal Tito Square

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The Committee for Naming Streets has supported the proposal.

The Committee for Naming Streets of the Zagreb City Assembly adopted on Friday the proposal to rename Marshal Tito Square to Square of the Republic of Croatia. In order to be accepted, the proposal still has to pass the full Assembly, which is expected possibly as early as next month, reports Večernji List on 21 July 2017.

The proposal was supported by Zlatko Hasanbegović, chairman of the Committee and the chief proponent of the change; Tomislav Jonjić, Hasanbegović’s party colleague; Dragica Nikolić from the party of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić; and Ivan Ćelić from HDZ. The only vote against the proposal was cast by Rada Borić from Zagreb Is Ours.

“This committee is unique in that, out of five members, there is just one member from the opposition parties, which has been done deliberately. We advocate for the protection of the memory of anti-fascism,” explained Borić her decision, while Hasanbegović fiercely defended the proposal. He showed to Committee members historical material “from personal collection,” in order to present his view of Josip Broz Tito, adding that he had received more than a hundred letters of support from citizens of Zagreb. Hasanbegović said that it was time to “erase the final mark of communist rule.”

Even though they are not members of the Committee, SDP councillors Rajko Ostojić, Gordan Maras, Mirando Mrsić, Zvane Brumnić, Saša Molan and Matej Mišić also attended the meeting.

Prior to the session, Zlatko Hasanbegović gave an interview to N1 television and explained that this was the penultimate step in the renaming process. “I believe that the political circumstances have finally developed in a way that we can remove this issue from the agenda,” he said, pointing out that this was an epilogue of the 25-year long effort to finally end all connections with the Yugoslav communist legacy. Hasanbegović believes that the decision could be adopted at the next session of the Assembly in August.

Tomislav Jonjić said that the name of Josip Broz Tito essentially represented a denial of democratic Croatia. “Marshal Tito Square is a symbol of slavery. He was a Yugoslav communist dictator, a denial of Croatian identity and democracy,” said Jonjić.

As expected, the proposal provoked a fierce reaction from the opposition, which is determined to prove that the renaming is a result of political horse-trade. The most vocal was Rada Borić, who voiced suspicion that the date of the meeting was not chosen randomly, since 21 July is an anniversary of a warrant for Marshal Tito which was issued by Nazis in 1943. “Whoever kills or arrests the criminal will receive a cash prize of 100,000 Reichsmarks, said the warrant. I am afraid we are killing Tito for the second time,” Borić said. “We have managed to bring back the Square of Victims of Fascism, and citizens will know how to respond to this,” she said.

Jelena Pavičić Vukičević, a member of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić’s party, said that “there are more important topics than the name of a square.” “Ideological discussions dating from the last century do not give people the hope that we can live better in this country, in this city. The proposal made by Mayor Bandić to rename Marshal Tito Square as Square of the Republic of Croatia goes in that direction,” concluded Pavičić Vukičević.

Translated from Večernji List.


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