Zlatko Hasanbegović, Croatian Minister of Culture, is dragged ever deeper into the quagmire of neofascism he created for himself. A new video has surfaced that appears to corroborate previous media revelations about his sympathies with the Ustaša regime and his involvement with neofascist groups.
After around 13 minutes and 50 seconds, Zlatko Hasanbegović takes the microphone and starts his speech at a funeral in 2012. He calls the defeat of the Ustaša regime in 1945 the „greatest tragedy in Croatian history“.
This might be embarassing for Hasanbegović as a scholar. Yet, today he is Croatia’s Minister of Culture and that makes these statements intolerable in the eyes of not just Croatia’s opposition but of antifascists and other democrats in Europe.
The video surfaced on Tuesday, according to the Croatian daily Jutarnij list.
This time, Hasanbegović could not deny the allegations as he had done when his involvement with neofascist groups in the 90’s surfaced by the investigations of the magazine Novosti two weeks ago – including more than obvious articles glorifying the Ustaša as „heroes and martyrs“. Then, Hasanbegović called the allegations a „conspiracy“.
According to the investigative platform Balkan Insight, when confronted with the video he said he would not make any excuses for what he said in 2012.
The platform quotes him as insisting „that the NDH’s defeat in 1945 by the Yugoslav Partisans backed by the Soviet Red Army was the country’s biggest national tragedy because ’not everyone enjoyed the fruits of this victory‘ – a reference to the defeated supporters of the NDH regime.“
This sounds like a man trying to wiggle out of the affair.
Trying To Calm The Serbs
In the meantime, Hasanbegović seems to be trying to calm Croatia’s Serb community that is troubled about the revelations about his neofascist stance.
After all, it was Serbs that were the main victims of the Ustaša regime’s genocide.
The day the video with his funeral speech surfaced, he visited a Serb Orthodox synode in Pakrac and met with Patriarch Irenej.
Whether Hasanbegović’s 2012 funeral speech was known to the Patriarch at the time of the meeting is unknown to this reporter.
The Question Doesn’t Seem To Be If But When
Balkan Insight sees the Minister too well connected with the conservative faction of Croatia’s strongest party in parliament, HDZ – a party whose stance can be described as nationalist conservative – in order to be dismissed in the next couple of days.
Yet, the latest revelations could just be the literal straw that break the camel’s back.
The question now seems not be if Hasanbegović has to go but when.
Photo source: Novosti