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Croatia, controversy at 70th anniversary of end of WW2

Divisions on Marshal Tito’s role and profile

08 May, 16:12

(ANSA) - ZAGREB - Croatia is celebrating the 70th anniversary of End of WW2 and the victory over fascism, but there are many divisions and controversies about the role and the historical interpretation of the anti-fascist partisans led by Yugoslav Communist leader, Marshal Josip Broz Tito.

Today in Pazin, Istria - a region which was liberated by Tito's partisans in the last days of the war - during the celebrations organized by the Region, the Anti-fascist Istrian association did something very provocative in defiance of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, putting a bust of Tito next to her podium, while she was speaking.

The new president, in fact, after her election in March, had ordered the removal of the bust of the undisputed leader of the socialist federation until his death (1980), explaining that Tito was a ''communist dictator''.

The President has however reiterated that the ''anti-fascist movement in Croatia was politically and morally right, being today one of the foundations of the modern Croatian state''.

Then she recalled with ''pride'' that ''even my grandparents have contributed'' to the victory over fascism . ''But we have a duty to say - she added - that unfair and unjustifiable acts against members of the defeated armies and against civilians have been committed''. At the end of the celebration, a choir sang the famous old partisan song ''Bella ciao''.

Meanwhile, Grabar Kitarovic's office announced that the President will not take part tomorrow in the Victory Day celebration in Zagreb. This event is traditionally held under the patronage of the President of Croatia, but the organizers, the Croatian antifascist fighters association, have nnounced the ban on Kitarovic's participation in the event, due to her ambiguous statements regarding Tito's role and the historical interpretation of the partisan movement in general.(ANSA).

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