Symbols and culture memory in the Republic of Srpska Krajina


Vjeran Pavlaković ; Filozofski fakultet, Sveučilište u Rijeci

Fulltext: english, pdf (348 KB) pages 26-49 cite
Fulltext: croatian, pdf (348 KB) pages 26-49 cite

Although in recent years a new generation of scholars have analyzed the transformation of memory politics, the use of controversial symbols from the Second World War, and the rehabilitation of collaborationists in Croatia since 1990, these processes in the Republic of Srpska Krajina (RSK) have received little attention. The rebel Croatian Serb leaders of this parastate, carved out of Croatian territory during the breakup of Yugoslavia, justified their rejection of the democratically elected government in Zagreb by claiming that Franjo Tuđman’s administration had abandoned the antifascist legacy of the Partisans, which they alleged was the beginning of a new genocide against Serbs. However, this article, based on captured RSK documents, fieldwork, materials collected by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and interviews with individuals who had lived in the RSK, shows that the rebel Croatian Serb leadership had also abandoned the Partisan narrative during its short-lived existence. The RSK’s new politics of memory resulted in the destruction of monuments that reflected Serb-Croat cooperation, the transformation of public space, and the introduction of symbols that likewise rejected the antifascist legacy. The decision by the Krajina Serb leaders to base their political goals on a chauvinist and extremist interpretation of the past, which excluded the possibility of co-existing with other national groups, ended tragically for both Serbs and Croats living on the territory of the RSK.

Croatia; Republic of Srpska Krajina; Political Symbols; Culture of Memory; Second World War

Hrčak ID: 175777