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Croatia

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Croatia is a country in southeastern Europe, made famous by jaw-dropping women and a strangely overachieving national football team. The chow is something else, too, apparently.

It was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire until 1918, part of the kingdom of Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes from 1918 to 1929, which then became Yugoslavia after 1929. During World War II, the Axis powers invaded Yugoslavia and divided it among themselves, setting Croatia up to become an "independent" (read: Nazi puppet) country under the rule of the Ustaše, an extreme-right fascist quisling political party which promptly gave large parts of the country to Italy. Among other things, the Ustaše conducted an extermination policy against Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, Roma and anti-Ustase Croats, most infamously with the Jasenovac death camp. In 1945, with Tito's communist Partisans achieving military victory in Yugoslavia, the several parts of Yugoslavia were reunited as a single country. This lasted until 1991 when, with the Yugoslavian government on the verge of falling apart, Croatia and Slovenia declared themselves independent of Yugoslavia. An attempt by the federal Yugoslav government to militarily invade and forcibly reunite Croatia with Yugoslavia fell through after civil war erupted in Bosnia and Herzegovina over whether to also become an independent nation or remain with Yugoslavia, and Yugoslav troops turned their attention there and effectively let Croatia go their own way. All in all, the war in Croatia still took well over 20,000 lives, mind. Not to mention the displaced, who numbered in the hundreds of thousands.

As of 2009, Croatia is a NATO member state and EU membership kicked in on July 1st, 2013.

Political parties[edit]

  • Social Democratic Party: More or less the Croatian equivalent of the Democratic Party, but traditionally fiscally conservative. The SDP was the ruling party in two periods: 2000–2003 and 2011–2015, and is often considered to be incompetent but law-abiding.
  • Croatian Democratic Union: A less fiscally conservative equivalent of the Republican Party. Spent much of the first two decades after Croatian independence in power, before losing the 2011 election after many corruption scandals. Re-elected in 2015, but still facing trial for using large amounts of state money to fund party activities and purchase flashy new cars for the party elite.
  • Croatian Laburists: a left wing party similar to socialist party in Ireland, primary focus is worker rights and anti - neoliberalism
  • Croatian People's Party: Views similar to the SDP, but more fiscally conservative.
  • Croatian Party of Right(s): Populist right-wingers. Internal feuds have resulted in there being several parties with some variation of the name e.g. "Croatian Pure Party of Rights," "Croatian Party of Rights 1861."
  • HRAST: A right wing party. Anti-gay, anti-EU, anti-abortion, extremely religious.

Social topics[edit]

  • Abortion - legal and available on demand through universal healthcare.
  • Gay marriages - Partial recognition through so-called "istospolno partnerstvo" or "same-sex partnership", a form of a civil union without the ability to adopt; Croatian branch of the Catholic Church denigrates the practice. Constitution bans same-sex marriage since the 2013 referendum on the definition of marriage as being "between a man and a woman". Confusingly, in late 2014, "Life Partnership Act" by the Social Democratic Party was passed, making adoption legal on an individual level as a "partner-guardianship" (de facto step-child adoption), thereby allowing one of the members of a same-sex couple to be legally recognized as the guardian of their child.

Religion[edit]

Croatia's relationship with the Roman Catholic Church is very similar to that of Poland. Around 86% of Croatia's population is nominally Catholic, increasingly lapsed, and very few identify as atheist or non-religious. Many people say that being Croat means being Catholic. Religion was also a major driving force in the 1990s wars.

As in Poland, there is social pressure to follow several church rituals such as baptism, confirmation and marriage. Public primary and secondary schools (for children aged 6 to 18) include religious education. Taking these classes is not mandatory, but 90% of pupils do attend. There are also crucifixes displayed in public school hallways, even though Croatia is officially a secular state.

Abortion, divorce and homosexuality, though legal, are very much looked down upon by the religious majority.

Woo artists[edit]