Croatia: Fascism on the football field and beyond

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Mision Verdad – The Soccer World Cup is par excellence a great sporting event full of underlying political lines. The victory of last Wednesday of Croatia against England, 2 goals against 1, it is worth saying, places the Balkan country for the first time in the showdown for the coveted cup.

 

Croatia, in this way, makes history. Part of the football fans around the world was prepared to search the Internet for the football career of this country that has surprised to be placed in the fight for world leadership in this sport.

However, the finding that many found is the main denominator that must be mentioned about Croatia: it is a country of little more than 20 years of existence, erected as a quick-assembled nation at the expense of war, blood, fire, hatred and the geopolitical interests of the West.

 

The “Croatian” national construct

In 1990, after the collapse of the communist party led by the FRS Yugoslavia, Croatia adopted its current constitution and organized its first multiparty elections. It declared its independence on October 8, 1991, disintegrating Yugoslavia and obtaining international recognition by the UN in 1992, a split that was boosted by the West and its sanctions against Yugoslavia to produce its fragmentation.

In those times secession was an element promoted as a functional device for the fragmentation of Eurasia, an approach associated with the atomization of the component components of the Warsaw Pact finish.

The formation of Croatia as we know it today was a journey of 5 years of war at the beginning of the 90s, the so-called Balkan War, which directly shook central Europe in the territory of the nations we know today as Hungary, Kosovo, Slovenia , Serbia and Montenegro. Croatia structured its territory in a diffuse manner through the occupation of regions that they endorsed in the Erdut Convention of November 1995, although the process did not end until January 1998.

Five years later, what in political times is a very short historic stretch, Croatia submitted its application to join the European Union (EU) and became an official candidate a year later.

His candidacy was strongly promoted by the United States on its positioning roadmap in Eastern Europe. During that period, the country had to resolve the border disputes it had with Slovenia and improve some political, economic and environmental aspects to conform to the European model, which was nothing more than the dismantling of the Yugoslav political remains to give free rein to neoliberalism .

Finally, in January 2012, the Croatian citizens voted in favor of their access and on July 1, 2013 Croatia became the 28 member of the EU.

Before that, specifically in 2008 , Croatia was already a full member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It was curious that a country that was technically not even consolidated territorially, began to be part of the elite military alignment of the planet.

This adhesion did not occur due to Croatian merit. In this context, the United States and its NATO allies carried out the expansion of the so-called “Anti-missile shield”, a strategic device for the occupation of Eastern Europe and a tactical siege to the Russian Federation, in the face of geopolitical conflicts that shaped the hostilities between Russia and the West. the last years.

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In concrete terms, Croatia, born of war and cultural wounds, is a waste originated from the strategic approach of the West executed after the collapse of the Soviet bloc. The Balkans and other regions of Eastern Europe, relegated to political and economic ostracism since the early 90s, mired in racial, religious and territorial conflicts, were the perfect hotbed for the establishment of a scheme of “franchise countries” in former areas of Soviet influence, and that in current times of reissue of a new Cold War, point to the Russia of Vladimir Putin.

Beyond the football field

This World Cup is also marked by the particularities of current political time. They are times of the resurgence of fascism in Europe, the Brexit and Donald Trump in the White House.

The conflict of the change of era appeared on the football field and in the stands in Russia. FIFA is now considering a two-match sanction for Croatian life for saying “glory to Ukraine” after the penalty shootout win over Russia, a motto of Ukrainian fascism. Remember that in the World Cup there is a total veto of allusions and actions that encourage politics.

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The media The Republic recounts  that it is not the first time that Croatia is involved in similar situations. It was already a scandal when, in a video published by the soccer player Lovren, several Croatian players were seen, among them Vrsaljko, of the Atlético de Madrid, singing the “Bojna Cavoglave”, a song of the band Thompson, which makes apology of the Croatian Fascist regime of the Ustacha during the Second World War.

In 2015, UEFA sanctioned the Croatian Football Federation itself with a match behind closed doors and 50,000 euros for racist insults from its fans. That match, against Italy, was played with a swastika painted with the clippers on the lawn of the stadium, so UEFA re-opened disciplinary proceedings against Croatia.

In 2013, the Croatian player Simunic was fined 3 thousand 500 euros for his Nazi screams. During a celebration, the soccer player asked the audience to chant with him a well-known motto of the “ustachis”. “Za dom” (“For home”) exclaimed Simunic three times through the microphone of the stadium with one hand raised, while the audience answered “Spremni” (“ready”). That was one of the greetings of the “ustachis”, the Croatian protectorate of Nazi Germany.

Apparently, the anti-Russian, anti-Communist feelings, the ultra-nationalism on the right and the references to the wounds left by the war, are identitary components between some players of the chess jersey and its fans.

However, the glorification of fascism is not complete photography: the probable new world champion is an exemplary factor in the conflict of power in its European variant. Understand with this the crisis of the European civilizatory pact crossed by simultaneous and unmanageable crises that undermine the identity and stability of the EU as an institution.

Just this Wednesday the president of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kiratovic (a declared fan of his national team),  gave a gift to her English counterpart  Theresa May, the first Minister of Brexit, just before the duel between the Croats and the English. He gave him a shirt with his name and the number 10 on the back (Modric’s). Kolinda also gave another shirt to Donald Trump, who understands little or nothing about football. In his case he wore the Kramaric 9. This happened at the NATO Summit in Brussels.

NATO’s internal crisis consists of a pulse for financing. Trump practically ordered the member countries to allocate 2% of the GDP of each country to military spending, an astronomical figure that Trump demands “immediately” without waiting for 2025 as planned. Trump also demands that countries like Germany resize their military spending instead of “financing Russia” with the purchase of gas.

Croatia, in its position as vassal of the EU and NATO, is a piece in a race unrestrained to the conflict and its derivations. Like the other members of the coalition, they argue about the possibility of promoting a shutdown of the oil tap to Iran, considering the military option, since the Persian country has promised to close the Strait of Hormuz, being able to generate an oil chaos of biblical proportions.

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This crisis is the result of Trump’s ignorance of the nuclear agreement signed by Barack Obama with Iran and other countries. This pair of references summarizes the vortex of political fragmentation and the establishment of the “Empire of Chaos”, where Croatia is a component.

We must add in this instance  the role of Croatia in the handling  of the huge migrant drama. In 2017, Croatia and Hungary were in the news when tens of thousands of refugees  literally died between the cold and the rain  without being able to enter Europe.

The presence of refugees from Muslim lands has also triggered some reactions of hatred in Croatia. It has served to trigger reflex emotions in a quota of Croatian interculturality that continues to spasmodically radiate its origin from the identity conflict.

A World Cup would serve Croatia to consolidate itself in the concert of nations, after all and strictly speaking they have a complete, highly cohesive selection, they have excellent technical direction and reach the final against many predictions.

But Croatia as a champion would be a portrait in football of the times of fragmentation that we live. The era in which the old consensus collapses, where the old institutions are disabled, where spasms of Nazism reappear and where neither Germany nor Brazil are in the World Cup final.

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From Mision Verdad – translated for FRN by J. Flores

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