Earlier this week Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced a possible ban on all totalitarian symbols, including the red star.
Experts were quick to voice concern after Monday's announcement, arguing that the move carries particular risk with regard to the red star — the star served as the emblem of the Communist-led Yugoslav Partisan army, which fought the Axis powers in the Second World War and took power in Yugoslavia in 1945.
Tihomir Cipek of Zagreb University's Faculty of Political Science highlighted that Croatia was constitutionally founded as the successor to the State Anti-fascist Council for the National Liberation of Croatia, the highest governing organ of the anti-fascist movement in Croatia during the Second World War. Mr Cipek argues that, given that this body was led by the Communists, “the two can't be completely separated”, and “criminalising one would lead to criminalising the other”.
Whether Mr Plenković's proposal ever comes to fruition is another question, however. Mr Cipek points out that if it is seen as a change to the constitution, rather than a normal piece of legislation, the support of two-thirds of MPs will be necessary — a feat that Mr Plenković is unlikely to achieve.
Mr Plenković has served as Prime Minister of Croatia since 19 October 2016. His governing centre-right party, the Croatian Democratic Union, often describes Communist Yugoslavia as a totalitarian regime, akin to the wartime Independent State of Croatia governed by the fascist Ustaše movement.
A number of post-Soviet states and members of the former Eastern Bloc have undergone, or are undergoing, a process of decommunisation, which in some cases involves a ban on communist symbols. Among the most discussed in recent years is that of Ukraine, which began a formal decommunisation process in April 2015. Last month Bulgarian lawmakers have voted to make the public display of communist symbols illegal.
Source: Balkan Insight