Although the communist rule was brought down without outbursts of violence
or use of force in almost all European socialist countries (with the exception of
Romania, where the principal communist power-holder Nicolae Ceausescu was disempowered
and executed in a revolution) as a result of the relentless desire of their
citizens for democratic reform of their countries, almost half a century of communist
rule in Yugoslavia did not come to a peaceful end. Democratic movements in
Yugoslav republics could not be suppressed, but they soon united seemingly completely
unnatural ideological allies – aggressive Serbian nationalism and radical
Yugoslav communist unitarianism endorsed by some of the former members of
Communist League of Yugoslavia (SKJ) and hardliners from the Yugoslav People’s
Army (JNA) – against the newly elected democratic governments in Croatia,
Slovenia, and later also in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The alliance rested on the firm
intention of its leaders, Slobodan Miloševiæ and Veljko Kadijeviæ, to stop the separation
of the said republics in their AVNOJ (Anti-Fascist Council of the People’s
Liberation of Yugoslavia) borders from the rest of Yugoslavia by using armed force.
The social and political circumstances in the Municipality of Slavonski Brod were
therefore profoundly influenced by the political developments in the rest of Yugoslavia.
For the Municipality of Slavonski Brod and its residents, 1990 brought more than mere
reform of political system and beginning of transition from a single-party system to a
pluralistic democratic society. It was also a time of great expectations and fear of what
was going to come. Democratic changes allowed for public criticism of the past func-
452 M. Barać: Osnovna obilježja i okolnosti ...
tioning of former communist authorities and for the rejection of socialist methods of
government and social development, and they enabled the citizens to face the previously
unmentioned legacy of communist repression and Partisan crimes committed
during and after World War II. The ideals on which the socialist society had rested (the
role of Partisan fighters in the public life, socialist organizations built on the principle
of “fraternity and unity”, Josip Broz Tito’s personality cult) were gradually dismissed,
but we must emphasize that the same ideals had become redundant all over Yugoslavia.
Formerly suppressed, concealed, and trivialized traits of Croatian national identity,
such as names of important historical figures and important dates of Croatian history,
made a grand comeback to the public life, and the return of religious communities to
the public life, especially the Catholic Church as the largest religious community in this
area, was also very prominent.
Any major change, regardless of its final objective and the positive values it
aspires to, causes its problems, injustices and difficulties. Many things had not
changed for the better with the arrival of democrati