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Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia (Croatian: Republika Hrvatska), is a country in Central Europe and Southeastern Europe at the crossroads of the Pannonian Plain, the Balkans, and the Adriatic Sea. Its capital (and largest city) is Zagreb. Croatia borders Slovenia to the north, Venice to the northwest, the former country of Hungary to the northeast, Bosnia to the southeast, and Serbia and Montenegro to the east and southeast.
In the wake of Doomsday it became all too clear that the Yugoslavian government was incapable to deal with the pressure. The nation was beginning to fall apart as the Yugoslavian government's already weak control began to slip. On October 8th, 1985 the Croatian community's leaders gathered in Zagreb to declare the independance of Croatia from Yugoslavia. They were the second country to do so. The first was Slovenia, two days before Croatia had declared its independence.
The collapse of Yugoslavia came after it proved incapable of dealing with nationalistic sentiment in both Slovenia and Croatia, which would later lead to an all out war with the Serbian-led JNA forces.
The war officially started soon after both Croatia and Slovenia had declared their independence, as Montenegrin and Serbian leaders opted to stop Yugoslavia from crumbling. During this perid, Macedonia was allowed to leave the joint state, while Vojvodina and Kosovo were annexed into Serbia proper.
Croatia was fortunate enough that the Yugoslav forces were mostly focused on their eastern borders, as refugees were still a major problem, together with the loss of Belgrade to a 100KT bomb. The first push of the JNA came in Eastern Slavonia, where fierce fighting ensued in Vukovar. This would prove to be a great boost to moral for Croatian forces, as they had time to organize defenses elsewhere since the siege draged on for months slowing the JNA advance .Although
Slovenia had declared independence days before the Croatians, JNA forces opted not to declare war on it, as it was not in the agenda of JNA leaders. The lack of help from Slovenia after it had declared independence was viewed with great anger by the Croatian people, which is a great point of friction between the two countries to this day.
The fighting in East Slavonia would continue throughout much of 1986, while the second front in Dalmatia almost cut the country in half. Through this period, help was received from the Alpine countries, as they were appalled by the Serbian armies conduct in occupied territories, especially in neighbouring Bosnia. It was not until two years later, in 1988, when Croatia, together with Bosnian Croats fighting in Bosnia and Herzegovina, managed to push the Serbs back into Bosnia, as well as occupy almost the entirety of Herzegovina.
Seeing that the war was going nowhere, the Alpine countries, together with Slovenia, brokered a peace deal between the warring parties. The Peace of Ljubljana officially ended the war in March of 1989, ceeding much of Herzegovina to Croatia, as well as giving territorial concessions to Serbia in Bosnia. What was left of the country was named simply as Bosnia and was put under the AC's protection. The rest of Yugoslavia officially renamed itself into the Federation of Serbia and Montenegro on June 16th, 1989.
Aftere the war Croatia gaind its independence from the desintegraiting Yugoslav state with the help of the Austria and Switzerland. It also gaind territory in Bosnia with the Peace of Ljubljana. The country faced continued pressure from abroad, however, as the city-state of Venice was demanding that Croatia should relinquish its control over Istria. This had come after increased expansion had brought Venice to the border with Croatia. It had already annexed Slovenian-controlled parts of Istria in 1994 and since then has demanded Croatian Istria as well.
Croatia, still exhausted by the war, was in no position to militarily rebuff the claims. Once again, the countries of Austria and Switzerland, now united into the Alpine Confederation, were asked to mediated the crisis and in 1998, in a controversial move, north Croatian Istria was handed over to Venice, in a "show of good faith" as the Confederation's leadership has called it. This has caused significant anger in the Croatian populace and both Slovenian and Croatian officials have continuously demanded the return of lost territories, which has continued to this day.
Croatia has continued with its peaceful, albeit strained, policy towards its neighbours and has been inducted as a member of the League of Nations, while it is an observer in the ADC. It has officially lodged a complaint against the state of Venice together with Slovenia.
It has been busy with rebuilding its nation from not only the war with Yugoslavia but also from the events of the nuclear war coupled with the refugee crisis, fallout and diseases caused by the cataclysm. Its relationship with their neighbor, Slovenia, are stronger than ever, as they both share a common border and talks are being held to allow citizens of both countries to move freely between the two.
Government & Politics
Since the adoption of the 1986 Constitution in early February, Croatia has been a democracy. It has had a semi-presidential system of rule which has helped keep the country stable in post-nuclear war Europe. Currently, the largest party in Croatia is the Social Democratic Party of Croatia (Croatian:Socijaldemokratska partija Hrvatske). It forms the majority in the parliament and the current president is from the party as well.
Through most of the countries history, the government was lead by the Croatian Democratic Union (Croatian:Hrvatska demokratska zajednica), in a coalition with the Christian Union (Croatian: Kršćanski savez) and the Croatian Party of Rights (Croatian: Hrvatska stranka prava)
The political left had been bickering for a number of years ever since the declaration of independence, until the year 2000, when SDP elected Zoran Milanović as its leader. He would set out to ease differences between SDP and the Communist Party of Croatia (Croatian: Komunistička partija Hrvatske), which was led by Ivica Račan. They would then win the elections of that year, forming a coalition government, which would reign uninterrupted until Račan's death in 2007, when the CPH merged with SDP.
Croatia is inhabited mostly by Croats, while minority groups include Serbs, Bosniaks, Hungarians, Italians, Slovenes, Germans, Czechs, Romani people and others. Most Serbs that lived in pre-war Croatia have left the country since the beginning of the war in the mid-80s. Bosniaks currently constitute the biggest national minority, accounting for 8,2% of the population, due to Croatia absorbing Herzegovina into its territory. Other minorities include Serbs (3,5%), Hungarians (1.4%), Slovenes (0.3%), Czechs (0.2%), Romas (0.2%), Albanians (0.1%), Montenegrins (0.1%), others (4.1%). Croatians account for 81,9% of the population.
Catholicism is the predominant religion, while there's also Eastern Orthodoxy and Islam. Croatia has a negative positive population growth rate. Life expectancy and literacy rates are reasonably high.
The economy of Croatia is mostly based on sustaining its growin population, but has also seen a steady rise economic output. Currently it is unable to export much of its agricultural produce, although blue water fish, wines, olive oils and lavander are in particular high demand. Tourism has been on the rise, almost exclusively from the Alpine Confederation, but a steady rise has been seen from ex-Yugoslavian countries as well.
Other agricultural products include: wheat, corn, sugar beets, sunflower seed, barley, alfalfa, clover, olives, citrus, grapes, soybeans, potatoes, livestock as well as dairy products. Croatia's industries, although hampered by the loss of the world market and lacking in materiels for some of its products still produce chemicals and plastics, machine tools, fabricated metal, electronics, pig iron and rolled steel products, aluminum, paper, wood products, construction materials, textiles, shipbuilding, petroleum and petroleum refining being conducted from the Sisak oil refinery and numerous food and beverages.
Trade has also begun to play a major role in the economy, as the main Balkan trade route runs through Croatia. Unemployment has been a considerable problem but nevertheless, Croatia has still maintained the fastest growing economy of any ex-Yugoslavian state. Together with Slovenia, they have also launched a joint survey of the Adriatic Sea, in hopes of finding large deposists of natural gas.
Croatian military is officially called Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia (Croatian: Oružane snage Republike Hrvatske - OSRH) and it consists of these branches: the Croatian Army (Hrvatska kopnena vojska),Croatian Navy (Hrvatska ratna mornarica), Croatian Air Force and Defense (Hrvatsko ratno zrakoplovstvo i protuzračna obrana).
The Croatian Army currently has around 65,400 professional servicemen at its disposal. The army mostly employs former Yugoslav People's Army equipment, like the Zastava M70, M76, M84 and M72 rifles and machine guns. A breakthrough in small arms production was however achieved when the HS Produkt company created the HS 2000 side arm, which has been the official handgun of the Croatian Army for the last decade. HS Produkt has even managed to sell limited amounts of this gun to armies in Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro the Alpine Confederation and Transylvania. The ADC has also shown interest in buying an undisclosed amount of the handguns and talks on buying the gun are still pending. Other products of the company include the VHS assault rifle which is being used on a trial basis by the Croatian Army.
The main battle tank of the Croatian Army is the M-84 and its variants. The current amount of operational M-84 is 120, while T-55 tanks are used as well, but are being slowly retired since 2006. Other tracked vehicles include the BVP M-80A, BTR-50PK and the MT-LB. APV's currently in use are the BOV-VP, M-83 Polo and the Croatian made LOV-1, which is currently in its testing phase. The army also uses numerous combat engineering vehicles, anti-tank weapons and artillery.
The Croatian Navy currently employs around 8,000 men and women. Ships used are mostly old salvaged Yugoslav ships, as well as newly made Croatian ships. It employs one Velebit class submarine, five missile gunboats, 4 Mirna class patrol boats and 2 Cetina class landing crafts, one Korčula class minehunter, a Moma class school ship and a Spasilac class salvage ship. Most of the ships are being upgraded and repaired thanks to ADC backing, as they see Croatia's Navy as another deterrent to Sicily.
Air ForceThe Croatian Air Force ,as of 2010, exclusively has airplanes that the Croatian government was able to procure from the Yugoslav Air Force. The force consists of 8,500 servicemen. The main fighter aircraft of the Air Force is the MiG 21. They have 36 of these planes in service, although 12 are awaiting modernization. It employs the Mi-8 as its main, and only. transport helicopter, of which they have 30 in full service. Also, twenty Soko J-20 Kraguj, Soko J-21 Jastreb and Soko J-22 Orao's were confiscated during the war and are employed in the air force. Other planes include the Lola Utva 75 and Soko G-2 Galeb, which are used as training planes.
Total active duty members of the armed forces (professional army) number is 80,000. Reserves number 40,000 of which 20,000 are on high alert. Available males aged 16–49 number 1,235,712, of which 971,323 are technically fit for military service. Male citizens are still subject to compulsory military service and have been subject since the Yugoslav war. The army accounts for 4% of Croatia's Gross Domestic Product. Most of the equipment that the military uses is ex-JNA equipment, with new military hardware coming mostly from the Alpine Confederation, although current ADC members have offered help in modernizing Croatia's armed forces.
The Croatians have established relations with the states formed from the collapse of Yugoslavia, although relations with Serbia have been strained in the past, since the early 2000s the relations have substantially improved.The have also sent representatives to Venice and the Alpine Confederation:. It is a member of the League of Nations and an observer in the ADC.