Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said that attempts to equate Serbian Chetnik leader Draza Mihailovic with the anti-Fascist leader Josip Broz Tito were "pathetic."
During World War II Draza Mihailovic led the Chetnik movement whose members were Nazi collaborators and were held responsible for mass-scale war atrocities against non-Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and some other parts of the then Yugoslavia.
On Victory Day observed on 9 May, during a ceremony held in the National Theatre in Belgrade, two big pictures of Mihailovic and Tito were displayed one by another on a video-wall, according to local media outlets. In attendance at that ceremony were Serbia’s top officials including President Aleksandar Vucic.
This prompted the Croatian president to say today that Mihailovic and Josip Broz Tito, who led the Partisan forces in that war, could not be equated.
“Mihailovic was a mere fool. He was not the same as Ante Pavelic (the Fascist leader in Croatia during the Second World War), he was an opportunist and eventually war criminal,” Milanovic told the press in Zagreb.
As for Mihailovic being posthumously decorated by U.S. President Harry Truman, Milanovic said that the decoration had been awarded for the operation of rescuing 300 downed Allied airmen. “This is as if you were robbing a bank and then buying to someone a meat pie, pretending to have a big heart,” said Milanovic.
He went on to say that Chetniks were known for, atrocities, opportunism and cowardice and that they had faced the strongest resistance from Serbs, Montenegrins and Dalmatian Croatians.
He also accused Serbia’s authorities of indoctrinating children and young people.
“Unfortunately, everything is delusion there in our neighbours,” said Milanovic, elaborating that a majority of the Croatians stayed at home during World War Two. “Being Home Guardsman (Domobran) is not at all a crime. It is o.k.,” he said adding that a lot of fighters from the Croatian nation joined the Partisan troops, and only a small portion fought for the Axis powers and the (Pavelic-led) Ustasha movement.