Commenting on the latest action of the umbrella organisation of ethnic Serbs, which set up several billboards displaying the names of three presidential candidates and their slogans in Cyrillic, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Friday that the Serb National Council (SNV) should pay its deepest respect to Croatian soldiers who liberated Croatia and enabled the introduction of democracy and freedom of expression in the country.
Grabar-Kitarovic said this in her comment
The SNV resumed its campaign "Let's understand each other better", launched two months ago with the aim of removing the stigma associated with the Cyrillic script due to its use during the 1991-1995 Homeland War by Serb rebel forces who also sprayed Cyrillic letters on buildings and houses in occupied areas.
Several jumbo posters with the names of incumbent President Grabar-Kitarovic, former Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and Miroslav Skoro and their campaign slogans written in Cyrillic appeared on Thursday.
"You should ask the SNV what they are saying with those posters. We and the Serb community in Croatia understand each other very well," the president said in Dubrovnik, where she was attending ceremonies marking the day of local war veterans.
Plenkovic says it seems there is no problem in understanding Cyrillic
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that it seemed to him that there was no problem in "understanding" that script which Croatians who are little older had been taught in primary school. He referred to the fact that during Socialist Yugoslavia (SFRY) that script was taught in school.
Everyone who has money, although they do not have (presidential) candidates but have money for jumbo posters, are free to interpret the point of that campaign. We are focused on the victory of the president (Grabar-Kitarovic), Plenkovic said in the town of Krapina.
SNV leader considers Skoro's reaction as threat
Earlier on Friday, SNV leader Boris Milosevic said that he considered Skoro's reaction to the SNV action as a threat. Skoro's election team says that after Skoro wins the presidential election, the SNV will understand its role in society much better.
Milosevic also said that the SNV had launched this campaign in late October "with the aim of promoting the Cyrillic script in the public sphere" and that they would adapt the campaign to topical social and political events.
Therefore they set up posters with the three major candidates displaying their names in Cyrillic in the build-up to the presidential election.
He went on to say that being the umbrella association, the SNV has included the protection of ethnic minorities in its agenda.
Milosevic recalled that by ratifying the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in 1997, Croatia undertook to protect and promote the Serbian language and the Cyrillic script.
On the other hand, Croatian War Veterans Affairs' Minister Tomo Medved said today that this campaign launched by the SNV was unnecessary and did not contribute to better understanding between Croats and Serbs.
"In my mind, this is unnecessary. I cannot see any concrete form of contribution (to better understanding)," Medved said, adding that he would refrain from any further comment given that this was launched in the build-up to the presidential election.