Croatia: scandal over burning of carnival puppet

The burning of a papier-mâché puppet that is supposed to represent the person who is blamed for all the bad things that happened in the past year is a carnival tradition in Croatia. This year, however, a puppet representing Milorad Pupovac, the leader of the party of the Serb minority, was set on fire, triggering an uproar - and a debate about the tradition. Is the symbolic burning of a political figure during carnival morally acceptable?

Open/close all quotes
Večernji list (HR) /

Politicians must be able to take criticism

The burning of puppets during carnival is an old tradition and the leader of the Serb minority should be able to take criticism, Večernji list argues:

“In a liberal democracy citizens can assert their rights in ways that cause politicians headaches. One of them is the burning of carnival puppets that embody the person they hold responsible for the reality in which they live. [Pupovac] bears part of the responsibility because he supports the government and wants to be able to continue doing so in future. ... He wants to govern with the prime minister but he doesn't want to be criticised. ... Croatia may not be a mature democracy yet, but if it wants to become one it must make it clear to Pupovac that his crotch [the place where the puppet is set on fire] too could be burned in the future.” (HR) /

The only option is to leave

It seems there's no room for cosmopolitan people in Dalmatia, rails:

“In fact, respectable people can only feel pure aversion for such outbursts of hatred. One has to ask how someone who lives in one of the most beautiful regions of the Adriatic can feel such hatred for anyone - without the beauty and heritage of this place rubbing off on them. How can anyone who wants to live in a free, open, progressive and creative society want to remain in a place which actively supports, accepts or conceals such things at all?”