Croatian Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and the Day of Croatian Defenders (5 August)
This holiday is the celebration of the military action “Storm” that took place on 5 August 1995. On that day Croatian Army took over a self-proclaimed Serb entity in Croatia.
Croatian statesmen in Knin 2010
This entity was proclaimed on 21 December 1990 and named the Serbian Autonomous Region of Krajina, as the area was populated mostly by Serbs. They opposed Croatia’s independence of Yugoslavia.
Most of inhabitants fled the area during the “Storm” action and there are conflicting reports about the total number of refugees: Croatian sources claim 90 000, Serbian sources claim there was between 200 000 and 250 000 and according to the UN, the number is estimated at about 150 000 people. The UN peacekeeping force commander wrote in his final report that UN police alone found 73% of the buildings ruined and 128 Serbian civilians murdered upon the arrival of the Croatian forces
The main celebration of this day is held in Knin, the former capital of the self-proclaimed independent entity. Thousands od people attend the festive events in Knin each year.
This event is perceived very differently in Serbia and Croatia. Serbs strongly resent the celebration of this day, as they consider it a celebration of a large scale ethnic cleansing. In declarations from 2009 and 2010, Serbian president Boris Tadić defined this military action as a “crime that should not be forgotten”. Croatian president Ivo Josipovic called it “the crown of the Croatian fight for freedom”, however, he added that all the crimes committed during this action must be punished.