Memorials to the Red Army in Croatia

History, Preservation and Discussions since 1991

  • Dragan Damjanović (Autor/in)
  • Zvonko Maković (Autor/in)


A number of memorials commemorating World War II fatalities or the military success of individual soldiers and units of the Red Army have been preserved in Croatia. They were built when Croatia formed a part of communist Yugoslavia (1945–1991), and can be exclusively found in its eastern and northern regions (Baranja, Slavonia and Western Srijem), where the Red Army played an important role in battles in the final months of the war. This article deals with ten such monuments: in Beli Manastir (two monuments), Vukovar, Ilok, Borovo Naselje, Markušica, Darda, Tovarnik, Virovitica and Batina. Only three of them are dedicated exclusively to the Soviet Army (the monuments in Ilok, Markušica and in the centre of Beli Manastir), while the rest commemorate the Red Army and the Yugoslav Army together. The most monumental is the one in Batina. Our field work has led us to conclude that the war in Ukraine has not significantly changed the attitude towards the Red Army monuments in Croatia: since the beginning of 2022, no initiatives to remove or destroy them have been detected. There are several reasons why there is less anti-Russian sentiment in Croatia than in some other parts of Eastern and Central Europe, and why the monuments have not become particularly controversial: the geographical distance from Ukraine; commemorating not just the fallen Red Army soldiers, but also the Yugoslav military units and local people; and not being erected by the Soviet authorities. Indeed, the monuments were often put up by Croatian or Yugoslav institutions, and executed exclusively by local artists. Finally, most of these monuments are legally protected as immovable cultural assets.