No. 2 - Year 6 - 06/2016
Literature and Culture

The Balkans as European Otherness. On Shaping Italian Public Opinion about the War in Croatia

DOI: 10.15291/sic/


In Croatia, the political changes involving most of Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s included a war fought between 1991 and 1995. This paper aims, by examining the press releases and newspaper articles published in the Italian daily La Stampa in 1995, to show how this influential newspaper worked on shaping Italian public opinion about the war in Croatia, and to examine the extent to which well-rooted stereotypes about the Balkans played a role in the process. The application of the methods of Critical Discourse Analysis on the material has confirmed the occurrence of stereotypes expressed through several types of polarized representations, for example, the one between the good (Italy/Europe/West) and the bad (Croatia/the Balkans – associated with “primitive” nationalism and chaos). It has also shown that Italy (as part of Europe), largely saw itself as the “appointed” Western civilized neighbour towards one of its Balkan neighbours, Croatia, and worked on trying, as Todorova would put it, “to normalise” it.

Keywords: Croatia, Italy, the Balkans, Europe, Otherness, Balkanophobia, the Balkan Social Actors, La Stampa.

1. Introduction. An Italian Newspaper and the crisi balcanica

In Croatia, the sweeping political changes involving most of Eastern Europe – mapped as a socialist/communist continuity which ended around 1989, that is, the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall (Todorova, Imagining the Balkans 14) – included a war fought between 1991 and 1995. The Italian mass media were among those in Western Europe that followed the developments of this war most closely. At that time (more than twenty years ago), the long tradition in Italy of the printed press as an important opinion maker was still quite strong and can, in retrospect, be regarded as indicative of the overall disposition of the media towards our subject in the last decade of the 20th century. Among the principal nationally-distributed daily newspapers (i.e. Il Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, Il Messaggero, L’Avvenire), La Stampa, first founded in 1867, and for long, as far as circulation goes, the fourth daily in Italy, is of special interest in this context for several reasons. These include its proclaimed centrist orientation, its being published in Turin (Northern Italy has always regarded “Croatian/Yugoslav/Balkan matters” as more pertinent to its situation than the Italian Centre or South), its being owned by Fiat SpA, that is, the powerful Agnelli family (one of whose members, Susanna Agnelli, was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy precisely in 1995), its publication of press releases of important press agencies, and, finally, its engagement of both Italian and Croatian journalists, who regularly published contributions on what the newspaper called crisi balcanica.

This paper analyses the representations in La Stampa of some crucial events of the year 1995, such as Operation Bljesak “Flash” (May 1995), Operation Oluja “Storm” (August 1995), during which Croatia took control of most of its previous territory, and the Second Elections since Croatian independence (October 1995). We focus on the situation in Croatia while being fully aware that it cannot be completely separated from the events occurring at the same time in Bosnia-Herzegovina, such as the Srebrenica massacre (July 1995), or the Dayton Agreement (November 1995) which created two self-governing entities within the once-Yugoslav republic – the Bosnian Serb Republic and the Bosnian-Croat Federation – with their own governments, parliaments and again – armies.

This paper postulates the discursive construction of the Other as the basic fundament of discourses on identity and difference, as well as discourses of power, in the material studied. At the same time, the paper’s aim is to show how an influential Italian newspaper worked on shaping Italian public opinion about Croatian aspirations to national and territorial independence, and to examine the extent to which well-rooted stereotypes about the Balkans played a role in the process.

2. Approach to the Concept of Discourse, Methodology and Corpus

Among several possible, the approach used in this research is that of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) defined by van Dijk (“CDA” 352) as an analysis that studies how the use of language, at the social or political level, in a written or a spoken form, reproduces and reflects the dynamics of power, ideologies or differences. While the remembrance of Foucault’s historic lesson on discourse as a site of power lingers on, we agree with van Dijk (“Multidisciplinary CDA” 96) that CDA is, so to speak, discourse analysis “with an attitude” which focuses on the role of discourse in the production and reproduction of power abuse or domination. Wodak (“The DHA” 64) claims that CDA is multitheoretical and multimethodical and, ideally speaking, also self-reflective. She (“The DHA” 72-73) proposes some analytical tools as useful in the analysis of discourses about national, ethnic or identity issues and orientates the research according to five simple, but not at all randomly selected questions:

How are persons or places named and referred to linguistically? What traits, characteristics, qualities and features are attributed to them? By means of what arguments and argumentation schemes do specific persons or social groups try to justify and legitimize the exclusion, discrimination, suppression and exploitation of others? From what perspective or point of view are these labels, attributions and arguments expressed? Are the respective utterances articulated overtly? Are they intensified or are they mitigated?

Our selection of linguistic devices to be analysed (i.e., as shown in tables 2, 3, 4 and 5, lexical items, lexical or semantic co-occurrences, metaphors, imperatives etc.) largely depended on research questions adapted from Wodak’s suggestions, such as: Did Europe (Italy) approve or disapprove of the war in Croatia? Are the actors who took part in the war represented in the same way? Is the Croatian desire for national emancipation attributed to “primitive” nationalism typical to the Balkans? Is war regarded as the only way conflict can be solved in this region?

Our material comprises articles written by Italian or Croatian journalists and press releases published in La Stampa during 1995 (see table 1). In the research we embrace some features common to most CDA approaches: they are problem-oriented and not focused only on specific linguistic items; rather, integrating eclectic theories and methodologies, they see certain linguistic occurrences as indicative of the problems under investigation (see also Meyer 29). Van Leeuwen (6) decribes discourse in Foucault’s and Fairclough's sense of “a socially constructed knowledge of some social practice,” developed in specific social contexts, and in ways appropriate to these contexts that include participants, actions, performance modes, presentation styles, times, locations etc. (cf. van Leeuwen 6-12). Discourses are realized in both genres and texts. A text can be conceived as “an extended stretch of connected speech or writing,” (Van Leeuwen 6), as a “materially durable products of linguistic actions” (Wodak,“The DHA” 66). A genre may be characterized, as the conventionalized, more or less schematically fixed use of language associated with a particular activity, as “a socially ratified way of using language in connection with a particular type of social activity” (Fairclough, Critical Study of Language 14). CDA, using the concepts of intertextuality and interdiscursivity, analyses relationships with other texts (Meyer 15). The intertextuality establishes relationships between texts, of which one contains references to or reasoning about an event or its actors already faced in the previous one (Wodak, The Discourse of Politics 39). “The interdiscursivity of a text is a part of its intertextuality, a question of which genres, discourses and styles it draws upon, and how it works them into particular articulations” (Fairclough “CDA as a method” 124). In this kind of approach, the utmost feature that defines a discourse (always open and hybrid) is the macro-topic, in our case The Croatian War of Independence (see table 1). Each macro-topic is then articulated into subtopics, as intertextuality and interdiscursivity “allow for new fields of action” understood “as segments of the respective societal reality, which contribute to constituting and shaping the frame of discourse” (Wodak, “The DHA” 66).


The Croatian War of Independence in 1995

Field of Action

Shaping Italian Public Opinion about the War in Croatia

Genre 1

Press releases by Ansa, Agi, AdnKronos, Agi-Ap, Agi-Efe, published in La Stampa


Storm, Flash, Second Elections

Genre 2

Newspaper articles by Italian and Croatian journalists in La Stampa: Bettiza, Rizzo, Chiesa, Passarini, Zaccaria, Deaglio, Romano, Galvano, Marco, Badurina, Drakulić


Storm, Flash, Second Elections

Subtopic 1

Polarization between the Balkans and the West: Nationalism and Chaos

Subtopic 2

Balkanophobia, Balkanness, Balkan Mentality

Subtopic 3

Italian-Croatian Relationship. Italian Attitudes to Croatian Military Operations

Subtopic 4

The Balkan Social Actors

Table 1 The Formation of Discourses

3. Analysis of the Corpus

3.1. On Some Prominent Lexical and Syntactic Choices in the Corpus

As previously mentioned, we address the representations of the following topics: the military operations Bljesak “Flash” and Oluja “Storm” and the Second Elections (see table 1), within which, intertextually and interdiscursively, several subtopics are constructed, including the traditionally confirmed attitude of Italy towards Croatia and Croatians as defined in Zaccaria (La Stampa 70) as cordiale antipatia, “cordial aversion.” The chosen topics are seen as valid for our investigation because they represent some of the crucial moments in the chronology of the Croatian war and in the representation of Croatia to Italian readers of La Stampa. Before the analysis of the disclosed subtopics, it is important to reflect upon some prominent lexical and syntactic choices that occur in the corpus.

At the syntactic and the semantic level, we have, for instance, examined the choice of the word pace, “peace” in combination with the words negotiations, agreements, conferences, make, keep, peace force, road to etc. (see table 2), in the discourse provided by or concerning European, American and Russian institutions and foreign policies. Given the argument, the macro-topic, it was to be expected to find this word in the texts, as well as its lexical opponent war. However, the analysis has shown that the word is mostly used in the discourse of politicians and foreign institutions to imply that it is the duty of “all sides,” a duty that the West and Europe want to impose on all the former Yugoslav peoples involved (no matter what their position or their reasons to fight might be) to achieve peace through negotiations. By the frequent repetition of the word peace, Europe and the West, acting as the well-organized, politically and culturally dominant parts of the world, impose themselves on the Balkans (the East) as the only legitimate guardians of peace, even if the latter may resemble the historically controversial concept of pax romana. This attitude of Western institutions and European policy adopted by La Stampa in publishing press releases of Ansa, Agi, AdnKronos, Agi-Ap, Agi-Efe, (not in all the newspaper articles, allowing for different voices like Bettiza’s or Rizzo’s) (see table 5, Journalists’ Discourse) implies a form of power not accessible to any of the directly involved parties.

Examples Including the Lexical Item Peace

“a peace agreement“; “a glimpse of peace”;

“a multinational peace force under NATO command” (40 Cit.[1])

“The UN still play the role of peace-keeping and not peace-making forces.” (23 Cit. A.)

“Agnelli: ‘(…) just consider, to impose peace on those who want war, means to intervene and to destroy them, i.e., another massacre’”; “The only way to peace is to continue the negotiations.” (66 Cit. A.)

“Yeltsin’s peace”; “Clinton’s peace” (34 Cit. A.)

“‘It is a barbarian provocation which will not prevent the continuation of peace negotiations which are the only possible solution of the conflict,’ declared the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kozyrev.” (18 Cit. A.).

“It is the Americans who are leading the peace negotiations.” (18 Cit. B.)

“(…) once again, peace is more distant then ever” (37 Cit.)

“On the eve of American peace encounters; to propose the peace projects; the final reopening of the peace negotiations; the peace negotiations that will resume in a few days in Dayton; the UN peace corps.” (62 Cit.)

“All it takes is to throw a rapid glance at Milošević’s crafty smile and the painful spasm on Tuđman’s face to understand that the two were literally forced to sign the peace treaty.” (42 Cit.)

“The peace forces” (6 Cit.)

“The road to peace begins in Rome” (39 Cit.)

“The last hope for peace” (55 Cit. A.)

“The last chance for peace in Bosnia” (44 Cit.)

Table 2 Lexical Co-occurrences with the Item Peace

Also, the use of the word peace in political discourse paradoxically contributes to the formation of a biased model of the events, where the actors (Europe and the West vs. the parties/nations involved in the war) are neatly differentiated. Similarly relevant is the repeated use of the word guerra, “war” and its synonyms and metaphorical equivalents. The lexical opponent of peace, this word has been repeatedly used in order to emphasize the gravity of the situation, to invite Europe and the West to act instead of ignoring the “time bomb at Italy’s borders” (Rumiz 35), and some authors intensify it by opting for very strong metaphors, phrases and synonyms, like “virus of the total war,” “threat of a total war,” “Bosnian night-mare,” “Yugoslav slaughter house,” “the dying Europe,” “the Balkans on fire,” etc. as shown by table 3.

Examples Including the Lexical Item War and its Metaphors

“The virus of the European war” (29 Cit.)

“The Yugoslav slaughter house” (61 Cit.)

“Together with the three leaders of the Yugoslav galaxy that went to pieces: Milošević, Tuđman and Izetbegović” (34 Cit. B.)

“The Balkan chess-board” (33 Cit. A.)

“The Balkan game” (51 Cit.)

“The Bosnian nightmare” (55 Cit. B.)

“Facing the Balkan fire” (63 Cit.)

“Bettiza: the Balkans on fire” (28 Cit. A.)

“The Balkan Russian roulette” (68 Cit.)

“The threat of a total war” (32 Cit.)

“(Bosnia) the most troubled republic risen from the ashes of Yugoslavia, would be reduced to less than a geographical expression and it would be cut down in two: the Eastern part absorbed by Serbia, and the Western part by Croatia.” (3 Cit.)

“The former Yugoslavia crisis” (23 Cit. B.)

“The great chaos called former Yugoslavia” (55 Cit. C.)

“The Yugoslav war, the third and the longest European war of the century” (31 Cit. A.)

“Agnelli: the crisis in Bosnia and in its political and diplomatic surroundings, is, in international circumstances, among the most dramatic of the last decades.” (66 Cit. B.)

“The dying Europe” (28 Cit. B., 31 Cit. B.)

Table 3 Lexical Co-occurrences with and Metaphors of the Item War

The opposition between war and peace is expanded in Mario Deaglio’s article “The Adriatic between War and Peace. Two European Coasts.”

Fifty years after the Hiroshima bomb, the two Adriatic coasts … represent two historical outcomes of the evolution of modern society …: a carelessly messy and chaotic prosperity on one side, and a devastated, chaotic and troubled disorder without prosperity on the other (La Stampa 38).

In talking about peace and war, the author introduces an opposition between two types of chaos, one existing in Italy (clearly, here, serving as a metonymy of the West), and the other in Croatia (serving as a metonymy of the Balkans, Slavdom, the East), the first obviously preferred to the second.

3.2. On the Subtopic 1 of the Polarization between the West and the Balkans

In emphasizing “prosperity” vs. “non-prosperity,” Deaglio’s diagnosis is only a step away from the polarization between the stable West and the troubled Balkans, frequently encountered in the studied corpus, especially in the use of numerous imperatives in La Stampa headlines whose aim is to discipline and to punish the Balkans (cf. Foucault): “The USA warn Milosevic: you have subscribed for all Serbs, now convince them to accept peace” (19), “Serbs, either you stop or we’ll bomb you. Warning from NATO and Russia” (48), “Agnelli: ‘Croatia, stop if you want to be a part of Europe’” (9) or “Agnelli calls for a reaction from Kinkel ‘Condemn the Croats too’” (60).

Bianchini (12) suggests that the idea of “nation” in the Balkans is not about a “political community which identifies itself in common rights” but about a “community based on the unity of language and nation which is partly governed by mystical laws and partly by the laws of nature,” since, in the Balkans, people “appeal to emotions and not to intellect.” Somewhat differently, Biti (125) says that because of the condemnation of the right of the Yugoslav nations to national identification, the West did not correctly assess the war in the Balkans – notice that Biti himself places Croatia in the Balkans. The polarization between the Balkan “emotional right” to national identification, related to “primitive” nationalism (see Grubačić 210), and the Western critique of that right are present in the analysed examples (as shown in table 4).

The Balkans



“Caputo condemns the offensive: according to the ex-Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Croats are in the wrong, trying to re-conquer a territory that did belong to them from the administrative point of view, but is inhabited by a Serb population to which the Zagreb Constitution does not provide any guarantees.” (52 Cit. A.)

“‘The Serbs are denied their rights,’ says Veselin Pejnović, vice-president of SNS (the Serbian party in Croatia) ‘They are frequently denied ballot papers at the polling stations’. Pink papers, which already by their colour – the others are white or green – are marks of an almost racial difference.” (72 Cit. A.)

“The national radio station, and national television, continually broadcast music: they have resurrected the old Moja Domovina, ‘My Homeland’, a song from 1990. It is a kind of a chauvinist version of We are the world, with the choir of all the prominent Croatian singers who celebrate something which then seemed the will to resist, and manifests itself now as a will to retaliate.” (71 Cit.)

“In the eye of the Serb aggression, and the need to reaffirm a national identity as soon as possible (Tuđman) has urged his governments to go back to the remotest traditions, with results that are frequently no less than disturbing.” (70 Cit. A.)

“Still, among the nationalist regimes which emerge from the decomposition of Yugoslavia, Tuđman’s is the only one capable to rotate towards a European model.” (73 Cit. E.)

“At those very moments, the small and proud Republic of Croatia had already achieved a strange primacy. A negative primacy.” (72 Cit. C.)

“Tuđman’s faults, in the political sense, are of a latter moment, when the understandable satisfaction with the military victories has tended to transform itself into a glorification, or, at least, a euphoria, of nationalism.” (61 Cit.)

“The Deputy Secretary of Defence, Carlo Maria Santoro, has expressed his astonishment at the declarations of the Croatian president. For days now, and in line with the French position, Santoro has not concealed being in favour of a military intervention in ex-Yugoslavia. “What is going on in the Balkans – he says – testifies to the fact that the alternate use of force, negotiations, and then force again, is the only way that functions in this region….” (52 Cit. B.)

“An oscillating and imperfect democracy that arose from the horrors of Yugoslavia” (74 Cit. A.)

“Lord Jeoffrey Finsberg, in charge of the observers, says that in the elections which were ‘on the whole, regular’, Croatia has revealed democratic institutions which already call for substantial changes.” (74 Cit. B.)

“That Tuđman is the absolute ruler of the country is beyond discussion: the media – with the exception of the satirical paper Feral Tribune, somewhat similar to our Cuore – are under his control, his son is in charge of the Secret Services, and his daughter of the Navy.” (70 Cit. B.)

“And the cocoon of democracy constructed in this country is swallowed by that swarm of caterpillars usually defined by the locals as profiteri, i.e. war profiteers, the billionaires of the post-war period. The slogans of the parties united in opposition are saying Enough, We Want Honesty, Power to the Clean (i. e. the uncompromised).” (73 Cit. A.).

“The risk of rigged elections” (73 Cit. B.)

Table 4 Examples Representing the Balkans as the European and Western Other

The semantic analysis of the examples in table 4, which concern mostly the Italian reactions to the military operation Storm and the second elections after Croatian independence, reveals several negative concepts associated with the Balkans, whereas Europe and the West are automatically associated with success, order and wellbeing. The negative concepts are those that regard nationalism as a regime (see table 4, 73 Cit. E.) or as a euphoria (61 Cit.) or those that attribute the adjective chauvinist to the national song My Homeland (71 Cit.). Also, there are instances that stress the downsides of nationalism that sometimes borders on racism, as in example 72 Cit. A. On the other hand, chaos, another negative pole of Western order and prosperity, notwithstanding the obvious fact that there was a war going on, is evident in the Croatian oscillationand imperfect democracy (table 4, 74 Cit. A, see also Rumiz 45), rigged elections (73 Cit. B.) and in Santoro’s statement that “the alternate use of force, negotiations, and then force again, is the only way that functions in this region” (52 Cit. B.), that is, in the chaotic Balkans.

These associations of the Balkans to “primitive” nationalism and chaos extend to and cannot be separated from our following subtopics, one on Balkanophobia and one on the Croatian-Italian relationship.

3.3. On the Subtopic 2 of Balkanophobia

There is no universal agreement on how to map the Balkans with precision, but for this work it is important that the peninsula is often perceived as bordered on the northwest by Italy. This is the reason why Rumiz (33), in confirming that the Balkans play a crucial role in shaping Europe’s destiny, claims that their role is especially important for Italy, and, in particular, the liminal city of Trieste. Asking the question, “Where are the Balkans?” Rumiz answers:

Tied to Italy by a slender corridor, Trieste suffers from the syndrome of the ultimate border … many people belonging to the older generation, grown up … in fear of the arrival of Tito’s troops to the city, feel Trieste as the last, sharp ridge of civilization standing in front of “eleven time zones of Slavdom.” They feel it so strongly that, in their role as protectors of the limes, they regard themselves more Italian than Italy itself. For many, Trieste is a place where the Europe of stability and security ends. “Over there” is chaos: Slovenes, Croats, Serbs or Macedonians, all of the same kind. (45)

Although Rumiz’s description of the disposition of Italian inhabitants of Trieste (dividing the world “to the East” and “to the West” of their city, (cf. Roić)) does not include the term Balkans, it is clear that Slavdom stands in the place of the former – Slavdom which equals chaos, different peoples not differentiated, all massed-up together to serve as Western Europe's very own exotic and chaotic Other (see previously cited examples 52 Cit. B., 73 Cit. B and 74 Cit. A. from table 4), a region always criticized for its backwardness, and on occasion also romanticized for its raw, loud, manner-less, short-tempered, confused but likable nature, reminiscent of Rousseau’s “good savage.” It goes without saying that such a perception implies a sense of supremacy of Us (West Europeans) over Them (East Europeans, Slavs or Balkan peoples) which is also to be found in some of the articles in La Stampa (where the “good savage,” though, is more an exception than a rule). However, since the Balkans are always “to the east of Us,” Velikonja (189-208) discusses parallel patterns that emerged in Slovenia during the 1990s and defines Balkanophobia as a “political and media discourse which tries to define cultural distance from the so-called non-Slovenes,” while other occurrences of the same sentiment are not that rarely encountered in Croatia either. Grubačić, on the other hand, uses the term “political balkanophobia,” to refer to a fear of autonomous spaces.

The European state system of the 17th and 18th centuries arose as a result of successful fights for the formation and territorial unification of a regional identity. Whereas today, in this new era of integration, the Balkans’ desire and right to national emancipation are presented … to the world opinion as nothing but a historical residue of primitive nationalism. (210)

In the same way, La Stampa (as previously stated and shown in table 4), on several occasions presents to the Italian public opinion the Croatian desire to national emancipation as primitive nationalism, associating it with glorification or euphoria of nationalism (61 Cit.) or with the return to the disturbing remotest traditions (70 Cit. A.).

Todorova (Imagining the Balkans 186), in contrast, affirms that it would be much better if the Yugoslav crisis ceased to be explained in terms of a chimerical Balkan mentality and instead was approached with the same rational criteria that the West reserves for itself.

Since in the past couple of centuries, the largest group that has managed to command a kind of collective identity has been the nation … national identities in the Balkans, like elsewhere, have been defined and have operated in opposition to each other. There has never been a common Balkan identity.… At best, there has been the occasionally romantic, occasionally reluctant recognition of cultural similarities accumulated over the centuries. (Todorova, Imagining the Balkans 9)

In an attempt to escape stereotypes, Rumiz assigns the tragedy of the war in Croatia and Bosnia largely to the greed of war profiteers and to the indifference of the world to the fate of these nations, but evokes the “treacherous cunningness of the Serbian Government, Croatians’ proud sensitivity, Bosnians’ indulgence” (35), thus resembling Todorova when she speaks of “the Croatian ebullience over newly acquired independence, the Serbian wounded pride, the Bosnian newly found spirituality and the Slovenian sigh of relief” (“My Yugoslavia” 33).

This research observed both of the shortly illustrated tendencies in the studied articles in the Italian newspaper La Stampa: one that distinguishes the mentalities and identities of the Croats, Serbs and Bosnians, and one which attributes the same mentality equally to all these nations (see tables 5 and 6). The crisi balkanica, “Balkan crisis” is a commonly used term in the analysed corpus. There are other phrases with the adjective Balkan that refer to the situation in former Yugoslavia such as “the Balkan chess-board,” “the Balkan game,” “the Balkan fire,” “the Balkan Russian roulette,” whereas the war is referred to as “a total war” and “a European war” (see table 3). We agree with Todorova in her rejection of the description of the Yugoslav War as a “Balkan War,” precisely because of the fact that Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Albania were not involved in any way with what was essentially a succession struggle confined to Yugoslavia. Also, we share her methodological concern with the disjuncture between causes and consequences, owing to the fact that “the causes for the Yugoslav tragedy have nothing to do with the rest of the Balkans, but the consequences of the Yugoslav tragedy have everything to do with the Balkans” (Todorova Imagining the Balkans 7) – and have indeed produced the crisi balcanica.

3.4 On the Subtopic 3 of Italian-Croatian Relationship

The notion of Balkanophobia cannot be separated from the subtopic of Italian-Croatian relationship. In 1995, the year of two Croatian military operations observed as topics of our research, occurrences of Balkanophobia were mainly to be found in the sense of fear caused by the proximity of the war, even if mitigated, as in, for example, “The roar of arms will not arrive to our borders” (La Stampa 52). The article “Alarm in Trieste” (La Stampa 53), a day after the beginning of Operation Storm, reports on the discomfort of the inhabitants of Trieste and the rest of Northern Italy because of what was happening in Croatia. Prime Minister Lamberto Dini’s and Minister of Foreign Affairs Susanna Agnelli’s warnings to Croatians to stop using arms can also be partly interpreted as signs of the fear of the vicinity of war. In La Stampa press releases there is an almost palpable attempt, as Todorova (“Learning memory” 17) would put it, “to normalise the Balkans” but also to severely condemn their behaviour. Some of the highlighted lexical choices are typical of political-diplomatic discourse (see table 5, Political Discourse).

The analysis of the statements of Susanna Agnelli and of other exponents of the Italian Government recognizes the dominant and authoritative political discourse of powerful Italy (Europe) over the weak and chaotic Croatia/Balkans. This political discourse is a particular kind of discourse which deals with “the European East,” treating it as Other, as if it were Said’s Orient, “by making statements about it, authorizing views of it, describing it, by teaching it, settling it, ruling over it” (Said 3). The discourse of some of the journalists, on the other hand, suggests that Croatians have the right to defend themselves and their territory. Thus, Aldo Rizzo refers to the Croatian military operation Storm as a “counter offensive and not an offensive,” and insists on “the Croatian right to reclaim a part of their national territory” (La Stampa 63) (see table 6, Journalists’ Discourse). If we follow van Dijk (“Multidisciplinary CDA” 106), we can observe that, while the first of the mentioned discourses downgrades all of the parties involved in the conflict in order to upgrade the Western “judgement,” the second tries to upgrade the rights of those it defends.

Western (Italian) Attitudes to Croatian Military Operations Flash and Storm

Journalists’ Discourse

Political Discourse

Rizzo claims that the Croatians, by completing the operation Flash, did the thing the UN and the EU should have done long time ago (68). He invites Europe to do something: "The West should do something, if it is still capable of giving advice and if there is still someone who wants to listen to it” (64). He also claims that the Croatian military operation Storm is a counter-attack, almost wanted and surely provoked (63). Bettiza implores Europe to do something and expresses his concern by defining the situation in Croatia and in Bosnia as “a virus of the European war” (29). Rizzo says that the International Community is alarmed and recalling Srebrenica he says: “If not everyone, many, the Pope included, have asked for an intervention. Unfortunately no one has moved, except the Croats” (63).

The Italian official position is that Croatia should not use force. Italy distances itself or judges all the parties involved in the war and Susanna Agnelli, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is the firmest exponent of that position. Her judgments are direct: “Put down the arms!” (46); “Stop the military escalation!” (2); “Croatia, stop if you want Europe!” Agnelli continues that “Europe is closely watching over Croatia,” and from a country whose aspirations are to become a part of Europe “it is expected to act according to the rules” (9). She asks Kinkel “to punish the Croatians too, the Croatians to be more responsible and Tuđman to avoid rash statements” (60). If the support to Croatian military operations is expressed, it is expressed as a mitigated support (e.g., “Warren Christopher: Not all evil comes to harm” (4); as a direct support (e.g., “Pope implores the West: Do not remain silent!” (8); “Warren Christopher: We have to attack the Serbs” (56)), and finally, as intensified support (e.g., “Warren Christopher: I want Karadžić’s head!” (54).

Table 5 Arguing For and Against Croatian Military Operations Flash and Storm

3.5 On the Subtopic 4 of Balkan Social Actors

The identities of social actors involved in the Balkan crisis as constructed by La Stampa in 1995 (and analysable with the help of Wodak’s questions about how persons are named and referred to linguistically, including the positive and/or negative characteristics attributed to them), could, of course, be grouped by following the already discussed West-East (Europe/Italy-Croatia/The Balkans) opposition. However, we are here primarily concerned with the representation of “local actors”: Franjo Tuđman and Slobodan Milošević, and (due to the overlapping of the wars in Croatia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995, as we have mentioned in the Introduction, intertwined to the point of unrecognition), also Radovan Karadžić, Ratko Mladić and Alija Izetbegović. There is also a sixth actor, that is, the phantasm of Tito. As a reference point and a symbol of former Yugoslav unity, Tito is overtly referred to on several occasions (“Croatians compare him to Tito, but Tuđman has no sense of humour, he is not pleasant as the old original, he has neither Tito’s elegance nor his savoir faire” (La Stampa 43) or “Mladić’s Headquarters is Tito’s bunker. Another Balkan Bonaparte” (La Stampa 10).

The analysis has shown that Alija Izetbegović, being referred to throughout the analysed corpus only as the Bosnian president or leader, is the least represented of all the mentioned actors of the conflict. His role in the crisis is obviously downgraded, as confirmed by Rizzo's (La Stampa 65) comparison of the Bosnian president to Franjo Tuđman: “the leader from Zagreb, unlike Alija Izetbegović, continuously proves himself as the true adversary of Slobodan Milošević and as a firm opponent of the Great Serbian strategy.”

Even though the analysis shows that the actors of the war are not equally represented, still we did not come upon the polarization between the “good” and the “bad,” but rather the polarization, as the examples in table 6 show, between the “bad” and the “less bad,” the latter also criticized and sometimes made fun of. The most common and expected ways of naming these social actors, like the previously mentioned president or leader, were not worth taking into consideration; what we did take into account were all the other ways these actors are referred to. As much as La Stampa’s journalists are generally critical of European and Western passivity or of their foreign policies, they are also critical of the political leaders of all sides involved in the war. At the semantic level, the encountered lexical choices attributed to the Croatian president Franjo Tuđman involve the following, obviously negative references: “the Duce,” “Narcissus,” “an autocrat,” “an inflexible school teacher,” “the Conquistador,” self-proclaimed “Croatian Prometheus,” and the “ex-partisan,” connoted, in the Italian context, and due mostly to the legacy of President Sandro Pertini (1886-1990) as positive. The semantic analysis of the representations of Slobodan Milošević shows that they are differently connoted, although not necessarily less semantically expressive: “the Russians’ Slavic brother,” “son of a suicidal Montenegrin priest,” “Belgrade’s godfather.” Karadžić and Mladić, on the other hand, are referred to, respectively, as “a warrior,” “a racist,” “a post-communist playboy,” “the Balkan guapo,” “an unimportant Cetnik leader,” “a good-for-nothing psychiatrist,” “a wannabe poet” (Karadžić), and “a falcon,” “an executioner,” “Spartan and Homeric,” “a loyal pawn on Milosevic's Balkanic chess-board,” “the Serbian Napoleon,” “the slaughterer,” “the Balkan Hitler,” “the Beast of the Balkans” (Mladić). The two are described together as the “Castor and Pollux of ethnic cleansing” (33 Cit. L.).

Franjo Tuđman

Slobodan Milošević

Radovan Karadžić

Ratko Mladić


(65 Cit., 67 Cit.)

“Ex-partisan”; “Tito’s youngest general”


(47 Cit.)


“The Duce, Tuđman, a guest required that evening by the protocol, but not well-seen politically”


(43 Cit.)


“A Narcissus in power”; “Tudjman’s vanity”


“It is no miracle that Tuđman has developed a kind of a Messiah complex: he was chosen by Providence to lead his nation from the Serb-communist slavery. Probably, every night before he goes to sleep, he already pictures his own monument as the national hero, erected in Zagreb’s main square. And the square would, naturally, be re-baptized to carry his name.”


“Warren Zimmermann, the last American ambassador in Belgrade, describes him as an inflexible school-teacher.”


“Everyone has noticed his passion for gold-rimmed uniforms, for golden chains, crosses, decorations and medals recently invented by a team of designers as new symbols of the nation.”


“Tuđman is obviously very comfortable in his white general’s uniform and new self-bestowed badges of honor pinned on his chest.”


“The caricature of a South-American dictator; a third-rate politician

an exceedingly ambitious leader, somewhat megalomaniac and exhibitionist”


(70 Cit.)


“… the author of a documentary defines Tuđman as Croatia’s Prometheus, and shows him sometimes as a fatherly, and sometimes an authoritative figure, while meeting with soldiers and caressing children, buttering up his adversaries and trashing the Italians. Yes, the Italians again.”


“Along with a strange predilection for white uniforms and big epaulettes, the Croatian President, as is well-known, manifests an assertive type of personality.”


“The absolute ruler of the country”

(73 Cit.)


“The president, … sent to us by Providence, Croatia’s Prometheus, the right man at the right moment, you name it, (the definitions are all by Croatian TV) is not a dictator, but a regularly elected official who now tries to inflate the votes in order to secure absolute power on the wings of the nationalist wave.”


“Father of the new Croatian nation”

(75 Cit.)

“A Conquistador, almost ready to jump on Ban Jelacic’s horse; an autocrat”

(72 Cit.)


“Father of the Homeland”; “the Great leader”; “our enlightened guide”


(10 Cit.)


“Milosevic, president of the Serbs’ home country”


(33 Cit.)


“Slobo Milosevic, father of a suicidal orthodox priest from Montenegro”


“Belgrade’s Godfather”


(5 Cit.)

“Karadžić: ‘President Milosevic, you are a traitor!’”


(50 Cit.)

“The Russian’s Slavic brother”


(10 Cit.)


“The president of the self-proclaimed Serbian Republic in Bosnia. The psychiatrist tyrant,

a would-be lord of the Cetnikse ended up in prison, not on ideological grounds, but after a history of corruption and appropriation of funds.”


“The Muslim enemies say that their number-one enemy, an ex-psychiatrist, has gone insane due to his frequent visits to madhouses. Such is the exasperation of those who have felt on their own skin the wild ferocity with which this author of delicate poetry pursues his political objectives.”


“The dictator from Pale writes poetry and piles up fortunes with sinister businesses.”


(33 Cit.)


“The most fervent Serb among the Montenegrins and the most fervent Montenegrin among the Serbs, he has become an element of disturbance on the chess-board.”


“… neither carnally nor spiritually is he the descendant of his great namesake Vuk. Today’s Karadžić, poet, warrior, psychiatrist, businessman and racist, has spent most of his life trying to swindle and divide, in a sea of blood, the Southern Slavs, whom the real Karadžić, in the 19th century, has, obviously in vain, provided with the glue of a common language.”


“His medical colleagues thought of him as a good-for-nothing psychiatrist, and his colleagues the poets as merely a poetaster.”


“A post-communist playboy”


“The romantic Balkan guapo, with his pepper-and-salt mane blowing in the wind, with his attitude of a brilliant specialist for children’s psyche and, naturally, of the greatest living Serbian prophet.”


(10 Cit.)


“The Serbian Napoleon has had enough: for four years now his robust farmer’s silhouette, forever clad in a camouflage uniform, has toured the world with the label of executioner, slaughterer pinned to it.”


“The Balkan Hitler”


“Idolized by the soldiers whom he has (so far) led from victory to victory, as the Serbs’ arm of steel.… The mechanism is the eternal Bonaparte one, from Gaius Marius to De Gaulle: after having presented his people with so many victories, why step aside and leave to someone else the role of the man blessed by Providence?”


(33 Cit.)


“The name of Ratko Mladić, when for the first time I heard it spelled in horror, did not arouse in me any literary assonances. Quite the contrary, it evoked War and Youth, two moments of the human condition which are closely interwoven. Ratko comes from rat, ‘war’, Mladić means literally ‘a young man’. Consequently, a young man, and a warrior. And as his rascal name and his round face toured the world, the jovial fifty-year old in the eternal camouflage uniform seemed to accentuate his young and strong Spartan hero image.”


“… the stocky Herzegovian general posing as a smiling Homeric athlete, preparing himself for a weight-lifting exercise on the background of Srebrenica razed to the ground.”


“Mladic is well aware of being a loyal and efficient pawn on Milosevic’s Balcanic chess-board.”


(47 Cit.)


“… general Mladic, much less of a falcon than just a few days ago.”


(33 Cit.)


“… two cruel and inseparable Dioscuri, the Castor and Pollux of ethnic cleansing, who had in mind a vivisection of the flesh of Bosnia.”


“The Herzegovian general, not the outsider Karadžić, is Belgrade’s real confidant.”


“A close friend of the Milošević family, once pupil of the prestigious Serbian military academy, and a colonel in the regular Yugoslav army, for some Bosnia’s Napoleon, for others the Beast of the Balkans, Mladić is certainly a cruel and blood-thirsty man, but he is also a soldier who knows the art of warfare and the duty to obey. Differently than in the case of Karadžić, who exults in blood and the delirium of omnipotence, the blood shed in the Muslim enclaves, or his military success in the battlefield, has not gone to Mladic’s head.”


(54 Cit.)

War criminals.

(57 Cit.)

“The two main figures among the Bosnian Serbs, the political leader Radovan Karadžić and the military commander Ratko Mladić, have both been charged as war criminals by the Hague International Tribunal.”


(11 Cit.)

“Mladić e Karadžić charged. Arrest warrants from the Hague for the Srebrenica massacre.”

Table 6 Examples of the Representation of the Balkan Social Actors

As stated before, in the representations of the mentioned social actors there is a certain polarization, but it is not as clear as could have been expected. Thus, we can conclude that journalists, not only politicians, attribute to all the actors the same Balkan mentality, as is confirmed by Rizzo in saying that “if a lot of blood was shed to stop Milosevic's dream of a Great Serbia, we should not allow other blood to be shed in the name of a Great Croatia” (La Stampa 62), suggesting that Milošević and Tuđman are practically the same.

4. Conclusions. Comments on the Overall Argumentation

Following a CDA approach, and trying to reconstruct a complex argumentative structure, the analysis of the examined corpus has confirmed that in dealing with a certain macro-topic and its related topics interdiscursively and intertextually, diverse subtopics are created which cannot be fully separated among themselves, and even less from the historical and geographical context they rely on. This is mostly visible in the subtopic of Balkanophobia which intertextually and interdiscursively includes the polarization between the Balkans and the West and the Italian-Croatian relationship. The analysis of the discourse taken into account in this way has revealed much more than mere historical facts or reports on the Croatian War. It has confirmed some of the deeply rooted stereotypes expressed through diverse types of polarized representations: the one between the good (West) and the bad (the Balkans associated with “primitive” nationalism and chaos), the one between the bad (Serbian leaders) and the less bad (the Croatian leader), and the one between war and peace, the latter obviously implying the prosperous Europe and the West, the former the less-than-prosperous and chaotic Balkans, Europe’s “underground self” (Said 4). It has shown that the Croatian-Italian relationship, defined by Zaccaria as “cordial aversion,” was, on the pages of La Stampa, more one of “aversion” than one of “cordiality” (cf. Agnelli’s warnings or Zaccaria’s criticism).

Matvejević (85) claims that if Europe were to be sharply divided into “the Balkans” and the “non-Balkans,” the greatest part of the Croatian territory would belong to the first category (81), also known as the Western Balkans. It is a part of the Balkans where there is a tendency to “run away” from it to their closest, Western, non-Balkan neighbours, who, on the other hand, consider them as their primitive (although only maritime) Balkan neighbours (86). However, in Matvejević's view, Croatia (86) is a country “whose past and history are burdened with both, Western and Eastern bad experiences, and Croatians do not know how to get rid of both. No one from the outside can help them and Croatians do not know how to help themselves.” The analysis has shown that Italy, as a representative of Europe, has at times acted as a Western civilized “older brother” towards a primitive neighbour, Croatia, as if it were not “a free subject of thought or action” (Said 3) and that it has operated (in Foucault’s words) the “discipline and punish” discourse to “normalise” it (Todorova, “Learning memory” 17).

The Italian daily newspaper La Stampa, observed in the entirety of the 115 articles published about the war in Croatia (and Bosnia) in 1995, did not, to put it in Todorova’s words, “rhetorically sell” the Yugoslav situation to the broad public as just another of the Balkan wars (see Imagining the Balkans 7), but it did, to a smaller or larger extent, attribute to its actors a “Balkan mentality,” and in its representations Croatia (and all other parties involved) did emerge as the Italian/European chaotic Other. Although the language of mass media is sometimes purported to be neutral and transparent, reflecting the “state of affairs” in an disinterested way (Wodak, “What CDA is about” 6), La Stampa insisted on referring to the situation as a crisi balcanica and on more than one occasion resorted to stereotypes about the Balkans. There are moments, though, especially in the case of some of the journalists’ descriptions (e.g., “the Croatians, by completing the operation Flash, did the thing the UN and the EU should have done long time ago” (68) or “the Croatian military operation Storm is a counter-attack, almost wanted and surely provoked”(63)), in which the Croatian war of independence was not seen as a Balkan whim, but represented using the terms the West would reserve for itself if, horribile dictu, it were at war.

List of Translated Citations

3 Cit. “(Bosnia) la piu travagliata repubblica sorta dalle ceneri della Jugoslavia si ridurrebbe a poco piu di un'espressione' geografica e finirebbe spaccata in due, la parte orientale assorbita dalla Serbia e quella occidentale dalla Croazia”.

5 Cit. “Karadžić: ‘Presidente Milosevic, lei e un traditore!’”

6 Cit. “Le forze di pace”

10 Cit. A. “Milosevic, presidente della casa-madre dei serbi”.

10 Cit. B. “Il presidente dell'autoproclamata Repubblica dei serbi di Bosnia; il tiranno psichiatra; il piccolo signore dei cetnici; finito in gallera, non per ideologia ma per una storia di mazzette e di fondi rubati”.

10 Cit. C. “I nemici musulmani dicono che il loro nemico numero uno, un ex psichiatra, e diventato pazzo a furia di frequentare manicomi. Esasperazioni di chi ha conosciuto sulla propria pelle la selvaggia ferocia con cui questo autore di delicate poesie persegue i suoi scopi politici”.

10 Cit. D. “Il ras di Pale scrive poesie e ammassa fortune con strani traffic”.

10 Cit. E. “Il Napoleone serbo si e stufato: da quattro anni la sua robusta silouette da contadino, perennemente inguainato dalla tuta mimetica, gira il mondo appiccicata con l'etichetta di boia, massacratore”.

10 Cit. F. “Hitler balcanico”.

10 Cit. G. “Idolatrato dai soldati che ha (finora) guidato di vittoria in vittoria, il braccio armato dei serbi (…) Il meccanismo e quello eterno del bonapartismo, da Caio Mario a De Gaulle: dopo aver regalato alla propria gente tante vittorie, perché mettersi da parte e lasciare ad altri il ruolo di uomo della provvidenza?”

11 Cit. “Incriminati Mladic e Karadzic. Dall'Aia mandati d'arresto per il massacro di Srebrenica”.

18 Cit. A. “’Si tratta di una barbara provocazione che comunque non impedira il proseguimento delle trattative di pace che sono l'unica soluzione possibile al conflitto’, ha dichiarato il ministro degli Esteri russo, Kozyrev”.

18 Cit. B. “(…) gli americani a guidare i negoziati di pace”.

23 Cit. A. “L'Onu rimangano forze peace-keeping e non peace-making”

23 Cit. B. “La crisi dell'ex-Yugoslavia”.

28 Cit. A. “Bettiza: Balcani in fiamme”.

28 Cit. B. “L’Europa che muore”.

29 Cit. “Il virus della guerra europea”.

31 Cit. A. “La guerra jugoslava - la terza e piu lunga guerra europea del secolo”.

31 Cit. B. “L’Europa che muore”.

32 Cit. “Lo spettro della guerra totale”.

33 Cit. A. “La scacchiera balcanica”

33 Cit. B. “Slobo Milosevic figlio di un pope montenegrino suicida”.

33 Cit. C. “Il padrino belgradese”.

33 Cit. D. “Il piu serbo dei montenegrini e il piu montenegrino dei serbi diventato un elemento di disturbo sulla scacchiera”.

33 Cit. E. “(…) un discendente né carnale né spirituale del grande omonimo Vuk. Il Karadzic odierno, poeta, guerriero, psichiatra, affarista e razzista, ha speso finora la parte piu corposa della sua vita per imbrogliare e dividere col sangue gli slavi meridionali, ai quali il vero Karadzic, quello del secolo scorso, aveva dato invano il mastice dell'unita idiomatica”.

33 Cit. F. “I colleghi medici lo consideravano uno psichiatra da strapazzo; i poeti un poeta da nulla”.

33 Cit. G. “Il playboy post-comunista”.

33 Cit. H. “Il lirico guappo balcanico con tanto di capigliatura brizzolata e impazzita nel vento, del geniale specialista della psiche infantile e, naturalmente, del massimo vate serbo vivente”.

33 Cit. I. “Il nome di Ratko Mladic, quando sentii la prima volta qualcuno sibilarne con orrore le sillabe, non desto in me nessuna assonanza letteraria. Evoco subito, invece, la guerra e la gioventu, due momenti della vicenda umana che si internano intimamente fra loro. Ratko viene da rat, ‘guerra’; Mladic significa letteralmente ‘giovanotto’. Quindi, il giovanotto e ragazzo della guerra. E certe arie da giovane e forzuto eroe spartano, via via che il suo nome ribaldo e la sua faccia tonda correvano per il mondo, il gioviale cinquantenne in perenne mimetica venne poi accentuandole sempre piu”.

33 Cit. J. “(…) il tozzo generale erzegovese nelle vesti di un sorridente atleta omerico, in procinto di cimentarsi nel sollevamento pesi sullo sfondo di Srebrenica rasa al suolo”.

33 Cit. K. “Mladić sa di essere una leale ed efficace pedina sulla scacchiera balcanica di Milosevic”.

33 Cit. L. “(…) due truci e inseparabili dioscuri, il Castore e il Polluce delle pulizie etniche, che s'accingevano a vivisezionare le carni della Bosnia”.

33 Cit. M. “E il generale erzegovese, non l'outsider Karadzic, il vero uomo di Belgrado”.

33 Cit. N. “Intimo di casa Milosevic, gia allievo ufficiale alla prestigiosa accademia militare di Serbia, gia colonnello nell'esercito regolare jugoslavo, Napoleone della Bosnia per alcuni, belva dei Balcani per altri, Mladic e certamente un uomo spietato e sanguinario; ma e anche un soldato che conosce il mestiere di combattere e di ubbidire. Al contrario di Karadzic, esaltato dal sangue e dal delirio di onnipotenza, a Mladic né il sangue versato nelle enclave musulmane, né il successo militare sul campo hanno dato alla testa”.

34 Cit. A. “La pace di Eltsin”; “La pace di Clinton”

34 Cit. B. “(…) assieme ai tre leaders della galassia jugoslava in frantumi: Milosevic, Tudjman e Izetbegovic”.

37 Cit. “La pace e di nuovo piu lontana che mai”.

39 Cit. “Incomincia da Roma la strada della pace”.

40 Cit. “Un accordo di pace; spiraglio verso la pace; una forza multinazionale di pace sotto il comando della Nato”.

42 Cit. “Basta gettare una rapida occhiata allo scaltro sorriso sulla faccia di Milošević o al doloroso spasmo su quella di Tuđman per capire che i due sono stati letteralmente costretti a firmare il trattato di pace”.

43 Cit. A. “Il Narciso al potere; vanita di Tuđman”.

43 Cit. B. “Nessuna meraviglia che Tudjman abbia sviluppato una sorta di complesso del messia: e stato scelto dalla Provvidenza per guidare la sua nazione fuori dalla schiavitu serbo-comunista. Probabilmente, ogni notte prima di andare a dormire intravede gia il proprio monumento di eroe nazionale eretto sulla piazza principale di Zagabria. La quale piazza, ovviamente, sarebbe ribattezzata col suo nome”.

43 Cit. C. “Warren Zimmermann, l'ultimo ambasciatore americano a Belgrado, lo descrive come un inflessibile maestro di scuola”.

43 Cit. D. “Tutti hanno notato la sua passione per le uniformi bordate d'oro, per le catenelle dorate, le croci, le decorazioni e le medaglie appena inventate da un team di designer come nuovi simboli della nazione”.

43 Cit. E. “Tudjman si sente bene con la divisa bianca da maresciallo e le nuove onorificenze (che si e autoattribuito) appuntati sul petto”.

43 Cit. F. “La caricatura di qualche dittatore sudamericano; politico di terza classe; un leader troppo ambizioso; un po' megalomane ed esibizionista”.

44 Cit. “Per la Bosnia ultima chance di pace”.

47 Cit. A. “Il Duce, Tudjman, ospite quella sera voluto dal protocollo ma politicamente poco gradito”.

47 Cit. B. “Ne emerge un generale Mladic assai meno falco di quanto fosse apparso fino a pochi giorni orsono”.

50 Cit. “Il fratello slavo”

51 Cit. “La partita balcanica”

52 Cit. A. “Caputo condanna l'offensiva: ‘I croati si mettono dalla parte del torto, secondo l'ex sottosegretario agli Esteri, cercando di riconquistare con le armi un'area che amministrativamente gli apparteneva, ma ha una popolazione serba alla quale la Costituzione di Zagabria non riconosce alcuna garanzia’”.

52 Cit. B. “Stupito delle dichiarazioni del presidente croato si era definito anche il sottosegretario alla Difesa, Carlo Maria Santoro. Il sottosegretario da giorni non nasconde di essere favorevole - in linea con la posizione francese - a un intervento militare nella ex Jugoslavia. ‘Quello che accade nei Balcani - dice - testimonia che l'uso alternato di forza, negoziato e poi ancora forza, e l'unico che funziona da quelle parti (…)’”.

54 Cit. “I criminali di guerra”

55 Cit. A. “L’ultima speranza di pace”

55 Cit. B. “L’incubo bosniaco”

55 Cit. C. “Il grande caos chiamato ex-Jugoslavia”.

57 Cit. “Capi dei serbo-bosniaci, il leader politico Radovan Karazdic e il comandante Ratko Mladic. Entrambi sono stati incriminati come criminali di guerra dal Tribunale internazionale dell'Aia”.

61 Cit. “Il mattatoio jugoslavo”.

62 Cit. “Alla vigilia degli incontri di pace americani; proporre piani di pace; lo sblocco, finalmente, delle trattative di pace; il negoziato di pace che riprendera a giorni a Dayton, il corpo di pace dell'Onu”.

63 Cit. “Davanti all'incendio dei Balcani”

65 Cit. “Ex-partigiano”

66 Cit. A. “Agnelli: ‘Si, e vero, ma pensiamoci, imporre la pace a gente che vuole la guerra significa intervenire e distruggerli, un altro massacro’”; “L'unica via della pace e continuare a trattare”.

66 Cit. B. “Agnelli: crisi bosniaca e sui suoi dintorni politico-diplomatici, in una congiuntura internazionale tra le piu drammatiche degli ultimi decenni”.

67 Cit. “Il piu giovane generale di Tito”

68 Cit. “Roulette dei Balcani”.

70 Cit. A. “Di fronte all'aggressione serba, il bisogno di riaffermare al piu presto un'identita nazionale (Tuđman) ha spinto i suoi governi a pescare nella tradizione piu remota, con risultati spesso sconcertanti”.

70 Cit. B. “Che (Tuđman) sia padrone assoluto del Paese e fuori discussione: i media - con l'eccezione di un giornale satirico che somiglia un po' al nostro Cuore e si chiama Feral Tribune - sono sotto il suo controllo, suo figlio si occupa dei servizi segreti, una figlia della Marina“.

70 Cit. C. “Dignitoso, l'autore di un documentario definisce Tudjman il Prometeo di Croazia, lo mostra talvolta paterno talaltra perentorio mentre incontra soldati e accarezza bambini, blandisce avversari e bacchetta gli italiani. Si, ancora gli italiani“.

70 Cit. D. “Il Presidente croato, si sa, oltre a uno strano amore per le divise bianche e le grandi spalline, manifesta una personalita di tipo assertivo.”

70 Cit. E. “Il padrone assoluto del Paese”.

71 Cit. “Continua a trasmettere musica, la radio di Stato, e lo stesso fa la tv: hanno rispolverato il vecchio Moja Domovina ‘patria mia’, canzone del '90. Un We are the world in versione sciovinista, con tutti i cantanti croati che celebrano in coro quella che allora pareva solo voglia di resistenza, e adesso si manifesta come volonta di rivincita”.

72 Cit. A. “’Ai serbi viene impedito di esprimere il loro diritto’, dice Veselin Pejnovic, vice-presidente del Pps (il partito dei serbi di Croazia), ‘i presidenti di seggio non consegnano loro la scheda’. Schede rosa, che gia nel diverso colore - le altre sono bianche o verdi - marcano una differenza quasi razziale”.

72 Cit. B. “Il Padre della patria”; “il Capo; l'illuminata guida”.

72 Cit. C. “Nelle stesse ore la piccola e orgogliosa Repubblica croata faceva gia registrare uno strano primato. Un primato negativo”.

73 Cit. A. “E il bozzolo di democrazia costruito in questo Paese finirebbe inghiottito da quello sciame di bruchi che qui si usano definire profiteri, ossia profittatori. I miliardari del dopoguerra. Gli slogan dei partiti di opposizione, riuniti in cartello, dicono Basta, Vogliamo onesta, Potere agli uomini puliti”.

73 Cit. B. “Il rischio delle elezioni truccate”.

73 Cit. C. “Il presidente, anzi gospodin predsjednick doktor Franjo Tudjman (espressione della Provvidenza, Prometeo di Croazia, l'uomo giusto al momento giusto: scegliete voi, le definizioni sono tutte della tv di Stato) non e un dittatore ma una persona regolarmente eletta che adesso sta cercando di inflazionare il voto per assicurarsi attraverso l'ondata nazionalistica un potere assoluto”.

73 Cit. D. “Il Padre della nuova nazione croata”.

73 Cit. E. “Eppure fra i regimi nazionalisti che emergono dalla decomposizione della Jugoslavia, quello di Tudjman resta il solo in grado di virare verso un modello europeo”.

74 Cit. A. “(…) vacillante e imperfetta democrazia scaturita dagli orrori della Jugoslavia”.

74 Cit. B. “Lord Jeoffrey Finsberg, capo degli osservatori, dice che in un'elezione pure ‘complessivamente regolare’ la Croazia ha svelato istituzioni democratiche da cambiare profondamente”.

75 Cit. “Il Conquistatore, quasi pronto a saltare sul cavallo di Ban Jelacic”; “autocrate”.

La Stampa Cited Articles (Web. 16 Jan. 2016 – 31 Mar. 2016)

AdnKronos. “Russia-Usa, lite al Gruppo di contatto sul comando della forza di pace”, 18 Oct. 1995: 8.

Agi. “’Fermate l'escalation militare’ Il ministro Agnelli”. 16 Jun. 1995: 9.

Agi. “Izetbegovic. Vertice con Tudjman”. 9 Aug. 1995: 5.

Agi-Ap. “Christopher, ‘Non tutto il male viene per nuocere’”, 8 Ago. 1995: 2.

Agi-Ap. “Lettera di Karadžić. Presidente Milosevic, lei e un traditore”. 9 Ago. 1995: 5.

Ansa. “Guai se cacciate l'Onu”. Gli Usa ai croati. 15 Feb. 1995: 9.

Ansa. “A Srebrenica 6 mila uccisi. I giornali Usa pubblicano le prove contro i cetnici“. 30 Oct. 1995: 4.

Ansa. “Il Papa: ‘Non restate muti’“. 3 Ago. 1995: 5.

Ansa. “La Agnelli: ‘Croazia fermati se vuoi l'Europa’”. 8 Ago 1995: 2.

Ansa. “La mia destituzione e illegittima, resto al mio posto finché lo vorranno i serbi. Mladic si ribella: nessuno mi puo cacciare. Rottura tra il generale e il presidente Karadzic”; “Karadzic. Il tiranno psichiatra”; “Mladić, il Napoleone Balcanico”. 6 Ago. 1995: 2.

Ansa-Agi. “Incriminati Mladic e Karadzic. Dall'Aia mandati d'arresto per il massacro di Srebrenica. Bruxelles”. 17 Nov. 1995: 11.

Ansa-Agi-AdnKronos. “Chirac chiama Milosevic Sono ancora trattenuti”. 2 Sep. 1995: 2

Badurina Ingrid. Drakulić Slavenka, Passarini, Paolo. “Disponibili per negoziati di pace. Croati e serbi. ‘Si’ a Eltsin”. 9 Ago. 1995: frontpage

Badurina, Ingrid. “Corteo contro la pace Zagabria. ‘Dayton e un tradimento’, ‘La Bosanska Posavina e stata venduta’, ‘Tudjman e Izetbegovic, perché ci avete abbandonati?’, ‘La Posavina non e mai stata serba’”. 29 Nov. 1995: 5.

Badurina, Ingrid. “Cosi sono sfuggito al boia Mladic. Il racconto del musulmano testimone all'Onu”. 19 Ago. 1995: 3. ?

Badurina, Ingrid. “I croati circondano Drvar ed avanzano verso la roccaforte serbo-bosniaca di Banja Luka ‘Atrocita contro i serbi della Krajina’. L'Onu accusa Zagabria: fosse comuni e mutilazioni”; “Javier Solana. ‘E impossibile essere ottimisti’”. 19 Ago. 1995: 3.

Badurina, Ingrid. “I profughi tra due fuochi. Cinquantamila civili serbi in trappola”. 9 Ago. 1995: 5.

Badurina, Ingrid. “Incominciato il ritiro delle armi pesanti serbe attorno a Sarajevo. Sospesi i raid alleati Karadzic si arrende agli aerei Nato Washington convoca una Conferenza di pace a Ginevra”. 2 Sep. 1995: 2.

Badurina, Ingrid. “Monito Usa a Milosevic: hai firmato per tutti i serbi, convincili ad accettare la pace”; “Bosnia, i primi 700 marines di Clinton. Applausi per la Agnelli a Sarajevo: nel '45 eravamo cosi”. 4 Dec. 1995: 7.

Badurina, Ingrid. “Bombe serbe, sangue a Dubrovnik. Fallito a Ginevra il negoziato sulla Krajina”. 4 Ago. 1995., frontpage.

Badurina, Ingrid. “Con il leader serbo-bosniaco inquisito il capo dell'esercito. L'Onu: ‘per ora continuiamo a trattare con loro’. Karadzic criminale di guerra. Tribunale dell'Aia decide sull'atto d'accusa”; ‘Voglio la liberta, Hitler’”. 25 Ago. 1995: 15.

Badurina, Ingrid. “No del governo bosniaco all'inviato di Boutros Ghali. Sarajevo: la tregua e finita i serbi vogliono la Guerra”. 29 Apr. 1995: 8.

Badurina, Ingrid. “Solo quattordici restano prigionieri: rilasceremo tutti, per noi la crisi degli ostaggi e finita. I serbi regalano altri 130 Caschi blu Milosevic alla Agnelli: un dovere morale”. 14 Jun 1995: 9.

Badurina, Ingrid; Chiesa, Giulietto. “Gelo nell'incontro tra Kozyrev e Christopher: Mosca condanna l'intervento croato. Bosnia, ‘strappo’ tra Eltsin e Clinton. Usa, anche la Camera toglie l’embargo delle armi”. 2 Ago. 1995: frontpage.

Badurina, Ingrid; Marco, Elena. “Cade Knin, centinaia di morti. Uccisi tre caschi blu. Zagabria: facciamo il lavoro dell'Onu. Serbi in rotta, i croati liberano Bihać. Mladić si ribella a Karadžić: comando io l'esercito”. 6 Ago. 1995: frontpage, 2, 3.

Badurina, Ingrid; Zaccaria, Giuseppe; Giulietto Chiesa. “Bombe su Knin, gli USA favorevoli all'intervento di Zagabria. Monito di Mosca ai croati. ‘Fermatevi, o vi costera caro’”. 1 Ago. 1995: frontpage, 5.

Bettiza, Enzo “Karadzic-Mladic, l'ultima faida tra i falchi della ‘Grande Serbia’”. 7 Ago. 1995: frontpage.

Bettiza, Enzo. “Balcani in fiamme. L'Europa che muore a Sarajevo”. 18 Apr. 1995: frontpage.

Bettiza, Enzo. “Il virus della guerra europea”. 30 Jul. 1995: frontpage, 2.

Bettiza, Enzo. “La grande guerra”. 4 Ago. 1995: frontpage, 2.

Bettiza, Enzo. “L'Europa che muore. Finora né una politica d'intervento né una politica d'armistizio”. 18 Apr. 1995: 4.

Bettiza, Enzo. “Lo spettro della guerra totale”. 3 May 1995: frontpage, 2.

Bettiza, Enzo. “Splendori e miserie dei boss di Pale. Dietro la rottura la fine dell'utopia grande-serba”. 7 Ago. 1995: 5.

Chiesa, Giulietto. “Dopo il vertice a Mosca cresce la polemica con gli Usa. Il leader russo invita anche Izetbegovic e minaccia di adottare ‘misure unilaterali’ Eltsin: via subito le sanzioni a Milosevic“; “La pace di Eltsin”; “La pace di Clinton”. 11 Ago. 1995: 2.

Chiesa, Giulietto. “Eltsin ammonisce le ‘potenze alleate di Tudjman’ e resta in attesa. Il silenzio dei ‘fratelli slavi’. Da Mosca e Belgrado soltanto parole”. 5 Ago. 1995: 4.

Chiesa, Giulietto. “Quasi scontro fra Kozyrev e Christopher dopo il no Usa alla condanna di Zagabria all’Onu. Russia-Usa, gelo sulla Bosnia. Mai cosi divisi dalla crisi balcanica”. 2 Ago. 1995: 5.

Chiesa, Giulietto. “Zagabria chiedeva che ci fosse anche Izetbegovic, oggi al Cremlino solo Milosevic Tudjman in extremis dice no a Eltsin. Salta il vertice, Mosca accusa: colpa di Usa e Germania”, 10 Ago. 1995: 5.

Deaglio, Mario. “Adriatico tra pace e guerra. Le due sponde dell'Europa”. 7 Ago. 1995: frontpage, 6.

di Robilant, Andrea. “Incomincia da Roma la strada della pace. Le strategie dei mediatori Roma”. 6 Oct. 1995: 7.

di Robilant, Andrea. “Un generale russo inserito nel comando della Nato, coordinera l'intervento della task-force multinazionale. ‘In Bosnia e vietato illudersi’. Holbrooke a Roma: accordo ancora lontano”. 7 Oct. 1995: 10.

Drakulić, Slavenka. “I fuggiaschi devono tornare. L'incubo da evitare: lo Stato monoetnico”. 9 Ago. 1995: 5.

Drakulić, Slavenka. “Ma io non mi fido”. 23 Nov. 1995: frontpage, 4.

Drakulić, Slavenka. “Zagabria, un Narciso al potere. Perché Tudjman svelo i piani di spartizione. La gaffe del presidente.” 22 Ago. 1995: 9.

E. st. “Oggi la Conferenza di riconciliazione a Dayton Clinton: per la Bosnia ultima chance di pace”. 1 Nov. 1995: 7. “Karadzic rida i gradi al ribelle Mladic”. 12 Ago. 1995: 5. “La Agnelli. Deponete le armi”. 3 May 1995: 3.

Galvano, Fabio. “Il piano di Tudjman: cancellare la Bosnia. Times rivela l'accordo per spartirla con Milosevic. Il patto segreto”. 8 Ago.1995: 2.

Galvano, Fabio; Marco, Elena. “I Grandi decidono: difenderemo Gorazde. Parigi: Milosevic pronto a riconoscere la Bosnia ‘Serbi fermatevi, o bombardiamo’ Monito da Nato e Russia. DM: manderemo i Tornado”. 22 Jul. 1995: frontapage, 2,3

Gawronski, Jas. “Intervista a Mazowiecki ‘J'accuse, Accuso l'Occidente debole e ipocrita’”. 1 Ago. 1995: frontpage, 4.

Giulietto Chiesa. “Il grande sogno dei ‘fratelli slavi’. I legami Mosca-Belgrado”. 14 Ago. 1995: frontpage, 3.

Giulietto Chiesa. “La mediazione del Cremlino ‘Pronti a mandare altri caschi blu’”. 8 Ago 1995: 2.

Grignetti, Francesco. “Tudjman: Italia imperialista ‘E propaganda’ replica Dini“; “Palazzo Chigi assicura ‘Il rombo delle armi non arrivera ai nostri confini’”. 5 Ago. 1995: 2.

Marco, Elena. “Allarme a Trieste”. 6 Ago. 1995: 2.

Passarini, Paolo. “‘Voglio la testa di Karadzic’. Christopher ai negoziati in America”. 3 Nov. 1995: 3.

Passarini, Paolo. “Bosnia: si chiama Boris l'ultima speranza di pace”. 18 Jun. 1995: 4.

Passarini, Paolo. “Dure critiche a Ghali e alla Nato: ‘Hanno adottato una politica di autosconfitta’. Christopher: ‘Bisogna colpire i serbi’. Washington chiede all'Onu un raid in Bosnia“. 20 May 1995: 7.

Passarini, Paolo. “Ex Jugoslavia. Non vuole accettare la ‘clausola’ del siluramento di Karadzic e Mladic. Attacco ai Caschi blu a Mostar, 7 feriti. Milosevic: Clinton mi ha ingannato. Sfuriata del leader serbo ai negoziati di Dayton”. 7 Nov. 1995: 11.

Passarini, Paolo. “Holbrooke, il tessitore. Brillante diplomatico con modi da cowboy“. 6 Oct. 1995: 7.

Passarini, Paolo. “Il Pentagono ha autorizzato ripetute missioni per preparare l'attacco alla Krajina. Generali USA dietro il blitz. Ufficiali in pensione per aiutare Zagabria”. 9 Ago. 1995: 4.

Redazione Roma. “‘Bonn non puo tacere’. La Agnelli chiama Kinkel ‘Condanni anche i croati’”. 9 Ago 1995: 4.

Rizzo Aldo. Zaccaria Giuseppe. “Tudjman, vittoria scontata. Croazia, al Presidente il 48%. Ancora bombe serbe su Dubrovnik”. 30 Oct. 1995: 1.

Rizzo, Aldo. “Osservatorio. Adesso e il momento della moderazione”. 30 Oct. 1995: 4.

Rizzo, Aldo. “Davanti all'incendio dei Balcani”. 5 Ago 1995: frontpage, 4.

Rizzo, Aldo. “Finché siamo in tempo”. 29 Jul. 1995: frontpage, 2.

Rizzo, Aldo. “Franjo Tudjman. Un generale di Tito per la riscossa croata”. 3 May 1995: 3.

Rizzo, Aldo. “Intervista. Il ministro Agnelli. ‘L'unica via della pace e continuare a trattare’. Imporre la ragione a chi vuole la guerra”. 16 Jul. 1995: 3.

Rizzo, Aldo. “La scommessa del generale. Tudjman vuole la rinvincita”. 3 May 1995: frontpage.

Rizzo, Aldo. “Osservatorio. Un nuovo giro di puntate alla roulette dei Balcani”. 8 May 1995: 9.

Rizzo, Aldo; Zaccaria, Giuseppe. “Tudjman, vittoria scontata Croazia, oggi i risultati elettorali. Ancora bombe serbe su Dubrovnik”. 30 Oct. 1995: frontpage, 4.

Zaccaria, Giuseppe. “Croazia-Italia, la cordiale antipatia”. 8 Oct. 1995: 11.

Zaccaria, Giuseppe. “In coda con i turisti in fuga dalla Croazia bombardata”. 5 Ago. 1995: 3.

Zaccaria, Giuseppe. “La bassa affluenza sfavorisce Tudjman che punta al plebiscito. Bombe sulle elezioni croate. I serbi colpiscono Dubrovnik”. 30 Oct. 1995: 4.

Zaccaria, Giuseppe. “L'opposizione, soffocata e priva di mezzi, non ha speranze. La democrazia senza brividi di Tudjman, padrone buono. Zagabria tra guerra e urne”. 26 Oct. 1995: 9.

Zaccaria, Giuseppe. “Raccoglie solo quanto aveva ottenuto tre anni fa senza vittorie e culto della personalita. In Croazia un padrone dimezzato. Fragile vittoria di Tudjman”. 31 Oct. 1995: 10.

Zaccaria, Giuseppe. “Scontato il successo del partito del presidente Tudjman: sara una vittoria o un plebiscito? La democrazia imperfetta post-jugoslava”. 29 Oct. 1995: 10.

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Note About Contributor(s)

Ivana Škevin, University of Zadar, Croatia


Ivana Škevin is assistant professor in Romance Philology at the Department of Italian Studies, University of Zadar. Her research interests lie primarily at the intersections of Italian-Croatian linguistic and cultural contacts, primarily in the fields of sociolinguistics, dialectology and semiotics. Her current interests revolve around the questions of language change and semiotic spaces, language and social identity as well as the identity aspects in media discourse.

Iva Grgić Maroević, University of Zadar, Croatia


Iva Grgić Maroević , an associate professor at the Department of Italian Studies, University of Zadar, is the author of many scholarly articles dealing with the fields of Italian studies, translation studies and women's/gender studies published in Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland. She is also the author of the volumes Osman i njegovi dvojnici (Osman and His Doubles, 2004.) and Poetike prevođenja (The Poetics of Translation, 2009.). She has translated a series of important Italian and English literary works, and also works from the fields of linguistics, history and art history. She is the editor of “Selected Works of Luigi Pirandello” (2001) and several collections of papers dedicated to literary translation published by the Croatian Association of Literary Translators. For her work as a translator, Iva Grgić Maroević has been awarded the “Frano Čale” prize (1993, Italian Institute of Culture, Zagreb) and the “Josip Tabak” prize (2014, DHKP).