Croatian National Resistance

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The Croatian National Resistance (Croatian: Hrvatski narodni otpor/odpor, HNO), also referred to as Otpor, was a radical nationalist and terrorist organization founded by the Ustaše that operated in the Croatian diaspora during the Cold War. The HNO was involved in racketeering, murder, extortion and other violent crimes.

Otpor sought to destroy Yugoslavia and to establish an independent Croatia, according to the vision of Ustaše leader Ante Pavelić and ideology of Mile Budak.[1] Because of their association with the Ustaše, as late as 1987, members of Otpor were publicly referred to as "Ustashi".[2]

It was founded in 1957 by escapee Maks Luburić, former Ustaše guard of the Jasenovac concentration camp.[3] In 1969, Luburić was killed by the Yugoslav secret police the UDBA.

Otpor existed for over three decades, and while it never had more than a few thousand members worldwide, it linked a variety of notable Croatian nationalists.[3] Otpor branches on four continents at times splintered, notably the Argentinian one under the leadership of Dinko Šakić.[4] Šakić had lived in Argentina between 1947 and 1956, and then between 1959 and 1998.

A number of terrorist attacks against Yugoslavia were organized by the Ustasha emigration, including the 1971 killing of ambassador Vladimir Rolović by Miro Barešić and Anđelko Brajković.

The HNO was banned in Germany in 1976 because of their links to terrorist activities of Zvonko Bušić and others.[5]

The organization's activity in the United States was to target Yugoslav travel agencies and diplomatic facilities.[6]

In 1982, a group of Croatians was convicted in New York for conspiracy involving murder, arson and extortion, and one of whom, Mile Markich, was described as a senior member of Otpor.[7]

The organization operated between legitimate emigre functions and a thuggish underworld. Its leaders tried to distance the organization from the acts of the so-called renegade elements that hijacked international flights and served prison sentences for extortion. It embraced a radical nationalist ideology that differed only marginally from Ustaše ideology.[8]

The HNO had stated that:[9][who?][when?]

"[We] regard Yugoslavism and Yugoslavia as the greatest and only evil that has caused the existing calamity [...] We therefore consider every direct or indirect help to Yugoslavia as treason against the Croatian nation [...] Yugoslavia must be destroyed - be it with the help of the Russians or the Americans, of Communists, non-Communists or anti-Communists - with the help of anyone willing the destruction of Yugoslavia: destroyed by the dialectic of the word, or by dynamite - but at all costs destroyed."

The organization published its own magazine, Drina.[10] It existed until 1991.

In 1991, a former leader of Otpor joined the Croatian Ministry of Defence and used his underground connections to try to obtain weaponry at the time the Croatian War of Independence was starting.[11] In August 1991, the U.S. Customs Service arrested four members of Otpor from Chicago for attempting to procure illegal weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles, and ship them to Croatia.[11][12]


  1. ^ Janke, Peter (1983). Guerrilla and Terrorist Organizations: A World Directory and Bibliography. Macmillan. p. 113. ISBN 0-02-916150-9. 
  2. ^ Alan Riding (December 27, 1987). "Paraguay Accepts Terrorist and Stir Is Minor". New York Times. 
  3. ^ a b Hockenos 2003, p. 69.
  4. ^ Hockenos 2003, pp. 71-72.
  5. ^ Hockenos 2003, p. 71.
  6. ^ Wolf, John B. (1989). Antiterrorist Initiatives. Plenum Press. p. 30. ISBN 0306431238. 
  7. ^ "6 Croatians convicted of racketeering conspiracy". The New York Times. 1982-05-16. Retrieved 2014-06-23. 
  8. ^ Hockenos 2003, p. 23.
  9. ^ Bellamy, Alex J. (2004). The Formation of Croatian National Identity: A Centuries-Old Dream?. Manchester University Press. p. 93. ISBN 0-7190-6502-X. 
  10. ^ Grubisa, Damir (January 14, 1989). "Yugoslavia Ad Came From Nazi Terrorists". New York Times. 
  11. ^ a b Hockenos 2003, pp. 88-89.
  12. ^ Sremac, Danielle S (1999). War of Words: Washington Tackles the Yugoslav Conflict. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-275-96609-6.