The curiosity was complete. Not because of the published photographs of a gorgeous naked young woman, because it was only affirmed editorial standard of a reputable journalistic magazine, nor because of the accompanying texts that would dodge the censorship control, but due to the fact that the said lady was not Caroline from London, as it was stated, but the girl who sang a year ago at the famous festival on the Slovenian coast. That means, the girl from the neighbourhood, almost from the neighbouring building.
Even today it is not quite clear whether the then editors of the prominent Zagreb magazine “Start” knew that Caroline from London was actually Moni from one of Slovenian towns, or it was all just a mere coincidence, as they explained. However, we know for certain that the selection and supply of photos of that kind was prepared by their then associate, a connoisseur of French literature, admirer of Rainer Marie Rilke’s poetry, a successful graduate of the Faculty of Philosophy in Innsbruck, Dr. Ivo Sanader.
Although the later president of the Croatian government ended that very specific photographic trade and business with selected clients at the beginning of the eighties, the number of years later, the same photo was a reason for one of his political resigns. To be more specific, Sanader returned to Split in the eighties, became an editor at the publishing house “Logos”, prepared a collection of texts about Antigone and also an outstanding selection of erotic texts by authors Marquis de Sade, Andréa de Nerciat, Guillaume Apollinaire, in comfort of Mediterranean lee. It was a time when Dr. Stipe Šuvar, a radical party ideologue, already prepared his collection of prohibited articles and prohibited authors, on political tendencies in artistic works, literary, theatre and film criticism and public speeches that contain politically unacceptable messages, later called the White Book. However, that ideological confrontation was directed primarily against the authors from Slovenia and Serbia, so Split and Sanader’s editing evaded the censorship radar. At the same time, Šuvar’s blacklists not longer had such political power as they had had only ten years earlier. The eighties were years of change.
Dr Franjo Tuđman met Sanader later. He appointed him a minister of science and moved him to his presidential office relatively quickly. He became a chief of staff to the president of the country. It was one of the most influential positions in the country. And as such, subject to internal factional conflicts between different fractions. Sanader become undesired for them. This is exactly why we recalled his Austrian trade and various photos, even those with Moni. Similar to most courts, the patterns are routine and same: they began asking the president about former merits of his head office, and then further, quite casually, about his Austrian years and later very directly about his trade with photographs. However, this was not crucial. During the eighties, Tuđman also read “Start”. It was one of those magazines that were on the edge of the permitted as regards to the published and had good writers. They therefore had to add something to the plan of removing Sanader. Through the corresponding secret services, they gave to the president the information that that store not only sold photos of naked girls, but also photos of naked men intended for specialized magazines for men; that they discovered appropriate witnesses and that, thanks to their skills, they prevented a terrible scandal, actually publishing of all in the media. Tuđman believed. Sanader had to go. He became deputy minister of foreign affairs, but with no special powers.
The death of the first Croatian president and new factional confrontation within the ruling party for taking over of his position enabled Sanader a great return. He became president of the ruling party and the president of the Croatian government after the parliamentary elections
When he unexpectedly resigned on the first of July 2009, he was charged and convicted for cases with different influence. The common point of all charges was organized and planned taking of a large bribe. In the spring of this year, the first Croatian Constitutional Court annulled two verdicts and a few days ago, the Supreme Court revoked the third one. Sanader should be released from custody now, when all the rulings against him are annulled and he is no longer convicted in any case. This is likely to occur these days.
With a number of legal matters related to three so influential annulments of verdicts against former prime minister, two remain.
The most general one, is he really guilty for everything they accused him, and the one which is politically the most interesting one. Is Sanader’s political comeback possible?
The answers to the first two questions will be extremely complicated, but the answer to the last one on the new return to the place of decision-making in Croatian politics is unambiguous and short.
No. Sanader’s political time has passed, in the same way as his key political project – membership of Croatia in the European Union and the NATO alliance.
At that time, he had an almost complete national consensus for changes, and also the support of almost all parliamentary parties and national minorities. He was able to convince the influential chief prosecutor for the ICTY, Carla del Ponte. After the dialogues with him, she wrote a positive report on the cooperation of Zagreb with the court for crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia. Without such a report of the prosecutor, Brussels doors would have remained closed. He was a good interlocutor of key European leaders. They believed him that he was able to carry out a European project. So this is why he was convinced that he was influential enough and that the long-standing border dispute with Slovenia would be solved on the way, but above all, in different way than provided in the agreements of his predecessors, Dr. Ivica Račan and Dr. Janez Drnovšek.
This is why especially his book of memoirs will be interesting. Not because he could include the current political relations in the neighbouring country, but primarily because of those facts that remain unclear. Primarily due to the reasons for such sudden resignation, and only a few months later failed party coup and retaking of power attempt, and nothing more than that.
Sanader’s political time was only the time of Croatian approximation to the European Union. His memoirs will be interesting now, also about life in Innsbruck and photographs of Slovenian Moni in the magazine “Start”.