Tudjman, Franjo (fränˈyō tōjˈmän) [key], 1922–99, Croatian nationalist leader, first president of independent Croatia (1991–99). He joined Tito's Partisans in 1941 and after World War II rose to the rank of major general (1960) in the Yugoslav army. A history professor at Zagreb Univ. from 1963, he lost his post and his Communist party membership in 1967 because of his Croatian nationalism, which also led to his imprisonment in 1972–74 and 1981–84. Founding the Croatian Democrat Union in 1990 as Yugoslavia began to disintegrate, he became president of Croatia in 1990 and led the constituent republic to independence in 1991. He was reelected president in 1992 and 1997. His rule became increasingly autocratic over time, and his second reelection was criticized as not fair because of government control of the media. He died in office, having been declared incapacitated several weeks before his death and replaced by Acting President Vlatko Pavletic.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.