Now that the World Cup in Russia is over, there is no doubt that one of the people who took the most revenue from it was the president of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. Her effervescent presence in the matches played by her selection and her “protocol oversights” have made her known to millions of people around the planet.
The Great Croatian Mystery
With just 4 million inhabitants, Croatia has caused a huge surprise by reaching the World Cup final, leaving behind football giants and, in the previous one, favorites.
But its exceptional sports performance is not only given in soccer: it won the water polo world cup last year, its basketball players play in the best leagues and it has outstanding representatives in tennis and various Olympic disciplines.
Mala zemlja veliki snovi (Small country, big dreams): that phrase was worn by the bus that transported the Croatian team in Russia and perfectly describes the spirit of this Balkan team.
But its presence in the World Cup was not only marked by what happened on the field of play: the presence of its president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, was the center of attention of the media and the crowds.
Like everyone else, Kolinda has bright spots and others not so clear, these are some aspects to get to know the Croatian president better.
1 Doll nickname: Her name is Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, but she is also known as “Barbie”.
2 On April 20, he turned 50 years old and for this reason he is of the sign of Taurus. She is the youngest person, as well as the first woman, to hold the presidency of Croatia, as she reached the top position at just 46 years old.
3 She was born in Rijeka, a city with 128,000 inhabitants. In a country with 4 million citizens, she is the third most populous in the nation. It’s a college town, which gave Kolinda the chance to develop her meteoric political career.
4A small stain on her career: she began as an advisor for international cooperation and went through different portfolios related to foreign affairs, including four years in which she worked as a diplomat for NATO. Being a representative in the United States, she suffered a small scandal related to her husband Jakov, who used official vehicles for private purposes. The episode ended when Kolinda recognized her mistake and repaid the expenses out of her own pocket.
5 Thanks to a scholarship she was able to study, since the Croatian president comes from a very humble family. Her parents owned a butcher shop and she got an opportunity to finish her high school studies in the United States. She later completed a triple degree in Spanish, English and Literature and later, a master’s degree in International Relations at the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Zagreb, which was key in her career.
6 He speaks eight languages: Croatian, which is his mother tongue, in addition to English, Spanish, English and Portuguese. To a lesser degree, Italian, French and German.
7 Despite the episode of the embassy car, her husband has a fairly accepted image and it is pondered that at a certain moment, when his wife’s career forced her to spend full days away from home, he assumed the role of “house husband ”, postponing her work to take care of the children.
8 He has a net worth of 100 million dollars, a figure that has been harshly questioned by his opponents. She has always boasted about the transparency in her personal accounts, pointing to her good income from her positions, in addition to what was contributed by her husband in her work as an engineer. Her political rivals point out that her friendships, especially those related to the world of soccer, could have added some zero to those figures. In any case, there is no evidence to support the suspicions.
9 She traveled to the World Cup in tourist class and paying out of her own pocket, one of the most publicized events in her presence at the World Cup and that has generated a huge wave of sympathy towards her person.
10He had the days he was in the World Cup deducted from his salary.
11 In 2014, Grabar-Kitarovic won the elections representing the Croatian Democratic Union party, whose main program was to displace refugees. In her electoral campaign, the candidate herself proposed that walls be built, to prevent the displacement of immigrants to Croatia.
12 Kolinda has been married to Jakov Kitarovic since 1996 and they have two children: Katarina and Luka Kitarovic. She is engaged in business and graduated from the Rijeka Faculty of Maritime Studies. During the electoral campaign of his wife, she stopped working to dedicate herself to her children. After Kolinda was elected president, he started working at a software company based in Zagreb. He later became a corporate security consultant at AD Plastik, the largest manufacturer of plastic parts for the automotive industry in that country.
13 Wrong Chocolates: As president, she attended Dubrovnik Defenders Day, the date on which the Yugoslav army siege of that city in October 1991 is remembered. Grabar-Kitarovic went to an initial education center and gave the children chocolates with his signature, but the sweets had not been made in Croatia, but in Serbia (a country with which there are marked differences), and the president, before the elections, presented a campaign called “Let’s buy Croatian”.
14 Some time ago, images of an attractive blonde woman in a bikini were spread on the internet, claiming that she was the president of Croatia. The fact was clarified shortly after: it was Nicole Natalie Marrow, American actress, dancer and model, wife of rapper Ice T. and not Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.
15 The president is highly questioned for her friendship with ZdravkoMamic, a soccer businessman sentenced to six and a half years in prison for corruption in a case of fraudulent transfers. The man remains at his residence in Bosnia, from where he cannot be extradited. It is also noted that the questioned businessman would have financed the president’s campaign.