Serbia Since 1989
Politics and Society under Milosevic and After
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: University of Washington Press
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Serbia continues to fascinate us, as few other countries have done. It remains a mysterious country—not because there are vast secrets there, but because it is the quintessential “Balkan” land if by “Balkan” we mean a land lying on the southeastern doorstep of Vienna and having a history of intrigue; because it occupies the twilight zone between democracy and authoritarianism; because it seems to be a land which hatches conspiracies and cabals; because it is a society important sectors of which...
1. Introduction: Serbia as a Dysfunctional State
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...“To live without Milosevic is a feeling that spreads slowly, that enters the veins slowly, very slowly....Tired, I salute the Rev-Since 1989, Serbia has transformed from the largest republic of Eastern Europe’s most liberal country to an impoverished, barely functioning state, still in the process of disintegration and rife with numerous political, economic, and social problems. All the problems of the last thirteen years cannot be placed at the feet of one man, but the regime...
Part I: The Center
2. Serbia Transformed? Political Dynamics in the Milosevic Era and After
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On 28 June 1989, Slobodan Milosevic addressed a crowd of several hundred thousand Serbs at Gazimestan in Kosovo Province, near the site of the medieval battle of Kosovo Polje and the heartland of spiritual Serbdom. It was significant that Milosevic chose the site of a perceived Serbian defeat (the battle in 1389 had been a military draw for both the Serbian and Ottoman forces, although in Serbian mythology it would go down as the Serbs’ greatest loss) as the platform from which to...
3. From the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the Union of Serbia and Montenegro
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When in December 1991 the European Community announced its intention to recognize Slovenia and Croatia by 15 January of the next year, the Serbian government quickly declared (on 26 December 1991) that “a ‘third Yugoslavia’ had been formed with Serbia, Montenegro, and the Serbian Krajina in Croatia.”3 The territory of Krajina was seized by force from Croatia between June and December 1991,and was prepared to be annexed to the newly reemerging Yugoslavia. ...
4. An Airplane with Eighteen Pilots: Serbia after Milosevic
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On 12 March 2003 Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic was assassinated in front of his government offices. His death was both a tragedy for the people of Serbia, desperately wanting to live in a normal country, and a wake-up call for politicians in the country who had squandered opportunities in order to pursue narrow agendas of personal interests and opportunism. Following Milosevic’s ouster from power, Serbian politics had degenerated into bitter bickering between the two main...
Part II: The Legacy of War
5. Under the Holy Lime Tree: The Inculcation of Neurotic and Psychotic Syndromes as a Serbian Wartime Strategy, 1986–95
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The 1991–95 War of Yugoslav Succession affected Serbian society in multifarious ways, including also the psychological health of Serbian society. This chapter looks at some of the recurrent themes in Serbian propaganda 1986–95, examining their operation in inculcating collective neurotic and psychotic syndromes and noting the relevance of those syndromes for the war against Croatia and Bosnia, 1991–95. Six pivotal themes in Serbian ...
6. The Impact of the War on Serbia: Spoiled Appetites and Progressive Decay
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Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is spotted with destroyed, burned-outbuildings, the mementos of the 1999 U.S.-led NATO air campaign.On the surface, this evidence can be introduced to answer the question posed to one of us, originally, and addressed by both of us in this chapter: what was the impact of the war on Serbia?1 In short, this bomb damage in Belgrade, as well as that elsewhere in Serbia, is the impact of the war on Serbia. To this the burned-out villages in Kosovo and the graves across ...
7. Postwar Guilt and Responsibility in Serbia: The Effort to Confront It and the Effort to Avoid It
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"You must always have in mind that maybe tomorrow your friend will be your enemy,” a survivor of the siege of Sarajevo told psychiatrist Stevan M. Weine.1 The respondent “meant the remark as a way of explaining the experience of “ethnic cleansing,”2 and how this changed relationships and values during the period of war. And what may a friend be after the war? More to the point, after the war, what may a friend be to herself or himself ? These are the issues at stake in what is probably the most...
8. Crime and the Economy under Milosevic and His Successors
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The Serbian regime of Slobodan Milosevic is usually associated in Western minds with Greater Serbian nationalism and expansionism. Yet there was another side to the coin: the Milosevic regime was neocommunist and represented the negative flowering of a half century of communist rule. As such, Serbia under Milosevic followed the pattern of the Soviet Union under Stalin and China under Mao: a communist regime brings into being a new elite, one that—to use Marxist ...
9. The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic
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On 12 February 2002 a historic trial began proceedings in The Hague against Slobodan Milosevic. He is the first head of state ever to be tried before an international war crimes tribunal.1 The trial is important for several reasons: First, because this is the person whom the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) sees as one of the chief architects behind the atrocities committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia...
Part III: Culture and Values
10. The Politics of the Serbian Orthodox Church
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It has often been observed that the Serbian Orthodox Church is a political organization first and foremost and a religious organization only secondarily. Whether this statement is true or not depends, above all, on what one understands by the terms “political organization” and “religious organization.” If we define “political organization” to mean an organization striving for power on earth and seeking to advance a policy agenda affecting laws, notions of rights, school curricula, and values, then most,...
11. Nationalism, Motherhood, and the Reordering of Women’s Power
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What would be the answer to the question as to what characterized the relationship of the Milosevic regime toward women beyond the, nowadays somewhat obvious, conclusion of authoritarian systems being inherently misogynist? Is there a way to under-stand the nature of the regime by observing the way it treated women?The status of women in Serbia at the beginning of the 1990s was characterized by a general backlash in rights and political status, which also ...
Part IV: Peripheries
12. Kosovar Albanians between a Rock and a Hard Place
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Through various machinations, Slobodan Milosevic was able to rescind the autonomous province status of Kosova (Kosovo) 1 in 1989. Within two years he had reduced Kosova to a police state run largely by Serbs, while the population itself remained over 90 percent Albanian.The response of the Kosovar Albanians was unexpected. Instead of acquiescing, exiting in massive numbers, or rebelling in armed conflict, the Kosovar Albanians agreed on a constitution (1990), held a referendum...
13. Vojvodina since 1988
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The decade of the 1990s in Vojvodina really began in 1988, with the so-called “Yogurt Revolution” and the subjugation of the province by Slobodan Milosevic, then the leader of the League of Communists of Serbia. In the twelve years between Milosevic’s overthrow of the Vojvodinan leadership and his own fall, the province went through one of the most turbulent periods in its history. The Milosevic years left a permanent mark on the relations among Vojvodina’s ethnic groups and on...
14. The Yugoslav Roma under Slobodan Milosevic and After
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In the intricate history of Eastern and Central Europe since the Middle Ages, the Roma (Gypsies) repeatedly have been the oppressed “forgot-ten other.” This congenital torment has also been aggravated periodically by war, as with the victimization of the Roma during the Holocaust of World War Two.1 Since the beginning of the dissolution of Titoist Yugoslavia in 1989, the persecution of the Roma once again has gone largely unnoticed in the West and by the Western media. As a consequence of a...
Part V: Conclusion
15. The Sirens and the Guslar: An Afterword
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The ancient Greek bard Homer recounts how Odysseus, the wily war hero winding his way home, wanted to hear the singing of the legendary Sirens, of whose powers he had been warned by Circe.According to legend, men who heard their songs became overwhelmed by the desire to be with them, swimming desperately to their isle and ending up as their victims. Odysseus was driven by curiosity. What was this song which could drive men to distraction? What was the secret of the...
16. Epilogue: Serbia after the Death of Milopevic
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Most Western reporting of the events surrounding the 18 March2006 funeral of Slobodan Milosevic has underestimated the seriousness of the short-term political and social situation evolving in Serbia. As seen clearly during the preparations and honors allotted the late dictator, Premier Vojislav Koptunica has in fact let the nationalist genie out of the bottle and may be unable to put it back anytime soon.This could have serious repercussions for Serbia’s relations with the ...
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Publication Year: 2005