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Serbia

1997 Serbia

1992 Bosnia and Herzegovina declares independence

According to Countryaah, the struggle between the ethnic groups continued, and from April was concentrated in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which on 6 April had been recognized as an independent state by the EU. The date had a historically traumatic content for the Serbs, for it was the same date that Germany had attacked Yugoslavia in 1941.

In order to limit its responsibility for the Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina assaults, Belgrade announced in early May that it was relinquishing control over troops of the former federal army fighting in the new independent states. However, it was clear that the statement had no real content. The European Union therefore imposed a trade blockade on Yugoslavia on May 28 to pressure the country to stop the fighting.

In addition to the foreign opposition to the government of Belgrade, there was also a domestic one. On May 24, Serbia's Democratic Movement - Depos - was formed. Its passwords were: The drafting of a democratic constitution, the dissolution of the independent party militias, impunity for military deniers, and a postponement of the elections scheduled for the end of the month. At the same time, the Orthodox Church urged the Serbian government to resign when unable to devise a policy of reconciliation. The movement "Women in Black" had been working for peace and support for the Yugoslav military deniers for several years already.

But elections were held on May 31 and they strengthened Slobodan Milosovic's position even more. His Socialist Party got 70.6% of the vote in Serbia, while the Democratic Socialist Party in Montenegro got 76.6%. The democratic opposition as well as the Albanian and Muslim minority in the Sandchak region boycotted the election. Therefore, the turnout was only 56%.

Writer Dóbrica Cosic was elected federal president on June 15 and businessman Milan Panic was appointed prime minister on July 14. The Serbian leadership thus expressed greater willingness to negotiate, and, unlike Milosovic, welcomed the Panic peace draft drawn up in London 26-27. August. However, it did not hinder the intensification of Serbian aggression in Bosnia.

At the presidential elections in Serbia on December 20, Panic was beaten by Milosovic. On February 9, 93, he was replaced at the Prime Minister's post by Radoje Kontic, who initiated a cleansing within the public institutions in Serbia. Over 1,000 employees at radio and television, intellectuals and teachers lost their jobs. Finally, on June 25, Federal President Cosic was replaced by one of Milosovic's close partners, Zoran Lilic.

The Serbian government's reluctance was also expressed in Kosova, where any sign of independence was wiped out in the context of a political and cultural extermination. Serbia refused to recognize the provincial parliament and government that had been operating since May 24, 1992. In 1993, Serbian police violently dissolved a meeting in memory of dead Albanians, arrested the party leaders and closed the Academy of Sciences in Kosova.

In parallel with Milosovics and the ruling socialist party's increasingly authoritarian features, international pressure increased and the economic and social crisis in the country worsened. Thus, in 1993, 80% of the federal budget went to the military and 20% of the country's GDP went to support Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia. In the first 9 months of the year, industrial production fell 39% and GDP fell by 60%. The consequences were dramatic. At the end of 93, unemployment exceeded 50%. The government financed 80% of public spending (equivalent to 70% of total GDP) by allowing the banknote press to run freely. That caused inflation to explode - from 100% in January to 20,190% in November. The minimum wage fell to US $ 1˝ a month - just enough to feed a family of 4 for three days.

In the fall, the government introduced rationing of the basic commodities such as sugar, flour and oil, and in December the first interruptions in the power supply were implemented. At the beginning of 1996, the income of 78% of families in the federation was below US $ 235 monthly.

From 1994 the Serbian Socialist Party under Milosovic's leadership strengthened its position. By the December 93 parliamentary elections, it had received 123 out of the 250 seats of the People's Assembly. It had also concluded agreements with eight MPs from the opposition and thus secured a majority. Milosovic threw his worst political rivals into prison and tried to distance himself from the worst acts of war. He even went so far as to selectively cooperate with the UN Criminal Court in The Hague. His main goal was that the UN repeal the sanctions against Serbia, which had been in effect since May 1992. On September 24, 94, the UN decided a partial repeal for a period of 100 days. International flights were allowed and so did cultural and sporting exchanges.

In 1995, the Yugoslav president continued to play an important role in Bosnia's peace efforts. Yugoslavia to some extent distanced itself from Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic - especially because of disagreements over the military strategy. The bloody conquest of Srebrenica and Zepa in July - carried out by the Bosnian Serbs - helped to marginalize the opposition.

Belgrade had continued its supplies of weapons and personnel to the "Republic of Serbia Krajina" in Croatia until the middle of 95, but nevertheless failed to intervene militarily when Croatia invaded the Krajina area in August. Some Serbian refugees were allowed to come to Yugoslavia, where they were resettled in Kosova, or in areas of Vojvodina from which Hungarians and Croats had been expelled.

 

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