Saturday, October 01, 2005

Five years on, Serbia still haunted by Milosevic legacy


Five years after the euphoric ouster by democratic forces of strongman Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia is still haunted by the legacy of his 10-plus years of autocratic rule.

The expectations of the tens of thousands of Serbian citizens who took to the streets of Belgrade are yet to be fulfilled as the Balkan country struggles to shake off Milosevic's influence in its transition to democracy.

The high spirits of those involved in the popular uprising on October 5, 2000 have been gradually eroded by a lack of political, social and economic progress by Milosevic's successors.

A mood of pessimism and resignation has since pervaded in Serbia, largely due to the failure of the country's new democratic leaders to keep the promises they made five years earlier.

According to local political analyst Ljiljana Smajlovic, a big part of this is because of the "ghost of Milosevic".

"There's been a feeling of deja vu with a lot of (Milosevic's) methods employed" by the three democratic governments since his ouster, including a lack of transparency and an almost willful obscuring of issues, Smajlovic told AFP.

"When you have an adversary and you battle him for too long, you end up resenting him and, in order to beat Milosevic, you have to get good at his game," she said.

"So everyone learned a lot from Milosevic and they employed the same tricks when they came to power.

"(But) the kinds of expectations that October 5th gave rise to are almost doomed to be disappointed because these were incredible expectations and because people had been led to believe that it was all a matter of getting rid of Milosevic," Smajlovic added.

The peaceful revolution was sparked by Milosevic's refusal to concede defeat to Vojislav Kostunica, Serbia's current prime minister, in the September 2000 Yugoslav presidential election.

Milosevic's popularity, which had already been falling for years, suffered a final setback over the 78-day NATO bombing campaign that brought an end to the Kosovo war in June 1999.

The former Balkans strongman left the country in 2001 when he was extradited to The Hague-based UN war crimes tribunal, accused of war crimes and genocide for his role in the wars that shattered former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

The momentum for change suffered an unexpected blow in March 2003 when reformist Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic was shot dead by a sniper outside a government building in Belgrade.

The country's ambitions of integration with Europe and the NATO military alliance have also been held back by the unresolved future status of Kosovo and Belgrade's failure to secure the handover to The Hague of top suspected war criminals.

The long-awaited talks on Kosovo's status are expected to begin later this year under UN auspices, but the international community has been insisting that Belgrade and Pristina first have dialogue on practical issues.

Belgrade has also come under mounting pressure from the West over the sensitive issue of war crimes, notably over its failure to bring about the arrest and extradition of two top suspects -- former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic and his political leader Radovan Karadzic.

The UN war crimes tribunal's chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte visited Belgrade again this week, giving Prime Minister Kostunica a new December deadline for the arrest of Mladic, who she believes is hiding in Serbia.

Local officials have strongly denied any knowledge of his whereabouts.

The slow pace of European and NATO integration has not been helped by the cautious approach of Kostunica, the moderate nationalist leader of the Democratic Party of Serbia.

Another issue complicating Serbia's efforts to implement changes has been the push by the leaders of the republic's union partner Montenegro for independence.

Meanwhile, the lack of unity in the pro-democracy camp has led to increasing support for the ultranationlist Serbian Radical Party, which was the most popular single party in the country's last general election in December 2003.

Apart from the issues of Kosovo, fugitive war crimes suspects and the threat of Montenegro's independence, Smajlovic said she believes another key stumbling block for the country is its economy.

"More investment and just the sense that things are going better economically could do wonders about this pessimistic sense of malaise that has gripped the country," the analyst said.

"I think some of the (problems) going on here... are to do with this first 'savage' stage of capitalism. I think some of the problems here have to be attributed to that, not just the ghost of Milosevic."


Anonymous said...

Kostunica became prime minister after Serb newspapers printed his picture where he was shooting with his Kalashnikov machine-gun in Kosova during the wartime.
He might as well be Milosebiatch's illegal son.

Anonymous said...

Here is that picture of Kostunica shooting with his machine gun. I wouldn't be surprised to know that on the other side of the picture there was an Albanian child Kostunica was aiming to.

arianit said...

K-Albanians in Al Qaeda?!! I contacted USA Today to confirm the news that was posted by one of the commentators here. It turns out the author of the article was a fraud and made up the news. I wonder in how many blogs around the web that article was quoted by the likes of Emperor's Clothes, Julia Gorin, and Serbianna. Check out my correspondence with the USA Today's Ass. Reader Editor! Some of my information is deleted to protect my privacy.

Arianit [Lastname],

Thanks kindly for your inquiry. The story that you refer to was written
by Jack Kelley, a USA TODAY reporter who resigned in January of 2004.
An investigation of Kelley's work conducted by the paper found strong
evidence that he fabricated substantial portions of stories, lifted
quotes, lied in speeches he gave for the newspaper and conspired to
mislead those investigating his work.

USA TODAY published results of its investigation of Jack Kelley's work
in March; they are available online at:

Thanks kindly for your inquiry. If you have any further questions or
concerns, please let me know!


Jennifer Bryan
Asst. Reader Editor, USA TODAY
Phone: 703.854.3456
Fax: 703.854.2053

Original Message Follows:
Name: Arianit [Lastname]
Email: [Email]
Address: [Address]

Comments: Dear Editor,
In this article one of your journalists claims that a document has been
found in Afghanistant with the name of an Albanian from Kosova on it who
claims to have KLA experience against Serbs and Americans and
recommending attacks against Disneyland.
Since there is a very serious allegation as Albanians are gearing up for
indepedence talks this winter, could you please tell as more where this
document could be found for verification or whether your source is
official and who is the person.
Any help is welcome.
Arianit [Lastname]

Anonymous said...

Nowhere does it say Kelley fabricated anything in THAT particular article.

Also I would like to know why Albanians hate Kostunica?

Anonymous said...


Kosovo is one of the worlds most rotten places. Every day it rottens more and more from inside.
Every western country knows everything that is going on inside there. Believe me if you want or not, it doesn´t matter really: Kosovo will not be independent, you will see.

I can give you 300-400 other international correspondents report.
The ones who behave like animal will be treated like animals. Remember that.

Anonymous said...

This blog is nothing but a "spamming" blog and I have reported it as such.

I now know why there are so many anonymous comments.

I posted a reply to this blog after finding it the other day, and since then I've been hit with 10 spam messages on my blog by blogging spammers.

Waste of my time!

Anonymous said...

The dude is a fraud nothing could have stopped it from lying in this peace. If the editors of the paper are telling us that the dude is a fraud and that he isn't to be trusted then we don't trust anything from him.

Ferick said...

Very interesting. Some food for thought for all those Albanian haters. Please stop quoting the likes of Kelly- they are fringe reporters.

Anonymous said...

Kosovo and the Islamic Threat

September 30, 2005: The worst thing about Kosovo is that there has been no progress in the last six years.

Violence and crime are common, and jobs are not (about two thirds of the workforce are unemployed.) The only big business is crime, with organized gangs heavily into smuggling, drugs, prostitution and whatever else will earn money. Islamic charities have set up religious schools, and are turning thousands of young Albanians into enthusiastic haters of all things Christian.

Anonymous said...

Kelly's reports of Serb atrocities against albanians are the reports that got the US involved in the region in the first place. I guess they were all fraudulent.

I guess that is why the US wants out of the region.

Anonymous said...

Sure, Sure there was no CNN no BBC no NBC noe EuroNews or Deutche Welle. Everyone left the coverage of these attrocities to a single person. The other media around the world did not want to make money this time.

What a dillusioned person

Anonymous said...

Where are the 100,000+ dead albanians that these "trusted" news sources were reporting?

Anonymous said...

Its around 10 000 dead. Half of them are burried in Serbia. A third were burned in Serbia. And around 3 000 are still missing.