This work has been originally published in the journal Dialogue,
N° 22-23, June /Sept. 1997 and we are reproducing it for the sake of general interest. Careful readers familiar with the world-systemic perspective would spot a few major features of this article: the interplay of class relations on the national and international level, the link between class analysis and geopolitical analysis, the formation of internal center-periphery relations, nation-formation, and how it all relates to each other.
SUMMARY: Many recent journalistic and scientific attempts to better understand, if not to explain, the phenomena of the simultaneous process of integration in Western Europe and disintegration in Eastern Europe in general, as well as the ethnically and religiously tinged civil war in former Yugoslavia in particular, are characterized by a mechanical separation between endogenous and exogenous factors. In order to interpret current developments, however, it is indispensable to analyze how these factors have interacted in the past and continue to do so in the present. We must keep in mind both the influences of internal social differentiation on the nature of inclusion in the international division of labor and power, and the effects of international social power relations on the changes of such relations internally. Only such comprehensive historical and structural analysis can bring us nearer to the truth about the war in former Yugoslavia and away from the one-sided interpretation which has been disseminated in the most powerful world media. The main finding of this paper is that the breaking up of the Second Yugoslavia into dependent mini-states governed by local rulers belonging to majority ethnic/confessional groups in their respective former Republics, is the result once again of the alliance of domestic and foreign ruling classes in the old neocolonial “game” of redistributing spheres of influence.
- The theoretico-methodological analytical framework and its application to the Yugoslav case
- Rise and fall of the First Yugoslavia
- Contradictions in the Second Yugoslavia
- Factors of internal corrosion and disintegration of the system of decision making and monitoring in Yugoslavia
- Topology and chronology of the destruction of the Second Yugoslavia
- Autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Metohija and Vojvodina in the Republic of Serbia
- Slovenia and Croatia
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- The question of guilt for the war
- The Great Powers’ Interests and the War in Yugoslavia
- Role of the media
- Germany and the Vatican
- The European Community and the succession question in Yugoslavia
- United States of America
- The United Nations and NATO
The main “agents” of social integration and disintegration processes in the contemporary world should not be sought exclusively either in cultural values endogenous to particular civilizations (as in Huntington, 1993a; 1993b), nor yet in the exogenous power relations between nation states (as in Ajami, Fouad, 1993), on the other. Rather, they should be sought in the interaction between changing alliances of domestic and international social classes. From such a research perspective, the social mechanisms of disintegration (antagonistic division of commanding and executing labor functions and unequal distribution of its socially produced results), on the one hand, and integration (continual social production and reproduction process of common material and spiritual values), on the other, are simultaneously visible on the local as well as on the global level. The historico-geographic and ethnico-confessional concentration of commanding and executive social roles in the local and international division of labor and resources, however, causes conflicting class interests (whether in defending or in changing the existing social relations) to be formulated in terms of religious or ethnic status groups (Vratuša-Žunjić, Vera 1993b; 1994; 1995).
When this theoretico-methodological research approach is applied to the study of (dis)integration processes in the two former Yugoslavias (it holds true in the present “third” Yugoslavia as well), it leads to the conclusion that the main “exogenous” factors of their breakup were and still are the imperial ambitions of the mutually competing ruling classes of Western Catholic and Protestant, Eastern Orthodox and Asian Muslim powers, using the “endogenous” social, ethnic and religious differences of local population as the means for expanding their spheres of influence in this geostrategically important region.
Subservience to foreign power elites had left the peoples of the Balkan Peninsula in general, and of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) in particular, with an inheritance of mutual mistrust and hate. Mistrust and hate are fostered by painful memories, periodically re-actualized, of killing inflicted on each other in the service of, or in alliance with, foreign interests.
Concerning the “endogenous” factor, the first point that has to be kept in mind is the fact that all South Slav peoples came to this territory almost simultaneously. According to the oldest written source, De Administrando Imperio by Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Byzantine tsar (913-956), his predecessor tsar Irakliye (610-641) left vast stretches of deserted territory between the river Sava and the Dinara mountains to Serbs for settlement. This was just next to lands settled by Croats north of the Cetina River up to the Istrian peninsula (Constantine Porphyrogenitus, 1967: 145), closer to the Frankish Kingdom, Venice, the Vatican and Hungary. This source refutes Croat nationalist claims that the Serbs came to this region centuries later. In medieval times Serbian and Croatian aristocratic families succeeded each other on the Bosnian throne. Typical is the case of the most powerful ruler, Stefan Tvrtko I (1353-91), crowned in Mileševa (Serbia) in 1377 as the King of Serbia, Bosnia and Dalmatia (Istorija srpskog naroda, 1981: t.II, 8-9;50).
The second point is that armed conflict between Serbs, Croats and Muslims in B&H always takes on a literally fratricidal character. The historic reality is that this is precisely where part of the population of the same ethnic origin (mostly Serbian and some Croatian) passed from Christianity to Islam. Conversion to Islam was not primarily voluntary but motivated by the wish to safeguard life itself, as well as to preserve landholder rights and other privileges during Ottoman rule. We must remember that religious affiliation coincided with ethnic and class identity in the Ottoman empire: Serbs and Croats who remained Orthodox or Catholic became serfs, while Islamized Serbs and Croats joined the ranks of Turkish nobility and administrators. Islamization of Serbs was intensified after the great migration of Serbs in 1690 from Kosovo and Metohija (K&M), parts of Montenegro, Herzegovina and Raška. To a lesser degree it continued into the XIX century, and stopped only after the final liberation from the Turks in 1912 (Terzić, Slavenko, 1994: 53).
Some Orthodox Serbs converted to Catholicism also. This process was intensified during Austro-Hungarian rule after the 1878 Berlin Congress, when Orthodox church schools were closed and Orthodox Serbs were forbidden to enter state apparatus, while the opening of new Catholic schools as well as the conversion of Muslims and Orthodox Christians to Catholicism were stimulated. Conversion of Serbs to Catholicism was therefore partially motivated by their attempt to obtain the possibility of better education and jobs (Kraljačić, Tomislav: 1987). Religion in these parts thus often separated parents from children and children of the same parents from one another. According to old Serbian sayings, converts have the urge to be “better Catholics than the Pope” and “better Muslims than the Caliph”.
In the century of national awakening in Central Europe, when Prussian Protestants and Bavarian Catholics overcame their religious divisions to unite within a single German nation, in Bosnia & Herzegovina the integrative influence of sharing the same origin and language turned out not to be strong enough to offset the disintegrative influence of the conflict-ridden historical heritage expressed in religious terms.
It must be stressed that responsibility for the mutual distrust and disintegrative influence of religion and ethnicity in Yugoslavia in general and in B&H in particular does not lie solely with the “Balkanization of the Balkans” stimulated by foreign rulers.
The “endogenous” factor in disintegrative processes in the “First” Yugoslavia _ the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes created as the compromise between the interests of the victorious big powers after the World War I in 1918 – was the power relations between Serbian, Slovenian, Croatian and Islamized proto-bourgeois classes. They were unequally successful in mobilizing support of the productive classes for their nation-state projects. The Serbian and Montenegrin merchant, middle peasant and educated elites succeeded in reestablishing internationally recognized states in 1878 after five centuries of Ottoman rule. This was possible thanks to numerous liberation uprisings and wars waged by the Orthodox Christian masses against local Islamized land-owning collaborators of the Muslim conquerors. Like the German and Italian bourgeoisies before it, the Serbian bourgeoisie also wanted to unite within a single state all their compatriots, 40% of whom were scattered through territories dominated by Austria-Hungary, in order to create the largest possible national market.
The Austro-Hungarian elites were the mortal enemy of the Serbian national program to unify the South Slavs, as Vienna sought compensation in Southern Slav territory for the space lost to united Germany and Italy. Under the label of a cultural mission in the Balkans and the fight against “Greater Serbian imperialism”, they applied the age-old rule of domination: divide et impera. They introduced anti-Serb discrimination, deepened religious divisions in B&H, and insisted on the preservation of the Turkish administrative unit Sandjak only on the territory of Raška or Old Serbia, in order to obstruct the direct territorial linkup between Serbia and Montenegro. Deliberately inciting Serbo-phobia among other Slav peoples was the ideological tool employed by Austro-Hungarian ideologists, whether conservative or socialist, to prevent Serbs from playing the same role among Balkan Slavs that Piedmont had played in Italy. They encouraged mobilization of non-Serb peoples against Serbian “oppressors” and in pursuit of the dream of creating independent nation states, but only so long as this mobilization stood in the way of unification of South Slav peoples against Austro-Hungarian domination.
The Croatian and Slovenian proto-bourgeois privileged classes did not, however, succeed in reestablishing the semblance of state independence lost in 1102 or before. When the Slovenian and Croatian intellectual, economic and political elites joined the common state of the South Slavs in 1918, they were not motivated solely by the romantic ideal of the Southern pan-Slav Illyrian movement. An important consideration was to prevent realization of the 1915 Treaty of London proposal by the victorious Entente powers to attach the Adriatic coast to Italy and the Serb-populated parts of the dismembered Austro-Hungarian Empire to the Kingdom of Serbia, including the stretch of the Adriatic coast between Cavtat and Planke (Istorija srpskog naroda, 1981: t.VI-2, 93), as well as to avoid having to pay war reparations for having been aligned on the side of their rulers, the Central Powers, who had lost the War. Slovenian and Croatian politicians understood this First Yugoslavia as the transitory “nursery” for the preparation of their full independence. Islamized Bosnian elites who, together with the faith of the Ottoman conquerors, had also accepted the obligation to defend their state, fiercely resisted national liberation uprisings on the territory of B&H. They were thereby defending their land ownership and other privileges. After the 1878 Berlin Congress, those who could not stand the sound of Christian church bells ringing, or the fact that Muslim women might marry Christian men, and worst of all that their former Christian serfs were issued deeds to the land, emigrated to the nearest territories under Islamic order. They never gave up hope of returning and restoring a universal pan-Islamic state under the rule of the Caliph in the territories of the former Ottoman Empire. They supported the religious, political and para-military activities of those who stayed. The Islamic community was and still is preparing the ground for this restoration once it succeeds in attaining an absolute Muslim majority through high birth rates, strengthening and widening its ties with Islamic centers.
From the time of the Berlin Congress, however, Serbs have legally owned more than 60% of B&H land. According to the 1981 census data gathered in the Federal Bureau of Statistics, even in the urban municipalities with a relative Muslim majority, the relatively largest share of available land was still being used by Serbs. In Sarajevo Center for instance, the 43,64% of Muslim inhabitants were using 37.86 % of the available land, while the Serb 19.73% were making use of 46.58% (Spasovski, Milena, Živković, Dragica, Stepić, Milomir, 1992). According to cadastral registers, Serb ownership comprises an even greater percentage of the land. The mass killing of Serbs during the First and the Second World Wars resulted in a situation where war criminals began to use the land of their victims, who remained the nominal owners of the land in cadastral registers. (For the land ownership data in the Srebrenica District, see Ivanišević, Milivoje, 1994:6). These facts alone should refute the absurd allegation that Serbian peasants living for centuries in villages around urban centers are aggressors in B&H.
The dictatorial political imposition of Yugoslav unitarism by senior officials of the highly centralized Yugoslav state administration, largely staffed in the Serbian and Yugoslav capitol Belgrade and headed by Serbian monarchs, without sensitivity towards the Croat elite’s demand for at least the same amount of autonomy that it had enjoyed under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, gave Croatian nationalists the opportunity to claim that all Serbs were “Greater Serbian hegemonists”. This conflict culminated in the 1928 shooting of Stepan Radić, leader of the Croatian Peasant Party, by a Radical Party deputy in the Yugoslav parliament in Belgrade, and in the 1934 assassination of King Alexander Karadjordjević by a Croatian Ustasha.
The Slovenian and Croat proto-bourgeoisie preferred not to recognize the fact that if there was political domination by Serbian elites, economic dominance was nevertheless their own. This stemmed from the fact that the former Austro-Hungarian rulers had left in Slovenia and Croatia considerably more communications infrastructure and proto-industrial plants than had the former Ottoman rulers in the Bosnian and Serbian Pashaluk. In the inter-war period, the advantage of the northwestern Yugoslav Republics in terms of economic development increased thanks to uneven territorial distribution of capital investments per thousand inhabitants: 697 000 dinars in Slovenia, 481 000 in Croatia (with Slavonia and Dalmatia), 281 000 in Serbia (with Voivodina, but without Srem) (Grdjić, Gojko: 1953:55).
The Croat and Slovenian bourgeoisie’s dream of an independent state came true only with the help of the “exogenous” factor. They greeted the German and Italian forces that occupied the First Yugoslavia in the Second World War as liberators. Muslim leaders also looked to the German victory to bring them unification of Muslims in B&H, part of old Serbia (Raška), K&M and Macedonia. Hitler’s puppet regime, called the “Independent State of Croatia” from 1941 to 1945, annexed all of B&H. In order to make the new state as ethnically and confessionally homogenous as possible, the old plan to exterminate “Slavo-Serbs” as the “obstructive interfering factor”, “lower race”, “trash of nations”, “enemy of the people’s and homeland’s freedom”, and “wild dogs” (Starčević, Ante, 1893, t. III, 162, 205, 299, 342, 373) through killing (around 670,000 Serbs were killed with unprecedented savagery in Jasenovac concentration camp), expulsion or conversion to Catholicism (Psunjski: (1944)1995). Persecuted Serbs swelled the ranks of Draža Mihailović’s Chetniks but even more so of Tito’s Partisans. On the territory of the “Independent State of Croatia” (which encompassed Bosnia-Herzegovina where Serbs were then the relative majority population), Serbs were over-represented in Partisan units in proportion to their share in the local population.
In 1881, when the Krajina (Frontier) ceased to be ruled from the Habsburg War Council in Vienna and was incorporated into Croatian Slavonia, autonomous Hungarian crown land, 497 746 Serbs constituted 26.3% of Croatia’s 1 892 499 inhabitants (Vrbanić, F., 1899:36, cited according to Samardžić et all., t. VI-1, 386-7). According to the first census after World War II taken in 1948, 543 795 Serbs accounted for only 14.5% of the 2 975 399 inhabitants in Croatia (Savezni zavod za statistiku, 1954: p. XV). These figures testify to the policy of ethnic “purification” in Croatia.
The official ideology and policy of “brotherhood and unity” and of “socialist workers’ self-management” in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia did not succeed in overcoming deep inter-ethnic and inter-confessional suspicion and hatred reborn in the civil, ethnic and religious conflict during the World War II. The stagnation crisis that overtook the self-managed variant of the command economy at the end of the sixties accentuated Yugoslavia’s historically inherited disparities in economic development. The continued territorial imbalance in per capita investment further widened the gap: in the 1952-87 period, investments in Serbia were 10.9% below average, while in Croatia they were 10.7% above average and 74.3% above average in Slovenia (calculated on the basis of Mihailović, Kosta, 1990: 46).
One segment of the ruling class of collective owners, especially in the most developed Republics, turned to market mechanisms as the way out of the crisis. As central planning was dismantled, it was not replaced by any viable economic system. Abortive economic reforms, the heavy borrowing of petrol-dollars and the inability to repay credits in conditions of world recession, only caused the economic situation to deteriorate through rising unemployment and foreign debt. On the social level, however, these economic policy changes did influence the changing power relations between the bureaucratic and technocratic segments of the collective owners class. In particular, the managers of big export-oriented enterprises and clever entrepreneurial politicians in the industrially more developed Republics saw in the privatization of control over basic means of production, administration and communication, a way to obtain a much safer device of social self-reproduction than the previous mechanism of appointments to commanding roles in the party and the state by the upper layers of federal state bureaucracy (Vratuša-Žunjić, Vera, 1993a). There was growing interest in the national market economy and privatization on the part of the rising groups of small-scale entrepreneurs, as well as among experts employed in industry.
The interest on the part of the emerging post-socialist power elite in privatization and opening the economy to foreign capital brought about a change in the social base of support for the regime. When the main social pillars of a regime change, its integrative and legitimization ideology changes as well. In their search for a post-socialist legitimization ideology, power elites in all the Republics and Provinces came up with “declarations” (“Declaration about the name and position of Croat language”, by Matica Hrvatska, 1967; “The Islamic Declaration” by Alija Izetbegović, 1970), “memorandums” (by members of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 1986), “Charters” (Slovenian intellectuals around the periodical Nova Revija in 1987), and other lists of national and/or confessional interests, stressing that they deserved equal recognition and often implying that these aspirations could be realized only within their own nation state.
At the end of the sixties and the beginning of the seventies, the long-smoldering conflict between two irreconcilable claims was openly manifested. On the one hand, there was the claim by leaders of the majority ethnic/confessional groups within the various individual Yugoslav Republics that each of “their” Republics be organized as a unitary, centralized, economically self-sufficient nation state, “sovereign” in relation to the federal state. From the nation state they expected a strengthening of their own monopoly on privileged commanding positions in the local social division of labor and wealth, while promising their co-ethnics the preservation or attainment of privileged capital-intensive and high-technology secondary and tertiary activities in the international division of labor. No ethnic or confessional group wanted to be reduced to poorly rewarded roles in production of primary raw materials. In 1981 Serbs were “over-represented” in just such roles. Their index of participation in farming was 132 in the entire former Yugoslavia, while the same index for Muslims was 77, and for Croats 81. The leaders of minority ethnic and religious groups inside particular Republics, often concentrated in their industrially underdeveloped regions, claimed on the other hand as large as possible a degree of autonomy in relation to the respective Republic, going as far as secession and unification with their national “mother” state. From the establishment of their own national state or reunification with the “mother” state, they expected support in the competition for better positions in both the local and international social division of labor and wealth, a competition intensified by the conditions of economic crisis.
The conditions for the disintegration of the second Yugoslavia were created by political decisions made by its charismatic and autocratic President Josip Broz Tito and by the separatist republican and provincial communist party leaders in the third quarter of the XX century.
1. The first decision was the constitutional proclamation of a “national” identity for members of the Muslim religious community. Many Serbian nationalists see adoption of the corresponding constitutional amendment in 1971, unique in the whole world, as a deliberate attempt by communist rulers headed by the Croat Tito and the Slovenian Kardelj, who exercised a monopoly of top party and state nomenclature appointments, to prevent in every possible way the development of national awareness among the members of the Serbian ethnic group, the most numerous, from which originate most present-day Muslims in B&H and in Serbia.
The reasons for the promotion of a religious confession into a nation should be sought in the mechanisms of recruitment to leading functions in the state apparatus, both on the federal and on the republican/provincial level in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The principle of parity in representation according to a “national key” was introduced in accordance with the proclaimed policy of equality among the “narodi” (the “nations” or peoples who constituted Yugoslavia: Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Montenegrins, Macedonians) and “narodnosti” (“nationalities” or “national minorities”, members of ethnic groups who live in Yugoslavia and have “mother” states in neighboring countries). According to this “key”, members of the Muslim religious community could enter the “game” of nominations to leading functions in the pluri-ethnic Yugoslav state only by declaring themselves to be members of one of the constitutive peoples of Yugoslavia. It was only a matter of time until the critical mass of educated specialists, intellectuals and politicians of Muslim faith would demand and obtain their own “national quota” of top posts directly, as members of the “Muslim nation”. This put the final touch on the governing technique of making ethnic and religious affiliation, along with loyalty to the top of the local republican or provincial power hierarchy, the main criterion for nomination to leading functions in the state, party, economic and cultural bureaucracy. The danger involved in automatically identifying a religious confession as a “nation” soon became clear: legitimization of national expansion by religious principles (Nenadić, M., 1993: 106-110).
One of the motives of Muslim leaders for wanting to create their own “mother” state, in which they would soon have an absolute majority, was to ensure its exclusive support for themselves in attaining and preserving the commanding social roles. Having done so, they would no longer need to identify religious affiliation and nationality, as they had demanded when it was the only way to gain nomination to ruling positions according to the “national key”. Some Muslim ideologists now claim that they are neither Serbs nor Croats, but autochthonous “Bosniaks”, and thus bearers and defenders of Bosnian “statehood” (Zulfikarpašić, 1991: 33).
Persons of Muslim, Catholic or Orthodox religious origin, most of them products of mixed marriages, who did not want to declare themselves according to the ethnic affiliation of their ancestors, most often declared themselves as Yugoslavs. Slovenians and Macedonians the least often declared themselves as Yugoslavs. The self-declaration as “Yugoslav” on the part of Serbs, whether Islamized, Catholicized or atheist, was interpreted by nationalists of other constitutive peoples as a concealed attempt at achieving Serbian hegemony.
2. This brings us to the second political decision which proved to be destructive for the very existence of Yugoslavia. This was the decision to constitutionally designate persons who declared themselves of the “Yugoslav” nationality as “nationally undetermined” citizens of Yugoslavia. They were denied the right to be treated as members of an emerging Yugoslav nation. In this way the ethnically and religiously based principle of parity in political representation was applied all the way from the top to the bottom, instead of being limited to the highest political and state bodies (Assembly, Government, Presidency). This made implementation of the democratic principle of representation “one citizen = one vote” more remote than ever.
These decisions had considerable impact on the ethnic structure in all Yugoslavia’s Republics and Provinces after 1971. There was a turn away from plurality towards ethnic homogenization. In B&H, for instance, the percentage of Muslims rose from 25.7% in 1961 to 39.6% in 1971. In the same period the percentage of Serbs fell from 42.9% to 37.2%, of Yugoslavs from 8.4% to 1.2%, and the percentage of Croats from 21.7% to 20.6%. In 1991 there were 43.7% Muslims, 31.4% Serbs, 17.3% Croats and 5.5% Yugoslavs (Savezni Zavod za Statistiku (Federal Statistical Bureau, 1991: t.I, 5-6, 11-13; Statisticki bilten (Statistical Bulletin), No. 1934: 10-11). A considerable part of the rise in the absolute and relative number of Muslims according to the 1971 census should be ascribed to the “return” of some Muslims from the category “Yugoslavs, nationally not determined”, which in that year underwent a sharp decline.
One part of this shift can be attributed to people actually moving away from B&H. Comparing the population data according to place of birth and place of permanent residence in 1981 shows that 188 000 persons born in B&H immigrated to Vojvodina and 125 000 more to Central Serbia, while 15 731 persons born in Vojvodina and 46 817 born in central Serbia, approximately 50% of them Muslims from Raška (Sandjak), emigrated to B&H. In 1981 275 247 persons born in B&H lived in Croatia, while 57 745 persons born in Croatia lived in B&H. These emigrations from B&H towards “mother” Republics cannot be explained solely by economic reasons of leaving an underdeveloped region, because many experts of Serbian and Croatian nationality with good jobs left Sarajevo, capital of B&H. The fact that these emigrations intensified after 1971 confirms the hypothesis that they are at least in part caused by abuse of the “national key” criterion in selection of top cadres (appointment of “good Muslims” along with “loyal” Serbs and Croats reduced to the role of representing their ethnic/confessional communities) (Žuljić, Stanko, 1989: 44-56).
3. The third political decision taken by the ethnic power elites – the virtual promotion of the six Republics into sovereign nation states by the Constitution of 1974 – had the most disintegrative consequences.
On the political level, the new Constitution sanctioned the confinement of the sovereignty of Yugoslav citizens to republican and provincial borders. They could no longer directly elect their representatives to the Federal Parliament and other Federal state bodies. The 1974 Constitution merely formalized the change in power relations between the partisans of Federal sovereignty and the partisans of republican and provincial sovereignty. Already in 1957, Edvard Kardelj, the main theoretician of the political system of self-management socialism, published a new introduction to his book Razvoj slovenačkog nacionalnog pitanja (Development of the Slovene National Question) written two decades earlier, that in many ways announced the future reconstruction of relations within the Yugoslav federation. In it he rightly identified three factors that could reopen the national question in Yugoslavia: 1) remnants of classic bourgeois nationalism; 2) unequal economic development; 3) bureaucratic centralism. Kardelj implicitly singled out bureaucratic centralism as the most dangerous source of nationalism, because it provokes “spontaneous negative reactions”. He also characterized attempts to reaffirm the ideas of “integral Yugoslavism” and a “Yugoslav nation” as absurd and reactionary. He used this opportunity to explicitly link these negative phenomena with “remnants of old Greater Serbian nationalism” (Kardelj., E., 1960 (1957):37-47). Supporters of Federal sovereignty were from then on labeled by proponents of Republican sovereignty as conservative dogmatic unitarists who were opposing decentralisation and self-management, hiding their Greater-Serbian hegemonism behind a Yugoslav orientation.
Kardelj’s approach in the latter half of the fifties can be contrasted with the texts of Boris Kidrič in the preceding period. Also a Slovenian, Kidrič was Kardelj’s tireless collaborator, working primarily on economic aspects of building the socialist self-management system until his death on April 11, 1953. Insisting on the common interests of all Yugoslav working people, Boris Kidrič was careful not to identify bureaucratic centralism only with members of one nation. He stressed that it appeared not only in Federal state bodies, but also in Republican bodies “in the same or in even greater measure, with the same or even worse effects” (Kidrič, B, 1985 (January 1947):11).
Kidrič’s idea of all-Yugoslav workers’ councils as the means for consistent self-management of the vertical integration of producers in socialist commodity production was never realised. What was very soon realized, however, was his prediction that “without this, the process of transformation of state property into general people’s property under the management of freely associated direct producers would be dangerously delayed, on the one hand, and elements of republican state-capitalist property would unavoidably appear and grow stronger, on the other. Decentralization of operative management along state lines, without central democratic association of workers collectives, that is of direct producers, does not lead ahead, but inevitably leads back into state capitalism (in fact several state capitalisms, particularistic towards the whole, bureaucratic-centralist towards workers’ collectives) (Kidrič, B., 1985 (November 1950): 163-166).
On the economic level, the 1974 Constitution only legally sanctioned the national power elites’ autarchic policy of “rounding up” national economies inside the Republican and Provincial borders. The top party and state executives in the Republics and Provinces thereby completed the process of expropriating the banks and export firms on their territory (Labus, Miroljub, 1994: 225-236). Yugoslavia became what was probably the only state in the world with eight self-sufficient national economies, on differing levels of social and industrial development, in which each ruling group had at its disposal its own national capital. Within the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (LCY), the position of those promoting sovereignty of the Republics was strengthened at the expense of those favoring Federal sovereignty. The real existence of specific forms of group monopoly ownership of property, along with ever louder calls for its privatization, reduced “social ownership” to an abstraction in normative texts.
The thesis that the LCY leadership was transforming itself from the political organization of the collective owners class into the instrument of the emerging bourgeoisie can make it clear why it was precisely the LCY that initiated the first development of autarchic Republics. This was necessary in order to delimit one’s own national market and working class for exploitation. Direct producers have remained without any political organization of their own. Once in power, those parties that only claim to be “left” oriented to attract votes from the unprivileged masses, pass the laws that transform former state and social property into their own private property and defend the interests of capital at the expense of the interests of labor.
Under the formula of “agreements and negotiations” between Republics and autonomous Provinces, strong elements of confederation were introduced on the federal level.
Principles of unanimity and consensus, indispensable when taking decisions on issues of fundamental importance for any of the associated nations in the Federation, were applied also to issues of secondary importance, including organizational matters, undermining the decision-making process. These principles were understood and implemented as a right of veto. Every Republic could pass laws which had priority over federal laws. The authorities of the Republics and Autonomous Provinces (R&AP) closed themselves to the authorized Federal control and monitoring functions. This created the legal basis for separatist tendencies on the level of R&AP.
Insisting on individual and collective rights but neglecting individual and collective duties was a common situation. As in La Fontaine’s fable, representatives of all the R&AP carried in front of them the basket in which they could constantly see the mistakes of others, while they carried the basket containing their own mistakes on their backs, out of sight.
Serbia was the only Republic administratively divided into three parts. Creation of two autonomous provinces within Serbia was justified by the existence of a considerable Albanian minority in K&M and an Hungarian minority in Vojvodina. Croatia was not administratively divided in the Second Yugoslavia, even though it had an Italian minority in Istria and during the greatest part of its history had been divided between Dalmatia, Slavonia and Croatia, while the so-called Military Krajina had a Serb majority even before the Ottoman occupation (the Krup Orthodox monastery was built in 1317, and the Krka monastery was built by the sister of Tsar Dusan in 1350). One Macedonian politician, Lazar Koliševski, admitted that establishing the two autonomous provinces in Serbia as constitutive parts of the Yugoslav Federation was motivated by the slogan “weak Serbia = strong Yugoslavia”. The shortsightedness of this slogan soon manifested itself.
The clash between the R&AP and Federal authorities over the constitutionally guaranteed monopoly on making strategic political decisions passed from the latent to the manifest phase for the first time in K&M. The Albanian ethnic minority today has a demographic majority in the region, once the political and cultural center of the Serbian medieval state. K&M also stands out as having the least developed industry in Serbia and Yugoslavia. Here the centralized planning of socio-economic development by directive was replaced by merely indicative so-called self-management agreements. The Yugoslav self-management system in general was marked by a greater degree of political decentralization, more economic autonomy of enterprises, higher living standards, and greater ideological liberalism in the media than in any other “real socialist” country. It did not, however, stop K&M and other underdeveloped republics from lagging behind the more developed ones. According to the most frequently used development indicator, social product per capita, the rank of B&H, Macedonia and K&M – the sixth, seventh and eighth among eight Yugoslav Republics and Provinces – remained the same throughout the entire post-war period. However, their relative position in comparison to more developed Slovenia and Croatia and to another autonomous province in the Republic of Serbia – Vojvodina – got worse. For instance, K&M’s social product was 3.3 times lower than that of first-ranked Slovenia in 1947, but this difference had risen to 8.6 times by 1988 (calculated on the basis of Mihajlović Kosta, 1990: 32, table 4).
The Plenary session of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (CC LCY) headed by Tito in summer 1966, was marked by criticism of the “chauvinistic”, “greater Serbian” and “unitaristic” practice of Serbian chiefs of the security service (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994: 15). The excessive use of violence in the fight against raider groups which infiltrated from Albania after 1948, as well as against local armed saboteurs called Kačaci who terrorized the Serb population in the following decade, was condemned by non-Serbian politicians. After Serbian politicians had been ousted from their ruling posts in K&M, Albanian politicians in this autonomous Province demanded that the elements of statehood authority be strengthened for themselves. They mobilized their co-nationals for mass support of the slogan “Kosovo Republic” in demonstrations in 1968. The final aim of the nation-state-building program had already been set by the First Prizren League of Islamized Albanians in 1878-81: to create Greater ethnic Albania. From the beginning, realisation of this aim implied the use of violent means in order to expel the Serbs who had stayed in the cradle of the Serbian medieval state after the great exodus caused by the unsuccessful war against the Turkish occupation in 1789. Demands for “Kosovo Republic” were followed by acts of individual and group violence endangering the lives, property and cultural identity of Serbs. The rate of emigration of Serbs, including the usually least mobile part of the population, that is peasants, was nine times higher than the emigration rate of ethnic Albanians in 1971. At the same time there was uncontrolled immigration of Albanians from Albania.
The constitutional possibility gained in 1974 for the Albanian parliamentarians in K&M to veto any decision of the Serbian parliament, while Serbian parliamentarians were not allowed to interfere in the decisions of the K&M parliament, provided a new impulse to the mass emigration of Serbs. The percentage of Serbs in K&M consequently dwindled from 23.55 in 1961 to 13.2 in 1981 (Bogdanović, Dimitrije, 1986: 252). Under the same slogan, “Kosovo Republic”, mass demonstrations erupted on 11 March 1981 in Priština. They were repeated on 25-26 March and 11 April. On 2nd of April the Presidency of the SFRY introduced a state of emergency. United militia forces were formed by the Federal secretariat of Internal Affairs, with somewhat reluctant participation of Slovenian and Croatian police forces, in order to confront the “counterrevolution”.
A “political platform for action in development of socialist self-management, brotherhood and unity and cooperation in Kosovo” was adopted at the XXII session of the CC LCY on 17 November 1981. This plan and numerous other schemes to stop the forced emigration of Serbs and Montenegrins and to assist their return to K&M, were not implemented. The official hushing up of the impalement of Martinović on a broken glass bottle by Albanian extremists became the symbol of lawlessness and insecurity of Serbs in this Serbian Province. Mass demonstrations of Serbs from K&M demanding better protection from the Republic of Serbia began in 1986. On 24 April 1987, Slobodan Milošević, the president of the Central Committee of the Serbian League of Communists (CC SLC), proclaimed to a protest meeting in Kosovo Polje that “Nobody dares beat the people” (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994: 20), and soon thereafter, he and his followers succeeded in defeating the technocratic fraction of Ivan Stambolić, then president of the Presidency of Serbia, for the political leadership of Serbia. They mobilized the mass support of Serbian students, workers and peasants behind the project of constitutional reunification of the Republic of Serbia prior to the first multi-party parliamentary elections.
The top political functionaries were replaced not only in K&M but also in Vojvodina, the other autonomous province within the Republic of Serbia. In the past Vojvodina was one of the cultural centers of Serbs living within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today it still has a Serbian demographic majority. According to census data from 1981, the population of Vojvodina was 54.4% Serb, 18.9% Hungarian, 8.2% Yugoslav, 5.4% Croat, 3.4% Slovak. This Serbian province is economically more developed than so-called “Central Serbia”. Its autonomy-oriented political functionaries resisted the centralizing tendencies of the Belgrade-based political, economic and cultural elites. There is a Serbian saying that points to the economic basis for the centrifugal tendencies inside the same ethnic group: “We may be brothers, but our purses are not sisters”.
In K&M, political purges of the top leadership were followed by strikes (in mine Stari Trg, February 1989) and mass demonstrations of Albanians. They were supported by Slovenian (Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana, 27. February 1989) and Croat politicians, as well as by foreign powers, who wanted Serbia to remain weakened through division into autonomous provinces and thus less able to resist expansion of their own spheres of interest in the region.
In spite of considerable opposition and under considerable pressure, in March 1989 the Parliaments of Vojvodina and K&M accepted the constitutional amendments abolishing their veto power and sovereign state prerogatives. The K&M Parliament was dissolved after its Albanian members illegally proclaimed “the Republic of Kosovo” in July 1990. In September 1990 the new Constitution was adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Serbia. It was inspired by the civil concept of the sovereignty of the nation state and defined the Republic of Serbia as the “democratic state of the citizens who live in it” (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994:28). In their determination to secede from Serbia and Yugoslavia, Albanians refused to participate in the first multi-party parliamentary elections held in all the constituent Republics. Their middle range plan was, and still is, quite openly stated in Albanian-language journals published in K&M such as Bujku, Zëri, Koha, to join Albania together with the Albanian minority in parts of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia (Djurić, Sladjana, 1995).
Closing their eyes to the secessionist and irredentist plans of the Albanian minority elites, Western governments accuse Serbian nationalist leaders of oppressing and discriminating against minorities in Serbia. Applying double standards, they demand full autonomy for K&M and Vojvodina, while not ready themselves to give even cultural autonomy to ethnico-religious minorities inside their own borders. After abetting in the ethnic cleansing of more than 500 000 Serbs from Croatia and B&H with NATO bombing, they now oppose the settlement of Serb refugees and exiles, mostly peasants, on the territory of K&M and Vojvodina, where there still exists state land that can be distributed.
In their haste to become part of the developed Central European region, Slovenian and Croatian elites didn’t want to be slowed down by the less developed eastern and southern parts of the Second Yugoslavia. They preferred to forget the fact that they had long enjoyed cheap energy and raw materials from other parts of Yugoslavia, whose markets were so conveniently protected from international competition for their own industrial products.
The conflicts between Slovenian politicians and the Federal administration over domestic and foreign economic policy-making prerogatives have a long history. One of the first and most famous disputes was the so-called “road affair” during the IBRD international competition for investment loans in July 1969 (Kovačević, Putnik, 1994:16). The constant cause of strife with the elites of the less developed Republics, and especially with Serbia, was the distribution of economic gains and burdens within the Yugoslav economy. The national communist elites were hardly able to agree on the amount of financial resources to be allocated to the Federal Development Fund for the underdeveloped regions.
Because of the support of Slovenian politicians to Albanian secessionists in K&M, Serbian politicians introduced a boycott of Slovenian goods on 1st of December 1989. On February 22nd, 1990, Slovene politicians adopted economic countermeasures (Kovačević, Putnik, 1994:24-5). The Slovenian Parliament went still further and proclaimed full sovereignty in a Declaration on 2nd of July 1990. This was done without the agreement of representatives of the other South Slav peoples, with whom they created the first Yugoslavia in 1918 and the second Yugoslavia during the National Liberation War of 1941-45, of their own free will. No constitutional procedure for peaceful dissolution of Yugoslavia was accepted at the time.
Following the allegation that Serbia had broken into the Federal monetary system in January 1991, Slovenian politicians decided to retain the income from customs, the main source of revenue for the federal budget. Old and new Slovenian separatist elites began the war in June 1991 by ordering Slovenian border guards to take over the Yugoslav border crossings (Zimmerman, Warren, 1995: 6,11,12).
As it became obvious on the 17th of May 1992 celebration of the second anniversary of the secret formation of the Slovenian army (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994: 69), unilateral armed secession was carefully planned in advance. This did not prevent the planners (five men from the top leadership, according to newly elected president Kučan, former president of the Slovenian League of Communists) from calling it “dissociation”. They presented the constitutionally correct reaction of the Yugoslav People’s Army (YPA) in defense of the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia as aggression against independent Slovenian. The casualty figures of the war in Slovenia, with 37 members of YPA killed to 12 members of the Slovenian Territorial defense and civilians, testifies to the fact that YPA was not behaving as an aggressor. It defensively kept the use of force to a minimum, even though the barracks of the Yugoslav People’s Army were besieged and denied vital supplies. Under pressure from within and from without, the Presidency of Yugoslavia decided to withdraw the YPA from Slovenia, ethnically the most homogenous former Yugoslav Republic, in July 1991. The former crusader for demilitarized army service, Janez Janša, became minister of defense and the chief arms smuggler.
The 25th of June 1991 “Declaration on the proclamation of independent and sovereign Croatia” was the culmination of the long prepared restoration and rehabilitation of Hitler’s puppet regime called the Independent State of Croatia. Franjo Tudjman, former Partisan general and the newly elected president of Croatia, minimized the Serbian victims of the 1941-45 fascist Ustashi regime in his book Bespuća povijesne zbilje (Tudjman, 1989). He justified genocide as the expression of an historical law according to which the greater people eliminates the smaller one if it obstructs realization of the first one’s nation-state-building interests. At the first general meeting of his party, the Croat Democratic Community (Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica, HDZ), in February 1990, he also declared: “The Independent State of Croatia was not a mere quisling creation and fascist crime, but also the expression of the historical striving of the Croat people” (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994:25). In June 1991 the Croat Party of the Right (Hrvatska Stranka Prava, HSP) published the “June Charter” demanding the “renaissance and establishment of the Independent State of Croatia on the entire historic and ethnic space with as its eastern borders: Subotica (according to the 1981 census 46.0% Hungarians, Croats 21.1%, 13.4% Serbs, 10.8% Yugoslavs) – Zemun (a Belgrade municipality on the other side of Sava River) – Drina (the border river between B&H and Serbia) – Sandjak (Old Serbia or Raška, including a few municipalities with a Muslim majority and a negligible percentage of Croats) – Boka Kotorska (the mouth of the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro; in Kotor in 1981 there were 54.8% Montenegrins, 25.3% Yugoslavs, 8.3% Serbs, 8.1% Croats).” (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994:25; Veliki geografski atlas Jugoslavije, 1987: 228-239).
The first chapter of this restoration process in Croatia after World War II was the “Declaration on the name and position of the Croatian language” issued by the Croat intellectual elite in 1967. It was followed by the nationalist mass movement or Maspok (called the “Croatian springtime”) in 197O-71 demanding an independent Croatian army. These ideas were realized some twenty years later through adoption of an ethnically-based concept of the nation state. Constitutional changes included the return of the chessboard as the state symbol (July 25th 1990) which Serbs associate with the Ustashi regime. The constitutional changes abolished the Serbian people’s status as a constituent people in Croatia through the omission of the word Serb from the name of the official language. The new Constitution reduced Serbs to minority status, by the ethnically based definition of the Republic of Croatia as the “national state of Croat people” on 22nd of December 1990 (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994: 29).
Left out of the Constitution, Serbs felt sentenced to forced assimilation, apartheid or persecution. Remembering the genocide during the Second World War, and experiencing renewed acts of state repression and individual terrorism (the arrest of Jovo Opačić, president of the Serbian cultural-educational society “Zora” in July 1989, the attack on members of the Serbian Democratic Party in Benkovac in May 1990), Serbs in Croatia reacted by issuing their own Declaration on the sovereignty and autonomy of the Serbian people in July 1990. When the Croatian government tried to use police force to prevent the referendum on the autonomy of Serbs in Croatia, Serbs blockaded the roads and railroad leading to Knin with logs and in August 1990 organized self-defense militia in the Serbian Autonomous Region of Krajina, with the aim of staying within Yugoslavia. On 28th of February 1991, the Executive Council of the SAO Krajina issued its Resolution on Dissociation with the Republic of Croatia (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994: 34).
The old plan to “cleanse” Serbs from Croatia was reactivated before the outbreak of open armed confrontation. Its implementation this time began with maltreatment of Serbs in schools and at the work place, and ended with blowing up their houses. The war began when the forces of the Croatian Ministry of Internal Affairs attacked the Serbian population in Pakrac on 2nd of March 1991 and in Plitvice on 31st of March. On 1st of July 1991, the moderate chief of the Osijek Police, Josip Reichl-Kir, who tried to reach an agreement with Serbs manning the barricades in Tenje, a village near Osijek, was shot as he was returning from the negotiations by a Croat policemen, follower of the extreme Croat nationalist and governor of the province, Branimir Glavaš. With this event, the point of no return was reached. Croat shelling attacks followed in Serbian populated Borovo Selo on 2nd of July, Mirkovci on 22nd of July, in Dalj on 1st of August, in 18 Serbian villages in Western Slavonia in November 1991. The Presidency of Yugoslavia ordered the intervention of the Yugoslav Peoples Army in order to separate the two sides (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994: 34). Serbian refugees from Eastern and Western Slavonia started emigrating toward Serbia, and Croat refugees left Krajina and parts of Slavonia.
Stipe Mesić, another former Communist leader and one of the leaders of the newly formed nationalist party, the Croat Democratic Community (HDZ), was inaugurated as president of Yugoslavia on 1 July 1991. This was done under the pressure of the European Community, even though he promised to be the last president of Yugoslavia (Mesić, Stipe, 1992). Mesić rejected the Yugoslav commission that was to control the cease fire between the YPA and the “territorial defense” units that had been transformed into the Croatian People’s Guard Assembly (Zbor narodne garde, ZNG), and proclaimed Serbia to be the aggressor in Croatia. In the spring and summer of 1991, Croat demonstrators destroyed property of Serbs in Zadar, Šibenik and Dubrovnik and killed one Macedonian soldier in front of the YPA Command post in Split.
ZNG troops for the first time openly attacked the YPA soldiers in the village of Tenje near Osijek on July 7th 1991. Tudjman announced the possibility of total war against the YPA for the defense of Croatian independence on 22 July (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994: 41). YPA barracks and materiel were blockaded and their electricity and food provisions were cut off in Vukovar, Varaždin and Split in August 1991. The YPA was given an ultimatum to retreat from Croatia by the 10th of November. Fighting escalated around Vukovar (according to the 1981 census, the population was made up of 37.1 Croats, 31.0% Serbs, and 21.2% Yugoslavs), lasting there until 20th of November, and between Trebinje in B&H (59,7% Serbs, 14.5% Muslims, 13.7% Yugoslavs, 7.6% Croats) and Dubrovnik in Croatia (79.0% Croats, 8.6% Yugoslavs, 6.2% Serbs). Croat military forces massacred Serbs in August 1991 in Grubiško Polje, Pakrac and Daruvar. On 4th of September in Gospić, and on 3rd of November they expelled Serbs from 18 villages in Western Slavonia.
The “international community” proposed a solution in the form of the so-called Vance plan which provided for the demilitarization of the war stricken zones, withdrawing the Yugoslav Peoples Army and placing them under the protection of the United Nations. Under pressure from Serbian president Milošević in January 1992, local Serbian leaders (Babić was replaced by Hadžić on 26th of February 1992) agreed with the plan (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994: 49, 51), relying on assurances that Yugoslavia would be one of the guarantors of the plan’s realization. It soon became clear, however, that UN protected zones were not protected from military intervention of the Croatian army. Bit by bit, territory was seized in sudden assaults by the Croatian armed forces, causing terrible massacres of elderly civilians and tens of thousands of refugees from Ravni Kotari (22nd of January 1993) and Medački Džep (9th of September 1993). Later followed ethnic cleansing in Western Slavonia, Lika, Banija and Kordun. Refugees were shelled by the Croatian army while they were fleeing.
Serb leaders in Eastern Slavonia, with its seat in the town of Vukovar on disputed territory near the river Danube, where fascist NDH authorities changed the ethnic structure by force during the Second World War, are trying to avoid the same fate through the Dayton agreement and new negotiations with a similar Croat regime in the presence and under the “protection” of the international community and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).
In the atmosphere of national homogenization in Yugoslavia at the beginning of the last decade of the XX century, the parliamentary elections in B&H on 18th of November 1990 took the form of a national head-count. The Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) won 86 parliamentary seats, the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) 72 and the Croat Democratic Community (HDZ) 44. Alija Izetbegović, convicted in July 1983 for instigation of inter-ethnic and inter-religious intolerance, became the newly elected president of B&H. This took place following the withdrawal of Fikret Abdić, the Muslim businessmen who actually got the most votes in the presidential elections, calling for accelerated economic development and greater autonomy of economic regions. Izetbegović completely changed his mind regarding the preservation of Yugoslavia in order to go along with the changing policy of the European Community/Union and the United States. In late January 1991, together with Kiro Gligorov, Macedonia’s former communist leader and the newly elected president, he proclaimed the vital interest of their two Republics in the preservation of Yugoslavia. But scarcely one month later he declared: “For a sovereign Bosnia and Herzegovina I would sacrifice peace, and for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina I would not sacrifice its sovereignty”. In June he rejected the proposed peaceful solution of interethnic conflict in B&H through its cantonization (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994: 32-33, 39). Such an evolution of Izetbegović’s attitudes could have been foreseen on the basis of the political program laid out in his book, the Islamic Declaration. In it Izetbegović affirmed that “there can be no coexistence between the Islamic religion and non-Muslim social and political institutions” in countries where Muslims represent the majority of the population. This assertion implies that the phase of Islamic renaissance will be followed by a phase of holy war (jihad) against those who do not believe in Allah as the one and only god. This is the phase of political revolution and conquest of power, with the aim of creating a “great Islamic federation from Morocco to Indonesia” in which the Koran would be the supreme law (Izetbegović, Alija, (1970)1990: 22,37,43,46; Jevtić, Miroljub, 1993: 107-114, 216-220).
On 15th of October 1991, the representatives of the SDA and the HDZ in the B&H Parliament, in violation of the constitutional provision for consensual decision making in crucial questions, adopted the Memorandum on a sovereign Bosnia and Herzegovina, against the will of the Serbian Democratic Party representatives. On 24th of October, the Parliament of the Serbian People in B&H was constituted. It organized the Plebiscite on 9-10th of November in which Serbs decided to remain in Yugoslavia. By a majority of votes, in the absence of the Serb representatives, the B&H presidency decided on 20th of December to demand EC recognition of B&H independence. This was followed on 9th of January 1992 by the Proclamation of the Republic of Serbian people in B&H. (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994: 44, 46, 48-49).
With the Serbs boycotting it, 63.4% of voters participated in the Referendum scheduled by the Muslim and Croat members of the B&H government for 29 February-1 March 1992. Of those who did take part, 62,8% voted for an independent B&H. This is slightly under 40%, meaning that the required two thirds majority for such a decision was not attained. In conditions of such heightened inter-ethnic and inter-confessional tension, a Serb member of a wedding party, the father of the bridegroom, was killed by a Muslim during a marriage ceremony in front of the church in Baščaršija. In a matter of hours barricades thrown up by armed civilians appeared all over Sarajevo for the first time on 2 March 1992 (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994:52).
Ethnically mixed police patrols only temporarily eased the tension. National parties organized ethno-confessionally homogenous militias – the first one was affiliated to the HDZ already in 1990, to be followed on 31st of March 1991 by the Muslim “Patriotic League”, the “armed fist” of the SDA. The SDS was the last ethnically based party to be formed and to accept the formation of a separate nation state as its political goal as well as the use of paramilitary organization as its means. In March and April 1992, there followed the first armed conflicts between Muslim, Croat and Serb militias over the control of police stations: on March 3rd in Bosanski Brod (according to 1981 census data 42.1% Croats, 33.3% Serbs, 14.1% Yugoslavs, 9.6% Muslims), on March 17th in Mostar (33.5% Croats, 31.0% Muslims, 18.4% Serbs, 15.0% Yugoslavs), on April 2nd in Bijeljina (60.4% Serbs, 26.2% Muslims, 8.8% Muslims), on April 3rd in Kupres (51.2% Serbs, 39.1% Croats, 7.4% Muslims) and Banja Luka (50.9% Serbs, Yugoslavs 17.1%, 16.6% Croats, 11.8% Muslims), on April 4th and 5th in Sarajevo (42,2% Muslims, 29.6% Serbs, 15.9% Yugoslavs, 8,2% Croats), on April 7th in West Herzegovina, on April 9th in Zvornik (Muslims 55.3%, Serbs 40.7%), and on April 14th in Višegrad (Muslims 62.1%, Serbs 33.0%, 3.3% Yugoslavs). Hundreds of thousands of refugees began to flee in the direction of wherever their co-ethnics had or were getting the majority. By 10th of May 1992 there were 320 000 refugees inside B&H and 350 000 outside (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994: 68). A coalition of Muslim and Croat militias was formed against the Serbian ones, but it broke up from time to time during mutual fighting. The military coalition of Muslims and Croats is still extremely fragile, in spite of the Dayton agreement.
Does this brief chronology of events corroborate the assertion, propagated in the most powerful media, that “totalitarian communist” Serbian leaders who transformed themselves into “totalitarian national-socialists” are the most if not the only guilty party responsible for the breakup of Yugoslavia and the war of aggression against the democratically oriented Slovenes and Croats, imbued with Western Catholic values, as well as against the main victims, unarmed powerless Muslims?
The most cited argument in favor of this assertion was and still is the claim that new Serbian political elite that came to power in the late eighties was the first to dismantle the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution and to oppose its transformation into a confederation.
The newly elected Slovenian and Croatian nationalist leaders, many of whom had the same communist past as the Serbian ones, are presented in Western media as democratically oriented toward compromise. Their 6th of October 1990 proposal to make Yugoslavia into a Confederation of independent nation states is cited as the main proof of their tolerance. This Confederation was to be created maintaining the administrative borders of the former constituent republics (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994: 28). Western media have failed to point out the fact that for the new Slovenian and Croatian elites, the Confederation simply offered the most expedient temporary means to transform the administrative borders of the Republics into internationally recognized nation state borders, as the first step towards ultimate secession.
That the Slovenian and Croat elites were not seriously proposing the preservation of Yugoslavia in confederate or any other form is confirmed by the fact that their proposal contained the following revealing clause: “Depending on the future development and expansion of European integration, the Member States [of the Confederation] can individually or jointly decide, by their own decision or by the decision of the Council of ministers, to leave or to dissolve [the Confederation] and to ask for admittance to the European Union even before this time (five/ten years)”. Even more telling is the fact that on 2nd of July 1990 the Assembly of Slovenia had already adopted the “Declaration on full sovereignty of the state of the Republic of Slovenia” (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994:27).
The newly elected Serbian nationalist leaders were, on the contrary, still very much interested in the maintenance of multi-ethnic Yugoslavia in the early 1990’s. The political elites of Serbia and Montenegro (there is no space here to go into the most instructive question of the nationality of Montenegrins) made their counterproposal to the confederate proposal of Slovene and Croat leaders on 22nd of February 1991: a democratic Federation based on the sovereignty of citizens (element of cohesiveness) and the association of Republics (element of specificity) (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994: 33). Western media failed to stress that the supposedly totalitarian Serb leaders insisted on the democratic principle “one man one vote” alongside the parity principle, even though in the former Yugoslavia as a whole Serbs did not have a demographic majority and therefore could not possibly dominate and outvote other ethnic groups, while the supposedly democratic Slovene and Croat leaders insisted exclusively on the ethnically based concept of national sovereignty.
The main reason for the counterproposal by the Serbian and Montenegrin elites was the great number of Serbs living in B&H (1 369 000, more than the whole population of Macedonia) and Croatia (581 000, approximately the size of Montenegro). If the proposed confederate constitutional model were adopted, Serbs would be transformed from a constituent people in Yugoslavia into minorities within the new sovereign ethnic states of Croatia and B&H, as well as in others. The second reason for opposition to the confederate concept of constitutional reorganization was the fact that in a confederate state, the industrially more developed Republics would have all the advantages of the customs-protected common market and no financial responsibilities toward the less developed republics and the province of Kosovo and Metohija.
The dreams of the Slovenian, Croat and Muslim ruling classes to create “independent” nation states could have never come true had they not been supported by the diplomatic and military action of the ruling classes of foreign powers.
The diplomatic and military intervention of outside powers was first prepared by their mass media. I will give just one example of propagandistic allegations disseminated through satellite television networks, whose function was to arouse public opinion in favor of intervention against only one side in the civil war – the Serbian one: “The Yugoslav People’s Army is the Serbian army and the aggressor in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina”.
This was the thesis propagated in the West citing complaints by non-Serbian elites about the hegemony of Serbs (Schoepflin, George, 1995: 167). Old accusations of political and economic domination were repeated, along with new ones concerning over-representation of Serbs in the Federal police and the Army. Western media deliberately suppressed the following facts: the higher rate of unemployment in Serbia made it difficult for Serbs to find other jobs; young Croats and Slovenes rejected army and police careers; the parity principle meant that all Republics and Provinces had the right to the same number of top military and police officers. The problem of the Army’s ethnic structure was aggravated when Slovene, Croat and Muslim authorities successively began to refuse to send new recruits to the Yugoslav People’s Army.
The process of transformation of local militias and territorial defense troops into ethnic paramilitary formations challenging the monopoly of physical force in Yugoslavia very quickly went out of control. It couldn’t be stopped by the Order of the Collective Presidency in January 1991 to disband all non-regular armed forces and to return the arms taken from the Yugoslav People’s Army or illegally smuggled into the western Republics from Germany by way of Austria and Hungary. German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher publicly asked for an embargo on arms sales to the Yugoslav Republics, but at the same time Germany sold former East German armaments to Croatia and Slovenia and encouraged the war of their local national militias against the YPA as the quickest way to achieve their independence. The talk of arms soon silenced all attempts to find peaceful, constitutionally legal ways to separate from or remain within Yugoslavia. Thus the public and secret talks between the Presidents of the Republics, the political and economic reform program of the Federal prime minister Ante Marković, and the referendum on the constitutional order in Yugoslavia all failed or were not even undertaken.
Accelerated and premature recognition of the secessionist Republics had the function of providing a legal basis to the otherwise completely unfounded accusation, disseminated through the mass media, that the YPA was the aggressor in the secessionist republics. Recognition of independence was the condition for the so-called international community to interfere in the internal affairs of Yugoslavia, and to designate only one side, the Serbian one, as responsible for the war, aggression, ethnic cleansing, rape and killing. Only this can explain how it is possible that on the list of persons indicted by the International Tribunal in Hague, set up by the Security Council specifically for the war crimes committed in Yugoslavia after 1991, are to be found almost exclusively Serbs and their top leaders.
After the ultimatum from the Western powers headed by the United States, the Presidency of the FRY decided to confine the army of Yugoslavia to the territory and the citizens of FRY. It retreated from B&H under conditions of the blockade of its Command posts and lynching by Muslim territorial defense forces, despite the guarantees from Izetbegović and the efforts at international mediation in Sarajevo on 2-3rd and 15th of May 1992 and in Tuzla on 15th of May. Just before and immediately after the withdrawal of the Yugoslav Army, Muslim paramilitary units began their ethnic cleansing of the local Serb population in villages of Eastern Bosnia. From May 1992 to February 1993 they killed over 1000 Serbs and wounded more than 3000 near Srebrenica (Ivanišević, Milivoje, 1994:374). Western media turned a blind eye to crimes perpetrated against Serbs, and exaggerated the losses of allegedly unarmed Muslims and Croats. In contrast, the 1995 offensive by the Croatian national army in the Bosnian Krajina enjoyed the consent of the Western powers and with the support of NATO air power drove several thousand inhabitants out of 90% Serb villages and towns in Glamočko Polje.
Bearing in mind that the mass media are not an independent social force, but rather the ideological apparatus of the competing political, economic, military and cultural elites, we still have to shed some more light on the motives of these elites in singling out demonising and attacking only one side in the civil war in Yugoslavia.
The motives for the biased coverage of the war in Yugoslavia by newsmen writing for Der Spiegel, Die Welt, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and other German newspapers must be sought in the determination of the leaders of reunited Germany to overcome their country’s status of the defeated power in the Second World War and to reassert Germany’s political and military influence in proportion to its present economic preponderance in the European Union (EU) and the predominance in the financial world at large to which it aspires, thanks to the magnetic attraction of Deutche Mark. The Drang nach Süden and control of access to the warm seas is a constant of German Great Power politics as much as the Drang nach Osten. Under the guise of the moralistically formulated geopolitical and historico-cultural stance concerning the right to self-determination of kindred peoples of Mitteleuropa, Germany is surrounding itself with a number of small and middle-sized client states, territory formerly under Habsburg control, in the search for a low-cost but relatively skilled labor force and for places to get rid of nuclear waste materials.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was the first to announce official recognition of the independence of Slovenia and Croatia on 23rd of December 1991, before the criteria set for recognition were met (Kovačević, Dajić, 48). German foreign minister Genscher was also the first to call upon the European Community on 5th of March 1992 to recognize as soon as possible the independence of B&H and to accuse the Serbs and the Yugoslav People’s Army of blame for the deterioration of the situation in B&H, as if it had nothing to do with the German-led policy of encouraging separatist forces in Yugoslavia.
Similar encouragement came from Vatican clericalists pursuing the centuries-old goal of establishing the world Catholic multinational empire. From the anathema pronounced against the French revolution by Pope Pius VI, to the support given Mussolini, Franco and Pavelić by Popes Pius XI and XII, as well as to Tudjman by Pope John Paul II, Vatican dignitaries have given their blessing to totalitarian and authoritarian anti-democratic regimes. With the idea of expanding the geopolitical space under international Catholic hegemony at least to the rivers of Drina and Danube, and breaking the resistance to the “new evangelization” by the Orthodox population, considered by the Vatican to be susceptible to communism, Pope John Paul II developed the doctrines of “limited sovereignty”, of “humanitarian military intervention” and of “disarming the aggressor” (Nenadić at all, 1993:59). The head of the Catholic Christian Church supported the idea of “bombs for peace”. The peace that can be brought by bombs is the peace of extermination of Serbs in Croatia and B&H. For those who survive there is conversion to Catholicism or expulsion to the “Belgrade Pashaluk”, the territory that will remain to Serbia after Kosovo-Metohija and Vojvodina are again taken out of its jurisdiction.
German politicians succeeded in putting pressure on their colleagues, representatives of the second- and third-rate powers in the EC, whose prestige and influence are constantly declining, to go back on the criteria for recognition of new states in Eastern Europe and in USSR which they themselves had set. On 15th of January 1992 the Arbitration Commission of the Conference on Yugoslavia announced the opinion that Croatia did not meet the conditions for recognition and that it should first adopt its Constitution to the prescriptions of the Peace Conference Convention. This did not prevent Austria, Belgium and Great Britain from recognizing Slovenia and Croatia. On the other hand, they did not recognize Macedonia which did fulfill all the criteria and had reached a peaceful agreement about YPA withdrawal (Kovačević, Dajić, 1994: 49-50).
This inconsistency on the part of the EC leaders can be understood in the context of their plans at the time to proceed towards monetary and political European Union in Maastricht. Integration processes in the Western capitalist part of Europe grew stronger by feeding on the internal contradictions and disintegrative processes in the Eastern former socialist part. EC Member States also actively contributed to the development of disintegrative processes in the East. They openly took the side of the secessionist republics at the Hague conference on Yugoslavia in October, November and December 1991. On the recommendation of the Arbitration Commission headed by Robert Badinter, they accepted the view that the Yugoslav Federation was in a state of dissolution. Neglecting the basic premises of international law, they ultimately imposed the change of the external borders of Yugoslavia, at the same time treating the existing administrative borders between the constituent republics of the Second Yugoslavia, arbitrarily drawn by a narrow circle of Tito’s collaborators often disregarding the wishes of local populations, as borders of States that must be considererd inviolable and unchangeable by force. Giving the right of self-determination to territories (the Republics) instead of to the constitutive peoples of Yugoslavia, they denied the right to self-determination only to Serbs who wanted to stay in Yugoslavia (Kreća, Milenko, 1993).
The EC also initiated the barbaric measure of collective punishment – economic sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro – because they refused to accept the suspension of existing constitutional order and requested to be recognized as the union of peoples wanting to stay in Yugoslavia, that is, the lawful successor under the terms of international law.
On 27th of April 1992, the delegates of the Federal Chamber of the Assembly of the SFRY together with Parliamentarians from Serbia and Montenegro adopted the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) – the common state of Serbs and Montenegrins, the “Third Yugoslavia”. The Declaration of peoples representatives of Serbia and Montenegro was also adopted, affirming that the new state, continuing the legal identity of the SFRY, would assume the obligations of the former state. According to the Declaration, the new state “does not have territorial claims to any of its neighbors and is ready to recognize new states once the pending questions are resolved at the Conference on Yugoslavia”.
The diplomatic representatives of the majority of western countries were conspicuously absent. They influenced the decisions on the suspension of Yugoslavia’s membership in all regional, European and world organizations, of which the second Yugoslavia was a founding member. At the same time, the EC promised recognition of independence and admission to these organizations to all the former Yugoslav republics that applied for it.
In April 1992, the United States took over the leading role in the war games in former Yugoslavia from Germany. On April 7th, 1992, the United States recognized the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, even though the principles for recognition publicly set by Secretary of State James Baker on March 9th had not been met. The principle of the right of an ethnic group to self-determination collided with the principle of the inviolability and unchangeability of borders by force, but this collision was not resolved peacefully through mediation by the international community. In fact, the United States sabotaged any such solution. On March 18th, the leaders of all three national parties signed the so-called Cutilheiro principles of new constitutional solutions for B&H, which provided for three constitutive units based on the ethnic principle; under the influence of US ambassador Warren Zimmermann (Kenney, George, 1996), however, Alija Izetbegović withdrew his signature. The great haste with which B&H was recognized before this agreement was implemented becomes clear in the light of the 14th of April 1992 US State Department document in which Serbia and the Yugoslav People’s Army were accused of interfering in internal conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina as an independent state with internationally recognized borders.
Many elements point to the conclusion that the foreign policy of the US ruling elites is motivated by the attempt to defend their world hegemony from rising competition in the EU and the Far East and to solve their economic problems through instigating and perpetuating low intensity wars far away from their shores in order to better employ their huge military-industrial complex. Seeking a firmly rooted presence in the geostrategically important Balkan and Middle Eastern region, the Clinton administration is simultaneously supporting Izetbegović’s idea of a unitary B&H and the idea of a Confederation of B&H and Croatia. The former ought to improve its rating in Muslim world. Muslim leaders, however, should beware of the real intentions of US policy. They should keep in mind the fate of former Muslim allies of the USA: after arming them, the United States turned against them and bombed them (Saddam Hussein’s Iraq is the freshest example). The policy of imposed union of Muslims and Croats has two aims. The first is to curb the development of Muslim fundamentalism through the use of Croats as the “pillars of Catholicism in this part of the world”. The second is to enable the US to destabilize the whole region and rekindle the war operations in the heart of Europe whenever recession sets in (training and arming Muslims in B&H, Raška and Kosovo directly or through the mediation of Turkey).
The United States has succeeded in imposing its national interests on the financially, technologically, commercially and diplomatically dependent Member States of the United Nations. It is public knowledge that United States is conditioning its financial participation in covering 25% of the UN and its specialized agencies’ budgets on subordination of their political decisions concerning global priorities to the national interests of the US and its most powerful Western allies (Taylor, Paul, 1991: 365-82).
In light of this, it becomes understandable why the UN “safe areas” in B&H were declared in April 1993, after the Serbian population was already driven out of their homes in those places by Muslim forces, for the third time in this century, and at the very moment when these forces were faced with military defeat. Mujahedins from Islamic countries, retired US generals and other war specialists under the guise of humanitarian aid instructed and armed Muslims in UN protected zones to launch offensives (the most notorious cases are Muslim digging of the tunnel for smuggling arms under the airport in Sarajevo controlled by UNPROFOR, and the arming of Muslim units in Srebrenica, Goražde and Bihać) or to acquire skills useful in staging massacres (such as in the street of Vasa Miškin on 27th of May 1992, or Markale I on 5th of February 1994 and Markale II at the end of August 1995) whenever a peace settlement was in sight. Reports implicating the Muslim side of responsibility for these incidents were suppressed (Independent, London, Saturday, 22nd of August 1992) until drastic decisions against Yugoslavia and/or the Bosnian Serbs had already been taken (the economic, technical, cultural and scientific blockade of the Serb-Montenegrin federation, or fortnight-long NATO bombing of Serb military and civilian objects far from the UN safe areas, two days after the leadership of Republic Srpska had already signed what was demanded of it).
On 28th of February 1994, NATO aircraft went into the first offensive mission in the history of this military organization, outside the borders of its constituent members. Direct engagement of NATO forces, first as an aid to UN peace-keeping forces and afterwards as peace-creating and enforcing forces replacing the UN forces, can be interpreted as a sign of the victory of the US political and military establishment. It succeeded in confirming that the United States is still the hegemonic military power. It demonstrated, first, that the European Union can not and should not develop its own military forces, and, second, that there still exists a raison d’être for NATO, in spite of the dissolution of its former enemy, the Warsaw Pact. Ever since their first fighting mission, NATO member states have been using the territory and the population of Republika Srpska as the proving ground for testing their new weapons and as a scary warning to all peoples of what will happen to them if they dare resist the new international order of recolonisation under the leadership of US multinational capital.
Such an arrogant use of brute force by the Western capitalist powers should be understood in the context of circumstances following the fall of the Berlin Wall: the USSR no longer exists, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) headed by Russia is extremely weakened. In such circumstances, the anti-imperialist forces in the world have lost their self-interested ally. Russia finds it harder than ever to assert its superpower status. The CIS itself is threatened with further disintegration through pressures from separatist Islamic and other movements more or less openly supported by the Western power elites. NATO is dangerously approaching its borders.
A historical constant of Russian great power politics toward the Balkans, moreover, was and still is to prevent Serbian nationalists from playing an overly independent Piedmont role among South Slav peoples. The tsarist government never forgot that the Serbian representative to the Panslav Congress in Moscow in 1867 refused the idea of Serbs accepting the Russian language, while the Bulgarian representative accepted it (Summer, B.H., 1937:126). When the uprising broke out in Herzegovina in 1874-5 and the Serbian government and King Milan, after much hesitation due to awareness of his country’s insufficient military strength and the unfavorable international constellation, went to war with Turkey in order to advance Serbian unification, Russian Tsar Alexander II refused to help and even agreed with Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph that in case of Serbian victory, Serbia should be allowed to have only a few Bosnian districts on the river Drina, while all the rest, except for a few districts in Herzegovina near the Montenegrin border, should fall to the Double Monarchy (Kazimirović, Vasa, 1990: 303).
This constant feature of Russian foreign policy survived during the era of the USSR and the Comintern. Their ideologists propagated the thesis about Serbian hegemonism and imperialism in Yugoslavia, just as both the Austro-Hungarian Marxists and anti-Marxists had done before them, glossing silently over the imperial ambitions and practice of their own ruling elites.
Stalin and his Eastern-European COMINFORM followers exercised joint military, political and economic pressure on the Second Yugoslavia whose leadership headed by Tito opposed the imposition of the hegemonic interests of USSR veiled as the policy of socialist internationalism.
We can conclude that the breaking up of the Second Yugoslavia into dependent mini-states, governed by local rulers belonging to majority ethnic/confessional groups in their respective former republics/provinces, is once again the result of the alliance of domestic and foreign ruling classes in the old neocolonial “game” of redistributing spheres of influence. The tragedy of people in the peripheral regions of the world capitalist economy in general, and of Slav people in particular, is the fact that they still have not succeeded in finding the way to get together to combat domination by the great powers. Their ruling elites have so far had the tendency to enter into client relationships with elites of one or the other great power, becoming dependent mediators in the exploitation of their own people, turning them one against the other just to gain or retain privileged social positions for themselves.
We are living through the era of structural crisis of capital accumulation and the restructuration of power relations in the hierarchically organized interstate system. Reconstruction of the world order after the demise of European socialism is characterized by the contradiction between the imperialistic ambitions of the rulers in strong states in the heart of the world capitalist economy to have free access to the markets, cheap raw materials and labor force in the former third and second worlds, on the one hand, and the ambitions of the rulers in the weak states of the peripheral and semi-peripheral area of the world capitalist economy to become strong states capable of controlling their natural resources, securing their own basis for national capital accumulation and at the same time supporting its regional expansion. First under the flag of the United Nations, and openly under the flag of NATO after Dayton, the major powers’ elites headed by those of the United States are exerting concerted military pressure on all those nation states whose nationalistically-minded governments stand in the way of their hegemony. Genscher’s successor as German foreign minister, Klaus Kinkel, expressed this stance without diplomatic finesse: “Serbia must be brought to its knees”.
In order to justify military aggression against such “disobedient” nation states, mass media racist campaigns are being conducted with the aim of presenting the people of these states as inhuman and subhuman, deserving only to be annihilated through bombing (Ivanović, Života, 1994).
The attempt by power elites in the United States and the European Union to “extinguish” the source of war in the strategically important Balkan crossroads by arming and supporting only that side in the conflict which they assess to be their future “cooperative client” in the region, does not bring us nearer to the solution. It takes us only toward widening conflict and toward World War III, which, however, should it occur, would have no winners (Vratuša-Žunjić, 1993b: 529-30).
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Philosophy,
University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia
1. Rare attempts to combine endogenous and exogenous disintegration factors can be found in the special issue “The breaking and/or disintegration of Yugoslavia”, Sociološki pregled (Sociological Review), 1994, No. 2, particularly in the contributions of Miodrag Ranković, Mladen Lazić, Mihajlo Marković and Zoran Obrenović.
2. Ivo Andrić, winner of the Nobel prize for literature, wrote: “Bosnia is the country of hate… A fatal characteristic of that hate lies in the fact that the man from Bosnia is not aware of the hate that lives in him, he shrinks from analyzing it and hates every one who tries to do it… Those who believe and love, have a deadly hatred for those who do not believe and for those who believe differently and love something else. Unfortunately the main part of their belief and love is used up in hate”. (Andrić, Ivo, 1967: 174, 176).
3. There is not space here to analyse the motives and consequences of the claim by some Croatian historians and by President Tudjman that the Croats are in reality not South Slavs but Persians.
4. The prominent leader of the Illyrian movement in Croatia, Bishop Juraj Štrosmajer, had in mind the goal of making Croatia the spiritual center of the South Slavs and of overcoming Croat-Serb conflicts by converting Serbs to Catholicism (Kazimirović, 1990: 235).
5. In June 1943, for instance, of the 817 combatants in the Sixth Eastern-Bosnian Brigade, 667 or 82% were Serbs, 62 or 8% were Muslims, 41 or 5% Yugoslavs, 23 or 3% Croats, 10 or 0.5% were Jews and 14 fighters were of other nationalities. For the sake of comparison, in the Drinska Banovina of the Yugoslav Kingdom, comprising municipalities located in Eastern Bosnia on the left bank of the river Drina, as well as municipalities in Western Serbia on its right bank, according to the 1931 census, the last before the World War II and carried out on the basis of religious affiliation, out of 1 534 739 inhabitants, 64.70% were Othodox Christians, 23.23% were Muslims, and 11.05% were Roman Catholics. In three municipalities of Eastern Bosnia, much mentioned in the media, Srebrenica, Bratunac and Skelani, there were 17 766 or 50,6% Orthodox Christians and 17 332 or 49,4% Muslims, according to the same census (Kraljevina Jugoslavija, Opšta drćavna statistika, 1938, p. XII; Ivanišević, M., 1994:4). Of 845 combatants in the Eighth Banija Brigade, 807 or 95% were Serbs, 17 or 2% were Yugoslavs, 11 or 1.3% were Croats, 6 or 0.7% were Muslims, while 4 combatants belonged to other nationalities. There were very few partisans in 1943 coming from Croatia “proper” or Zagorje. Croats were the most numerous ethnic group only in the units from Dalmatia. Even there, in the Second Dalmatian Brigade for instance, 32% of 1602 combatants were Serbs, 64% were Croats, 2% were Yugoslavs, 10 or 0.6% were Muslims and 23 belonged to other nationalities (Kučan, Viktor, 1996: 541, 861, 902). For comparison purposes once again, in Primorska (Seaside) Banovina of the Yugoslav Kingdom in 1931 there were 692 496 or 76.80% Roman Catholics, 138 375 or 15.35% Orthodox Christians, and 69 360 or 7.69% Muslims. (Kraljevina Jugoslavija, Opšta državna statistika, 1938, p. XII). In 1881, when the Krajina (Frontier) ceased to be ruled from the Habsburg War Council in Vienna and was incorporated into Croatian Slavonia, autonomous Hungarian crown land, 497 746 Serbs constituted 26.3% of Croatia’s 1 892 499 inhabitants (without B&H at the time) (Vrbanić, F., 1899:36, cited according to Samardžić et all., t. VI-1, 386-7). According to the first census after World War II taken in 1948, 543 795 Serbs accounted for only 14.5% of the 2 975 399 inhabitants in Croatia (without B&H at the time) (Savezni zavod za statistiku, 1954: p. XV). These figures testify to the policy of ethnic “purification” in Croatia.
6. The index of participation in this paper is defined as the quotient of the relative percentage of one ethnic or confessional group in the given profession and the relative percentage of the same group in the active population multiplied by 100. It was calculated on the basis of Savezni zavod za statistiku (The Federal Statistical Bureau), 1984.
7. Throughout history the artificial Bosnian people and Bosnian language was proclaimed only during the time of Austro-Hungarian occupation (and that only in the years from 1882-1902). In more recent times, one part of the ruling Muslim party (Party of Democratic Action) and another Muslim party with very little influence in official policy, propagate the idea of the existence of one unitary Bosnian people and Bosnian language. Negation of the national identity of Serbs and Croats is the very basis on which the actual civil and religious war broke out. There is the danger that the International Tribunal legally sanctions a viewpoint that is in contradiction with the fact of the constitutionally recognized existence of three peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the basis of which Bosnia and Herzegovina was proclaimed the sovereign country in the first place (Ekmečić, Milorad, 1994:74)
8. The most famous clash between partisans of republican nation-state sovereignty and federal sovereignty took place during the IV Plenum of the Central Committee of LCY on the island of Brioni in July 1966. On that occasion the Vice President of the Federation and the chief of the state security service, Aleksandar Ranković, Serb by nationality, was forced to resign. The state security service was presented as the chief center of conservative opposition to the greater role of republics in the Federation. The way was open for representatives of other republics to take the control over this powerful organisation, notably Stane Dolanc, Slovenian. The way was also open for secret arms imports since the mid-seventies, for the forces of the so-called “territorial defence” which were introduced by the decision of the X Congress of the LCY in 1969 (Lopušina, M., 1996:200-205).
9. The opposite “map” of Serbian ethnic and historical space in Croatia was drawn by Vojislav Šešelj, the leader of the Serbian Radical Party (Srpska Radikalna Stranka, SRS), to include: Karlobag (in Municipality Gospić, 59.3% Croats, 29.7% Serbs, 9.1% Yugoslavs), Karlovac (61.4% Croats, 23.2% Serbs, 12.0% Yugoslavs), Ogulin (56.9% Croats, 32.9% Serbs, 8.7% Yugoslavs), Virovitica (70.8% Croats, 15.4% Serbs, 10.5% Yugoslavs).
10. Through these measures Serbs in Croatia “were given no chance either juridically or politically to stay inside Yugoslavia or to get any kind of autonomy, including cultural autonomy, within Croatia, by peaceful means. Serbs were reduced to a simple minority … and the same game was repeated in 1991-1992 in B&H.” (Šekelj, Laslo:1994:249)
11. On April 1 1991 the Executive council of the National Chamber of the Serbian Autonomous Region Krajina decided for the first time to unite with the Republic of Serbia and to enforce its laws as well as the constitution of SFR Yugoslavia on the Krajina territory.
12. It was to be headed by Montenegrin former communist and new socialist Branko Kostić.
13. The district committee of the Serbian CP for Srem delivered to the Provincial committee of the Serbian CP for Vojvodina on May 15 1945 the data on the changes of ethnic composition of the population in this area in general, and in Vukovar district in particular: “…In the city of Vukovar during the occupation 1000 Croats were settled, while in the barren areas of Vukovar district – Ada, Palac i Salas, where Serbian volonteers had been settled during the old Yugoslavia, The Independent State of Croatia moved them out to Serbia, and in their place had settled Croats from Zagorje. In all three barren areas around 1000 Croats were settled…At the same time ….over 1000 Serbs were killed from several Serbian villages (Bobota, Vera, Trpinja, Brsadin, Markušica, Ostrvo, Negoslavci) and from the city of Vukovar… The Croats settled during the occupation in Vinkovci and Vukovar districts were mostly Ustasha families…” (Zečević Miodrag, Lekić, Bogdan, 1991, 26-29).
14. For the distinction between a democratic nation and ethnic nationalism, see Schnapper, Dominique, 1995: 13-20.
15. On the violation of fundamental principles the criminal law, international law and UN charter by the UN Security Council’s resolutions 808 and 827 that served as basis for the establishment of the “International Tribunal” on former Yugoslavia, see Avramov Smilja, 1993; Charitos Panayotis, 1996; Rubin, Alfred, Winter 1996/7; special issue of Dialogue.
16. A recent critique of this biased approach can be found in Kenney, George, 1997, p. B9: “Media accounts of Bosnia’s civil war portrayed the Muslims as victims, Serbs as responsible for 90% of the atrocities and Croats as vaguely both victim and aggressor. Too many reporters in Bosnia felt they should take the Muslim side; in so doing they confused their “greater truth” for the facts. Major papers and wire services, for example, routinely reported that 250,000 had died, implying a widespread slaughter of Muslims. The respected Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, however, estimates a total of 25,000 to 55,000 killed on all sides during combat. Accounting for known civilian casualties and assuming all the declared missing are dead, it is difficult to see how total deaths could exceed 100,000. And the percentage of each ethnic group killed – slightly more than 2% – is almost identical. The proportions of those who were forcibly displaced are comparable, but the Bosnian Serbs, with about 700,000 refugees, may have suffered the most displacement in absolute terms.”
17. “In 1988, Tudjman made a secret visit to Germany, Croatia’s patron in WWII. There, he met with Chancellor Helmut Kohl and other senior officials in order to formulate a joint policy to dismember Yugoslavia and establish a new independent Croatia. One of the first steps taken in accordance with these plans was to begin large-scale clandestine weapons acquisition in order to enable the Croats and Slovenians to launch their unilateral independence movement with armed militias.” (Bodansky, Y., 1995:30)
18. According to Alojzije Stepinac, who carried out the conversion of Serbs to Catholicism in the Independent State of Croatia with the support of the Vatican, communism got stronger because “the Orthodox church is not capable of resisting communism, being incapable of normal upbringing of the people” (Nenadić et all, 1993: 62).
19. The 1975 Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe provides for the inviolability of international borders and the territorial integrity of the participating states (Lattanzi Flavia, 1983:287).
20. Turkey is the latest candidate for a sub-imperial power status among Islamic countries, and “protector” of Muslim population in Europe. Turkey’s leaders are openly speaking about the renewal of the Ottoman Empire, keeping 40% of Cyprus under occupation since 1974, calling into question the sovereignty of Greece over small islands in 1996, and repeatedly intruding into the northern parts of Iraq to attack Kurds.
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