- Milosevic, Slobodan
Mi·lo·se·vić (mə-lōʹsə-vĭch'), Slobodan. Born 1941.
Serbian politician who was appointed president of the Yugoslav federation of Serbia and Montenegro in 1997. Previously he was the leader of the Serbian Communist Party and the president of Serbia (1989-1997). Following the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia he promoted the idea of a Greater Serbia and supported Serbian militias in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.
* * *born Aug. 29, 1941, Požarevac, Serbia, Yug.Serbian nationalist politician.He joined the Communist Party at age 18 and later became head of the state-owned gas company and president of a major Belgrade bank. Advised by his wife, a communist ideologue, he became head of the Communist Party in Belgrade (1984) and later in Serbia (1987). He replaced party leaders with his supporters, and in 1989 the Serbian assembly named him president of the republic. He maintained his power by repression and control of the mass media. He abrogated the constitutional autonomy of the Albanian province of Kosovo in 1989, which contributed to the secessionist movements in Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia and the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991. He then supported Serbian militas fighting Muslims in Bosnia and Croatia (see Bosnian conflict) but later signed a peace agreement (1995) on behalf of the Bosnian Serbs. In 1999, after pro-independence insurgents began killing Serbian police and politicians, he retaliated with ruthless attacks on the province (see Kosovo conflict). NATO responded with a massive bombing campaign of Serbian targets. The subsequent ethnic cleansing of the province by troops under Milošević's command drove hundreds of thousands of Albanian Kosovars to other countries as refugees and earned him worldwide loathing as a war criminal. In 2000 he was defeated in national elections. The following year he was arrested and extradited to The Netherlands to stand trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was subsequently charged with genocide.
* * *▪ 2007Yugoslav politician (b. Aug. 29, 1941, Pozarevac, Yugos.—d. March 11, 2006, The Hague, Neth.), as Serbia's party leader and president (1989–97) and then as president (1997–2000) of Yugoslavia, pursued Serbian nationalist policies that contributed to the breakup of the socialist Yugoslav federation and subsequently embroiled Serbia in a series of conflicts with the successor Balkan states. Milosevic was born in Serbia of Montenegrin parents and joined the Communist Party when he was 18 years old. He graduated (1964) from the University of Belgrade, Yugos., with a law degree and began a career in business administration, eventually becoming head of the state-owned gas company and president of a major Belgrade bank. He entered politics full-time in 1984 as a protégé of Ivan Stambolic, leader of the League of Communists of Serbia (LCS). Milosevic took over as head of the local communist organization in Belgrade that year. He introduced a new populist political style to Serbia, emerged as a defender of the socialist tradition of state economic intervention, and then used his rising popularity to displace Stambolic as the LCS head. The Serbian assembly ousted Stambolic from the republic's presidency in 1989 and replaced him with Milosevic, whose policies soon created an anti-Serb backlash in the other Yugoslav republics. Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia declared their independence in 1991, and the next year the Bosniacs (Muslims) and Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina voted to secede. Milosevic backed Serb militias who were fighting to unite areas of Bosnia and Croatia with Serbia, but he agreed to a peace accord in November 1995 in order to lift the economic sanctions imposed by the UN. In early 1999 the Serbians launched a major offensive against insurgents in Kosovo. NATO forces retaliated with a massive aerial bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, and by June Milosevic had agreed to withdraw Serbian forces from Kosovo. The Yugoslav parliament in 1997 elected him to the federal presidency. As president of Yugoslavia, however, he was deemed responsible for crimes committed during the Kosovo conflict, and he was indicted in May 1999. In the September 2000 presidential elections, opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica defeated him. The Yugoslav government arrested Milosevic in 2001 and turned him over to the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for trial on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The trial began in February 2002 but experienced numerous delays because of the poor health of Milosevic, who served as his own defense lawyer. He was found dead in his prison cell.▪ 2000Once again in 1999 the president of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic failed to impose his will on the Balkans. When he ignored demands that he withdraw troops from the Serbian province of Kosovo, whose population of two million was 90% ethnic Albanian, months of U.S.-led NATO air strikes damaged or destroyed significant parts of Yugoslavia's infrastructure. Thus, the man seen as a saviour by Serbian nationalists but reviled as the “butcher of the Balkans” by others was not able to extend Serb dominance. His forces inflicted enormous suffering in Kosovo, however, and in May the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia indicted him as a war criminal. Even so, at the end of the year Milosevic still sat firmly and securely in power in Belgrade.Milosevic was born in Pozarevac, Yugos., on Aug. 29, 1941. Both his father, who was an Orthodox priest, and his mother, a teacher, committed suicide. Milosevic joined the Communist Party when he was 18, and he received a law degree from the University of Belgrade in 1964. During the 1960s and '70s, he held a number of positions in local and national government. He became head of the Belgrade Communist Party in 1984 and of the League of Communists of Serbia in 1987. It was in 1987, when he rallied protesting Serbs in Kosovo, that he was transformed from a relatively obscure bureaucrat into a hero of Serbian nationalists. Later that same year he deposed the president of Serbia, Ivan Stambolic, who had been his mentor. He immediately revoked the autonomy of the provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo. In 1989 he was elected president of Serbia, and he was reelected in 1992, the same year in which he founded the Socialist Party of Serbia. In 1996, after he overturned municipal elections won by his opponents, he was nearly toppled from power, but the following year he was elected president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Under his authoritarian rule, Yugoslavia experienced widespread violence, and its economy plummeted.Milosevic was more successful in his political career than in holding Yugoslavia together or in creating a greater Serbia. In 1991 the Yugoslav republics of Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia declared their independence and left the federation. When the republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina attempted to secede, fierce fighting broke out in 1992. Much of the warfare in Bosnia, including the “ethnic cleansing” carried out there, had the support of Milosevic. Nonetheless, at talks brokered by the U.S. in 1995, he was forced to accept an independent Bosnian state, and only Serbia and Montenegro were left in the Yugoslav federation.Armed conflict in Kosovo, particularly between the Kosovo Liberation Army and the Yugoslav military, intensified in 1998, and attempts by NATO and European powers to halt the fighting were not successful. Tens of thousands of Kosovars were killed, and hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians were driven from their homes into refugee settlements in neighbouring countries. When Milosevic defied demands that he withdraw his forces, air strikes were launched beginning in March 1999. The Yugoslav parliament accepted the terms of a peace settlement on June 9, and within a week Serb forces were withdrawing as NATO peacekeepers entered Kosovo. In October Milosevic reportedly agreed to allow Montenegro to leave the federation if it chose to do so.Robert Rauch
* * *▪ president of Yugoslaviaborn August 29, 1941, Požarevac, Yugoslaviafound dead March 11, 2006, The Hague, Netherlandspolitician and administrator, who, as Serbia's party leader and president (1989–97), pursued Serbian nationalist policies that contributed to the breakup of the socialist Yugoslav federation. He subsequently embroiled Serbia in a series of conflicts with the successor Balkan states. From 1997 to 2000 he served as president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.Milošević was born in Serbia of Montenegrin parents and joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (from 1963 the League of Communists of Yugoslavia [LCY]) when he was 18 years old. He graduated from the University of Belgrade with a law degree in 1964 and began a career in business administration, eventually becoming head of the state-owned gas company and president of a major Belgrade bank. He married Mirjana Marković, a staunch communist who became his political adviser. Milošević entered politics full-time in 1984 as a protégé of Ivan Stambolić, head of the League of Communists of Serbia (LCS). Milošević took over as head of the local communist party organization in Belgrade that year.Milošević soon introduced a new populist political style to Serbia, appealing directly to the Serbian people over the heads of LCY officials and calling for an “antibureaucratic revolution.” He used his rising popularity to oust his former mentor Stambolić as leader of the LCS in December 1987. As Serbia's party leader, Milošević demanded that the federal government restore full control to Serbia over the autonomous provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo. And at a time when the federal government was trying to introduce free-market reforms in order to relieve the faltering Yugoslav economy, he emerged as a leading defender of the socialist tradition of state economic intervention, attacking economic reform for its social costs.In 1988 Milošević replaced the party leadership in Vojvodina and Kosovo provinces with his own supporters, and in 1989 the Serbian assembly ousted Stambolić from the republic's presidency, replacing him with Milošević. In 1990 Milošević pushed through changes to the Serbian constitution that curtailed the provinces' autonomy. He resisted a growing movement in favour of multiparty elections, and he sought to use the extensive Serbian diaspora throughout Yugoslavia in his fight against confederalism, a looser union of sovereign republics that was advocated by the leaders of Croatia and Slovenia. But Milošević's policies created an anti-Serb backlash in the other republics, and Serbia's continuing resistance to political and economic reform accelerated the breakup of the Yugoslav federation. The LCY split into separate republican parties in 1990, and multiparty elections later that year brought noncommunist governments to power in both Croatia and Slovenia. Milošević transformed the LCS into the Socialist Party of Serbia and in December 1990 was returned to office by a huge majority. He was reelected to the Serbian presidency in 1992.In 1991 Milošević faced popularly elected leaders from Croatia and Slovenia who continued to press for the transformation of Yugoslavia into a confederation. A negotiated settlement proved impossible, and in 1991 first Slovenia and Croatia and then Macedonia declared their independence. In 1992 the Bosniacs (Muslims) and Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina also voted to secede. In response, Milošević backed Serbian militias who were fighting to unite Bosnia and Croatia with Serbia. After three years of full-scale warfare in Bosnia, however, Serbian militias were unable to overwhelm the Bosniac and Croatian forces there, and in 1995 the Croatian army swept almost the entire Serbian population out of its historic enclaves in Croatia. By this time Serbia's economy, which had never recovered from the political crises of the late 1980s, was suffering severely from trade sanctions that had been imposed on Yugoslavia by the United Nations (UN) in 1992. In order to lift the sanctions, Milošević agreed on behalf of the Bosnian Serbs to a peace accord in November 1995, thus effectively ending the fighting in Bosnia.During 1998 the long-standing dispute between Serbia and the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo deteriorated rapidly into open armed conflict between federal security forces and the guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army, which had begun killing Serbian policemen and politicians. In the early spring of 1999 the Serbs launched a major offensive aimed at defeating the insurgents. NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) forces retaliated by initiating a massive aerial bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, expecting that Milošević would quickly capitulate. Unexpectedly, many Serbs previously critical of his government rallied in support of their country; capitalizing on this, he ordered a program of ethnic cleansing of the Kosovar Albanians that drove hundreds of thousands of them into neighbouring countries as refugees. By June, however, Milošević had agreed to a peace accord with NATO that obliged him to withdraw Serbian forces from Kosovo.As Serbia's president, Milošević had continued to dominate the new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which had been inaugurated in 1992 and consisted of only Serbia and Montenegro. He maintained power by his repression of political opponents, his control of the mass media, and the opportunistic alliances he formed with parties across the political spectrum, including Yugoslav United Left, the party led by his wife. Having served two terms as president of Serbia, Milošević was constitutionally barred from serving a third term. He retained power, however, by having the federal parliament elect him to the presidency of Yugoslavia in 1997. Milošević's attempt to cling to power by taking the federal presidency exposed him to indictment by the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague. It had been difficult to charge Milošević when he was president of Serbia before 1997 with any possible offenses (ethnic cleansing) committed by Yugoslav troops during the war with Bosnia, but, as president of Yugoslavia, he was also the commander in chief of the federal armed forces. He was thus deemed responsible for any offenses against international law committed during the Kosovo conflict and was indicted in May 1999.Unrest under Milošević's rule and a faltering economy grew in 2000, and in the September presidential elections he was defeated by opposition leader Vojislav Koštunica. Milošević was arrested by the Yugoslav government in 2001 and turned over to the ICTY for trial on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The trial began in February 2002 but experienced numerous delays because of the poor health of Milošević, who served as his own defense lawyer. On March 11, 2006, he was found dead in his prison cell.John B. AllcockAdditional ReadingRobert Thomas, The Politics of Serbia in the 1990s (1999); Duško Doder and Louise Branson, Milošević: Portrait of a Tyrant (1999); Chris Stephen, Judgement Day: The Trial of Slobodan Milošević, 1st American ed. (2004).
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