Revolution and Change in Central and Eastern Europe: Political, Economic, and Social Challenges

By Minton F. Goldman | Go to book overview

tion preserving most of the federal administrative apparatus of the former Yugoslavia, including the president, the prime minister, the cabinet, and the Assembly. Serbian and Montenegrin leaders declared that their new state would be a democracy based on respect for human rights and on the principles of a market economy. In adopting the new Yugoslavia's constitution, the leadership said that it had no claims on the territory of its neighbors. The government pledged to avoid force and to use diplomacy in the settlement of any outstanding differences with neighboring republics. This new Yugoslav state, which had a population of 10.5 million people, most of whom lived in the Republic of Serbia, was heavily influenced by President Milošević, who made sure that the newly constituted federal Yugoslav government was led by people congenial to Serbian interests. indeed, the new Yugoslavia was little more than an enlarged Serbia. Montenegro's small population was for all intents and purposes without influence and was growing increasingly resentful of the overbearing Milošvić, whose policies frequently were not in the best interest of the Montenegrin people.


Conclusions

The Milošević leadership of Serbia must be blamed for the speed and trauma of Yugoslavia's disintegration: it opposed reforms that might have preserved Yugoslavia; it opposed economic and political liberalization; and it opposed democratization, decommunization, and decentralization in Yugoslavia. Partly the reasons for Serbian conservatism were ideological, a faith in the efficacy of the socialist system bequeathed by Tito in bringing a measure of prosperity to the Yugoslav peoples. But mainly, the Milošević leadership opposed perestroikastyle reforms in Yugoslavia for reasons of narrow self-interest. Serbia enjoyed a privileged position of wealth and influence in a united Yugoslavia that would be severely curtailed if the country were transformed into a confederation of independent states, as most of the republics wanted because of their resentment of Serb dominance. The Republic of Serbia resisted change and in so doing compromised the survival of the Titoist state.

But once Milošević realized that preserving a unified Yugoslavia was impossible given the determination of Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, and Bosnia- Herzegovina to have independence, he decided to look to Serbia's national interest, which consisted primarily of the ambition to bring all the Serb minorities in neighboring republics, along with the territory they inhabited, under the control of the Serbian government in Belgrade. This ambition brought Serbia into direct conflict with its neighbors, especially Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the large Serb minorities outside Serbia lived. With Serbia's comparative superiority of resources and military power, Milošević was able to throw Yugoslavia into civil war. In so doing, he finished off once and for all any chances of keeping the country together. The other republics no longer had any doubt of Serbia's aggressiveness and brutality and certainly not the slightest interest in

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Revolution and Change in Central and Eastern Europe: Political, Economic, and Social Challenges
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - Roots and Causes of Communist Collapse 3
  • Conclusions 22
  • 2 - Problems of Postcommunist Development 23
  • Conclusions 51
  • 3 - Albania 53
  • Conclusions 82
  • 4 - Bulgaria 83
  • Conclusions 111
  • 5 - From Czechoslovakia to the Czech and Slovak Republics 113
  • Conclusions 152
  • 6 - East Germany 155
  • Conclusions 178
  • 7 - Hungary 181
  • Conclusions 216
  • 8 - Poland 219
  • Conclusions 263
  • 9 - Romania 265
  • Conclusions 298
  • 10 - Yugoslavia-----Collapse and Disintegration 299
  • Conclusions 331
  • 11 - Yugoslavia--The Bosnian Civil War 341
  • Conclusions 389
  • Conclusions 391
  • Notes 405
  • Bibliography 453
  • Index 471
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