Slobodan Milosevic

Milošević, Slobodan

Slobodan Milošević (slôbô´dän mēlô´shəvĬch´), 1941–2006, Yugoslav and Serbian political leader, president of Serbia (1989–97) and of Yugoslavia (1997–2000), b. Požarevac, Serbia. He joined the Communist party in 1959, beginning his political career in the 1960s as an economic adviser to the mayor of Belgrade and holding various posts in the party and state enterprises. He became the leader of the Belgrade Communist party in 1984 and Serbian party leader in 1986.

Initially opposed to liberalization, he was elected president of Serbia in 1989 and proceeded to transform its Communist party into the nationalistic Socialist party. Milošević called for the inclusion of Serb areas in other republics in a "greater Serbia" as the price for Yugoslavia's dissolution. He supported Serb forces in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina after the two became independent and was widely blamed for the Serbs' military aggression and brutal "ethnic cleansing" policies, but he ultimately abandoned the Serbs outside Serbia, signing (1995) a peace accord.

Barred from a third term as Serbia's president, he became president of Yugoslavia in 1997. In 1999 his government's refusal to restore autonomy to Kosovo and its harsh tactics there led to NATO air attacks (Mar.–June) on Yugoslavia as Serbian forces deported hundreds of thousands of Albanian Kosovars; Serbia was forced to withdraw from Kosovo. As a result of Serbian actions, Milošević was charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

In 2000 the Yugoslav constitution was amended to permit the president to hold office for two terms; direct presidential elections also were instituted. The changes were designed to permit Milošević to remain in power, but when elections were held he was defeated by Vojislav Koštunica. Milošević only conceded after being forced to by strikes and demonstrations and international pressure, and remained head of the Socialist party of Serbia.

In 2001 he was arrested on charges of abuse of power and corruption and later turned over to the UN war crimes tribunal in the Hague, which tried him (2002) on charges of war crimes in Kosovo, Croatia, and Bosnia. He died, however, before his lengthy trial concluded. His family blamed his death on foul play, but a Dutch investigation found no evidence of this. Some tribunal officials believed he manipulated the treatment of his high blood pressure in an attempt to delay his trial or win release on medical grounds; earlier in 2006 an unprescribed antibiotic that interferes with blood pressure medication was found in his blood.

See biography by D. Doder and L. Branson (1999).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Slobodan Milosevic: Selected full-text books and articles

Milosevic in Retrospect: An Essay By Rieff, David The Virginia Quarterly Review, Vol. 82, No. 3, Summer 2006
Milosevic 'Killed by Heart Failure' Daily Mail (London), March 13, 2006
The Politics of Autocracy: Serbia under Slobodan Milosevic By Hall, Gregory O East European Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 2, Summer 1999
Nationalism and Federalism in Yugoslavia, 1962-1991 By Sabrina P. Ramet Indiana University Press, 1992 (2nd edition)
Librarian's tip: Chap. 11 "A New Napoleon: The Rise of Slobodan Milosevic"
Crises in the Balkans: Views from the Participants By Kostas G. Messas; Constantine P. Danopoulos Westview Press, 1997
Librarian's tip: Chap. 3 "Defeating 'Greater Serbia,' Building Greater Milosevic"
The Former Yugoslavia at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century: A Guide to the Economies in Transition By Ian Jeffries Routledge, 2002
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Serbia"
AFTER MILOSEVIC Why Not Other Tyrants? By Moorcraft, Paul New Zealand International Review, Vol. 24, No. 5, September 1999
Dispatches from the Balkan War and Other Writings By Alain Finkielkraut; Richard Golsan; Lincoln; Peter S. Rogers University of Nebraska Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: Includes discussion of Slobodan Milosevic in multiple chapters
Madeleine Albright and the New American Diplomacy By Thomas W. Lippman Westview Press, 2000
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Slobodan Milosevic begins on p. 247
The (Un)making of Milosevic By Sell, Louis The Wilson Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 3, Summer 1999
Milosevic on Trial - Milosevic's Trial The World and I, Vol. 16, No. 9, September 2001
Will Milosevic Walk? The New American, Vol. 20, No. 6, March 22, 2004
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