YUGOSLAVIA: CONSERVATIVE LEADER UNDER PRESSURE

Created: 1/10/1990

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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anuaryYugoslavia: Conservative Leader Cnder Prasaure

S usury

Yugoslavia's political ami economic troublean noaioobura to Serbian strongman Slobodan

^VY ?Vhimselfa chanpioi. of serfc.an nationaliam and authoritarian Miloaevlc however, ia becoaiing increasingly isolated. He ha. provoked greator tension* with the llb.rel north, and Be ha* lost significant support amcng Yugoslavia'.ropublica, Serbia's traditional allies in tha atlon"Montenegro, hia only remaining ally is becomingmalleable. In his hone republic of

Milo"vJc If lacing growing criticism from} and worker.. Milosevic probably will try to defend himself by respondingattacking opponents, sponsoring new demonstrations, and provoking new confrontations with the northern republics of Slov.nia and Croatia. If ho rails to stem ri*ing discontent in Serbia, an aeanus

'othus opening thojj|lti^arty system and badly needed economic

4

National Moaentun stalled

Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic haai exploited Serbian nationalism andaste for confrontation that hashim into the front ranks of Yugoslav leaders, now however, he appears to have lost the- political momentum needed to assume the nantlo or powor once worn by Tito. After using naaf.ivo demonstrations to gain control over Serbia's two autononoue provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodlna end toOBtile leadership in Montenegro last year, his path appears blockedoose coalition of regional nnd federal including thewant to preaervo tho country'a ethnic

Rising Hostility in the Korth

Serbia's relations with the more highly developed and liberal northern republics of Slovenia and Croatia traditionally have bean merited by rivalry. Tensions have increased since Milosevic can* to power in Serbia nd the situation has beccao particularly heated over the past two nonths. Slovene leaders in Decanter threatened to use rorce toally of ethnic Serbs in the Slovene capital of Ljubljana, touchingitter public dispute in which Serbian leaders called for the ouster of Slovene authorities and Imposed an eoonotsic boycottvenla. Croatian leaders lined up behind the Slovenes and denounced Milosevic's efforts to stir unrest among Croatia-ethnicercent of the population.

Growing Oppoaition in the South

North-South tensions are nothing new in Yugoslavia, but Milosevic's exploitation of Serbian nationalism in his drive national power also has alienated leaders in Yugoslavia's southern republics. TheseMontoneyro, andare Serbia's "natural nllloM in the federation because of similar levelsevelopment and more conservative political traditions.

Opposition to Milosevic in multi-ethnichardonod visibly in the past few months ae hlo support amono tho republic'sercent ethnic Serb minority has reportedly surqod. The backlash among the republic's polItleelly-dominant athmc Muslins and Croats has led Bosnian officials to warn Milosevic: that they will net tolerate ethnic Serb rallies. They have publicly accused the Serbian security service of tryinq to deeteblliio the republic leadership. In December, the Bosnian party congress reelected ar.ti-Mi losevic party chief Hili Djurakovic, an ethnic Huslia, which indicates that Bos.'i leaders will reaain aligned against Hiloaevic.

Traditionally conservative Macedonia hadilosevic lly but has recently reversed its stance. Ovor tha past six months, Macedonian leaders have voted fairly consistently against

NOFORM

ne leadership of Montenegro reaains allied with Milosevic

y-upport for Serbian policies ha.

Elf-SSl ^ftr^ln thmonth- Montenegrin official, have challenged the Serbian position on three key political issue.:

warkovlo'e refora prograa: Montenegrin officials have backud passage of Premier Ante

?economic reform program, which Serbia atrongly oppose*,

iuargethat Milosevic probably

flerb-apon.ared oeaoastratlon: The Montenegrin Party in January opposedarge demonstration lr organized.

mi?Montenegrin leadurs were reportedly weak and dependent on Milosevic for political support whan they were Installed by

their own political

poworoaaes in the republic, however, they appear prepared to take

in Serbia

ltlcal Pylons. Growing pressures for Growing; Probli

republic of Serbia, eoafce groups are In December, intellectualts like Milovan DJfor nd charged that Milosevic had fixed

official Serbian youthnr. Ion If-hearted "reform" propoanlr. and trnrrram, which calls for free

a small group of delegates to ainst Milosevic by calling for

official who attended the asercent of th*ine against Slovenia's liberal

in several Serbian finas havo none ndsrds of living and Serbian

'Milosevic hasampaign of harauumwnC, arrtref"*TWa physical intimidation to quiet dissent, lie has replaced tho top loaders of tho youth organization to bring it under control end responded to worker discontent by promising an Imminent Serbian "economic renaissance" thouqh ha reportedly knows Serbian economic prospects are bleak. Milosevic's hamfistod response to criticism and his inability to follow through on his promises probably will lead to greater opposition. His relations with intellectual and liberal groupr. already had soured enough to lead to thepf illegal Serbian opposition political party in December.

outlook

Milosevic's politicalfrom his oppositionulti-party system and growing economicwill grow. The Serbian nationalist themes Milosevic used to propel himself into power and maintain bis political position over the past two years already are wearing thin. Multi-party election* in other republics this spring, as well as tha dramatic liberalisation underway throughout Eastern Europe, will alnoot certainly stimulate further opposition to Milosevic among Serbian intellectual, youth, and even party groups who believe Serbia is falling behind Yugoslavia's other republics. Milosevic's insistence on going his own way on economic issues aay backfire and lead growing numbers of Serbian workers to hold him

penally responsible loc their falling standards of living.

may try to

new tensions with Slovenia and Croatia, sabotage implementation of Premier Ante Markovic's economic reform program, or attempt to oust one or more of the anti-Milosevic loaders in the south. In Serbia, he probably will continue

arackdown on dissident intellectual and youth groups.

Milosevic almost certainly will bo weakened in the next year, and therene in four chance he could even be ousted. Milosevic is vulnerable because his only powerbase is among the ethnic Serb populace. Ho has failed to build on extensive network of supporters in the Serbian party, government, and media below tho top levels, and any fall in popularity, in our view, would stimulate the. latent opposition to Milosevic that exists within these quarters.

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