USSR and Eastern Europe Review
YUGOSLAV LEADERSHIP REACT
TO DISSIDENT ACTIVITY
The Yugoslav leadership is being faced withsigns of restlessness among the country's The authorities have taken steps to show the small and disunited dissident movement that there are firmto acceptable criticism, but it has scrupulously remained within legal bounds in combating such protest. The dissidents have responded by continuing to press their demands by means of such legitimate vehicles as petitions.
Early last week, the Serbian Assembly actedecision announced last June to terminate the salaries and pension rights of seven Belgrade Universityshould they refuse to accept nonteaching positions at the university. The men were forced to give up their teaching posts5 and were put on partial salary because of their involvement with the dissident Marxist journal "Praxis." The authorities feared the potentially disruptive contact between students and the "Belgrades they came to be known, and hoped to sever that link by offering them research positions. All of them, however, refused the "take-it-or-leave-it" ultimatum and, in view of last week's decision, will reportedly soon file for unemployment benefits.
Last November, the Serbian authoritiesetition by two leading dissidentCosic and "Praxist" Professor Ljnbomirpublish Javnost, (Theroposed new journal intended to be free of ideological criteria and censorship. The leadership-no doubt concerned by the journal's potential for anti-regime criticism--was also irritated by the petitioners' attempt to maximise foreign attention and moral support by publicizing the request at the time of the UNESCO conference in Belgrade. They probably also felt impelled to block the first instance of dissident activity since Tito's death which attempted openly toroad-based consensus within the fragmented dissident community.
There also reportedly planning to Lake steps against two Croatians who instigated acalling for amnesty for political prisoners. They are said to have decided definitely toon trial Croatiar. nationalist Franjo ludjmau, in connection with interviews he gave last year to foreign journal lets, and reportedly will take similar action against Vlado cotovac, who is considered the prime mover behind the petition.
while thus serving notice that there are limitsthe criticism the regime will tolerate, theave shown moderation and acted on legal grounds. The signatories of the Croatian petition, as well as Serb, Croat, and Slovene intellectuals who signed' another recent petition calling for increased press freedom, have been criticized by the media but there is no hard evidence that they have been subjected to arrests and interrogations.
The Yugoslav party has longolicy whichbetween what itlegitimate criticism and "antiregime" dissent whichthe socialist self-management system. The poet-Tito leadership is keenly aware of Yugoslavia's human rights performanceime when large Western loans are under negotiation, and this .act alone largely accounts for thoshown thus far. Concern over Western reaction, for example, has probably been the reason why the authorities have not moved against noted dissident Milovan Djilas, despite the recentof his book, Tito: The Story From Inside, which debunks aspects of the Partisan effort in World War II.
An apparent division between moderate pragmatietE and hardliners in the leadership over how best to handle the growing dissident problem may also prevent agreement on stronger measures- As long as d'nnent does notisruptive factor u. political life, hardliners like Party Presidium Secretary Dusanlast July called for increased "domesticbe kept in check by moderates concerned about the effect such action would havo on Yugoslavia's international image