bosnia report
New Series No. 6/7 September - December 1998
 
part 1
by Miodrag Stanisavljevic

The texts translated below were published in the regular column that the author has been writing for almost a decade now for the independent Belgrade fortnightly Republika.

Republika was founded in 1989, under the editorship of Nebojsa Popov, initially as an organ of the short-lived UJDI (Association for a Yugoslav Democratic Initiative). From the outset it espoused the path of rational dialogue between democratic forces in Serbia and Kosova, a stance symbolized by the book Kosovski Cvor, co authored by Popov, which refuted the anti-Albanian lies propagated in the Serbian press under Milosevic about the supposed incidence of rape in Kosova and its use as a weapon to drive Serbs from Kosova. Since that time the journal has maintained an enviable standard of critical discussion (readers will recall the articles by Mirko Dordevic and Milan Dordevic translated in Bosnia Report 16, original series).

Since Belgrade unleashed its genocidal offensive in Kosova in March of this year, most of Serbia's intelligentsia and political opposition has rallied enthusiastically behind Milosevic and Seselj.

The current issue of Transitions (successor to War Report) has performed the useful service of translating a particularly crude example of the dominant attitude: a lamentable little article by the editor-in-chief of Vreme that pronounces, without further argument, that Serbia has every right to do what it has been doing in Kosova, for the sake of its 'national dignity'.

Miodrag Stanisavljevic shows here that a different - humanist and democratic - tradition nevertheless still survives in Serbia. March 1998

Are we to become crusaders?

'Kosovo is the most precious Serb word', 'Kosovo is holy Serb land', 'Kosovo is our Jerusalem'... In the past few years we have heard all of these and many similar pronouncements. Has the moment arrived when we must all become cru- saders?

If what Mr Milan Bozic1 is telling us these days is to be believed, we shall become crusaders (or something of the kind). For Mr Bozic tells us: 'All Serbia will rise up!'

There were some thirty deaths in Kosovo in a single day. President Milosevic appeared on television and sent messages 'full of resolution'. It is seemingly laid down by protocol what number of deaths is required for our beloved President to address us. Four of ours against twenty of theirs - how suitable for fostering a mood of triumph. The state radio announced that 'in all the world's media, President Milosevic's telegrams of condolence to the families of the policemen who have lost their lives have received widespread publicity.' 'Telegrams of condolence to the families of those who have lost their lives', it turns out, are a literary genre of the highest category, reserved only for pure geniuses. In a single day our President of genius brought more fame to Serbia than all her men of letters. Many mÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ ore such telegrams and Serbia's fame will grow and grow.

I watch 'Vojvoda' Seselj,2 ringed by a mound of reporters' microphones, as he 'demands' still 'harsher and more unremitting action'. He shines with brazen glee. The surrounding forest of microphones make him look happy. And I know there is a lethal law of proportionality: the more microphones and cameras around Seselj, the more corpses around us.

'What do those Shiptars want anyway?', 3 the national chorus wonders. 'We guarantee them the most extensive rights, according to the highest international standards, and they won't make use of them...' When you hear someone here offering and guaranteeing something 'according to the highest international standards', watch out for your skin! For what would your rights look like according to some lower standard, when according to the highest international standards they look like this?

What has been happening in Kosovo in the past few days reminds one irresistibly of Borovo Selo, or Bijeljina.4 The talk about 'ancestral hearths' and 'holy Serb lands' has started up again. But talk about 'defending holy places' is usually just a pretext for a return to barbarism.

The Boss's Favourite Opposition Leader

Vuk Draskovic has every chance of becoming the 'favourite opposition leader' of Mr Slobodan Milosevic. Once Dr Vojislav Seselj bore this flattering title. And since a first love is never forgotten, there is nothing for Mr Draskovic to do but adapt himself to resemble as far as possible Milosevic's first and un- quenched oppositional love. It cannot be said that Mr Draskovic is not trying. His statements over the past few weeks (about Kosovo, about The Hague and the 'Vukovar Three',5 and so on) show that he is giving of his best.

Seselj is dead, long live Seselj - came the decision from Dedinje.6 All Vuk's forces - worthless without Seselj. What is needed is a Seselj who is not called Seselj (since for some reason the New World Order is allergic to that name). So it was decided on Dedinje to go for a small alteration or adaptation of Vuk, to fit Seselj's girth. Adaptations are expensive, but there it is, the price must be paid. To judge by the statements of the other opposition leaders when Kosovo or the Hague Tribunal are in question, it seems that almost all Serbia's oppositionists are suitable material - give or take a bit - for such adaptations. With little alterations by the skilled master-craftsman, Dindic and Kostunica too could become 'favourite opposition leaders' of the Big Boss on Dedinje. So it is more or less irrelevant who will be in coalition with whom. In a way they are all in a virtual coalition already.

JUL's recipe

A few days after Nenad Dordevic, one of the leaders and financiers of JUL,7 was arrested, the party announced with much fanfare a huge symposium on its amazing new proposal for reform of the health system. The very system which the said arrested gentleman had ravaged to the tune of many millions of dollars.

In JUL, it seems, they have found the elixir of eternal youth and perpetual rule. The recipe goes: First plunder, then reform! By means of reforms, repair a system that will allow you a new run of plundering. When organized criminality causes this system to founder too, you shriek out: 'The system must be changed! Reforms are needed' And on like that for ever.

The Dedinje dieticians In the pre-electoral campaign, one of the SPS slogans was the one about 'a rapid rise in living standards'. A few months after this, state radio informs us that the new government of Mirko Marjanovic will ensure 'a slow but sure rise in living standards'. It is not a matter of pre-election promises not being fulfilled - God forbid! The change was arrived at after pÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ rofound deliberation in the Dedinje laboratories for ministering to the people.

It is not that we could not ensure 'a rapid rise in living standards', but it would not be a good idea. What is rapid is of poor quality. And the Big Boss's dieticians have given it as their opinion that it would also be deleterious to the nation's gut: if hungry people were to eat their fill all at once, this as we all know could be fatal. And concern for the national health comes first for us.

March 1998

Radiant Murk

    Long live the sanctions!
    Long live the sanctions!
    They're an excellent medication
    to strengthen the nation!
    Long live the sanctions! Long live the sanctions!
    Long live short rations!
    Long live secret transactions
    for the good of the nation, for the good of the nation!
    (Eine kleine Nachtmusik by the Dedinje players)

The entertaining spiritual efforts of Belgrade patriotic circles to find 'the best solution for Kosovo' still continue. These efforts are accompanied by a great deal of contorted fantasy - and deep moral poverty. The main question occupying the minds of that gang of patriot-sophists is: how to destroy the Albanians, while remaining squeaky clean before world public opinion. 'We'll offer them a solution in accordance with the highest international standards, and if they refuse (and they'll certainly refuse) we can do whatever we like in Kosovo, for the world will turn against them!'

Another masterpiece of sophistry goes: 'We'll carry out swift democratic and economic reforms, then the world will close its eyes to whatever we do in Kosovo!'

The Big Boss does not bother with such infantile subterfuges. He is happy to follow the 'guilty but alive' principle (guilty before the international commu- nity, alive in the country he rules). And so once again sanctions are visited upon the Serbs. This time there's as yet no talk of 'unjust and totally unpro- voked sanctions'. Perhaps this is because these sanctions have indeed been deliberately provoked for selfish, power-hungry motives.

The dramaturgical function of sanctions for the mechanism of retaining and reinforcing power on Dedinje is carefully rehearsed and stage-managed. We are dealing here with a complex, multi-layered strategy, hinged upon the interaction between two truths - one that reaches the 'global village' of international television, another that the boss's media transmit to the villages and towns of the land of Serbia. The first truth (dispatched into the world by the reporters of the international TV networks) states that over the past few weeks Kosovo has been the scene of outpourings of barbarity and orgies of slaughter. These orgiastic outpourings have been rewarded - by a dainty little package of sanctions.

But that is just the first part of the story, the first strand of the Boss's strategy. A second truth now appears on the scene - the truth for local consumption. Unlike the first (which is left to the tide of events), this second truth has to be carefully controlled, filtered, and measured out. This truth tells Serbs that in certain godforsaken Kosovo villages our brave policemen have been selflessly smoking out terrorists from their nests.

Nasa Borba

There is thus a dramatic confrontation between the truth of the sanctions and the bleached Serb truth of the boss's television. The result is a general popular reaction of the 'They all hate us!' kind, outrage at the bullying behaviour of the great powers, lamentations about the double standards of the international community, prattle about it being 'one more attempt to force Serbia to its knees'. And the chorus goes up: 'We must stand tall and close ranks around the Wise LeaderÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ !' What ruler could dream of more?

Super-racism

I am always amused by the coincidental links between a man's name and his vocation. In our part of the world such coincidences are more frequent than statistical probability ought to allow. Could there be a more suitable name for a regime caveman than Tmusic [Murke] ? He could, of course, be called 'Darke'; but that would not be quite the same. For murk suggests a particular kind of oppressive, age-old darkness (perhaps precisely a cavernous darkness). Well, one such caveman, a state prosecutor by profession, has denounced certain journalists because they described dead Albanians as 'people' in their reports. ('Twenty-seven people died in Kosovo'). The Nazis viewed some peoples as 'inferior species', but they did not deny them membership of the human race. Balkan racism is a super-racism.

For as long as there are boys in the Balkans so zealous in searching for excuses to kill, the business of slaughter will continue to flourish here.

Pure rape

Yet another of Karadzic's champions has surrendered to The Hague Tribunal, in order to defend his truth before the eyes of the world. And his truth is: 'Yes, I admit I raped Muslim women, but I didn't mistreat them!' So we have acquired one more Serb speciality: rape without coercion or violence - 'pure' rape. I am striving to understand our champion. The rape of non-Serb women is to be understood as the act of a he-man, a great warrior. But mistreatment of women in this tradition is known as 'granny-roasting' and is incompatible with the prerogatives of a hero or champion. So in order to resolve the dilemma a new concept has to be devised: 'Rape without mistreatment.'

Our champion might have chosen to defend himself by claiming that the women he had raped had 'submitted willingly'. But the problem with the notion of 'willing submission' is that it precludes any feeling of racial superiority, or of a 'higher right of Serbs' to do whatever they like with members of lower races.

April 1998

Monster of the Fatherland

In the reign of Slobodan Milosevic Serbia lacks everything, the only thing it has is - an abundance of traitors. If everyone proclaimed a traitor in Serbia were dealt with as the law prescribes, we should have to build a new prison every year. Seselj would have to turn Ratno Ostrvo into his own Goli Otok, while Mrs Markovic would have a choice between Ada Huja and Ada Ciganlija.8 Denouncing and anathematizing someone as a 'traitor to Serbdom' is thankfully still just a figure of speech in our current political rhetoric. Just as it is clear that patriotism here is just a form of prattling (or that prattling is the highest expression of Serb patriotism) .

As manufacturers of traitors Dr Seselj and Mrs Markovic are mere infants in comparison with the jerry-builder of the Constitution - Ratko Markovic.9 While the two of them were busy denouncing specific individuals and institutions for treason, R. M. chose a far more efficient method. Whoever fails to turn out and cast a 'no' vote in the referendum is clearly against their country's independence and therefore a traitor to their homeland. This is R.M's deductive method for uncovering national traitors. With this patriotic and logical operation, R.M. has produced a traitorous fifth column beyond the wildest dreams of Dr Seselj or Mrs Markovic. But as ever patriotic zeal ends up in grotesque absurdity. Let just ten per cent of Serbs fail to participate in the Boss's great demonstration of enforced national ardour, and the number of traitors to Serbia will be measured no longer in hundreds, but in hundreds of thousands.

'La patrie, c'est moi!'

I listen carefully to 'Vojvoda' Seselj (his belly increasingly pouring over his belt like fermenting dough over the edge of a basin) commenting on the possible introduction of fresh sanctions.ÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ The Serbs, he says, have in the past put up with this and that, only the other day they endured this, that and the other, so they will endure the latest bit of 'pressure and blackmail' too, because 'to the Serb, his Fatherland is all-important'.

So we are faced with yet another historic 'No', and yet another bout of Serb endurance. It is hard to tell who will survive it, but evidently the more the Serb Fatherland is endangered, the rounder the preachers of Serb indomitability grow.

'The Fatherland' as seen by Dr Seselj (something that 'to a Serb is all-important' - i.e. more important than life itself) really does connote something monstrous and inhuman. More precisely, it resembles the Monster from fairy tales to whom the people, mute and unquestioning, sacrifice whatever they hold most precious. But our case is a bit different from the classic fairy-tale pattern: Serbs are expected to treat the Monster not as a monster but as something splendid, and not even to dream of a potential liberator.

Nasa Borba

Behind the abstract notion of the 'Fatherland' lurks a very real monster (who, like all mythical monsters, lives on top of a hill) with his helpers. They de- mand of the people an unquestioning readiness to make sacrifices (because 'the Fatherland is all-important'), thus conveying the implicit message: 'Love us for ever and unreservedly, for we are all-important'!

The Governor's word of honour

Money and morals are inseparable in Serbia. Not just by the law of inversion (whoever has no morals has money), but also by the law of cause and effect: bad money leads to bad morals.

The Governor of the National Bank, after the recent devaluation, promised a high-ranking Montenegrin functionary (actually gave his 'word of honour') that he would 'no longer give in to pressure to print more money without collateral.' This jolly country naturally has a jolly National Bank Governor too.

What is the 'word of honour' of the Governor of the National Bank worth? How stable is it? It is worth as much, and is as stable, as the currency. Where money is worthless, everything else is worthless too. The esteemed Governor is quite aware of this, which is why he gives his word of honour so easily.

The Ferhadija, or revenge on our own history

Mr Westendorp's naive desire to restore the destroyed Ferhat Pasha Mosque (a world cultural monument in the highest category) recently received a response from Banja Luka, seat of Ms Plavsic, 'mainstay and nurse of the new Serb democracy'. They were extremely surprised in Banja Luka by the 'uncivilized be- haviour of the international community', and by its request which 'insults the Serb people by asking them to restore reminders of their five centuries of en- slavement'. The international community is 'uncivilized', while vandalism is the highest expression of civilization - behold one more pearl of Serb truth! The vandals were extremely insulted that their exploit was called into question, instead of receiving international praise!

The nation that enjoys taking revenge on its own history will get nowhere. Except perhaps to pre-history.

May 1998

Meddling in the matter

Kosovo is our own 'internal matter'. We shall not allow outside interference; we shall find the solution by ourselves. We shall solve the problems in our own house by ourselves, according to the highest international standards. To the Serb his state is all-important, so he endures all his troubles stoically. The Dedinje regime and its boot lickers have been strumming tunes of this kind for months now. It is no accident that dictators, despots and other atavistic creathe same little tune about the sanctity of 'internal matters'. The more obstÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ i- nately Milosevic, Seselj and the whole Nazi gang repeat that Kosovo is 'our own internal matter', the more suspicion they provoke. Unspoken dread too. The bureaucrats of the international community are well-mannered people and will not tell them straight out: Your little tune sounds all very sweet and nice, but, Gentlemen, your reputation is such that we can have no illusions about the way in which you would like to deal with what you call an 'internal matter of a sovereign country'. After all, to anyone who knows anything of the character of Milosevic, Seselj and company, it is clear that 'solving an internal matter' for them means a 'solution' in the dark, in silence, away from prying eyes, in summary fashion. This is not mere guesswork. Did Milosevic's current right-hand man 'Vojvoda' Seselj not announce only the other day that he would solve the Kosovo problem by simply driving the 'Shiptars' across Prokletije?10 Today he is spinning a yarn about 'resolving the Kosovo question in accordance with democratic Serb traditions', but nothing leaves so deep an impression in the memory as a loose tongue. The diplomatic quibbling about 'sovereignty' and the right to handle 'internal matters' without interference is just a waste of time. Everybody knows (though no one says it publicly) that not everyone can be given a free hand, or it may end up bloodstained to the elbow. The other part of the Milosevic-Seselj tune (that 'our internal matter will be solved according to the highest international standards, and naturally without foreign interference') does not just arouse suspicion - it also lacks elementary logical coherence. If those two vow that they will solve the Kosovo question 'according to the highest international standards', why such panicky resistance to international media- tors? Are Milosevic, Seselj and company better acquainted with 'international standards' than the representatives of the international community are? Are they, perhaps, more attached and devoted to such standards? This illogicality has naturally not passed unnoticed and naturally inspires still greater dread: if those two, in the presence of so many mediators and monitors, were able to do such things in Bosnia (which was no one's 'internal matter'), just imagine what they could get up to in this 'sacred Serb land'!

Vuk D. or Seselj-for-free

Every day on Studio B Vuk D[raÐkovic] showers us with his ultra-patriotic statements and declarations on Kosovo. Much effort and excogitation has been invested in these brainwaves, as always when someone is concerned not with thought but with propaganda. From Vuk D., through a tangled discourse that steers its way between logical sophistries and patriotic jingles, we learn that Serbia is a wonderful 'multi-ethnic community' (while by contrast the Albanians are seeking a 'monstrous mono-ethnic state'); we learn that Ratko Markovic's invitations to cosy talks are very sincere, that the referendum is an authentic expression of the people's will, that sanctions are logically indefensible and would represent the 'twilight of the principles of the international community', and so on and so forth.

'Vojvoda' Seselj would doubtless have grown sick of himself long ago if he did what he does free of charge. Today's Vuk D. increaü singly resembles a Seselj-for-free. His patriotic brainwaves are Seselj-isms in a purer form than those of his mentor. When God wishes to deprive someone of all sense of reality - he turns him into a patriot. This could best be seen in Vuk D.'s delight at the action of a Kosovo [Albanian] forester called Baljaj who with his sons arrested and handed over to the police two KLA men. This prompted Vuk. D. to indulge in sweet dreams: soon, he rapturously declared, 'tens and tens of thousands of Kosovo Albanians', filled with Serb patriotic fervour, will follow the example of the plucky comrade forester. And if each one of these 'tens and tens of thousands' apprehends two or threeÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ separatists, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Albanians, who are only waiting for the right signal, will follow their example. Naturally, since there would not be enough separatists to hand over, many Albanian-Serb patriots would solve the difficulty by handing themselves over to the Serbian police! And the Kosovo problem would vanish in the twinkling of an eye.

Vuk D's daydreams and convoluted logic will hardly persuade or dissuade anyone in the international community. But that they will add a new facet to the collective Serb imbeü cility is quite certain.

May 1998

Milosevic or megalomania of the pygmies

When a small nation gets a leader who suffers from megalomania, it can expect every kind of misery and affliction. If such a nation had powers of self-analysis, the accident that brought the megalomaniac ruler to power might, with more or less difficulty, be rectified. If, however, the megalomania of the leader is accompanied by a systematic attempt to imbue the people as a whole with megalomania (declaring them to be a 'celestial' nation, a 'primaeval', 'ancient' and 'state-building' nation, etc), things become much more complicated and desperate. The hapless subjects accept the misery and affliction that the leader piles on their shoulders as the tax they are fated to pay for their imagined exclusivity. 'Everyone hates us because we are great.' Megalomania and paranoia complement one another.

It has long been obvious that Slobodan Milosevic has a maniacal need to attract the attention of the main world leaders. He thinks his place is among them. The only way for him to achieve this is to stir up trouble (for which he has shown great talent). The only way for him to join the top players' table is to throw in a whole people as his stake. Then he is in seventh heaven when they call him 'a tough negotiator'. 'Look how I taunt and torment them!', he winks at his subjects. The subjects, for their part, seeing his apparent superiority in his games with the mighty, seek compensation and comfort in it for the misery he has brought upon them. Not realizing that comfort in misery is miserable comfort.

The people's tolerance of the misery brought upon them by their beloved misery- maker cannot be explained solely by the megalomania instilled in people through systematic brain-washing. It is also connected with a specific and far older substratum of their mentality and character, which I should describe as a spe- cial form of spite. There is a popular saying that illustrates what I have in mind. One often hears people say (with different variations): 'I'd rather taunt and torment him (or spite him) than have bread on my plate.' Those who think and speak in this way cannot be harmed much by sanctions. Sanctions can only give them a warped pleasure.

Students - the guardians of 'national interest'

Students have always been the symbol of liberal and progressive ideas. But what Macedonian students did a few months ago, and what their Serb counterparts have done over the past weeks in Kosovo, shows that to be backward and benighted is not just a 'privilege' of the older generation, nor is bigotry the mark only of the uneducated. Serb students in Kosovo are adamantly opposed to the right of Albanian school leavers to join their 'ancient Serb faculties', because, they say, it is not 'in accordance with Serb national interests'. How effortlessly they have absorbed all the hatred and prejudice of their fathers! Their rector has explained to them that they are part of the 'titular' nation, whence special rights flow: to be educated as a governing elite over the amorphous and ignorant mass of the 'non-titular nation'. Previously, in Croatia and Bosnia, exclusive rights were claimed for Serbs as people endowed with 'naturally state-building' qualities; similar rights are now sought for them on the basis of their 'titularity'. Base people will easily dream up a concept to justify their baseness.ÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ

The suffering of 'Little Momo'

An old folk curse runs: 'May God give you, then take it away!' This curse seems to be working most powerfully just now on those who have held, then lost, power - they have become great sufferers. But any exaggerated suffering is absurd and grotesque. So those who really know the delights of power will not let it out of their hands while there is breath left in their bodies. Papa Yeltsin, who in- creasingly looks like a 'corpse on remission', announces that he may ('may', my foot!) run again. The starkest example of the great spiritual suffering that can befall a man who has lost power is certainly 'Little Momo'.11 He is aghast that he could have been so careless as to lose what he had. In his more masochistic moments, he doubtless accuses himself of having been unworthy of power in the first place, since he failed to hold on to it. For what is the purpose of power except perpetuation and self-preservation? He tried to recover what he had lost, by staging so-called 'manifestations of the people' - but it all came out feeble and half-baked. He now puts his hope in the Dedinje autocrat, hoping that he may lend him a little of his elixir of eternal power. I watch him on Studio B ingratiating himself with the Dedinje suzerain, invoking his own modest contributions to the creation of Zabljacka Yugoslavia [FRY}. But the self-assurance of a conqueror is not acquired through servility and importuning. 'Little Momo', I feel, is a lost cause. The Big Boss on Dedinje will soon see him as a poor investment, and his loss of power as an illness that might become contagious.

Nasa Borba

Media tax

For months now, ever since they put radio frequencies up for licensing, some independent radio stations have been running opinion polls on whether the regime would stifle the free media. The respondents, perhaps fearful of tempting fate, have replied in confusion: 'Maybe they will, maybe they won't; some they will, some they won't; we'll have to wait and see.' Yet the answer was clear from the start: they will, the only question is how. And now we have an answer to this 'how': by introducing a media tax (prescribing enormous duties for the use of licensed frequencies). There can be no illusions about the Milosevic-Seselj attitude to media freedom. If they could, they would ban even the birds from singing, by levying a tax on chirping. For chirping too is carried out on cer- tain frequencies and by stimulating atmospheric vibrations - all of which involves state-owned resources. I wonder when they'll remember to charge newspaper publishers a tax on paper (newsprint is made of wood, and woods are a national heritage). After that, journalists will all have to pay a language tax (since they use the Serb language, which is also a national and state owned resource).

[click here to continue]

Footnotes:
1 Milan Bozic a leading member of Vuk Draskovic's SPO (Serb Renewal Movement) who played a key role after the winter 1997/8 demonstrations in taking the party out of the Zajedno opposition coalition and aligning it instead with Milosevic's ruling SPS (Socialist Party of Serbia).

2 Vojvoda = Duke, in its original sense (from the Latin Dux) of war leader. As a title favoured by the Chetniks of World War II, it was bestowed on Seselj by Pop Dujic, a war-criminal survivor of that movement.

3 'Shiptar' is a derogatory Serb-nationalist term for Albanians.

4 Borovo Selo and Bijeljina: the first engagements in Belgrade's wars against Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina respectively.

5 'Vukovar Three': three JNA officers from Serbia, indicted by the Interna- tional War Crimes Tribunal for their involvement in the massacre of Croatian prisoners following the fall of Vukovar, but whom Milosevic has always refused to hand over.

6 Dedinje: exclusive neighbourhood on a hill on the southern outskirts of Belgrade, synonymous with power. Milosevic lives there, in a villa once occupied by Tito.

7 JUL or Yugoslav United Left was set up in 1990 as a party of generals and communist hardliners, but is now dominated by war profiteers and the mafia. Headed by Milosevic's wife, Mira Markovic, it is in permanent coalition with the ruling SPS.

8 Goli Otok is an Adriatic island notorious as the site of the harshest prison camp in Communist Yugoslavia. Ratno Ostrvo, (close to Seselj's mayoral stronghold of Zemun), Ada Huja and Ada Ciganlija are river islands in Belgrade. Mira Markovic is the wife of Slobodan Milosevic.

9 Ratko Markovic, deputy prime minister of Serbia and a former law professor at Belgrade University, wrote the 1992 FRY constitution.

10 Prokletije or the Accursed Mountain straddles the borders between Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania.

11 Momir Bulatovic, former president of Montenegro.

12 Reference to Milosevic's daughter, who has her own private radio station.

13 Batajnica is a large military airport on the outskirts of Belgrade, close to Zemun where Seselj is mayor.

14 Ivica Dacic is the official spokesman for the SPS, within which he has responsibility for information and propaganda, international cooperation, culture and sport.

15 Independent television station run by the Karic brothers, bankers who have grown enormously wealthy during the past decade, profiting especially from trade with Russia, especially in the context of sanctions.

16 Radmila Visic is Serbia's deputy minister of information.

17 Ratko Markovic: see note 9 above.

18 Zoran Andelkovic, a leading SPS member who is also managing director of the large firm 'Genes-Sistema'.

19 Nickname for Draskovic's television station (state TV being housed in 'the Bastille').

20 Nevesinje in eastern Herzegovina is Draskovic's birthplace, now ethnically cleansed of all its pre-war Muslim inhabitants.

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