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October 24, 1994
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 161

Milosevic's Awards

by Filip Svarm

``Big Brother, the students, youth, working people and citizens of Kragujevac and the whole of Sumadija send you their fiery greetings and may you live long and lead us in peace as you did in war.'' When the students of Kragujevac sent this birthday greeting to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, they didn't dream that their parody would become reality two years later. These days decorations are en vogue in Serbia.


At the time when he was elected to the post of President of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia for the second time, Slobodan Milosevic already had two medals, both for work:

* The Decoration for Work, with a Silver Wreath * The Decoration for Work, with a Red Star


* ``Yugoslav Man of The Year,'' by the Belgrade weekly ``Novosti 8.'' * ``Personality of the Week'' (29.11.1988) by the Zagreb weekly ``Danas.'' * ``Honorary Citizenship of Valjevo'' (Serbia). * ``Honorary Citizenship of Irig'' (Vojvodina), given ``for strengthening unity in Serbia and Yugoslavia.''


* ``Honorary Citizenship of Paracin'' (Serbia), received ``for contributions to Serbia's renaissance and the strengthening of Yugoslavia.'' * ``The Decoration of Hero of Socialist Work'' (at the recommendation of the Committee of the Socialist Alliance of Working People of Novi Beograd). This proposal was seconded by all three councils of the Savski Venac Municipality, which stated in the explanation that Milosevic had won the decoration for his ``overall contribution to the development of socialist relations, the strengthening of brotherhood and unity and the resolving of current political issues.''


* ``The SBM Award''-a stylized cup of 2.5 kilos of sterling silver and about 20 grams of gold and the ``moonstone'' gem, and a cheque for 10,000 dinars (which Milosevic donated to the Alliance of Pensioners of Serbia). Milosevic was the first recipient and the explanation said that it was being given for ``a crucial contribution towards the preservation of the Serbian national being, freedom and Serbia's independence.'' * ``The Decoration of the Bosnian Serb Republic'' on the occasion of Statehood Day, was awarded to Milosevic by the Bosnian Serb Assembly. * ``The Plaque of the Machine-building Industry of Nis,'' awarded for ``the preservation of big industrial systems and the consolidation of MIN.'' * ``The Big Commemorative Plaque of Cuprija,'' marking the 50th anniversary of victory over fascism; it was awarded to Milosevic as the city's highest decoration for ``preserving peace and a contribution to the affirmation of our country in the world, the easing of sanctions and overall care for the Serbian people at home and in the diaspora.'' * ``The Charter Against Violence and War-For Peace,'' awarded to Milosevic by the City of Kraljevo. The explanation given by the Mayor of Kraljevo, Miroslav Karapandzic, states that the Charter is being awarded for ``Slobodan Milosevic's consistent and principled policy, conducted without oscillations and mistakes. This same policy has preserved the people whom he presides over from war and the destruction of war, and finally found the support of the whole world.'' * The Pristina branch of the Veterans' Alliance recently suggested that Slobodan Milosevic be awarded the most valuable decoration of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia-The Medal of Freedom. Established on June 9, 1945, its first recipient was Josip Broz Tito (1947). The Medal of Freedom is the second-highest Yugoslav decoration. According to the law on decorations and medals, proposals for this highest military decoration, which is given for ``great success in commanding the biggest military units during war,'' can only be made by: the Federal Executive Council, the Republican Executive Council, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defence. * The municipal committee of the Veterans' Association (SUBNOR) of Pristina proposed that Milosevic be decorated with this decoration because: ``during the time of the disintegration of Socialist states in Eastern Europe, thanks to his wise policy, he skillfully transformed the system in Serbia and preserved it from big social and ideological divisions...

He prevented and stopped columns of Serb and Montenegrin refugees from leaving Kosovo and Metohija and prevented terrorism against our people. He carried out a quiet revolution during which he defeated the former centers of power by opening the doors to democracy and a multiparty system...

He saved the rest of Yugoslavia, united Serbia and Montenegro and preserved them from war operations and devastation.

Thanks to his wise diplomacy, he broke through the information blockade and the demonization of our state and peoples, and succeeded in making the authors of the heavy and unjust sanctions realize their mistake and have these same sanctions lifted gradually...

At home, the latest economic program has successfully stopped inflation and saved the citizens from starvation and physical violence.''

It has been noticed that Slobodan Milosevic has not received a decoration of any great importance since 1989. He received the greatest number of plaques, charters and medals at the time when he was preparing for war. Preparations for war were then called ``strengthening unity in Serbia and Yugoslavia.'' When Milosevic turned toward peace, he was inundated with a new lot of medals. There are those who have not learned their lesson and wish to give the President one last medal-the highest one of all.

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