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May 7, 1996
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 239

Back to Croatia

by Filip Svarm

Developments took a logical course. First Vukovar town hall ousted Mayor Slavko Dokmanovic and replaced him with Miroslav Keravica who automatically became head of the SBO council. Then that body elected Hadzic SBO president and abolished itself on April 19. A parliament was formed so Hadzic could be responsible to someone.

The reason why the eastern Slavonia leaders were ousted and replaced with new ones is simple. When the Krajina fell, Belgrade ordered them to declare themselves the authorities to have some legal form for talks with Croatia and the international community but without a representative body. After his experience with the parliaments in Knin and Pale, Milosevic didn't want any spontaneous resistance in delaying the talks or reintegrating the SBO into Croatia. So the SBO council did and signed everything it had to. Later most of its members didn't do anything at all including saying what they had signed.

Belgrade needed the council but now it's an obstruction. The Serbs in the SBO have to be convinced not to move out and join in political life through the UN transitional administration. Clearly the authorities weren't good enough to do that. So Hadzic came back to let the Serbs take care of their own future slowly and under control. Official Zagreb has nothing against that after dealing with Hadzic for six years.



Goran Hadzic

President of Srem-Baranja Region

Date and place of Birth: September 9, 1958, Pacetin.

Career: Chairman of the SDS local board in Vukovar, member of the SDS main board in Knin and president of the SDS regional board for Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem - 1990. January 1991, chairman of the regional Serb national council and on August 16, 1991 elected prime minister of the Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem Serb Region. Replaced Milan Babic as Krajina president early in 1992. Lost presidential elections in December 1993. Returned to politics in 1995 as member of the SBO council and became SBO president.

Qualifications: Eternal economics student. Started university in Osijek, continued in Subotica in 1992. Never graduated. Worked as warehouse chief before the war.

Did That Bother Him: "Everyone was wrong about me. They thought I was semi-literate and stupid. I'm a gambler, when I see a man I know what he's thinking."

What Has He Done: "I conducted Krajina policies "under the will of the people" but only under directions from outside, from Belgrade."

Does That Mean He's A Puppet: "Milosevic never took a decision without consulting me, that is the people. So every attack on me is an attack on Milosevic and Serbia."

What's He Especially Good At: "I have a natural gift for diplomacy. It's not the same thing when a girl says "No, you're horrible" and "Sorry, I don't have time"."

How Does He Negotiate: "When I talk to Carrington, Vance, Owen I understand English but I wait for the translation to gain time to think. It's true that on March 10, 1991 we met with Tudjman in Zagreb. I was there physically only. I said hello and good-bye."

How Did He Feel Outside Politics: "I was a little tired. If need be I'll pick up a rifle again and go to the front lines. In the meantime, I'll try my hand at business."

Did He Try: The SRS in Krajina filed criminal charges against him on September 1, 1993 while he was still president for smuggling lumber and oil. Seselj said Hadzic earned 2.3 million DEM while the people were starving.

What Was His Defence: "I did buy 1.6 million litters of oil from private companies but that was tank fuel." It's also true he sold lumber at low prices but "the money was used to buy uniforms".

What Did Friend Arkan Say: "There's a rumor that Hadzic is spending money. He has nothing. He never offered to pay for anything. Hadzic came to Sveti Stefan only for three days."

What Did Hadzic Say to Croatia: "Tudjman's promises of returning Baranja, Vukovar, Slavonia and western Srem will come to nothing."

What Did He Tell His Subjects: "The Serbs who live in Croatia are fascists who support Tudjman. They are loyal to his authorities."

Now When he Thinks About It: "It's not wise to die for nothing but to stay and survive. My goal is for the SBO to enter Europe and the world with the doors wide open. Not to be burdened by formalities but to be practical and provide a better life."

His First Job: "We urgently need to stop the uncontrolled cutting of our woods. Our customs reported that 800-1,000 cubic meters of lumber are taken out every day. I was once attacked for 2,000 cubic meters which we sold to pay for uniforms."

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