Skip to main content
June 15, 1992
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 38
Threat of a Civil War

A Drugged Society

by Nenad Lj. Stefanovic & Tanja Topic

Foreign Minister Vladislav Jovanovic said recently that the authorities would retaliate at any attempt to take over power by force in the streets. The army has not made its views clear yet, but Colonel Milan Milivojevic - speaking on his own behalf - said a completely different thing in front of the TV cameras: that the present Serbian regime must leave of its own free will and as soon as possible, peacefully and without causing any bloodshed. One shouldn't expect that the army would make the same mistake twice - defend the regime, as it did on March 9 last year. Mr. Seselj also made an appearance and warned the public that "any regime can be overthrown by force, but those who are planning to do it in Belgrade should know that there are people who are ready to defend this regime by force".

Vuk Draskovic, president of the SPO (Serbian Renewal Movement) said that all threats of a civil war are empty, since "the side that is waiting for a show down is not strong enough for it". He also said that the majority within the police force and a huge number of officers are on the side of the democracy.

Ivica Dacic of the Socialist Party does not deny the possibility of a civil war in Serbia, but says that such an option has been simplified too often and reduced to the question: will Milosevic resign, i.e. will the ruling party be replaced - as if this would automatically lift the sanctions against "Yugoslavia". The sanctions were introduced not because of Milosevic and the ruling party, but because of the general policy towards the "Serbian problem" in the Balkans. Whoever the leader of Serbia is, he cannot lose interest in the Serbs outside Serbia.

"I don't see which political agent in Serbia would be capable of such a step, since this would lead to a complete loss of the people's confidence. Those who are now turning their back on Milosevic fearing that the boat is sinking (the Church, the University, the Writers' Association...) are the very same ones who provided Milosevic with the basis of his national policy. They are not giving up the basic notions of Milosevic's national concept. Some of them are far more extreme than he is", says Mr. Dacic.

Mr. Tosic, one of the Democratic Party officials, says that "the Serbian society is in anesthesia. This is the exact moment when civil war starts. People are simply not aware of their condition. When they wake up to an awareness of their degradation there will be a fearful revolt. The government will naturally be the first to go. I fear that it will be more of a bloody chaos than a front between the ruling party and the opposition."

In its announcement last week, DEPOS (The Democratic Movement of Serbia), by setting the date (June 21) for peaceful demonstrations in Belgrade, expressed not only its readiness to remain in the streets until the regime steps down, but also its hope that the demonstrations will resemble those in Prague more than those in Bucharest.

There have been rumors in Belgrade for quite a while of alleged terrorist groups with lists of names of "unfit Serbs" first in line for elimination in case the situation deteriorates. A threat like this ("your turn will come when the blood start flowing through the streets of Belgrade") was heard recently in VREME as well, and many of our colleagues from the independent media and peace movements (which do not fit the image of "true patriots") hear them all the time. By one of the ruling criteria - voting at the elections, for instance - up to one half of Serbian citizens could be listed as "traitors" and some of the freshly promoted federal cops claim to have accurate lists of "traitors" and that there is no reason for panic. More and more often are heard the stories about the supplying of arms to the members of certain parties in certain areas of Serbia, "so that they can await the day of decision prepared".

© Copyright VREME NDA (1991-2001), all rights reserved.