Serbs snub Milosevic

I never thought the manner or timing of his death, while disappointing, would in the end make any difference.

Only a thousand turned uptp pay respect to Milosevic.

Whatever fears there were that Mr. Milosevic, in death, would provoke a nationalist outpouring did not come true today: There were flowers, candles and free lapel pins showing Mr. Milosevic’s face, but no huge numbers and, amid the white hair and canes, no unrest.

The coffin — not opened with a view of Mr. Milosevic’s body — was laid out in the Museum of the Revolution in the suburban Dodinye section of Belgrade, after much wrangling of how to handle Mr. Milosevic’s burial. Serbia’s leaders, negotiating for the nation to join the European Union and under much pressure to produce top war crimes suspects, had rejected a state funeral for Mr. Milosevic or his burial in the cemetery reserved for national heroes.

This part’s quite remarkabele (my emph.)

Also missing today were members of Mr. Milosevic’s family: A warrant for the arrest of his widow, Mirjana Markovic, who lives with her son in Russia, was temporarily withdrawn on Tuesday, and leaders of Communist Party here said today that they expected her to arrive in time for the funeral on Saturday.

Milosevic is dead.

CNN.com – Milosevic dies in prison cell – Mar 11, 2006

Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has been found dead in his prison cell in The Hague, Netherlands, according to the United Nations. He was 64.

Serbian radio says he hung himself, just like the Krajina president did. I must have misread something.

BBC says:

Steven Kay, Mr Milosevic’s lawyer, told BBC News 24 that he had been found dead in his cell on Saturday morning.
[…]
The tribunal last month rejected a request by Mr Milosevic to go to Russia for medical treatment. He had high blood pressure and a heart condition.

Montenegro – the other side

Well, we are united in our diversity here at Fistful. I have to say I disagree with almost every point Doug made about Montenegro in his last post, and will respectfully dissect his arguments below. But first off, a plea for some sanity here. Too many people seem to think that the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1990-93 was in some way the EU’s “fault”; that it failed to act quickly enough, to apply diplomatic pressure, or even (in contradiction to the evidence) that the EU’s recognition of Croatia and Slovenia in December 1991 somehow caused the wars. Nonsense. The fact is that Yugoslavia was broken up by the policies of the Serbian leadership. Outsiders tried to ameliorate or decelerate the process and the consequences; they largely failed. The international community does bear some responsibility for its inaction in the face of evil. But the larger share of the responsibility belongs to the local actors – especially, though not only, the Serbian political leaders. The fact is that we can plan all we like for international do-gooding, but the forces in action on the ground will always be the crucial factor. And so it is in Montenegro.

I’m sure Doug agrees with me on most of that. Now let’s get to the points of our disagreement. It’s important to realise that Montenegro has been effectively independent since 1997, when Djukanovic, then Prime Minister, threw the pro-Milosevic elements out of the ruling party and won the Presidential election against his former patron. Montenegro has had a separate customs area since roughly then. It adopted the Deutsch Mark (now the Euro) as currency in 1999, while Serbia retains the dinar to this day. The State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, established in 2003, remains largely fictional apart from the foreign ministry. Montenegro’s referendum, if successful, will merely formalise the reality of its independence. In fairness, Doug states most of this as well. Yet he seems to think that rolling history back is both possible and desirable.
Continue reading

Kosovo, Kosovo, Kosovo…

Just ran across this article at Radio Free Europe. Short version: Russia has decided that independence for Kosovo is probably inevitable, and has decided to milk it for maximum benefit to Russia. Putin’s saying, fine, independence for Kosovo — but then apply “universal principles”, and give independence to the Russian-supported breakaway republics of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and TransDnistria.

Once you get past the initial reaction (“Wow, what a jerk”), this bears a little thinking about.
Continue reading

The Hunt for Mladic and Karadzic

Today is the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre. AP quotes the commander of EU peacekeepers in Bosnia saying “the net is closing in” on the two men responsible for the worst massacre in Europe since World War II.

Nice, except that’s followed up by the dumbest quote I’ve seen this morning (it’s early yet): “It’s a bit like getting Osama bin Laden,” he said.

No, it’s not.
Continue reading