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With her detailed and graphic knowledge of the inescapable links between politics, culture, and religion, Ramet paints a strikingly original picture of the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the emergence of the Yugoslav successor states. Political Debate The Gathering Storm She is the author of six other books, among them Whose Democracy?

ISBN 13: 9780813339870

She has also edited a dozen books, mostly about Eastern Europe and Russia. Balkan babel : the disintegration of Yugoslavia from the death of Tito to ethnic war Sabrina P. Confident that they would win multi-party elections in their respective republics, both the Macedonian and the Slovenian communist elites miscalculated the potential strength of the parties and groups which had stronger national agendas than their own. Consequently, the mixed, uninstructed results of the first democratic elections in Macedonia and Slovenia, in opposition for example to those in Serbia and Croatia where one single party came to dominate the presidency and the parliament, together with the international responses to the Yugoslav process of dissolution, would have significant impact on the democratization processes in both countries.

Soon after the first free elections, both Macedonian and Slovenian elites would choose a stable new institutional frameworks and form political pacts with the emerging opposition parties, resulting in strengthening of the democratization processes in both republics. Consensual elites are characterized by inclusive structural integration and value consensus These types of elites might take opposing policy stances in public, but consistently refrain from extending their disagreements to a point of violent conflict.

Disunified elites, on the other hand, are characterized by minimal structural integration and value consensus.

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Fractions of disunified elites distrust each other, engage in ruthless, often violent conflicts, and do not cooperate to hold back societal divisions or to avoid political crisis Ideologically unified elites are typical for authoritarian countries, where structural integration and value consensus are seemingly monolithic.

Thus, ideologically unified elites appear to have complete union, publicly support the same policies, and are members of a centralized party or movement.

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A direct transformation can occur if the party elites acknowledge the counter productivity of communist ideology, embrace democracy, and accommodate the emerging new elites The settlement occurs through relatively quick negotiations among leaders of major elite factions. These negotiations are conducted by experienced political leaders and result in formal written agreements Once this elite unity and consensus is reached, stable democracies are feasible, but may also not They, both, however, in the aftermath of the elections, negotiated elite settlements with the new elites.

While the Slovenian elites would be able to concentrate on the issues of democratic restructuring and economic consolidation only, the Macedonian elites would face additional problems of international recognition, economic sanctions, and minority dilemmas. The question of liberalization, both in terms of economic transformation and power legitimization, was intertwined with the issue of republican interests, the status of the Yugoslav state, and thus, regional nationalism Paradoxically, inter-republican discussions over the status of the Yugoslav federation would be the salient cause for the liberalization and the break up of the country.

Indeed, the Serbian upsurge of the institutionalized confederate balance of power game would inevitably accelerate the centrifugal processes in Yugoslavia. However, the rise of S. While in Serbia this process lead to the rise of S. The combination of ascendance to power of more liberal factions within the Slovenian communist party, and the growing Yugoslav crisis, provided a greater space and more tolerance for the development of different movements and ideas on the Slovenian scene. This culturally unique phenomenon which found grounds in Slovenia as a sort of a youth subculture, was able to mobilize support in its defense against the more conservative elements in the establishment, and initiate the pluralist way of life within the Slovenian society The transformed communist youth organization weekly Mladina and the new founded intellectual journal Nova Revija further strengthened the dissemination of pluralistic ideas and programs.

In fact, the party elite became appreciative of some of the ideas the Slovenian civil society promoted. Since the program called for a radical improvement of the Slovenian position within the Yugoslav federation, once discussed and supported by the public it could have provided the Slovenian party leaders the needed legitimacy and support in the federal debates about the status of the Yugoslav federation This mobilization would necessarily lead the Slovenian party elites to embrace a multi-party elections as an only way in order to legitimize their stance within the Yugoslav debates.

More importantly, the Slovenian elites would, by liberalizing, irreversibly turn the pendulum towards democratization of the Slovenian society.


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Similarly to Slovenia, first signs of the emergence of new pluralist tendencies were to be found in the Macedonian cultural scene. Contrary to what was expected, the Macedonian communist leaders endorsed the project, which was finished only in , with much sympathy from the Macedonian public Furthermore, in , a group of young Macedonians established, what was fundamentally, a soccer fans association, Komiti Although largely focused on sport events, this group was vibrant in provoking historical issues and questions concerning the status of Macedonia within the Yugoslav federation.

Faced with rising nationalistic tensions in Kosovo, and subsequent discussions on federal level about minority rights, Macedonians felt that their own agenda within the Yugoslav federation was being left out.

Balkan Babel: The Disintegration of Yugoslavia from the Death of Tito to The Fall of Milosevic

Aegean Macedonians who left Greece during the Greek Civil War and who were not allowed to return to their homes by the Greek government, were vocal in bringing to the public the issue of misconduct of the Macedonian minorities. Following an upsurge of activities of the transnational Macedonian human rights network, active in Greece, USA, Canada, and Australia, an Aegean Macedonian association was also established in Macedonia proper This organization immediately dedicated its activities to the promotion of the status of the Macedonian minority in Greece. In , the association initiated the idea of holding a gathering of all those Aegean Macedonians who were forced to leave Northern Greece in the course of the Greek Civil War and were unable to return to their home land because of the discriminatory policies by the Greek government.

Under pressure of the Greek foreign ministry the Yugoslav federal authorities initially opposed the meeting and asked the Macedonian party either to postpone it or to cancel it. When the Macedonian leadership answered that if the Yugoslav government insisted on canceling the meeting, it would resign, the federal government, fearing public unrest in Macedonia, stopped pressing the matter further, and the reunion took place, in Skopje, between 30 th June and 3 rd July of Furthermore, in late June and early July a large demonstration of Macedonians who had left Greece as children in took place in Skopje, capital of the Republic of Macedonia.

This demonstration was attended by several thousand Macedonians from all over the world and repeated on August 10, , on the 75 th anniversary of the division and partition of Macedonia, when a large protest by Macedonians was held in front of the UN building in New York. Moreover, several young, well-endowed journalists of Mlad Borec reevaluated and criticized the long rule of the Macedonian nomenklatura and begun covering taboo issues like the question whether Macedonia should remain in the Yugoslav federation, pursue confederate status, or become an independent state However, at the moment when the Yugoslav crisis deepened to an extent that the Serbian and the Slovenian leadership mobilized their societies and promoted two diametrically antagonistic options to solve the Yugoslav crisis that were unacceptable to Macedonia, the Macedonian elites made use of the growing Macedonian pluralistic society to legitimize and magnify the Macedonian public support for their position in the federal level debates.

Combining advancement of a relatively reasonable policy towards the solution of the Yugoslav crisis, and image of the party as of one that cares for and affirms the Macedonian national interests, the Macedonian party elite estimated that it would inevitable carry victory in a multi-party elections However, they could not correctly foretell the potential power of the even more national oriented forces within Macedonia.

Faced with growing Serbian nationalism mounting during whole of , Slovenian elites responded equally energetically opposing Serbian demands for centralization of Yugoslavia with counterproposals for special Slovenian status within the federation and by mobilizing the increasingly pluralistic Slovenian society For example, in contrast with the wide spread practice that soldiers of the federal army served in a different republic than the one they were from, the Slovenes asked for special Slovenian military district where all Slovenian conscripts would serve. In opposition to the common use of Serbocroat in the Yugoslav military units, in the new proposed district the solely language of command should have become Slovenian.

Conducted in Serbocroat the proceedings deeply irritated the Slovenes.


  • Balkan babel: the disintegration of Yugoslavia from the death of Tito to the fall of Milošević.
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This committee issued periodical bulletins in English and protest petitions. Moreover, the Slovenian party elites tacitly approved a large mobilization of the Slovenian public that took a form of a protest rally against the military trial.

Elite Transformation and Democratic Transition in Macedonia and Slovenia

Allowing unification of different factions in the republic under a common national cause, the Slovenian communist leaders improved their rating in the eyes of the Slovenian public, which, increasingly felt that it had common interests with the party elite Encouraging mobilization, Slovenian elites broadened the social base of the regime and strengthened their power position. At that moment, the Slovenian leadership could not only tolerate the mobilization of the Slovenian pluralistic society, but could also initiate further liberalization Confident that they would still gather most of the electoral support, and following a reform strategy, the Slovene party elites at the end of decided to allow multi-party elections for the republican assembly The Slovenian party elite, in the period between and , in the midst of legitimization crisis and under Serbian threat, opted for liberalization as the only choice out of the crisis.

This fact has convinced the Slovenian elite that they could win competitive elections, if they moved to a democratic system of governing Although motivated and executed in different fashions, both these streams carried dangerous implications for the Yugoslav unity as a whole. As counter measure, Serbian leadership asked Serbian enterprises to severe business contracts with Slovenia. A month later, in January , the 14 th Extraordinary Congress of the League of Communist of Yugoslavia only confirmed the already existent split among the regional party organizations. The congress witnessed conflicts among the Serbian and Slovenian delegates on the reform issues and ended with the Slovenian delegation walking out of the meeting.

A look at nostalgia for Tito's Yugoslavia in the Balkans on the late leader's birthday

Twelve days later the Slovenian party withdraw from the league, renamed itself into a Party of Democratic Renewal, and turned its back to all-Yugoslav politics. With the falling apart of the LCY, Yugoslavia de facto ceased to exist in the form that Tito has conceived it The open question was whether it could remain a piece in any form whatsoever? Albeit instated by different motives, this interaction also took place in Macedonia. It is important to note that in the immediate post-Tito period the Macedonian party elites followed a conservative course of action, thus favoring the preservation of status quo of Yugoslav politics, i.

Since the more liberal fraction of the Macedonian communists prevailed in the conflict and took over the party, it begun changing the course of Macedonian politics In October of the same year Vasil Turpurkovski, Macedonian member of the collective Yugoslav presidency, explained the need for democratization of the communist party. Serbian nationalist leaders alienated Macedonians by trying to pass a federal law that could have allowed Serbian colonist who had acquired land in Macedonia and Kosovo during first Yugoslavia to reclaim their land.

Encouraged by the success of the First International Reunion of Child Refugees of Aegean Macedonian, throughout the second half of , the Macedonian party leadership increasingly begun speaking about the status of the Macedonian minorities in neighboring countries Pressured by the Macedonian republican government, the Yugoslav representative to the United Nations, in November , accused Greece to oppress the human rights of the Macedonian minority in Greece Macedonian public responded quickly and with even stronger national sentiments.

Graffiti with similar content appeared on the walls of Skopje, but the authorities refrained from hostile actions In May an international delegation of Aegean Macedonians presented the problem of the Macedonian national minority in Greece to the Centre for Human Rights in Geneva and met with representatives of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The Macedonian party elite sympathized with the human rights efforts of the Aegean Macedonians. Thus, Vasil Tupurkovski, in a speech delivered to the Yugoslav Federal Assembly, in late October, criticized the manifestations of extreme Macedonian nationalism, but, still, emphasized the need for more coherent Yugoslav policy on the question of the discrimination of the Macedonian minority rights in Greece, and Bulgaria Hence, by changing the constitutional amendments, and thus preserving Macedonian interests against any potential manipulations by the Macedonian minorities, the party showed that it cared about the interests of the Macedonian people.

Consequently, already in early , Vasil Tupurkovski begun advocating pluralism as the solution to the degenerating situation in the Yugoslav federation By mid, the Macedonian communists were deeply committed to the introduction of a multi-party system in Macedonia Also, both party elites expected to win the democratic contest and remain in power. However, some of the already mobilized different fractions of the pluralist society that now structured as parties, presented to the Slovenian public even more radical program in favor of reforms and the Slovenian national agenda.