US Associate Justice William Rehnquist lifts restrictions for the deportation of Andrija Artukovic, wanted by Yugoslavia for the genocide of 700,000 Serbs, Jews and Gypsies during World War II. The first request for Artukovic’s arrest had arrived in the United States in 1951. He will die in a Croatian prison.
Chairman of Comecon and General Secretary of Hungary, Janos Kadar, visits Belgrade. He speaks to Serbian President Ivan Stambolic and Mayor of Belgrade Dragisa Pavlovic, expressing a desire that necessary steps be taken to restructure Yugoslavia and to re-integrate that country back into a less dictatorial association with other Communist nations. He also suggests that constitutional reform may be necessary to keep the federal state from secessionism.
Vocal Serbian nationalist, Slobodan Milosevic, who lost last year’s election for the post of Mayor of Belgrade, is denounced as being a “Nazi racist” by the victor, Dragisa Pavlovic and is expelled from the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Pavlovic is widely expected to succeed to the Presidency of Serbia later in the year.
Mayor of Belgrade, Dragisa Pavlovic, criticises Yugoslav Prime Minister Branko Mikulic for economic mismanagement after he rolls back planned pay rises. He also suggests that Mikulic may be holding back the economic growth of his home region, Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the constituent members of the Yugoslav federation, through his insistence upon the existence of a Bosnian nation. Serb newspapers go further, labelling the Prime Minister as a “Stalinist peasant” and suggesting the territory should be divided between Serbia and Croatia.
Yugoslav Prime Minister Branko Mikulic, Vice President Hamdija Pozderac and former Bosnian governor Fikret Abdic are all engulfed in the collapse of the Agrokomerc conglomerate with debts of US$9 billion amidst fraud allegations. Numerous other Bosnians find themselves expelled from the party. President Lazar Mojsov admits there is a need for greater supervision of the constituent republics of the federation, and agrees to consultations to review the 1974 Constitution. Among radical suggestions based on the most recent census are that Kosovo should be elevated to a full republic and that Vojvodina and Montenegro should be fully absorbed into Serbia. There is also considerable controversy as to how to handle the Bosnian “basketcase”.
Prime Minister Branko Mikulic of Yugoslavia is forced to resign, after the Soviet Union agrees to fund a $19 billion loan the country desperately requires on condition that Mikulic leave office. He is replaced by Croatian leader, Ante Markovic, who has stated he supports greater integration with COMECON and necessary economic reforms. Markovic also states that the country needs reform to federal structures. With the Bosnian leadership in prison after the Agrokomerc scandal, he declares support for dividing the republic into Croatian and Serbian autonomous provinces. He also declares support for Kosovo’s desire to become a full member of the federation. He pledges that he will take up both issues with Serbian President Dragisa Pavlovic.
President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Commonwealth visits the eastern European state of Yugoslavia and Prime Minister Ante Markovic. The two sign a number of contracts to formalise the economic rescue required after the recent scandals. During discussions, the status of the Yugoslav federation is raised. It appears an early consensus has emerged which will end the autonomous status of Vojvodina. The provincial leadership, commanded by Milovan Sogorov, protested vocally but without effect. Gorbachev tells the National Assembly that “great harm was caused to our friendship by the unfounded accusations of the tyrant, Stalin” and that, “though there are different paths of socialist development, a consensus is emerging across the world” as to the future direction of Communism.
Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Markovic and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev visit Dubrovnik together, where the latter is greeted by cheering spectators. Markovic states that the country will pursue “strong measures” to fix the faltering economy and welcomes the assistance of the Soviet Commonwealth.
Prime Minister Ante Markovic of Yugoslavia pronounces the success of his own monetary reforms and the anti-inflation program, despite hundreds of unemployed workers staging a protest outside the headquarters of the government-controlled trade union confederation. He does, however, back down from his Polish-like proposals by offering a slower withdrawal of support for the bloated “self-managed” state enterprises.
Protests by Serbian citizens rock the city of Pristina, Yugoslavia, with demands that the autonomous territory of Kosovo not be elevated to the status of a full republic. Prime Minister Ante Markovic states that the protests result from harassment of Serbian women by Albanian men, and he pledges to step up police units in villages across Kosovo in order to protect the victims. However, he remains insistent that Kosovo should gain an elevated status under any reform of the federation.
President Ante Markovic of Yugoslavia and the leader of the Serbian republic, Dragisa Pavlovic, reach an agreement to reform the national constitution. Under the agreement, the lower house of the national parliament will be based on the principle of “one person, one vote”. A new upper house will have ten senators from each of the new provinces: Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Kosovo. Bosnia-Herzegovina will be divided into two special autonomous provinces, each with five independent senators, empowered to pass legislation but subject to veto by the Presidents of Serbia and Croatia.
Police use tear gas and night sticks to suppress a demonstration by hundreds of Serbs opposed to the creation of Kosovo as a full member of the Yugoslavian federation. Serbian President Dragisa Pavlovic warns his Central Committee that those who are supporting “actions on the street” will find themselves purged, while Yugoslav President Ante Markovic threatens to adopt a state of emergency and orders the immediate detention of leading troublemaker, former Mayor of Belgrade Slobodan Milosevic.
After three days of talks in Belgrade, Serbian President Dragisa Pavlovic announces the dismissal of four members of the fourteen-member Politburo. Thousands gathered outside the Central Committee building boo Pavlovic as he leaves, calling him “the betrayer of Kosovo”, and turning their backs in advance of his vehicle as he pulls away.
Yugoslavian President Andrei Markovic expresses grave concern over the collapse of the provincial government in Montenegro. He rejects suggestions from Serbian leader Dragisa Pavlovic that the province should be incorporated into Serbia, citing their agreement of last October which recognises Montenegro as a constituent member of the Yugoslav confederation.
Protestors in Montenegro insist that their country is “Serbian”, with demands that they be given the protection of the Serbian state. Other strikers demand an end to “Serbian expansionism”. President Ante Markovic is forced to dispatch troops to Podgorica and to ban all public gatherings in the city after the two groups clash. All other states of Yugoslavia, and particularly Slovenia, warn that any violation of Montenegrin rights beyond this point would dissolve the federation. Serbian President Dragisa Pavlovic calls for an end to the tension and violence, blaming general global tensions.