Since 1975 the republics obtained currency sovereignty and were able to borrow abroad, were entitled to the use of the national language, but the three predominant religions often had some relationship difficulties.
In 1977 E. Kardelj, a prominent member of the Federation, dealt above all with the problem of democracy in the country, recognizing the importance of the “pluralism of interests” which gradually manifested itself along with the growth of society. This pluralism had to be placed within the framework of federalist politics but, being already ill, in February 1979 Kardelj died, while a serious internal crisis could be seen on the horizon.
In the meantime, thanks to his international prestige, Tito was increasingly involved in foreign policy in the last years of his life. He worked above all on the problem of disarmament and peace in the world. In 1979, in disagreement with Castro, who advocated the undisputed domination of the “socialist camp”, Tito defended the “non-aligned” movement and obtained a highly appreciated political victory over the Castroist ideology.
In January 1980 Tito, suffering from serious circulation problems, had to undergo a leg amputation; but far ahead in the years, 88, he was unable to react and died on May 4th. Almost all the heads of state of the world attended his funeral, except J. Carter, US president and Giscard d’Estaing, French president.
The post-Tito proved tragic for Yugoslavia. The public debt of the individual republics, together with the inefficiency of the various leaders, immediately led to a cumbersome economic situation. And to make matters worse, nationalisms re-emerged, especially of Kosovo Albanians, bitter enemies of the Serbs. The latter represented a minority in the region and soon found themselves administratively divided by Serbia, which had about three million citizens who emigrated to the various republics, and compared to them in an unequal situation.
According to Abbreviationfinder, the entire Yugoslav economic system was in crisis due to the inefficient eight existing bureaucracies and almost no political power. In the mid-eighties, preaching a separatist nationalism, Slovenia began. In Serbia, on the other hand, the intellectuals of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, compiled in 1986 a “Memorandum” which indicated Serbia as the guiding light of the Federation and as such was to break the Croatian-Slovenian coalition and relaunch the realization of the economy market to bring Yugoslavia back to its best moments. Undisputed leader of the Serbs became S. Milosevic. And with the reborn “Serbian national question”, there was a new convergence with Milosevic towards communist orthodoxy. His aggressive policy led, in the autumn of 1988, the overthrow of the governments of Kosovo and Vojvodina, but this was also done for that of Montenegro, which was by no means a region of Serbia. Following this, a very strong reaction was triggered by the Slovenes who, however, not wanting to further complicate the situation, agreed, together with Croatia, to submit to direct control of Serbia.
A compromise was reached and the Croatian A. Markovic came to the office of premier of the federation, in the first months of 1989. The Slovenian J. Drnovsek became head of the state, who improved the policy of Yugoslavia and strengthened relations with the European Community. In 1990 there was also a “quadrangular initiative” whose components were Italy, Austria and Hungary.
Soon, however, the Yugoslav republics prepared to approve, each on their own behalf unilaterally, changes to their Constitutions, in order to reach each the possibility of having their own parties and preparing the ground, each, for their own elections. The first to schedule was Slovenia, which predicted this for April 1990.
Meanwhile in January 1990 the XIV Congress of the League of Yugoslav Republics was held. The Slovenian delegation left Congress. The semi-federalism system was unhinged and Yugoslavia helplessly witnessed the fall of communism. Also in the course of 1990 there were six republics (with the exception of the Albanian part of Kosovo) in multi-party elections which further accentuated the destruction of the Federation.
In Slovenia a coalition formed by liberals, peasants, Christian Democrats, Social Democrats and Greens won, but the Communist M. Kucan was confirmed president of the republic.
In Croatia, a national movement led by F. Tudjman prevailed. In Bosnia and Herzegovina the three major ethnic groups prevailed: Muslims, Serbs and Croats. In Macedonia, no party reached a majority that could give stable government. In Serbia Milosevic got 77% of the votes and in Montenegro the League of Communists got 64%.
In the meantime Markovic had managed to obtain good results in the economic and financial field by giving stability to the dinar, anchored to the mark; inflation was contained at 1%, external debt very low and commodity prices liberalized at 80%. Yet in 1990 there was a noticeable drop in production, unemployment increased and when wages were lifted, inflation started to rise again.
But those who made Yugoslavia an ungovernable state were the conflicts between the federal republics. And to resolve them and give a solution to the crisis, negotiations began especially between Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia. Positive results were not achieved and meetings with the leaders also continued in the first half of 1991. In the meantime, on December 23, 1990, a referendum had been held in Slovenia on the subject. On May 19, 1991 Croatia also did the same thing. Slovenia officially announced its independence on 25 June. Croatia followed suit immediately after. The post of federal president remained vacant and Markovic commissioned the various army departments to take positions at the border posts. The army, on the other hand,
Two groups immediately formed: one with Western Europeans and the United States who sought to support Yugoslav unity; the other with Germany and Austria openly lined up in favor of the two rebel republics.
Between these two groups the European Community with great difficulty managed to obtain a ceasefire, in Brijuni on 10 July 1991. Three months of arrest were established to try to resolve the serious crisis and find a political outlet for the situation. But in the meantime, in reality, the contenders had no intention of retracing their steps and then a very moving episode occurred; Serbian mothers went to Parliament and Ljubljana to contest the war and ask for their children to return home. At the same time, the Yugoslav government realized that the federation could be said to be inexorably over and accepted the secession of Slovenia. On December 20, 1991, Markovic resigned.
After the conflict in Slovenia, that in Croatia began. Here too death, destruction and bombing. The whole world intervened. The war ended and Croatia broke away. Serbia remained isolated.
In Macedonia on November 8, 1991 a referendum established its sovereignty and on the 17th a new Constitution was approved.
In the meantime, contacts were made in Bosnia with Turkey to gain support and protection against attempts to divide the country by Tudjman and Milosevic.
On January 15, 1992 the European Community recognized the two states of Slovenia and Croatia. Then, after a similar referendum was held in Bosnia on February 29, 1992, the Bosnian Serbs declared their independent republic born, so the war that seemed to have ended in Croatia but was only dormant continued in Bosnia. The unprecedented ferocity with which this war was fought in a short time procured 1,200,000 refugees.
Serbia also had to withdraw due to protests and gestures of mistrust collected by Milosevic; he found himself forced on 27 April 1992 to form together with the Montenegrins, led by M. Bulatovic, a Yugoslav federation which called itself “Little Yugoslavia” so the great unitary federal state of Yugoslavia, created by Tito, was now divided into 5 small republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The settling of these states took a very long time. Meanwhile, what had been called Little Yugoslavia was not recognized by the United Nations, nor by other international organizations. So on May 30, 1992 the United Nations placed serious economic sanctions on the new state, isolating even more Milosevic and Bulatovic.
In early summer the first federal government was formed led by the Serbian-American M. Panic. Although he did his best to revitalize the country, also manifesting the idea of forming a Balkan Economic Community, he did not get international support.
Presidential elections were held on December 20, 1992 and Milosevic defeated Panic, who on 29 of the same month also left the office of Prime Minister.
And in the meantime the economic situation of small Yugoslavia had become truly worrying. Galloping inflation, unemployment, various crime, murders, thefts, illegal trafficking, strikes. To all this were added bank failures, which had disastrous repercussions on citizens’ savings. In this climate in February 1994 a coalition government was formed in Serbia between radicals, socialists and New Democracy led by M. Markovic, Milosevic’s wife.
In July Belgrade welcomed a proposal for mediation in Bosnia and Herzegovina by the so-called “Contact Group”. But the Serbian radicals declared themselves against, especially those of Bosnia, commanded by President Karadzic.
Furthermore, in the spring-summer of 1995 the Croats managed to regain all their territories controlled by the Serbs of Croatia, namely Slavonia and Krajina. At this point, the United States intruded and had the peace agreements between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia signed in Dayton, Ohio. Some sanctions against Yugoslavia and Montenegro were suspended but their republic was not recognized by international bodies. Inside, some nationalist parties were formed: the Serbian Renewal Party, the Democratic Party and the Serbian Democratic Party. Serbian administrative elections were held on November 27, 1996, but several irregularities were committed so that victory in the opposition was not recognized.
This provoked mass demonstrations both in Serbia against Milosevic and in Montenegro against Bulatovic. These lasted throughout December 1996, until February 1997 when, even after strong international pressure, the true result of the elections was known. Milosevic was also called to face the hostilities of the Serbian Radical Party, chaired by Seselj, which continues to grow, and the growing tightening of the Kosovo issue, following the crisis in Albania. Furthermore, relations with Montenegro had deteriorated considerably.
The Kosovo issue had gradually escalated since Milosevic in 1990 completely canceled the autonomy of the region.
Meanwhile, Seselj, head of the country’s second political force, had run for president of the Serbian Republic. The elections were won by Milutinovic, Milosevic’s candidate. Meanwhile, he was attacked by Dukanovic, Montenegrin premier. The President of Montenegro Bulatovic intervened to ease the pressure but the dissent of the people increased, as the parity of legislative powers previously agreed was not respected by the Serbs.
The clash between the two politicians led to a split between their supporters and when presidential elections were held in Montenegro in November 1997, these were won by Dukanovic and, therefore, Milosevic lost an ally.
1997 was certainly the year for the improvement of the internal situations of the former Yugoslav republic, but not for the territorial situation of Kosovo, which created a serious crisis.
In the early months of 1998, massacres of defenseless people took place in the Drenica region by the police and Serbian paramilitary units. NATO began to draw up military plans and the “Contact Group” also intervened, which imposed on Milosevic the withdrawal of his soldiers and the beginning of negotiations with the Albanians of Kosovo. Rugova, president of Kosovo, tried not to resort to violence but this was unilateral. The Serbs, between June and August 1998, invaded strategic areas on the border with Albania. And as the Serbs continued with their carnage, NATO threatened to bomb Serbia. Neither side seemed willing to withdraw; but in October 1998 Milosevic met in Belgrade with Holbrook, the United States’ special envoy, and a compromise was reached on that occasion.
But the deal was not successful and in February 1999 there was another meeting in Rambouillet between the US representation and the Contact Group. The meeting proved to be a failure and in March NATO arranged for air intervention. After 80 days of bombing, Belgrade accepted the peace plan, drawn up by the G8 countries, and began withdrawing its troops from Kosovo.
At the end of July, a summit of heads of state met in Sarajevo. There was discussion on the line to follow to launch a stability pact in the Balkans, to fix Kosovo, to reorganize the economy in complete collapse, giving significant aid, fighting crime of all kinds and rampant corruption. We wanted to isolate Milosevic.
On August 19 in Belgrade 150,000 people marched to demonstrate their dissent in Milosevic. Meanwhile, Montenegro was also organizing to hold a popular referendum, topic: independence.
At the end of 1999 still actions of revenge and revenge occurred in Kosovo against the Serbian minority who, in vain, had hoped to be able to continue living in the country where they had always resided now. And the beginning of 2000 has not yet seen the situation in the Balkans completely stable.