Milosevic to La Stampa (integral version) Part I

Les Schaffer schaffer at
Sat Feb 24 07:32:36 MST 2001

[ bounced > 30 kB from Mac Stainsby, Part I ]

To those who find this a bothersome intervention, my apologies. As I
read through this, I was struck at once by Slobo's grasp of what was
happening and why, as well as Milo's lack of a coherent class
understanding of why the attack on him was inevitable. I think this
interview is a must read for any remaining who may have doubts as to
the dynamic of the demonisation of Yugoslavia.


POLICY OF INDEPENDENCE - Milosevic to La Stampa (integral version)



At a certain moment a small country become a hindrance to great powers
and their plans at the Balkans. Our people is a hero and a
victim. Fear is now ruling over Serbia and Yugoslavia. New authorities
are treathening with the trials for the crimes made up in their
offices. Such practice of stage managing belongs to the experiences of
the darkest years of Nazism, Stalinism and Mckartysm. Press is in the
hands of the authorities and there is no chance to hear different
opinions. Hague Tribunal is an immoral and illegal institution,
devised as form of reprisal for disobedient representatives of the
peoples. What is going to happen with Yugoslavia?

Chairman of the Socialist Party of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic gave
an interview to the respectable Italian paper "La Stampa". The
interview was published on February the 3rd 2001.

The interview was done in Belgrade by the "La Stampa" editor Giusepe
Zackaria. Editorial Board of the "24 Hours" is in the position to
offer its readers the integral version of the interview of the
Chairman of the SPS Slobodan Milosevic.

Question: Mr. Milosevic, how do you feel at this moment, betrayed by
your people? As a victim of an international conspiracy? Or, as
someone who was sacrificed as a metaphor to the opponents of the USA

Answer: I do not consider being betrayed by the people. The people are
heroes and victims. I am not convinced that results of the September
elections are an expression of the people's will. The elections took
place under great pressures, both internal and external - there was
the media, psychological influence, military presence...

Secondly, one, but very powerful part of the international community
was in a very organised manner engaged in pressurising the Yugoslav
public in the eve of the presidential, federal and local elections in
September. That was not an international conspiracy, but it was an
intertwened activity of one part, the more powerful part, of the
international community.

Thirdly, the variant of being sacrificed as a metaphor to opposing the
policies of the USA may partly be taken into account. Perhaps, to the
highest degree. If it is so, I would wish it is for the last time. I
would wish, most sincerely, for the sake of the other persons and
other peoples, but also for the sake of the USA that such policy is
never again conducted, that someone with the different opinion leading
a small nation has to be punished by the big nation for being
disobedient. Is it not the contemporary world that is, as its
manifesto, advancing the ideas of freedom, democracy, rights of
peoples and citizens? How then, in the contents of such a manifesto,
fits an image of the powerful one who punishes disobedient peoples
with uranium, depleted or not, as with a whip once upon a time, their
leaders also disobedient, punishing with the elections lost, all the
forms of psychological and physical violence, compromising in the
domestic and foreign public and so on.

Though, variants you were mentioning are in a mutual connection.
Administration of the biggest country in the world with its negative
approach towards myself, because of the policy of autonomy and
independence that was applied in Yugoslavia and that I was
personification of, had, of course, an option to project such an
approach towards myself and to its allays in Europe, above all.

That administration was able to persuade its allays in large and
developed European states on the issues much more controversial than
the position towards the head of a small Balkans state.

Then, easily and logically, all of them together were able materially,
financially, in the media, politically, psychologically and
diplomatically to organise one powerful ambience of pressures towards
the Yugoslav public in favour of achieving the electoral results they
were interested in.

Pressures, Fear, Corruption

Q: In your opinion, what are the reasons for the results of the latest

A: In my opinion, three reasons had the decisive role: pressures, fear
and corruption.

There were three sorts of pressures.

First, media pressures - people and their authorities were for a long
time demonised. In time, that demonisation was more and more
concentrated towards the authorities, and then to the group of people
in power and finally to one person.

Second group of pressures were the economic ones. For almost a decade
the country was under sanctions that were going to be lifted when the
authorities in power were changed.

Third group of pressures were the military ones. Serbia was bombed
daily for three months and threats of renewed bombings were constantly
present, especially frequent in the eve of the elections. Serbia would
have been bombed again if the authorities were not changed at the

As a particular group of reasons for electoral results I would wish to
single out corruption. Money, very large sums of money for our poor
country and our pauperised people played a very significant role in
the events of last two-three years, and especially last autumn. Not
only that votes were bought with that money, but also a group of
citizens was convinced that the sell-off of such nature is not
immoral, that money they received is electoral support - via their
votes - to the establishing of the system in which they are going to
live better.

Arson, Beatings, Dismissals

Finally, within the last few months, significant influence to the
behaviour of the public and the election results had the naked
fear. The burning of state institutions, the beating up of people, in
general, manifestations of physical violence of non-European nature,
(not seen) in contemporary Europe or at least in Europe that the
progressive people of Europe are striving for, scared the people. They
have to think: if like this, in a flash, the Federal Assembly and
national television are burning, why could it not happen to my house,
and my shop and my factory... If the director of the state television
and its well known journalist were beaten up, why could not that
happen to the members of my family?

And then, the wave of the dismissals began, the replacing of bank
directors, company managers, heads of health and educational
establishments, deans of faculties, chancellors of the
universities... and all that under the physical and psychological

Fear ruled Serbia and Yugoslavia and that fear become a political
factor that was manufactured with the aim to make things in the
country develop in line with the interests of these who were able to
instigate such fear and to incite it further and maintain it up to
this day.

Q: What is your opinion of the Western countries that saw you as the
person that was the factor of stability at the Balkans up to the
Dayton-Paris Agreement and afterwards, their opposition?

Neither I Nor the Policy Changed

A: Western countries and their governments supported me while the
stability at the Balkans suited them. When instability at the Balkans
began to satisfy them more, I lost their support. So, there were no
changes in my policy nor in the role of Serbia, but in the interests
of the great powers at the Balkans. Serbia is, no doubt, of colossal
significance for the stability of the Balkans. The policy I was
advocating for ten years in regard of Serbia, was the policy of
independence. Such policy for a period of time suited the West, and
then, after a while, it did not. They saw me as an allay as long as
the interests of such a policy conducted in Serbia was
acceptable. But, when such a policy started to be a hindrance, I
become an adversary.

Q: What would be your short, personal reconstruction of the events in
Yugoslavia within the last ten years? Was it ethnic war,
geo-strategical war or something else that you know much better than
anyone in the region of the Balkans?

A: Western Europe, led by Germany and especially Germany itself,
intoxicated with the victory in the Cold War, got unified after the
fall of the Berlin Wall, decline of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet
Union, went into a campaign to East Europe with the goal to put it
under full control politically and economically. All the economic an
political institutions of the East European countries were dismantled
that, amongst other things, caused very unfavourable economic effects,
sudden pauperisation and easy buy-off of the wrecked economies. That
process lasted for ten years and is not over yet. No East European
country managed to revive the levels of industrial activity from ten
years ago.

Former Yugoslavia was not part of the East Europe, nor a member of the
Warsaw Pact and it was building its own system on the basis of the
market economy and, as an multi-national community, on the basis of
national equality. Its economy was growing from strength to strength.

We Were a Model of European Federalism

It may be freely said that Yugoslavia, in the real sense, was a model
of the future European federalism. By all its features, it was a "bad"
example by the criteria of the proponents of a new re-drawing of the
old continent.  That's why its brake-up was induced from abroad,
playing the card of national, inter-republican tensions in the former

At that, to every observer the naked facts may be visible that these
parts of the former Yugoslavia that, in W.W.II, were at the side of
the Hitler's axis were privileged in terms of all the means of
economic and political support - up to the quick as lightning
recognition of independence of Slovenia and Croatia, and later B&H,
while these parts which in the W.W.II fought at the side of the
Anti-Hitler coalition were punished and subjected to, up to then,
unprecedented pressures. Then began the media satanisation of the Serb
people and Serbia, while in Croatia they were singing "Danke
Deutcshland" as a token of recognition and thanks for help in
establishing of the "Croatian state".

World War II in the Balkans was finished after almost half a century
with a change of the roles of victors and the defeated.

It is an absurd fact that one of major roles in the destruction of
former Yugoslavia was played by the Allied countries that in the
W.W.II were fighting against Anti-Hitler coalition. But, that was not
the end.

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, preserved in 1992 by Serbia and
Montenegro, become the new target.

A Small Country Became a Hindrance

This entire decade passed in the sign of struggle for freedom and
independence, for peace, for national dignity. Proponents of the new
World Order could not accept such a precedent - one small, Balkan
country opposing that wave of new colonialism. When all other means
were exhausted, reasons at Kosovo were invented so as to bring about,
in 1999, the illegal and criminal war against FRY. And when that war
did not bring about expected results and when the country got
reconstructed with unprecedented speed, new means were used to stop
such a process.

Today, separatist tendencies are present in Montenegro, efforts to
make the independence of Kosovo and Metohia possible are under way, as
well as to induce crisis in Vojvodina and Rasko-polimski regions

That would be the shortest possible answer to your question, a
question that requires volumes, and not only an answer in an

Q: How do you see the responsibility of Serbs in the situation in the
last ten years? Were they undeservedly demonised by the West or were
they really guilty for what was done?

Serbs Are Not Guilty

A: The responsibility of Serbs for events on the territory of former
Yugoslavia in the course of the last ten years is, certainly, far
lesser then the responsibility borne for these events by Croats,
Slovenians and others who took part in the destruction of their own

Serbs, more then others, endeavoured to preserve SFRY, former
Yugoslavia, perhaps because they have lived all over its
territory. Because they were everywhere. That's why it is totally
unjust that Serbs, who most cared for Yugoslavia, were most accused by
the West for it's falling apart.

Unjustified accusations in these ten years were directed, for all
purposes, to the wrong address, both regarding the nation and

I am thinking about the Serb people and also about myself. Sometimes,
it seems to me that a person confronted with all these manipulations
with the truth and facts is powerless.

Means of information as a weapon, as any weapon, are in the possession
of the rich and mighty. Thanks to their riches and their might
everything will be the way they want it to be. The honest, brave and
bright shall be ones they decide to pick out. And the dishonest,
cowardly, stupid and bad would be, also, ones they, the rich and
mighty, decide to pick out.

Q: Have you personally done everything to prevent war in former
Yugoslavia?  Looking at it now, would you have done something

They Were Not Irrelevant Nor Deceived

A: As far as I am concerned, I deem I did everything possible as an
individual and as a person at the helm of one of the republics of the
country being subjected to dismembering. How much I did, was I able to
do more, and in general, my role in the events leading to the
destruction of the former Yugoslavia is a topic the so-called
international community is constantly busy with. It is, to say the
least, amazing why some questions, with good reason, were not
addressed to the heads of the other five of the six republics former
Yugoslavia was made off.

They also had some role in these events. They themselves are
emphasising their roles. Current president of the Croatian state, for
example, is publicly emhasizing his "credit" for the dismembering of
former Yugoslavia.  With a good reason, of course. I know that very
well. None of them considers himself insignificant in these matters,
nor manipulated, nor confused or deceived.

Why then, does the so-called international community underestimate
them in every way, both politically and intellectually, and devote all
its attention to myself only?

That is, to say the least, offending for my colleagues from former

Q: Do you think that in some respect you were late in your attempts to
solve the Kosovo problem? Were you surprised by the cruelty of the
NATO bombing and use of depleted uranium in Republic of Srpska as well
as in Yugoslavia?

I am Embittered

A: I was not late. To the contrary. I moved the Kosovo issue in
political, moral and national sense back in 1986 when I was not the
President of Serbia, not even a candidate for the president of Serbia,
when I did not have even the intention to become statesman of the
highest order. My political role at that time was only within the
Serbia and was not the most important one. I just came to the helm of
the Party and I was of the opinion that one of the first issues, both
Yugoslavia and especially Serbia should be engaged with, was the
situation at Kosovo, where the position of Serbs for a long time
already was very dissatisfying in a political, economic and national

As far as the bombing and uranium are concerned, I was not
surprised. I am embittered. As well as you are, I believe. As every
normal person on the planet is, I believe .

Q: Could you tell us something about your meeting with Mr. Holbrook in

A: We used to have a successful co-operation until the negotiations in
Dayton were agrreed upon. He even crucially contributed to the
reaching of the cease-fire agreement when Serb forces were in a very
difficult position.  Upon my categorical warnings that all further
negotiations shall terminate, he stopped the Croatian army in front of
Prijedor at the moment when it was quite clear they may take both
Prijedor and Banja Luka.

[ end Part I ]

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