“Regime Change” in Serbia, 1945 and 2000

Odd as it may seem, October 5, 2000 was not the first time the Western powers engaged in “regime change” in Serbia. There are many similarities between the October 5 regime change and the Western involvement in putting the government of Josip Broz Tito and the Communist Party in charge of Yugoslavia in 1945.

Just as Slobodan Milošević received faint praise from the West as “factor of peace and stability” in the Balkans, General Draža Mihailović was praised by the Western Allies during the war – yet support for both was limited mostly to words and empty propaganda gestures, and only so long as they served the purposes of the West. (That, by the way, is just about the only parallel between the two men.)

After the battle, though the “Allies” changed their behavior towards General Mihailović – directing not only their rhetorical support, but also war materials, to J.B. Tito and the Communists. This despite the fact that General Mihailović enjoyed almost unanimous support among the people: there were almost no Communist troops in Serbia until the autumn of 1944, and the Communist Party of Serbia was only established in 1945, after the war’s end. Support for General Mihailović ceased after the Battle for Africa was won, and the Western Allies had secured a major victory for themselves in WW2. A significant contribution to this victory were the diversions and sabotage of German supplies bound to the African theater, organized by General Mihailović’s forces. Extensive documentation, testimonials and other evidence confirms this.

As an aside, by October 2000 most of the people in Serbia favored change and opposed Milošević; examining our choice in hindsight, the facts indicate we chose the greater of two evils, not the lesser…


Leskovac after bombing
Leskovac after bombing

In both cases, regime change was preceded by attack from the air. During WW2, the campaign lasted from October 20, 1934 to September 14, 1944. The greatest devastation was in Leskovac, which was leveled by the “Allies” on September 6, 1944. Of 28,000 residents, 6000 men, women and children were killed. Belgrade was bombed on the first two days of Easter, April 16-17, 1944. killing 2000 and injuring around 5000 civilians. The second regime change was preceded by the [NATO] bombing campaign lasting from March 24 to June 10, 1999.

In the first bombing campaign, the targets were chosen by Broz and the Communist Party:

“All your desires regarding the assistance of Allied Air Force he will convey to the Allied Mission at the Supreme Command of the NOVJ (“Narodno-oslobodilačka vojska Jugoslavije”, which stands for “People’s Liberation Army of Yugoslavia”). The Supreme Command will decide whether the proposed target will be bombed.“ (dispatch dated February 5, 1944; emphasis added).

In the second campaign, we have the joint statement by Zoran Đinđić and Milo Đukanović, implicitly requesting the continuation of the bombing:

“If the war ends with a signature on a peace agreement and the same leadership in power, with Slobodan Milosevic at the helm, the tragedy and violence will continue.” (New York Times, May 8, 1999) 


The third congress of AVNOJ (AVNOJ – Antifiascist Council of People’s Liberation of Yugoslavia) in Belgrade, on August 10, 1945, proclaimed the “Democratic Federated Yugoslavia” – as you can see, the Communists had a soft spot for using the adjective “democratic.” Afterwards, they held “democratic” elections, which featured only one list of candidates – that of the National Front, led by J.B. Tito. The other ballot box was “No list”, and was known as the “Blind box”.

In a report on Yugoslavia submitted on November 24, 1945, the section head for Southeast Europe of the U.S. Department of State says the “elections were conducted under the circumstances that are difficult to accept as the expression of free will of the people. Details of the terror that preceded the elimination of the opposition are well-known to all.”

The October 2000 changes are likewise “difficult to accept as the expression of the free will of the people”. Reporter Tim Marshall, in his book about the Serbian coup titled “Shadowplay”, wrote:

“The US, UK and Germany spent over $60 million on funding the opposition… BBC boosted the signal of Radio B92, and Deutsche Welle helped at least one opposition newspaper by paying for paper and printing costs.”

Asked for the source of his contention that the West had spent $60 million to organize the events of October 5, Marshall replied:

“That is no secret. It is enough to look a the documents of the U.S. Congress. That is the total amount spent on Serbia, e.g. for printing materials, for education, training, travel, elections… For example, a U.S. Colonel was directly involved in the creation of Otpor, providing them with all sorts of things via Hungary, mostly money. Events of October 5 were preceded by massive preparations. None of the million people that came to Belgrade that day simply woke up that morning and decided to come to the capital and set the parliament on fire. That had to be organized in advance.


Finally, it is of interest to note that Western actions in the destruction of Yugoslavia and policies towards the Serbs were eerily parallel to the Comintern and Yugoslav Communist Party aims prior to WW2. The Fifth Congress of the Comintern (June/July 1924), adopted the following resolution on Yugoslavia:

“Yugoslavia is a multinational state. Serbian bourgeoisie, exercising hegemony, does so on behalf of only 39% of  Yugoslavia’s population. The other peoples, the great majority of the population, are subject to oppression and de-nationalization. The right of peoples to self-determination recognized by the YCP shall be realized through the secession of Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia from Yugoslavia, and their establishment as independent republics.”

The 1928 Dresden Congress of the YCP laid out the plan to dismantle Yugoslavia:

“The struggle must begin in Serbia, since it is the base for the hegemonist regime. Then separate states must be established: Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Slovenia, while the Hungarian and Albanian minorities should be recognized the right to self-determination and secession, enabling them to join their mother countries.”

In the present-day dismantling of Yugoslavia, still ongoing, the West is finishing what the Comintern and the Yugoslav Communist Party had begun:.

“Further fragmentation of Yugoslavia followed the dictates of the European Community [later EU]: after formally receiving a mandate to mediate in the Yugoslav crisis, but without a specific obligation to find the solution within Yugoslavia, the EC entered the stage as the striking fist of Yugoslavia’s destruction […]

The first move was made by NATO, which dropped tons of bombs on the Serb positions in the Serb Republic and the Serb Krajina Republic. Even the NATO Secretary-General Manfred Wörner could not resist the human urge to proclaim, “Such irony!”  […]

In all the notes on recognition, members of the EC resorted to a formula – unfathomable to jurists – developed by the Arbitration Committee: the new countries were recognized in their “internationally recognized borders.” Nowhere and in no international act were the internal administrative boundaries of Yugoslavia even referenced, let alone recognized internationally. There was even no internal legal act specifying those boundaries. The Socialist Yugoslavia of 1945-1991 was a state ruled by the Party, not by laws, and the territories of federal units matched the internal organization chart of the Yugoslav Communist Party, nothing more.”
(from Smilja Avramov, “The West’s Post-Heroic War on Yugoslavia”)

And though this may sound absurd, the policies of the Comintern on one side and the West on the other have essentially been grounded in the same premise: loyalty of the Serbian people to the (Imperial) Orthodox Russia.

Source: Reiss Institute

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