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Serbia grows up

Serbia's exuberant protest marches have helped to improve the country's international image. According to one of the marchers, Aleksa Djilas, they have also marked the birth of a more mature democracy which may now be able to confront the brutal nationalism of the past five years

By Aleksa Djilas   April 1997

Machiavelli believed that the prince should be ready to sacrifice even the salvation of his soul for the good of his city. Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia’s president, is better known for sacrificing others. In November he allowed hardliners in his ruling Socialist party to annul the victory of Together, the opposition coalition, in the local elections in many cities, including Belgrade. By so doing he casually threw away any international esteem he had acquired for supporting the Nato-imposed peace in Bosnia.

This electoral deceit provoked huge protest marches across Serbia, and by the end of February, he had passed a lex…

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