|Rašković in Chicago, September 1990|
|1st President of the Serb Democratic Party|
17 February 1990 – December 1990
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Milan Babić|
5 July 1929|
Knin, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
|Died||29 July 1992
Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia
|Political party||Serb Democratic Party in Croatia|
|Children||Sanda Rašković Ivić|
|Alma mater||University of Zagreb|
|Religion||Serbian Orthodox Christian|
Rašković was born in Knin on July 5, 1929. He grew up there and in Kistanje in Dalmatia, the southern region of Croatia. During World War II, after the Ustasha pogrom of his relatives in Knin, Rašković was exiled in the village of Kistanje that was occupied by fascist Italian forces. Rašković passed his secondary school exams in Šibenik, and graduated in Zagreb. He then studied electrical engineering and medicine at the University of Zagreb, where he obtained his diploma and a PhD at the Medical School.
Rašković was a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Academy of Medical Sciences of Croatia, as well as a member of a number of psychiatry associations in the USA, the former Czechoslovakia, and Italy. He was a university professor in Zagreb and Ljubljana, Slovenia, and a visiting professor at the universities of Pavia, Rome, Houston and London.
In early 1990, Rašković went into politics and founded the Serbian Democratic Party of Croatia (Srpska demokratska stranka, SDS), which took part in first democratic elections. He was an impressive public speaker who tended to cast current events in dark, historical, and symbolic terms, which led to his being criticised for increasing ethnic tensions in Croatia. He also noticed that there was no equivalent party in Bosnia and Herzegovina and contacted a professional colleague whom he knew shared his views, Radovan Karadžić, to suggest that he set one up.
Although the SDS won relatively few seats in 1990 elections, it quickly began to increase its power and Rašković was soon perceived as a leader of Croatian Serbs by Franjo Tuđman and his new government. This led to direct negotiations between the two about the future of Serb minority in Croatia. During one of those negotiations Rašković remarked that the "Serbs were crazy people". Tuđman's chief political advisor Slaven Letica had those words secretly taped and leaked the transcript to Croatian media in a hope to discredit Rašković among his people and thus replace him with someone more acceptable to Croatian government. This proved to be disastrous miscalculation - instead of rejecting Rašković, many Croatian Serbs lost any trust in Croatian government and embraced extremism that would ultimately lead to armed conflict.
Later in 1990, Rašković was removed from power by "more radical, hard-line Serb nationalists" who went on to create the Republic of Serbian Krajina. Rašković retired from politics in 1991, following the Plitvice Lakes incident.
He died in Belgrade from a heart attack on July 29, 1992 at the age of 63 and is buried in Belgrade's Alley of Distinguished Citizens.
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