Log Revolution

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Log Revolution
Balvan revolucija
Балван револуција
Part of War in Croatia
SAO 1990.png
Date August 17, 1990
Location SAO Krajina
SAO Western Slavonia
SAO SBWS
all within
Republic of Croatia
Lead figures

The Log Revolution (Croatian: Balvan revolucija) was an insurrection which started on August 17, 1990 in areas of the Republic of Croatia which were populated significantly by ethnic Serbs.[1] A full year of tension, including minor skirmishes, passed before these events would escalate into the Croatian War of Independence.

Background[edit]

In the lead up to the first free elections in April and May 1990, the ethnic relations between the Croats and the Serbs in SR Croatia became a subject of political debate.

The local Serbs in the village of Berak put up barricades in order to disrupt the elections.[2] During the act of government transition from the former to the new authorities in Croatia, the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) organized a "regular military maneuvre" in which a regiment of parachutists was deployed to the Pleso Airport, which was taken as an implicit threat.[2] On May 14, 1990, the weapons of the Territorial Defense (TO) of Croatia were taken away by the Army,[3] preventing the possibility of Croatia having its own weapons like it was done in Slovenia.[2] According to Borisav Jovic, this action was done at the behest of the Republic of Serbia. This action left Croatia extremely vulnerable to pressure from Belgrade, whose leadership began to intensify their public challenges to Croatia's borders.[4]

In an act of protest, the militant part of Croatian Serbs in some areas where they formed a majority started to refuse authority to the new Croatian government and held several meetings and public rallies since early 1990 protesting their cause.[1]

In June and July 1990, Serb representatives in Croatia openly rejected the new government's proposed amendments to the Constitution of SR Croatia which changed the name of the republic and entered new state symbols.[2] New coat of arms of Croatia known as šahovnica at the Serbian population of the republic began to associate with symbolics Croatian ustaše movement World War II times.[5]

In the summer of 1990 the Croatian government took some nationalist measures. In office correspondence the Cyrillic letter was forbidden.[6][7] From school programs texts on the Serbian history, the Serbian writers and poets were withdrawn. Serbians in public institutions "loyalty sheets" to the new Croatian government forced to sign. Refusing to do it immediately dismissed. It was especially noticeable in system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the part of Serbians serving there was arrested. Pressure upon representatives of the Serbian intellectuals was put.[7][8]

Blockades[edit]

Led by Milan Babić and Milan Martić, the local Serbs proclaimed SAO Kninska Krajina in August 1990 and began blockading roads connecting Dalmatia to the rest of Croatia. The blockade was mostly made from logs cut down from nearby woods, which is why the event was dubbed the "Log Revolution". The organizers were armed with illegal weapons supplied by Martić.[1] Since it was planned action, done during the Summer and severed land ties to Dalmatia, high economic damage was done to Croatian tourism.

The revolt was explained by the Serbs with words that they are "terrorized [by Croatian government]" and that they "[fight for] more cultural, language and education rights". Serbian newspaper "Večernje Novosti" wrote that "2.000.000 Serbs [are] ready to go to Croatia to fight". The Western diplomats commented that the Serbian media is inflaming passions and Croatian government said "We knew about the scenario to create confusion in Croatia...".[9]

The minor skirmishes of the Log Revolution had apparently caused a police casualty - in the night of November 22/23, 1990, a Croatian police car was fired upon on a hill near Obrovac and one of the policemen, 27 year old Goran Alavanja, died of seven gunshot wounds. The incident involved three policemen of Serb ethnicity[10] who were reportedly shot by a sole rebel Serb gunman, but the murder was never actually officially resolved.[11]

In another earlier incident near Petrinja, another Croatian policeman one Josip Božićević, was shot by a firearm in the night of September 28, 1990,[11][12] and a leaked Ministry of Internal Affairs memo classified this as a fatality.[11]

On December 21, 1990, the municipalities of Knin, Benkovac, Vojnić, Obrovac, Gračac, Dvor and Kostajnica adopted the "Statute of the Serbian Autonomous Region of Krajina".[13]

Over two hundred armed incidents involving the rebel Serbs and Croatian police were reported between August 1990 and April 1991.[13][14]

Aftermath[edit]

The open hostilities of the Croatian War of Independence began in April 1991.

As a part of his plea bargain with the prosecution, in 2006 Milan Babić testified against Martić during his ICTY trial, saying Martić "tricked him into agreeing to the Log Revolution". He also testified that the entire war in Croatia was "Martić's responsibility, orchestrated by Belgrade".[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Case No. IT-03-72-I: The Prosecutor v. Milan Babić" (PDF). International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  2. ^ a b c d Kreš 2010, p. 6.
  3. ^ Kreš 2010, p. 54.
  4. ^ Glaurdic, Josip (2011). The Hour of Europe: Western Powers and the Breakup of Yugoslavia. London: Yale University Press. pp. 90–92. ISBN 030016629X. 
  5. ^ Elena Guskova. History of the Yugoslavian crisis (1990-2000). — Moscow: 2001. — P. 137. — ISBN 5941910037
  6. ^ Elena Guskova. History of the Yugoslavian crisis (1990-2000). — Moscow: 2001. — P. 147. — ISBN 5941910037
  7. ^ a b Yugoslavia in the 20th Century: Sketches of Political History.— Moscow: Indrik, 2011. — p. 780-781. — ISBN 9785916741216
  8. ^ Радослав И. Чубрило, Биљана Р. Ивковић, Душан Ђаковић, Јован Адамовић, Милан Ђ. Родић и др. Српска Крајина. — Београд: Матић, 2011. — С. 201-206
  9. ^ Roads Sealed as Yugoslav Unrest Mounts, New York Times, August 1990
  10. ^ "Naša domovina - I Jovan je branio Hrvatsku". Slobodna Dalmacija (in Croatian). 26 October 2009. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c Jasna Babić (2002-01-08). "406 ubojica slobodno šeće Hrvatskom" [406 murderers walk free in Croatia]. Nacional (in Croatian). Archived from the original on 1 July 2012. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  12. ^ "Ubrzana priprema JNA za borbeno djelovanje u RH". Hrvatski vojnik #261 (in Croatian). October 2009. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  13. ^ a b "Final report of the United Nations Commission of Experts established pursuant to security council resolution 780 (1992), Annex IV - The policy of ethnic cleansing; Prepared by: M. Cherif Bassiouni.". United Nations. 28 December 1994. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  14. ^ David C. Isby, "Yugoslavia 1991: Armed Forces in Conflict", Jane's Intelligence Review 394, 402 (September 1991)
  15. ^ Goran Jungvirth (2006-02-17). "Martić "Provoked" Croatian Conflict". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 

Sources[edit]