Slavko Ćuruvija

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Slavko Ćuruvija
Slavko Curuvija.jpg
Born (1949-08-09)9 August 1949
Zagreb, PR Croatia, FPR Yugoslavia
Died 11 April 1999(1999-04-11) (aged 49)
Belgrade, Serbia, FR Yugoslavia
Education University of Belgrade Faculty of Political Sciences
Occupation Journalist, publisher
Spouse(s) Branka Prpa (common-law spouse)

Slavko Ćuruvija (Serbian Cyrillic: Славко Ћурувија; 9 August 1949 – 11 April 1999) was a Serbian journalist and newspaper publisher. His brutal murder on 11 April 1999 in Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia provoked international outrage and wide condemnation. In January 2014 two people were arrested and two more named as suspects in Ćuruvija's murder case by the Serbian police, those being Milan Radonjić, Ratko Romić, Radomir Marković and Miroslav Kurak. [1]

In the years since his killing, his murder has become one of the widely cited examples of Slobodan Milošević's government's alleged brutality.

Slavko was born in Zagreb, FPR Yugoslavia on 9 August 1949 and was murdered on 11 April 1999 in Belgrade.

Early life and career[edit]

Born to father Rade Ćuruvija, an ethnic Serb officer of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) who spent World War II fighting in Lika on the Partisan side, Slavko was born and grew up in Zagreb. In addition to holding JNA rank, his father also worked for JNA's Counterintelligence Service (KOS) and State Security Service (UDBA). The family moved to Belgrade in 1958.[2]

His parents divorced in 1965.[2]

After graduating from University of Belgrade's Faculty of Political Sciences, Slavko Ćuruvija found employment as a business secretary and PR assistant at Mašinogradnja company in Belgrade. He soon became the contributor to Zagreb's Danas weekly magazine, as well as to the Social Research Center (Centar za društvena istrazivanja).

Between 1984 and 1986, he worked as an analyst in Federal Interior Secretariat and State Security (DB).

Career in journalism[edit]

In 1986, Ćuruvija joined the staff of Borba: initially as commentator, then advancing to the position of domestic political section editor, and eventually becoming Borba's editor-in-chief. He stayed with the daily paper until 1994 while regularly contributing to Komunist, Vjesnik, NIN, Večernji list, Nedelja, Pobjeda, TV Belgrade, TV Politika, TV Sarajevo, and some foreign publications.

In 1994, after the regime's unofficial takeover at Borba, Ćuruvija, along with many other staffers decided to leave the daily. While some of them quickly reconvened to form Naša borba, Ćuruvija took another career route, hooking up with Momčilo Đorgović to create Nedeljni telegraf - a weekly tabloid newspaper. In 1996, the duo founded Dnevni telegraf - Serbia's first privately owned daily in more than 50 years. Ćuruvija was DT's director and editor-in-chief, and eventually, after splitting with Đorgović, its sole owner.

In 1998, Ćuruvija additionally started a bi-weekly magazine Evropljanin where he gathered some notable names of Serbian journalism such as Aleksandar Tijanić, Ljiljana Smajlović, and Dragan Bujošević.

Initial friendship...[edit]

Both Ćuruvija-owned publications undeniably benefited from his access to Mirjana Marković, wife of Serbian president Slobodan Milošević. Not many specific, established details that would indicate the extent of their relationship are publicly accessible. Most come from second or third hand accounts.

In RTS produced 2006 TV documentary Kad režim strelja, Aleksandar Tijanić refers to it as a "non-aggression pact between Mira and Slavko allowing him access to many relevant pieces of information that ultimately greatly increased Dnevni telegraf's readership", while Ćuruvija's common-law wife Branka Prpa who was with him at the time of his murder attaches less significance to this friendship saying that it "revolved around conversations that many other journalists engaged in with Mira Marković hoping to manipulate her into revealing more than she'd originally planned". Prpa went on to add: "However, I think they became the ones being manipulated as the time went on".

...and subsequent fallout with Mira Marković[edit]

Whatever it was, their relationship was deteriorating by the day in late summer and early fall of 1998. Yugoslav army and Serbian police were in various stages of a crackdown on ethnic Albanian guerrillas in Kosovo, the threat of NATO bombing was hanging over everyone's head, and both of Ćuruvija's publications reported extensively on all of these issues, all of which earned Dnevni telegraf a ban on 14 October 1998 under a special new decree.

Furious with the new developments, Ćuruvija demanded to see Mira Marković and a meeting was arranged at her party's (Yugoslav Left) offices during the week Dnevni telegraf was banned as the new Information Law was being prepared. The meeting, reportedly quickly turned into a heated exchange.

According to Predrag Popović's book Oni ne prastaju (written from the author's subsequent interviews with Slavko), Ćuruvija was shouting: "What the hell do you think you're doing. If you continue down this crazy path, you can be sure you'll all be hanging off lamp posts in Terazije".

Visibly flustered Mira, reportedly responded: "How can you say that Slavko, after all we've allowed you".

Slavko's later comment was also published in the book: "Evidently she thought she'd done me a great favour by allowing me to live a normal life and publish newspapers all those years".

The meeting, their last ever, ended with Ćuruvija saying: "Say hello to your husband for me." To which visibly shook up Mira responded: "I will not do that, but I will tell him everything you said."

People who happened to be in the building said Mirjana Marković was crying after the meeting.

In April 2006 piece on B92 TV, commemorating 7 years since the unsolved Ćuruvija murder case, Branka Prpa recounted few more details of the Ćuruvija-Marković exchange: "He was shouting 'What are you doing this for? You're going to cause a widespread war!' Mira then told him 'Oh, so you want them to bomb us.' He responded 'Well, maybe they should bomb you, it's the only way for us to finally get you out of power!'".[1]

Evropljanin trial on 23 October 1998[edit]

Ćuruvija's response to the unpleasant exchange was a scathing blast of the ruling couple from the pages of Evropljanin co-written with Aleksandar Tijanić.[2] The issue came out on 19 October 1998 - one day before the infamous Information Law was passed, which didn't stop the authorities from putting Ćuruvija and his paper on trial 4 days later and persecuting them using that law. The culmination of the day-long trial was a crippling DM350,000 fine.


On 11 April 1999, (which was Easter Sunday in the Serbian Orthodox Church that year while the Kosovo War was ongoing), Ćuruvija was shot dead by two masked men in front of his house in Belgrade.[3]

The Serbian government began a review in 24 January 2013 of several suspicious cases involving the alleged murders of journalists, including Slavko Ćuruvija, Dada Vujasinović, and Milan Pantic.[4]

First deputy prime minister in charge of fight against corruption and organized crime Aleksandar Vučić, who was Minister for Information in Serbian government at the time of the Ćuruvija's murder, announced on a TV talk show for B92 TV that there has been a recent progress in the investigation of the murder of Ćuruvija and that he expects it to be resolved soon. "It will be a very exciting news for Serbia" he stressed.[5]

On 14 January 2014 Serbian police arrested two suspects in Ćuruvija's murder case, Milan Radonjić and Ratko Romić, both formerly employed by the Second department of DB (Yugoslavian State Security).[6] Radomir Marković, former head of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's State Security Service currently serving a 40 year term for orchestrating a 1999 attack on Serbian opposition leader Vuk Drašković, and Miroslav Kurak, currently at large, are also suspects, the former for allegedly ordering the murder and the latter for being the alleged executor. The formal accusation for the murder is expected in February 2014, the key witness for the prosecution being Milorad Ulemek Legija, former commander of Special Operations Unit of the Serbian secret police.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Улемек открио убице Славка Ћурувије" (Ulemek Reveals Slavko Ćuruvija's Killers), Politika, 14 January 2014 (in Serbian)
  2. ^ a b Jovo Ćuruvija: Bog će kazniti ubice mog brata Slavka (1. deo);predragpopovic, 4 November 2014
  3. ^ Slavko Curuvija
  4. ^ AFP (2013-01-25). "Serbia to review probes into killed reporters". The Australian. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Хапшења у случају Ћурувија" (Arrests in Ćuruvija Case), RTS, 14 January 2014 (in Serbian)