Vuk Drašković

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Vuk Drašković
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Montenegro
In office
3 March 2004 – 15 May 2007
President Svetozar Marović
Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica
Preceded by Goran Svilanović
Succeeded by Vuk Jeremić
(Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia)
Deputy Prime Minister of Yugoslavia
In office
18 January 1999 – 28 April 1999
Prime Minister Momir Bulatović
Personal details
Born (1946-11-29) 29 November 1946 (age 67)
Međa, Serbia, FPR Yugoslavia
Nationality Serbian
Political party Serbian Renewal Movement
Spouse(s) Danica Drašković
Alma mater LLB of Univ. of Belgrade Fac. of Law
Profession Writer
Religion Serbian Orthodoxy

Count Vuk Drašković of the house of Drašković, (Serbian Cyrillic: Вук Драшковић, pronounced [v̞ûːk drâʃkɔvit͡ɕ]; born 29 November 1946), leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, is a Serbian politician who served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Yugoslavia and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of State Union of Serbia and Montenegro and Serbia.

He graduated from the University of Belgrade's Law School in 1968. From 1969 to 1980 he worked as a journalist in the Yugoslav news agency Tanjug. He was also a member of the Yugoslav Communist Party and worked as the chief of staff of the Yugoslav President Mika Špiljak. Drašković also wrote several novels.

Career[edit]

Between 1969 and 1978, Drašković was involved with journalism. He first worked for the state newsagency Tanjug as its African correspondent stationed in Nairobi, Kenya, before taking a job as press advisor in the Yugoslav Workers Union Council (SSRNJ). During his time at SSRNJ, Drašković also spent some time as the personal secretary to the organisation's president Mika Špiljak. During the same period his novels The Judge and Knife were published, raising quite a controversy among Yugoslav ruling communist elites. Soon afterwards, due to popular demand, Prayer and Russian Consul were published as well. Because of his controversial literary engagement, Drašković was considered somewhat of a dissident even though he had been a member of the Yugoslav Communist Party since his 4th year of university studies.[citation needed]

Together with Mirko Jović and Vojislav Šešelj, Drašković founded the Serbian National Renewal party (SNO) in 1989. However, the trio soon found themselves at political crossroads and their party disintegrated in three pieces.

Vuk Drašković´s plan for a Greater Serbia.

In 1990, Drašković founded the Serbian Renewal Movement (Srpski Pokret Obnove, SPO), a democratic nationalist party. They participated in the first post-communist democratic elections, held on 9 December 1990, but finished a distant second amidst the total blackout from the pro-Milošević state media. Following that failure Drašković kept the pressure on Serbian President Slobodan Milošević via street protests, organizing mass demonstrations in Belgrade on 9 March 1991. The police intervened, and clashed with demonstrators with some damage to public buildings resulting in the Yugoslav People's Army having to be brought in.

Following the Karadjordjevo meeting with Slobodan Milošević held on 30 March 1991, Croatian President Franjo Tuđman stated in a televised press-conference that during the March 9th events, Drašković's associates had phoned his government in order to "seek help in toppling the current Serbian regime". This was manipulated by Slobodan Milošević and the Serbian media to whip up public sentiment against Drašković.[citation needed] While Draskovic's partly vehemently denied any such contact was made with Croatian authorities, many in Serbia feared subtle but growing symbiosis between two leaders in both Serbia and Croatia.

Drašković focused his moderate right-wing program and rhetoric on Serbian pro-Western shift, anti-communism and romanticized Serbian identity-renewal. His plan was to rapidly transform the biggest and most populous part of Yugoslavia (Serbia) according to Western standards so that the eventual international involvement in solving Yugoslav crisis would turn in Serbian favour and produce a peaceful solution. Those with less understanding of fine details of Yugoslav history, or his ideological opponents, often cite his strong nationalist feelings (attempting rehabilitation of allied Serbian Chetniks, Kingdom of Yugoslavia's legal army during WWII) as contrarian to his insistence on peaceful solution to Yugoslav crisis. His opponents claim Vuk's political engagement at this early stage of his political career is full of inconsistencies and seemingly diametrically opposing views and actions. He insisted that Serbian government should promote radical democratic shift, renew traditional alliances with Western nations as a way to preserve some form of Yugoslav confederation rather than pursue direct confrontation with the Croats. On the other hand, he and his party SPO organized a paramilitary unit called the Serbian Guard led by former criminals such as Đorđe "Giška" Božović and Branislav "Beli" Matić with Božović dying in Croatia in October 1991, while Matić was killed by Milosevic secret police in April 1991. And although Drašković initially claimed this militia was an incitement to Serbian authorities to form a national armed force outside of Yugoslav People's Army (see last quote), he eventually distanced himself from the paramilitary formation altogether.[citation needed]

His emotional and poetic rhetoric often brought accusations of extremism. There is a contentious quote from his speech at an SPO rally in Novi Pazar during the summer of 1990, in which Drašković said: "Those who, on Serbian land, lift any flag other than a Serbian one, whether it's a Muslim, Albanian, or Croat flag, will be left without the flag and without the hand".[citation needed] Milosevic propaganda immediately took such usage of vividly poetic medieval imagery to be very threatening and menacing, especially considering the fact it was delivered in a town with a large Bosniak population. Drašković's supporters, however claim he was merely pointing out Serbia would not tolerate separatism and partition of its territory. They also say this particular quote should not be viewed outside of context of his entire speech that day, which they say was very much calling for traditional tolerance and peace between Orthodox Serbs and Muslims living in the Sandžak region. It is ironic that Milosevic-controlled Serbian media throughout the 1990s continuously expressed disgust at Vuk for this statement, while heaping praise on Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic despite their involvement in crimes against Muslims in Bosnia.

Drašković's pronounced anti-war views came to the fore in mid to late 1991, particularly in November of that year when he wrote a passionate accusation of the Serbian bloody assault on Vukovar in a Serbian daily Borba. However, during the same period he maintained his focus on comprehensive Serbian anti-communist and pro-Western renewal, and righting anti-Serb taboos that existed in the communist Yugoslavia. See Quotations. Drašković in early 1992 called on all citizens of Bosnia to reject nationalism. Drašković and his wife Danica paid dearly for their activism. In 1993 they were arrested, savagely beaten and thrown into a high-security prison. Only his hunger strike, and the Western world's outrage forced the Serbian regime to set the Draškovićs free.[citation needed]

In 1996 SPO formed the opposition alliance Zajedno ("Together") with the Democratic Party of Zoran Đinđić and the Civic Alliance of Serbia under Vesna Pešić, which achieved major successes in the local elections in November that same year. After hints of holding secret talks with Milosevic, Zoran Đinđić and Vesna Pešić dissolved the coalition when they reneged on the signed coalition document to support Drašković as a joint candidate in the subsequent Presidential elections in the fall of 1997. Drašković's SPO participated on its own at the September 1997 election, boycotted by his former partners despite an array of local electronic media outlets being in opposition hands. The decision by Djindjic and Pesic to boycot 1997 elections would later prove fatal for Serbia, as the subsequent extremist Milosevic/Seselj government pushed Serbia on a collision course with NATO.

In January 1999, SPO, a parliamentary party, was asked to join a coalition with Milošević's Socialist Party of Serbia as tension with US and NATO increased in order to use his influence with Western politicians. In early 1999, Drašković became the deputy prime minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He did so in response to Milošević's appeal for national unity in the face of Albanian uprising in Kosovo and a looming confrontation with NATO.[1] He was sacked by the Prime Minister Momir Bulatović on 28 April 1999.[2]

Unsuccessful attempts at assassinating Drašković took place on 3 October 1999 on the Ibar highway when four of his close associates were murdered, and on 15 June 2000 in Budva. As of 2006, Milorad Ulemek is on trial for this murder and those of Đinđić and Ivan Stambolić; Milošević was also being prosecuted for the attempt until his death in the Hague.[citation needed]

Post-Milošević[edit]

In what he himself later termed "a bad political move", Drašković kept his SPO out of the wide anti-Milošević Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) coalition that formed in 2000, meaning that his candidate in the 24 September 2000 federal presidential elections, Vojislav Mihailović, achieved little success and that SPO also was not successful in the subsequent parliamentary election where the DOS won overwhelmingly. Because of this, Drašković and his party were marginalized over the next three years.[citation needed]

Vuk Drašković, 2008

In the fall of 2002, he attempted a comeback as one of the eleven candidates in the Serbian presidential elections, which were subsequently unsuccessful due to low turnout. Despite a polished marketing campaign that saw Drašković change his personal appearance and tone down his fiery rhetoric, he ended up with only 4.5% of the total vote, well behind Vojislav Koštunica (31.2%) and Miroljub Labus (27.7%), both of whom moved on to the second-round runoff.

His next chance for political redemption came in late 2003. Fully aware of SPO's, as well as his own, weak political standing after more than 3 years in political oblivion, Drašković entered his party into a pre-election coalition with New Serbia (NS), thus reuniting with old party colleague Velimir Ilić. Joining forces for the 2003 parliamentary election, they achieved limited success, but more importantly managed to get into the coalition that formed the minority government (along with DSS, G17 Plus), providing it with critical parliamentary seats to keep the far-right radicals (SRS) at bay. In the subsequent division of power, Drašković received the high-ranking position of Serbia and Montenegro's foreign minister.

In response to Montenegro's vote for independence, Drašković called for a restoration of Serbia's monarchy: "This is an historic moment for Serbia itself, a beginning which would be based on the historically-proven and victorious pillars of the Serbian state and I am talking about the pillars of a kingdom." After the breakup with Montenegro in June 2006, Drašković served (until May 2007) as the foreign minister of the Republic of Serbia, a successor to the state union of Serbia-Montenegro.

In August 2010, Vuk Drašković argued in favour of changing the Serbian Constitution of 2006 to remove references to Kosovo as a part of Serbia because according to him "Serbia has no national sovereignty over Kosovo whatsoever. All of Serbia knows that Kosovo is not really a province within Serbia, that it is completely beyond the control of the government and the state of Serbia".[3]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Goran Svilanović
Minister of Foreign Affairs
2004 – 2007
Succeeded by
Vuk Jeremić