Dobrica Ćosić

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Dobrica Ćosić
S.Kragujevic, Dobrica Cosic 1961.JPG
Dobrica Ćosić in 1961
1st President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
In office
15 June 1992 – 1 June 1993
Prime Minister Aleksandar Mitrović (acting)
Milan Panić
Radoje Kontić
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Zoran Lilić
15th Secretary General of Non-Aligned Movement
In office
15 June 1992 – 7 September 1992
Preceded by Branko Kostić
Succeeded by Suharto
Personal details
Born Dobrosav Ćosić
(1921-12-29)29 December 1921
Velika Drenova, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
Died 18 May 2014(2014-05-18) (aged 92)
Belgrade, Serbia
Resting place Belgrade's New Cemetery
Nationality Serbian
Awards NIN Award (1954, 1961)
Pushkin Medal (2010)

Dobrica Ćosić (Serbian Cyrillic: Добрица Ћосић, Serbian pronunciation: [dɔ̂brit͡sa t͡ɕɔ̌ːsit͡ɕ]; 29 December 1921 – 18 May 2014) was a Serbian politician, writer, and political theorist. He was the first president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1992-93. Admirers often refer to him as the "Father of the Nation", due to his influence on modern Serbian politics and national revival movement in the late 1980s;[1] opponents often use that term in an ironic manner.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Ćosić was born as Dobrosav Ćosić[1] in 1921 in the village of Velika Drenova near Trstenik, then in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Some sources have incorrectly stated his date of birth as 4 January 1922.[1]

Before the Second World War he was able to attend vocational agriculture school in Aleksandrovac. He joined the communist youth organization in Negotin in 1939. When the Second World War reached Yugoslavia in 1941, he joined the communist partisans. After the liberation of Belgrade in October 1944, he remained active in communist leadership positions, including work in the Serbian republican Agitation and Propaganda commission and then as a people's representative from his home region. In the early 1950s, he visited the Goli otok concentration camp, where the Yugoslav authorities imprisoned political opponents of the Communist Party. Ćosić maintained that he did so in order to better understand the Stalinist mind. In 1956 he found himself in Budapest during the Hungarian revolt.

He came for the meeting of the editors of literary magazines in socialist countries on the day when the revolution started and remained there until October 31 when he was transported back to Belgrade on a plane that brought in Yugoslav Red Cross help. It remains unclear whether this was purely a coincidence or he was sent there as a Yugoslav secret agent. Nevertheless, he even held political speeches in favor of a revolution in Budapest and upon his return he wrote a detailed report on the matter which, by some opinions, greatly affected and shaped firm official Yugoslav view on the whole situation. Parts of his memories and thoughts on the circumstances later will be published under the name Seven days in Budapest. In 1961, he joined Marshal Tito on a 72-day tour by presidential yacht (the Galeb) to visit eight African non-aligned countries. The trip aboard the Galeb highlighted the close, affirmative relationship that Ćosić had with the administration until the early 1960s.

In opposition[edit]

Until the early 1960s, Ćosić was devoted to Tito and Tito's vision of a harmonious Yugoslavia. Between 1961 and 1962, Ćosić got involved in a lengthy polemic with the Slovenian intellectual Dušan Pirjevec regarding the relationship between autonomy, nationalism and centralism in Yugoslavia.[3]

Pirjevec voiced the opinions of the Communist Party of Slovenia which supported a more decentralized development of Yugoslavia with respect for local autonomies, while Ćosić argued for a stronger role of the Federal authorities, warning against the rise of peripheral nationalisms. The polemic, which was the first public and open confrontation of different visions within the Yugoslav Communist Party after World War II, ended with Tito's support of Ćosić's arguments. Nevertheless, actual political measures undertaken after 1962 actually followed the positions voiced by Pirjevec and the Slovenian Communist leadership.[citation needed]

As the government gradually decentralized administration of Yugoslavia after 1963, Ćosić grew convinced that the Serbian population of the state was imperiled. In May 1968, he gave a celebrated speech to the Fourteenth Plenum of the Central Committee of the Serbian League of Communists, in which he condemned then-current nationalities policy in Yugoslavia. He was especially upset at the regime's inclination to grant greater autonomy to Kosovo and Vojvodina. Thereafter he acted as a dissident. In the 1980s, following the death of Tito, Ćosić helped organize and lead a movement whose original goal was to gain equality for Serbia in the Yugoslav federation, but which rapidly became intense and aggressive. He was especially enthusiastic in his advocacy of the rights of the Serb and Montenegrin populations of Kosovo.[citation needed]

Ćosić was a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and is considered by many to have been its most influential member. While Ćosić has been credited with writing the Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, which appeared in unfinished fashion in the Serbian public in 1986, he in fact was not responsible for its writing. In 1989 he endorsed the leadership of Slobodan Milošević, and two years later he helped raise Radovan Karadžić to the leadership of the Bosnian Serbs.[citation needed] When war broke out in 1991, he supported the Serbian effort.[citation needed]

During and after the Yugoslav wars[edit]

In 1992, he became the president of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which consisted of Serbia and Montenegro. On Eastern Orthodox Christmas Eve of January 1993, Ćosić appeared on Serbian television to warn of demands for “national capitulation” from the West. "If we don't accept, we are going to be put in a concentration camp and face an attack by the most powerful armies of the world". These outside forces, he said, are determined to subordinate "the Serbian people to Muslim hegemony."[4] Later that year Ćosić turned against Milošević, and was removed from his position for that reason.

In 2000, Ćosić publicly joined Otpor!, an underground anti-Milošević organization.

In 2011, an internet hoax led to state-run Serbian television announcing wrongly that Ćosić had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. That honour had in fact gone to Tomas Tranströmer.[5]

Ćosić in 2010

Ćosić and Chomsky[edit]

In 2006, Ćosić received support for his proposal for a partition of Kosovo by Noam Chomsky. In a Serbian television interview, Chomsky was asked what the best solution for Kosovo's final status is. He responded:

My feeling has been for a long time that the only realistic solution is one that in fact was offered by the President of Serbia [i.e. Dobrica Ćosić, then President of Yugoslavia] I think back round 1993, namely some kind of partition, with the Serbian, by now very few Serbs left but the, what were the Serbian areas being part of Serbia and the rest be what they called "independent" which means it'll join Albania. I just don't see…I didn't see any other feasible solution ten years ago.[6]


Dobrica Ćosić died on 18 May 2014 in his home in Belgrade. He was 92 years old.[7]

Literary works[edit]

Ćosić was a prolific writer who twice won the prestigious NIN award for literature.

  • Dаleko je sunce (1951)
  • Koreni (1954)
  • Deobe 1-3 (1961)
  • Akcija (1964)
  • Bаjkа (1965)
  • Moć i strepnje (1971)
  • Vreme smrti 1-4 (1972–1979)
  • Stvarno i moguće (1982)
  • Vreme zlа: Grešnik (1985)
  • Vreme zlа: Otpаdnik (1986)
  • Vreme zlа: Vernik (1990)
  • Promene (1992)
  • Vreme vlаsti 1 (1996)
  • Piščevi zаpisi 1951—1968.(2000)
  • Piščevi zаpisi 1969—1980. (2001)
  • Piščevi zаpisi 1981—1991. (2002)
  • Piščevi zаpisi 1992—1993. (2004)
  • Srpsko pitаnje 1-2 (2002–2003)
  • Pisci mogа vekа (2002)
  • Kosovo (2004)
  • Prijаtelji (2005)
  • Vreme vlаsti 2 (2007)
  • Piščevi zаpisi 1993—1999. (2008)
  • Piščevi zаpisi 1999—2000: Vreme zmijа(2009)
  • Srpsko pitanje u XX veku (2009)
  • U tuđem veku (2011)
  • Rat u Bosni (2012)
  • Kosovo 1966-2013 (2013)

On Ćosić[edit]

  • Pesnik revolucije nа predsedničkom brodu, (1986) - Dаnilo Kiš
  • Čovek u svom vremenu: rаzgovori sa Dobricom Ćosićem, (1989) - Slаvoljub Đukić
  • Authoritet bez vlаsti, (1993) - prof. dr Svetozаr Stojаnović
  • Dobricа Ćosić ili predsednik bez vlаsti, (1993) - Drаgoslаv Rаnčić
  • Štа je stvаrno rekаo Dobricа Ćosić, (1995) - Milan Nikolić
  • Vreme piscа: životopis Dobrice Ćosićа, (2000) - Rаdovаn Popović
  • Lovljenje vetrа, političkа ispovest Dobrice Ćosićа, (2001) - Slаvoljub Đukić
  • Zаvičаj i Prerovo Dobrice Ćosićа, (2002) - Boško Ruđinčаnin
  • Gang of four, (2005) - Zorаn Ćirić
  • Knjigа o Ćosiću, (2005) - Drаgoljub Todorović
  • Moj beogradski dnevnik: Susreti i razgovori s Dobricom Ćosićem, 2006.-2011, (2013) - Darko Hudelist


  1. ^ a b c Zorica Vulić (11 May 2000). "Ko je ovaj čovek?: Dobrica Ćosić" (in Serbian). Glas Javnosti.
  2. ^ Lukić, Svetlana Lukić & Svetlana Vuković (16 March 2007). "Injekcija za Srbe". B92: Peščanik. Archived from the original on 2007-03-27.
  3. ^ Cohen, Lenard J. & Jasna Dragovic-Soso (1 October 2007). "State Collapse in South-Eastern Europe: New Perspectives on Yugoslavia's Disintegration". Purdue University Press.
  4. ^ "Serbia's Spite", Time Magazine, 25 January 1993.
  5. ^ Internet Hoax Has Serb Writer as Nobel Winner, ABC News, 6 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
  7. ^ B92 (2014-05-18). "Preminuo Dobrica Ćosić" (in Serbian). Retrieved 2018-05-30.

Further reading[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
New title
President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Succeeded by
Zoran Lilić
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Branko Kostić
Secretary General of Non-Aligned Movement
Succeeded by