|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (April 2015)|
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 in 1929. During World War II, after an Ustaše pogrom which resulted in the deaths of his relatives, he was exiled to Kistanje in the Italian-occupied Dalmatia. He 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 from the university's medical school.
In the 1960s, he served as director of Šibenik city hospital and later director of the medical center. He was one of the founders of the Medical Research Institute of Neurophysiology in Ljubljana. 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 United States, the former Czechoslovakia, and Italy. He was a university professor in Zagreb and Ljubljana, 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 (SDS), which took part in first democratic elections. He noticed that there was no equivalent party in Bosnia and Herzegovina and contacted Radovan Karadžić, a colleague, to suggest he establish one.
Although the SDS won relatively few seats in the 1990 elections, it quickly began to increase its power and Rašković was soon perceived as a leader of 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.
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