SANU Memorandum

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The Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (often referred to as the SANU Memorandum) was a draft document produced by a 16-member committee of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts from 1985 to 1986. Excerpts of the draft were published by Večernje novosti in September 1986.[1]

The memo immediately captured the public's attention in Yugoslavia as it gave voice to controversial views on the state of the nation and argued for a fundamental reorganization of the state.[1] The main theme was decentralisation leading to the disintegration of Yugoslavia and that the Serbs were discriminated against by Yugoslavia's constitutional structure.[2] It claimed that Serbia's development was eroded by support to other parts of Yugoslavia. It was officially denounced in 1986 by the government of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the government of the Socialist Republic of Serbia for inciting nationalism.[3] Some, such as Laura Silber and Allan Little, joint authors of Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation, consider its publication in 1986 to be a key moment in the breakup of Yugoslavia[4] and a contributor to the Yugoslav wars.[2]


The commission consisted of 16 Serb intellectuals:[5]


The memo is divided into two parts: one on the "Crisis in the Yugoslav Economy and Society", the other on the "Status of Serbia and the Serb Nation".[6] The first section focuses on the economic and political fragmentation of Yugoslavia that followed the promulgation of the 1974 constitution. The second section focuses on what the authors saw as Serbia's inferior status in Yugoslavia, and used the status of Serbs in the province of Kosovo and in Croatia to make its point.[citation needed]

The memo claimed that at the end of World War II, Josip Broz Tito deliberately weakened Serbia by dividing up the majority of Serbian territory, namely present day Serbia, Montenegro, the Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Croatia with Serb majority populations.[7][not in citation given]

The memo argued that Tito further weakened the Socialist Republic of Serbia by dividing its territory and creating the autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina, which was not reciprocated in the other Yugoslav republics.

Kosta Mihailović made contributions on the economy, Mihailo Marković on self-management, and Vasilije Krestić on the status of the Serbs of Croatia.


The memo was denounced by the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, including Slobodan Milošević, the future president of Serbia, who publicly called the memo "nothing else but the darkest nationalism", and Radovan Karadžić, the future leader of Serbs in Bosnia, who stated "Bolshevism is bad, but nationalism is even worse".[8] Despite these declarations, Milošević, Karadžić, and other Serb politicians publicly agreed with most of the memo and would form close political connections with the writers of the memo such as Mihailo Marković, who became the vice-president of the Socialist Party of Serbia and Dobrica Ćosić who was appointed president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1992.[9]

Memorandum points[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bokovoy, M.K.; Irvine, J.; Lilly, C. (1997). State-Society Relations in Yugoslavia, 1945-1992. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 322. ISBN 9780312126902. Retrieved 2014-12-14. 
  2. ^ a b "Picture stories - ESI". Retrieved 2014-12-14. 
  3. ^ Ramet, Sabrina P. The three Yugoslavias: state-building and legitimation, 1918–2005. Bloomington, Indiana, USA: Indiana University Press, 2006. pg. 321
  4. ^ Laura Silber and Allan Little Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation. London, UK: Penguin and BBC Books, 1995. pg. 31
  5. ^ Miller, Nick (2008). The Nonconformists: Culture, Politics, and Nationalism in a Serbian Intellectual Circle, 1944-1991. Central European University Press. p. 268. ISBN 978-963-9776-13-5. 
  6. ^ Eastern Europe. pp. 2–556. ISBN 9781576078006. Retrieved 2014-12-14. 
  7. ^ Meštrović, S. (1996). Genocide After Emotion: The Postemotional Balkan War. Routledge. p. 102. ISBN 9780415122948. Retrieved 2014-12-14. 
  8. ^ Lampe, John R. 2000. Yugoslavia as History: Twice There Was a Country. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pg. 347
  9. ^ Ramet, S.P. (2006). The Three Yugoslavias: State-building and Legitimation, 1918-2005. Woodrow Wilson Center Press. p. 321. ISBN 9780253346568. Retrieved 2014-12-14. 


  • The Serbian Academy After A Century: An Institution at Risk?, edited by Sofija Skorić and George Vid Tomashevich (published by The Serbian Heritage Academy, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) - explains how in 1986 the unfinished, unedited and unapproved draft of this incipient document was illegally removed from the Academy and published without authorization.[citation needed]

External links[edit]