Mirko Marjanović

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Mirko Marjanović
Mirko Marjanović 2000 election photo.jpg
Marjanović in 2000
4th Prime Minister of Serbia
In office
18 March 1994 – 21 October 2000
President Slobodan Milošević
Milan Milutinović
Preceded by Nikola Šainović
Succeeded by Milomir Minić
Personal details
Born (1937-07-27)27 July 1937
Knin, Littoral Banovina, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Died 21 February 2006(2006-02-21) (aged 68)
Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro
Nationality Serbian
Political party Socialist Party of Serbia

Mirko Marjanović (Serbian Cyrillic: Мирко Марјановић, pronounced [mǐːrko marjǎːnoʋit͡ɕ]; 27 July 1937 – 21 February 2006) was a former Prime Minister of Serbia from 1994 to 2000 and a high-ranking official in Slobodan Milošević's Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS).

Biography[edit]

Marjanović was born into a large working-class family with 7 children in Knin, in the Littoral Banovina of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (present-day Croatia). He had 4 brothers and 2 sisters. His father, Dušan, worked in the local factory, while mother Marija was a homemaker.

After completing primary school and gymnasium in his hometown, Marjanović moved to Zagreb where he attended musical academy which he never finished.

He then moved to Belgrade, where in 1960 he graduated at University of Belgrade's Faculty of Economics, more specifically at the department for microeconomics.

Upon graduation, Marjanović came back to Knin since he found employment there as the supervisor in Tvik factory. From there, he advanced to the position of financial director, and eventually moving on to metallurgical factory in Zenica. In 1973, he transferred to the Moscow outpost of Progres - a state company that handled close to 80% of Yugoslav black metallurgy and other heavy industries.

By 1976 he quickly advanced up the ranks to become one of the directors at Progres. He handled company's steel division in Russia quite successfully while developing an impressive network of influential friends and business partners such as Viktor Chernomyrdin (later to become Prime Minister of Russia), and Yuri Brezhnev, son of Leonid Brezhnev.

In 1979, Marjanovic was named as Progres' general director.

From 1989 until 1994, he was the president of FK Partizan's executive board. One of his more notable moves while at the post was bringing Predrag Mijatović to the club in December 1989. Mijatović, at the time a young promising player from Titograd's FK Budućnost, was very close to signing with Hajduk Split when Marjanović stepped in and convinced him to come to Belgrade. Upon leaving the club, Marjanović was named Partizan's honorary president.

Political career[edit]

Prime Minister of Serbia 1994-1998[edit]

Marjanovic officially commenced his PM term on 18 March 1994. He was widely regarded as little more than a puppet of then Serbian president Slobodan Milošević.

Prime Minister of Serbia 1998-2000[edit]

After early parliamentary elections in late 1997, Milošević's SPS-led coalition (with Yugoslav Left and New Democracy) formed a government with far-right Serbian Radical Party (SRS) led by Vojislav Šešelj. Marjanović was picked for another PM term that started on March 24, 1998.

Naturally, Marjanović continued as a mere extension of Slobodan Milošević who at this time held the post of President of Yugoslavia. Here's how sources from the top levels of Milošević's Socialist Party of Serbia described Marjanović's government modus operandi in Evropljanin magazine: Prime Minister Marjanovic suggests something - ministers do not vote - and then Marjanović simply concludes the matter as agreed on. Of course Marjanovic neither suggest nor concludes anything without first consulting Milošević. (Evropljanin issue #13, 19 October 1998, p. 15)

Even deputy PM Vojislav Šešelj indirectly confirmed this operating procedure when he said the government meetings are always well prepared, never lasting longer than 15–20 minutes. (Srpska slobodarska misao, Vol. I 2000, issue #1, p. 142)

This two-year period is widely seen as the most brutal whilst Serbia was led by Milošević. Marjanović's government (with Šešelj as its deputy PM), passed two of what critics consider to be the most draconian pieces of legislation in Serbian political history: the University Law that stripped University of Belgrade of its autonomy, opening the way for the government to install professors, deans and rectors, as well as the Information Law, that aimed to restrict the activities of media financed by political enemies; despite this, the media played a prominent role in the 5 October 2000 coup d'état.

Similarly to his first term in office, Marjanović again took a back seat, leaving the limelight to more aggressive members of his cabinet like deputy PM Šešelj and Minister of Information Aleksandar Vučić.

On 21 October 2000, two weeks after the Bulldozer Revolution, Marjanović resigned to be replaced by a transitional government composed of Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS), Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), and Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) until new parliamentary elections could be organized.

Business career while in office[edit]

Marjanović continued to lead Progres all throughout his six and a half years as Serbian PM, though he claimed his status at the company was frozen. The company, which during the 1990s started importing gas from Russia (deal personally negotiated by Marjanović) was still officially publicly owned.

Although allegations of wrongdoing ran rampant for years, Marjanović was never prosecuted. No legal action was taken against him after the new authorities took office following the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević in October 2000. On 23 January 2002, Marjanović was re-elected as Progres' main board president.

Death[edit]

He died on 21 February 2006, in Belgrade, at age of 68, from undisclosed causes.

References[edit]

Preceded by
Nikola Šainović
Prime Minister of Serbia
1994–2000
Succeeded by
Milomir Minić