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Issue No. 178. - June 17, 2000.
    Contents :
     By Slobodan Rackovic
       By Goran Vezic
3. Azerbaijan: LOST HOPES IN WEST
       By Farhad Mammadov

    By Slobodan Rackovic
    The results of the early local elections in the cities of
Podgorica and Herceg Novi have brought to a tie between
pro-Montenegrin and pro-Serbian blocks, so that it is probable
that two main projects of these two political centers will be
postponed: a referendum on Montenegrin independence and a breaking of all
ties with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on the one hand, and early
parliamentary elections and subjugation of the republic to
Belgrade's domination on the other.
    Early local elections in Podgorica and Herceg Novi ended in a
classic political draw. In Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro,
the pro-Montenegrin and pro-European alliance, coalition "To Live
Better" comprised of Democratic socialist party, Socialdemocrat
party and People's party, headed by the chief of state Milo
Djukanovic won majority while in Herceg Novi the majority in the
county council was won by coalition of pro-Serbian and
pro-Yugoslav political parties, ranging from ultra-communist to
far right-wing, chauvinist and pro-chetnic forces headed by ex
president Momir Bulatovic, who is now the prime minister of FRY
and loyal ally to Slobodan Milosevic. According to still
unofficial results, coalition "To Live Better" won 28 out of 54
mandates in the local parliament in Podgorica, coalition "For
Yugoslavia" headed by Momir Bulatovic won 22 seats, while the
Liberal Alliance won 4. In Herceg Novi coalition "For Yugoslavia"
headed by Socialist people's party of Momir Bulatovic won
incredible 19 seats in the council (51 per cent), coalition "To
Live Better" won 14 seats, and the liberals got only 2. Other
parties and coalitions, including the alliance of Albanian parties
"For Malesia" didn't cross borderline of 3 per cent of votes in
neither of the two councils. This elections, although only local,
are considered to be extremely important for the further political
orientation of Montenegro especially as an indicator of how
citizens of these two towns (almost a third of total voters) feel
about the future of Montenegro.
    All analysts of very turbulent political situation in
Montenegro agree that neither the pro-Montenegrin nor pro-Serbian
alliance have a reason to be especially happy by the outcome,
although both sides strive to depict results as an allegedly great
triumph. Immediately after publication of first election results,
president Djukanovic said to his numerous followers in Democrat
socialist party premises that what triumphed was pro-Montenegrin,
pro-European and democratic Montenegro while anti-Montenegrin and
pro-Milosevic forces were completely defeated.  Stressing that
coalition "To Live Better" won 5 thousand votes more in Podgorica
than at the previous elections two years ago, Djukanovic said: "We
achieved a great victory, a true political triumph in our
capital!" Commenting on harsh and rather unexpected defeat in
Herceg Novi, Djukanovic added : "Next few days will see our
analyzing of the reasons for such shortfall, but despair is out of
question. Our victory in Podgorica is much brighter and better
than defeat in Herceg Novi". Djukanovic stressed that Milosevic's
policy in Montenegro was at an end and that there was no doubt
that that the future belonged to pro-Montenegrin political option.
His sworn enemy Momir Bulatovic gave no statement, nor was he seen
after the elections in Podgorica (rumor says Milosevic immediately
called him to come to Belgrade for a briefing, maybe even
scrubbing). However, his deputy Predrag Bulatovic, vice-president
of the powerful Socialist people's party said that at the
elections in Podgorica and Herceg Novi won the idea of "mutual
life of Serbia and Montenegro", adding that it was the most
important to him and his party. But, neither party is pleased with
the elections' outcome as told by the fact that both second most
powerful person of the government as well as his opposition
counterpart offered resignations to their positions in,
respectively, Democratic socialist party (DPS) and Socialist
people's party (SNP). The persons who resigned are president of
the Montenegrin parliament Svetozar Markovic and vice-president of
SNP Predrag Bulatovic. So deeds go against thje words.
    However, if anyone is uncertain which side won pro-Montenegrin
and anti-Milosevic or pro-Serbian and pro-Milosevic, although
there is a certain advantage of the secessionist parties, it is
clear that the biggest loser of these elections is the party which
caused them to happen - Liberal Alliance headed by Slavko Perovic.
That party could tip the scales in both councils and thus
practically controlled government. Once honorable party which
fought for independent Montenegro has transformed into a party
with totally unclear political goals and that got big wages for
its entrance into councils. Therefore, LS is in danger of
completely vanishing from Montenegrin politics. It is clear that
Montenegrin independent forces headed by president Djukanovic
didn't gain enough advantage to easily call for referendum on
independence of Montenegro and its separation from FRY, but
neither can the Serbian block ask for early parliamentary
elections and return of Montenegro under the domination of
Belgrade, whence this small republic got away during last few
years. The last fact was accepted by Predrag Bulatovic when he
said to the press: "Election results halted the initiative for
early parliamentary elections in Montenegro", commenting that this
issue will be the next crisis point between he two blocks.
    So, the Montenegrin society is still deeply and irreparably
divided. Despite increase in self-image of national and state
identity, it is still far from complete resolution of the crucial
issues. If we simplified Montenegrin political scene into
pro-Montenegrin and pro-Serbian block, then we would get 60:40
situation in favor of the former, Djukanovic's forces. In
Podgorica alone, Montenegrin block got 15 thousand votes more than
pro-Serbian and has increased its advantage for eight thousand
votes compared to the last elections, what is much since there are
only 112 thousand registered voters. Despite defeat in Herceg
Novi, democratic block is more numerous since divided Montenegrin
parties won 8.193 votes, which is more than united pro-Serbian
votes - 8.072. This proportion of 60:40 in favor of the
Montenegrin block would also be present at the referendum on
independence, analysts claim, which would be more than enough for
any democratic and tolerant society (as exemplified by Quebec
where literally thousandth parts of a per cent  were crucial for
province's decision to remain within the state of Canada).
However, that is far from enough in Montenegro since pro-Milosevic
forces are so aggressive and their Belgrade patron so militant to
the republic that anything below 70:30 for independence poses a
great risk from war. Some independent analysts in Podgorica don't
exaggerate when they say that referendum on independence is after
this elections perhaps even further in the future than before it,
despite the obvious strengthening of the secessionists' movement.
    The government in Podgorica was especially touched by loss of
Herceg Novi, perhaps the most important maritime county. The
number of cities not controlled by the government thus climbed to
a third. Especially painful to the government is the fact that
this is the first time that the followers of Slobodan Milosevic
went down from the northern Montenegrin counties (they are in
power in Pljevlje, Andrijevica, Mojkovac, Savnik, Zabljak and
Pluzine) to the Adriatic coast, so that many warn that Serbia
finally, after many fruitless attempts, finally fulfilled its
historic desire to have an access to a sea! Besides, Herceg Novi
borders with Dubrovnik and has a great traffic and tourist, but
also even greater strategic importance for Montenegro since it is
located at just a few kilometers from the Croatian and Bosnian
borders. Montenegro greatly intensified its relations with the
neighbors lately, so now the question is can local, pro-Milosevic,
government endanger them. Belgrade only grudgingly admitted
opening of Montenegrin-Croatian border at Debeli Brijeg and
Konfin, just beside Herceg Novi (Yugoslav army has made several
attempts to block the border crossings, endangering the civil
peace in Montenegro), and Milosevic wasn't hiding his displeasure
with Montenegro completely establishing relations with Sarajevo
and Banja Luka. Serbia has no diplomatic relations with them, nor
intends to in the near future. Cautious analysts ask whether now
residents of Dubrovnik will give water from  Plato to those who
applauded election victory with yells of "This is Serbia",
"Slobodan Milosevic", with chetnic songs and raising three fingers
in the air!? From January to April 55 thousand tourists and 18
thousand vehicles entered Montenegro via Debeli Brijeg border
crossing. That border is expected to be crossed by many foreign
tourists, which would save this year's tourist season. Can these
events call reconstruction of the crossing into question? Might
visit of Croatian foreign minister Tonino Picula to Montenegro as
well as meeting between Milo Djukanovic and Croatian president
Stjepan Mesic be cancelled? Furthermore, could construction of the
road from Herceg-Novi to Trebinje be endangered, since Milosevic's
vassals in Novi do not want to cooperate with the Montenegrin
government. Finally, could pro-Milosevic government in Herceg Novi
worsen the position of the state government which cancelled all
visas by disrupting traffic at border crossings Debeli Brijeg and
Konfin or by calling federal police and customs to occupy the
places now completely controlled by Montenegrin border
institutions? It is very hard to answer now all these delicate
questions, although according to Montenegrin constitution local
government is only permitted to deal with infrastructure and
cannot possibly influence state politics. However, there is a
great alarm in Montenegro now since for Milosevic is enough a
formal call from the authorities in Herceg Novi to undo what
Montenegrin diplomacy has been patiently building for years.
    How dear was the loss of Herceg Novi is illustrated by the
already mentioned information that second person of the
administration Svetozar Marovic, who directed election campaign of
Djukanovic's DPS in that town, offered a written resignation to
the president of the Republic and president of the party.
"Increase in support to our politics of peace and dialogue,
openness and cooperation in Herceg Novi increased by more than 6
per cent compared to last elections. However, that wasn't enough
for our coalition to emerge victorious here. Yet, Montenegro today
is on a good course towards democracy. Nobody can stop it, since
it would be against the good of all the people in the country.
That is why, according to my principles and feeling of moral
responsibility, I would like to inform you that I return you my
position of vice-president of DPS; in the name of which I
conducted election activities in Herceg Novi." - says Marovic in
his letter to Djukanovic. President Djukanovic will certainly
postpone this issue until the near meeting of the DPS Council, but
it is obvious that the chief of state is very mad at his close
colleagues and a big cleansing in party and state top position is
expected. For now it is known that one of the victims of such
cleansing could be one of DPS leaders Dragan Djurovic, chief of
DPS' parliamentary group and mighty director of the
state-controlled daily newspapers "Pobjeda".Undoubtedly, there
will also be resignations in the opposite camp, Bulatovic's, since
access to sea cannot be a satisfaction to Milosevic due to evident
strengthening of secessionist forces in Podgorica and the whole of
    As was said before the elections in Podgorica and Herceg Novi,
the repercussions of this event are far more important than just
an ordinary struggle for local government in the two counties.
Djukanovic and his team, despite their saying that they have
defeated Milosevic's politics in Montenegro for the third time
(presidential elections in 1997, parliamentary in 1998 and now
local elections in Podgorica) were given the final warning: in
order to truly take hold over Montenegro, they will have to stop
with the politics of equi-distance as "little sweet words for
Serbs here, now something good for Montenegrins there". It was
shown that the balancing is out of question now. Problem for the
opposite site - Bulatovic and Milosevic's socialists - sea access
nevertheless, lies in slow but constant eroding of pro-Serbian
forces, although this time they were reinforced by pro-chetnic
radicals and JUL ultra-leftists. Accepting new bosses, Seselj and
Mira Markovic, they are becoming divided and more and more
heterogeneous which is only favorable for the pro-Montenegrin
block. Strategic message of the elections is : Montenegro remains
divided, radical changes are slow to be accepted both by people as
by the government, Milosevic is still in saddle, although with a
diminished influence, but ready and capable of making unhappy
Montenegrin nation as well as the whole international community.


    By Goran Vezic
    At the first Congress of the Croatian Democratic Union, the party
that ruled Croatia from 1990 to 2000, its president Franjo Tudjman
opened Pandora's box saying that the Independent State of Croatia
(NDH), founded in WWII, was an expression of historical struggle of the
Croatian people for their own country. After the congress, the present prime
minister Ivica Racan, then president of the Socialdemocrat Party,
labelled HDZ "a party of dangerous intentions".
    Tudjman's idea was to finally reconcile the Croatian people, who were
painfully divided during WWII. A minority stood for Ante Pavelic
and its quisling ustashe regime ( pro-Nazi puppet state so called
Independent state of Croatia - NDH) while most of the other
Croats- together with Serbs who were living in Croatia - joined
antifascists' fight headed by Tito. Therewith were born
frustrations that have increased with manipulation of historical
facts - some exaggerated the number of the victims of ustashe,
especially in Jasenovac death camp where Serbs, Jews, Romanians
and Croatian partisans were deported; while the other manipulated
with the number of those who died at Bleiburg, an Austrian field,
where after the war Tito's fighters captured members of ustashe
and other pro-nazi formations and put them to death in revenge.
    Division in ustashe and partisans was latent in Croatian
society until 1990, and Tudjman's idea of reconciliation only
inflamed hostilities since it was based on relativization of the
crimes of ustashe who were justified by "struggle of Croatian
people for its own country". According to the same reconciliation
idea, partisans were communists and apatriots who fought against
the idea of Croatian statehood.
    During the war in Croatia, when Croatian people united in
defence for the first time in their history, ustashe were
glorified in the name of "reconciliation" but also to instil fear
into Serbs, which was stimulated by the government. At the same
time, some 3000 memorials to dead partisans were destroyed, some
of them illegaly, some legally. Surviving partisans saw their
pensions decreased or cancelled. The revival of ustashe swarmed
Croatia so that - for example - a street in Split, the biggest
city on the Adriatic coast, got name after Mile Budak. He was
Croatian writer, but is more known by his signature under racial
laws and minister position in the government of NDH than by his
manuscripts. After the war, he was indicted and executed as a war
    Similarly, the authorities renamed Square of the fascism's
victims in Zagreb which provoked ten year long demonstrations held
every 9th May. Their demonstrations are opposed by right-wingers
who last year incited physical struggle during the course of which
even Croatian president Stipe Mesic, then in opposition, got kick
in his back with a wooden club.
    New coalition government in Croatia dominated by pro-European
socialdemocrats and liberals is shyly announcing changes on
facades in Croatian streets compared to dark era of Croatian
history. The former Square of antifascists' victims will probably
be given back its original name, and several days ago Split city
council decided to return the old name to Mile Budak's street.
    And while new government is slowly correcting the errors of
Tudjman rule, who was a revisionist history PhD., Croatian
right-wing parties that draw upon the ustashe heritage are
continuing to provoke. Last week there was erected a monument to
NDH colonel Jure Francetic in Slunj, a small town a hundred
kilometres from Zagreb- Francetic was the commander of notorious
Black legion which was responsible for massacres of Serbs and
partisan Croats. Democratic public condemned the act and - finally
- the government also let itself be heard. Prime minister Ivica
Racan said that the government will soon draft a new law
prohibiting the use of fascist and neofascist symbols and
propaganda. President Stipe Mesic was more decisive. "The monument
should be torn down" - said he.
    Croatian Parliament will have the final word on Law against
the use of fascist and neofascist symbols and propaganda. The
question is whether the law will pass because there is no
consensus among the ruling coalition on some history issues.
Croatian constitution does say that Croatian Antifascist Council
was the basis for modern Croatian sovereignty, but vice-president
of the parliament Baltazar Jalsovec, member of Croatian social
liberal party, said last month at the memorial service for
Bleiburg victims that them - ustashe, quislings - were foundation
of the Croatian sovereignty.
     By Farhad Mammadov
      In spite of the efforts of the West to strengthen its
position in Azerbaijan, the public opinion in Azerbaijan is
different from this. That is, if before most of the Azerbaijani
people hoped for the help of the West in resolving the important
problems of the country, now this belief has been greatly weakened.
Perhaps, such change in public opinion is also in the center of
attention of the Western countries. For example, according to the
information of various diplomatic sources, the diplomats of the
Western countries accredited in Baku have become concerned by the
weakening of the pro-Western position in Azerbaijan.
    The articles recently published in the local press criticizing
the position of the West, and the changes in the position of
politicians, which supported the close partnership with the West
before, concern the Western diplomats. Recently the agency "Turan"
has hold an expert questioning and it has revealed that there
decreased the hopes to the West in the Azerbaijani public opinion.
For example, 87 percent of the respondent experts have estimated
the intention of Azerbaijan to the West as "a policy not
justifying itself". And nearly 44 percent of respondents have
stressed that the West does not make enough efforts for making
Azerbaijan a democratic and developed country. To the question,
"Can the West provide democratic parliamentary elections in
Azerbaijan?" 39 percent of respondents answered negatively.
    Some observers explain the fact of decreasing the hopes to the
West in Azerbaijan with not being solved the important problems of
the country and influence of the neibour states. But it is
supposed that the current government is also interested in
changing the public opinion towards the anti-West position. As,
official and other mass media close to the government are mainly
criticizing the position of the U.S. and other international
organizations like the OSCE and Council of Europe. Nevertheless,
the role of objective reasons is much in decreasing the hopes to
the West. For example, Azerbaijan was hoping for the objective
support of the West in the settlement of the conflict with Armenia
by providing the economic interests of the West. But these hopes
are not realized. That is, the U.S. and Europe did not make any
pressure on Armenia that occupied the territories of Azerbaijan to
release the occupied territories. On the contrary, the U.S., OSCE,
and Council of Europe began making pressures on the damaged side
for compromise.
    Let`s note that this position of the West is being strongly
criticized both by the opposition and government of Azerbaijan.
    On the other hand, the insufficient support of the West to the
democratic processes in Azerbaijan is not also faced simple in
public opinion. For example, the ambiguous opinion of the U.S.
Department of State on the last presidential elections in
Azerbaijan was faced with dissatisfaction in Azerbaijan. Though
there was stressed the elections did not face the international
norms, and then it was appreciated "as an important step towards
    At present there are such public opinion that the West does
not make enough pressure on the "non-democratic and corrupted
regime" in Azerbaijan.
    Russia`s activating the Caucasus policy is considered one of
the factors influencing on decreasing the hopes to the West in
Azerbaijan. Recently it seems that the pro-Russian forces are
getting active in Azerbaijan, as well. And this means
strengthening of propaganda against the West in Azerbaijan.