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The Nonconformists

Nick Miller

Chapter 6. Fragmented Serbia

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  • 1 From Laura Silber and Allan Little, Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation (New York: TV Books, 1996) 32.
  • 2 Lenard Cohen, Serpent in the Bosom: The Rise and Fall of Slobodan Milošević (Boulder, Colo.: Westv (...)

1When we read about Dobrica Ćosić today, we likely get a short bio that tells us that he was “seen as the spiritual father of the Serbian nation,”1 and that he started down the path to nationalism when he “warned in 1968 of dangers connected with Albanian nationalism” at the Fourteenth Plenum of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia.2 But this reduction of Ćosić’s career turn, which did begin in or around 1968, implies that his Fourteenth Plenum speech was a beginning, when in fact it marked the end of one period of his intellectual and political life, a period in which he tried to engage constructively with the party and the state. Instead of being a herald of a nationalist turn, the speech was his final reckoning with changes that had begun earlier; his speech of May 1968 concluded a phase begun with Ćosić’s disappointment with his failure to alter the form of literary organization. This modification to the traditional view of Ćosić’s speech opens the door to a more appropriate reading of it: it was not an example of full-blown nationalist excess, it was an example of reasonable resistance to the structural changes that had begun in Yugoslavia in 1963.


  • 3 Founded in 1932, the Kolarac People’s University was created in the name of Ilija Kolarac, a ninet (...)
  • 4 Dobrica Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” in Dobrica Ćosić, Stvarno i moguće: Članci i ogledi (Lju (...)
  • 5 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 19.
  • 6 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 6.

2Ćosić’s first direct examination of the fragmentation of Serbia had actually come in a 1967 lecture at the Kolarac People’s University3 entitled “How We ‘Create Ourselves.’” Ćosić took as his theme Serbian culture and its lines of development before and under communism.4 “We have not established our national and territorial identity,” Ćosić said. “We are a nation and a land without a civilizational face. We become civilized in waves, and frighteningly slowly.”5 Ćosić’s talk reflected his belief that Serbian culture and the Serbian nation were tragically fragmented, but that such fragmentation could still be eliminated under a socialist regime in which local identities lost their central place. “Perhaps the most unfortunate characteristic of Serbian national culture is its disunity in content, time, and space.” That disunity, historically determined in Ćosić’s view, was nobody’s fault; however, someone could and should be blamed for the failure of Yugoslav communists to overcome it. In the most surprising and aggressive passage in the lecture, he asserted that for the maintenance of Serbian disunity, “an entire ideology has been created. Austro-Hungarian and Comintern conceptions of the Balkans and Yugoslavia contributed to this ideology.” The ideology itself was Titoism. Ćosić appended a warning: “one day,” the nature of the ideology would “be understood with all of its consequences.”6 This was a remarkable statement for a still-loyal communist to make in 1967.

  • 7 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 10.
  • 8 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 9.
  • 9 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 12.
  • 10 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 11.
  • 11 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 8.
  • 12 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 9.

3Embellishing his argument that Serbia was riven by contradictory traditions and cultural impulses, Ćosić turned to the ideas of Vuk Karadžić and Dositej Obradović, two foci of Serbian cultural development in the nineteenth century. For Ćosić, Karadžić’s positive contribution to Serbian culture emerged from his struggles with the Orthodox church and the Obrenović dynasty in nineteenth century Serbia. Vuk embraced the idea of “creation, not conquest…Vuk testifies that the truth is more than that which is useful, that daring is more powerful than skill and experience…that finally, liberty is the social meaning of culture.”7 Having identified the positive in Karadžić’s contribution to Serbian culture, Ćosić turned to the deleterious. Karadžić, whose ideas, in Ćosić’s opinion, had come to predominate in Serbia, formulated “a nationalistic mythology and ideology, the mythomania of the nation, that is, the peasantry as representative of the national spirit and culture…”8 Ćosić resented this Serbian culture that idealized the peasant, especially the peasant from the Šumadija, the Serbian core south of the Danube. He blamed Karadžić for this narrow cultural emphasis. Ćosić saw Karadžić’s Serbia as identified with a limited geographical area, which excluded Serbs living outside those boundaries from the mythical, heroic core. “Without the abandonment of the old national ideology…it will not be possible to strengthen the historical unity of Serbian culture…not possible to found a contemporary, unified, socialist cultural-national consciousness.”9 Karadžić’s Serbia “undervalues and disregards the cultural creations and efforts of the Serbian people wherever it has lived and where it lives now.”10 Beyond that, however, the persistence of the “mythomania” of the Serbian peasant nation endangered Serbs’ successful search for liberty, which Ćosić thought central to Serbian culture.11 “In the era of capital, the modern state, new institutions, and political battles…this ‘primary’ trait [the search for liberty] and desire were not enough.” In the modern world, peasant culture resulted in “the brutality and violence of power and money, party battles, primitive bureaucracy and the usurious accumulation of capital [which] would threaten, endanger, and pervert those characteristics.”12 Roots, Ćosić’s novel describing the conflict of patriarchal peasant culture with modern politics and socioeconomic transformation, had described that brutality and violence.

  • 13 Ćosić, “Kako da stvaramo sebe,” 10.

4Ćosić argued that Serbs needed to liberate themselves from that narrow conception of Serbianness even though a broader one would bring them into contact with neighboring nations. He counterposed Karadžić to Dositej Obradović, another early nineteenth-century figure who favored a European, enlightened model for cultural development among the Serbs. “Dositej, educator and moralist, praised knowledge, was its spokesman and interpreter, totally turned towards the European example, and in that civilizational sense was more contemporary and modern than Vuk.”13 Ćosić proposed that Vuk’s Serbia needed to be fused with Dositej’s: “Today, possibly more than ever, we have reason to creatively unify the two theses.” Persistent divisions between those two Serbias—“antitheses—the people, the bourgeoisie, peasant or urban, national or European”—divided Serbian culture and were unacceptable to Ćosić, for whom the integration of disparate cultures was the primary promise of communism in Yugoslavia. Serbs had nothing to lose from contact with others; nor, significantly, did other nations. In fact, Ćosić appeared to believe that the regeneration of a divided and corrupted Serbian culture could serve as a model for the larger project of the creation of a Yugoslav socialist culture.

  • 14 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 25.

Our [Serbian] culture need not in any way be exclusive, closed, nationalistic, srbijanski, ‘republican,’ or ‘statist’; it has every reason to freely intermix with the cultures of neighboring nations….We have never smothered a single culture, rather we have helped and still sincerely help cultures to appear and freely develop.14

5Yugoslavism might still bring the erasure of borders of all types and the integration of Serbs and with other peoples of the state; the question was, how could that happen if the state itself imposed the fragmentation of Serbs’ own culture?

“How to ‘create ourselves’?” Ćosić asks in his concluding remarks:

  • 15 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 25–26.

As an answer to that question, and for its realization, the “entire intellectual strength of the nation” and all of its imagination is needed. The dimensions and character, the willingness and structure of all of the intellectual and moral strength of society will determine the fate of our country, on its long and precipitous path into the contemporary and more human world….Without culture, one cannot become a modern, socialistic, reasoned, civilized, production society, which is our historic goal. Only through general education, a developed culture, and science can Serbia finally cease being a land of peasants, bureaucrats, and politicians.15

6The lecture “How We ‘Create Ourselves’” must be placed in its proper context. Delivered to an audience of the interested at the university founded in 1932 as a forum for progressive intellectual dialogue, we cannot know how influential it was. Nonetheless, both its timing and its content merit our attention. Its timing, the autumn of 1967, places it after the fall of Ranković and the language debate but before Ćosić’s exit from politics. Ćosić had begun to consider leaving the party; he had already begun to harbor deep suspicions of its policies with regard to Serbia. Considering that timing, the speech was remarkably bold in some ways. Although, as we have seen, Ćosić had already begun to bemoan the rise of republican bureaucracies, this was the first time that he had actually warned of the consequences of their entrenchment (his May 1968 speech to the Fourteenth Plenum would offer the same warning, considerably enhanced). His emphasis on the necessity of creating a socialist culture in Yugoslavia was nothing new, but the slight change in focus—as he now concentrated on first consolidating a Serbian culture—was novel. Another innovation in “How We ‘Create Ourselves’” was its historical focus. This focus found form in two ways: first, in Ćosić’s identification of historical paths of Serbian cultural development (which complemented his broader theme of finding a way to incorporate Serbian culture in a larger socialist culture), and second, in his assertion that Austro-Hungarian and Comintern (and now Tito’s) policy had been directed specifically against Serbs (a theme of which we hear for the first of many times in his work). Thus “How We ‘Create Ourselves’” appears at a real crossroads for Ćosić, in that it combines his earlier focus on working towards a better future and his later obsession with understanding the tragedy of the Serbian past. He was on the brink of concluding that the past conditioned the present and future in ways that could not be overcome without a consolidation of, or even revival of, a true Serbian culture.

  • 16 J.S., “Kako se ostvaruje politika nacionalne ravnopravnosti,” in Borba (Belgrade) May 29, 1968, 5.
  • 17 Djukić, Čovek u svom vremenu, 185–87.
  • 18 Djukić, Čovek u svom vremenu, 186.
  • 19 Dobrica Ćosić, “Kritika vladajuće ideološke koncepcije u nacionalnoj politici,” in Dobrica Ćosić, (...)
  • 20 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 27–28.
  • 21 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 28.
  • 22 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 29.

7Ćosić put his 1967 words to work a year later, in May 1968, at the Fourteenth Plenum of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia. The Fourteenth Plenum met explicitly to discuss “national equality in Serbia.”16 By most accounts, nothing out of the ordinary was expected. Borba’s reporter thought it would be “just another routine meeting, like party plenums most often were.”17 But the same reporter noted that Ćosić’s appearance drew some attention, since he had not attended any meetings since Brioni. If this reporter did not expect anything unusual, he later said that “there [was] no doubt that the party leadership was informed about [Ćosić’s] intentions.”18 Ćosić’s speech can be broken down by its coverage of four themes: the rapid “bureaucratization” and “etatization” of Yugoslavia under current reforms; Slovenian and Croatian prejudices against Serbia; Serbian behavior; and the autonomous regions of Serbia, Kosovo and Vojvodina. The final three of those themes, however, Ćosić considered to be functions of the first: “In our society, ever more powerful bureaucratic nationalisms are at work.”19 “Political self-confidence is today the greatest political risk. Nationalist etatism and bureaucratic particularism can bring into serious doubt our ambition to create a democratic socialism—a society of socialistic self-management, a goal deserving of the greatest efforts, a goal realizable only with the engagement of the entirety of our society’s unified mental and working power.”20 Ćosić lectured his audience, which consisted not only of the members of the Central Committee of the Serbian LC, but also the visiting heads of the other republican central committees, that “…one cannot avoid the widespread conviction that the formula of self-managing rights and self-administration of nations…[and] territorial autonomism cloaks a conception of a primitive, disintegrating, particularizing, inevitably bureaucratic and impoverished society.”21 The danger, Ćosić believed, was that the decentralization of power in Yugoslavia would result in localisms that would “accept old ideologies defeated by the revolution,” by which he clearly understood the Croatian nationalism embodied by the Ustaša, the Serbian nationalism of the Četnik movement, and the other nationalisms defeated during World War II by the partisans. No nation, in Ćosić’s view, was immune to this danger. While an “anti-Serbian mood…emerges in certain environments, especially in Croatia and Slovenia,” Serbs were plagued by “dissatisfaction with [their] development and position” such that “resignation, the feeling of injured national and historical honor, a sort of general anger, have taken over a broad stratum of the Serbian nation.” A dangerous dynamic had emerged: “anti-Serbianism gives birth to anti-Croatianism, anti-Slovenianism gives birth to anti- Serbianism, and thus do Yugoslav chauvinisms mutually provoke, support, and feed each other.”22

  • 23 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 30–31.
  • 24 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 33.

8Ćosić turned then to the Serbian situation in particular, where he demanded that Serbs themselves “decisively oppose the diverse expressions of Serbian national supremacy, which are fairly common in nationally mixed regions and elsewhere, and which…can injure the national and human dignity of the members of other nations.” Having said that, however, Ćosić drew his listeners’ attention to a phenomenon that would come to consume him: srbijanstvo, a “primitive and anachronous political mentality; a view of Serbia from Užice to Zemun…the non-recognition of the ‘prečani,’ the failure to understand the Serbs who do not live in the republic of Serbia…the lack of respect for the variety within the Serbian nation…”23 In the Serbian language, “srbijanstvo” designates a Serbian identity confined to the old pašalik of Belgrade and its environs, excluding those Serbs (“prečani”) who live “across the river,” usually meaning the Danube but more generally to any region north and west of Serbia’s Šumadijan core. In Serbian tradition, the Srbijanac (as opposed to the Srbin, who was of the broader Serbian community) played a more heroic role in the liberation of the Serbs from the Ottomans. Ćosić feared that bureaucratic nationalisms in Croatia and Bosnia would build walls between Serbian communities and feed on that historical tendency among Serbs to view the “true Serb” as one from the nineteenth-century core of the Serbian state. Ćosić’s message regarding the Serbs was thus somewhat mixed: he recognized that Serbs, fearing their status under administrative reforms, were capable of excess; but he also expressed his personal resentment that “Serbia” would be reduced in size in the popular consciousness. “For our generation, will the Sava and the Danube really become the border between Belgrade and Novi Sad, Mačva and Srem, Banat and Danubia?”24 And these were borders put in place by the CPY.

  • 25 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 31.
  • 26 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 32.
  • 27 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 31.

9Ćosić then addressed the autonomous regions of Serbia, Kosovo and Vojvodina. He warned that ethnic relations in Kosovo were worsening, as a feeling was widespread among Serbs of “…endangerment… pressure to emigrate, regarding the systematic removal of Serbs and Montenegrins from leading positions, regarding the desire of experts to leave Kosovo and Metohija, on inequality before the courts and disrespect for legality…” He blamed these phenomena on the Regional Committee of Kosovo and Metohija (a branch of the LCS) and the “results of its engagement in the realization of the directives and intentions of the Fourth [Brioni] Plenum.”25 In Kosovo, “nationality is the basis of self-management…,” he asserted.26 In other words, Kosovo had become an Albanian rather than Yugoslav or Serbian preserve. After Ranković’s fall, Albanians were allowed to feel free to act more aggressively and nationalistically, and Serbs should not have to face that. The LCS underestimated the “irredentist and separatist mood and desires among certain classes of the Šiptar nationality.”27 Finally, Ćosić issued a warning:

  • 28 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 32.

The bureaucratic-statist understanding of equality of the Šiptars in Serbia and Yugoslavia, and the development of their sovereignty, cannot but result in irredentism, in the deepening of political differences among the nations of Kosovo and Metohija and Albania and Yugoslavia in a permanent and open conflict.28

  • 29 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 33.

10The key to understanding Ćosić’s position is the term “bureaucratic-statist”: he believed that the devolution of power to republics and provinces opened the door to national revivals that would endanger ethnic relations throughout Yugoslavia, not just in Kosovo. Ćosić also attacked “autonomism” in Vojvodina, where new “bureaucraticstatist” elites were entrenching themselves.29 The only solution, for Ćosić, was for Yugoslav communists to remain loyal to a universalist approach, one that would render nations less important than being a part of a socialist Yugoslav society.

11Ćosić finished on a mixed note of optimism which presaged much of the rhetoric of the future in Serbian/Albanian relations. His first point was that a separate Kosovo was not necessary, since Serbs were suited to govern non-Serbs. “…that liberationist and revolutionary Serbian nation has the consciousness, power, and will to democratically understand the national feelings of the Šiptars of Kosovo and Metohija, and to support all of their desires, if they are democratic in content and form, if they do not endanger the peace of the Balkans and the independence of the Yugoslav federation…” His second point was that Serbs were forced by history to concern themselves with Kosovo: “Because Serbs and Montenegrins did not conquer Kosovo and Metohija, they did not take them from the Šiptars through war, therefore they are not occupiers and conquerors. Kosovo and Metohija are the old and central inheritance of the Serbian nation.” And he finished with a quiet threat: Albanians in Kosovo had better recognize that Serbs live there, and that Serbs must protect their cultural inheritance.

  • 30 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 36.

…the Šiptars of Kosovo and Metohija should not forget that they have lived together for centuries with Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, that the great works of medieval Serbian culture and the national liberation myth were created there, that the Serbian people gave great sacrifices and enormous resources for the liberation and progress of Kosovo and Metohija, and that nearly three hundred thousand Serbs and Montenegrins live there.30

  • 31 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 37.

12Ćosić’s solution: “the creation of a society in which national equality is created via social relations, but without the state framework, state attributes, national ideology, and national or bureaucratic ‘defenders’ or ‘representatives.’” National identity would become a “matter of the private sphere, an existential possibility for the enrichment of one’s creative originality, one antithesis to the growing unification of life, society, civilization.”31 This prescription is similar to that which he offered for literary organization through the early 1960s.

  • 32 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 40.
  • 33 Djukić, Čovek u svom vremenu, 196–97.
  • 34 Jež, 1510 (Belgrade) 7 June 1968.

13The Central Committee of the LCS “distanced itself” from Ćosić the following day, at the conclusion of the plenum. For his part, Ćosić announced on that second day that “I cannot accept any political responsibility for the eventual negative results of this plenum, and, believe me, I will not contribute in any way to any sort of negative consequences.”32 Two months later, Ćosić followed through on his promise and resigned his party membership.33 After the plenum, the satirical bi-weekly Jež published on its cover a cartoon portraying Ćosić sitting in isolation from his Central Committee colleagues in the meeting hall, with the word divisions emblazoned across the top.34 Ćosić’s Divisions concerned a Serbian people divided ideologically and fratricidally; here, in May 1968, Ćosić himself was isolated either by the Central Committee or by his own will. Both the event itself and the cartoon portrayal allow for different interpretations: Ćosić might have been forced out (and thus betrayed), or he might well have committed a purposeful act of political suicide.

  • 35 Djukić, Čovek u svom vremenu, 185–200.

14In fact, Ćosić’s defiance was purposeful, and represented his first act of contrition before a Serbian people whom he believed he had betrayed as a communist. At this point, Ćosić had already concluded that communism in Yugoslavia was a corrupt and failed endeavor. At the Fourteenth Plenum, he acted in accord with this conclusion, cleansing himself morally and absolving himself of responsibility for future communist transgressions against Serbs and Serbia. The cartoonist for Jež was quite perceptive: in his drawing, Ćosić was not only alone, he had his back turned to his colleagues. He was not forced out of the party, he rejected it. Ćosić has since acknowledged that his separation from the party was his own idea, a result of his disappointment with party policy.35 He harbored no hope that he could affect party policy, so instead of remaining complicit in policies he could not support, he sacrificed himself in the name of Serbia.

  • 36 Draža Marković, Život i politika, 1967–1978 (Belgrade: Rad, 1987) v. 1, 74.
  • 37 Gligorijević, Slučajna istorija, 133. Gligorijević and another Ćosić interviewer, Slavoljub Djukić (...)
  • 38 Gligorijević, Slučajna istorija, 138.

15The Fourteenth Plenum gave birth to the persistent myth of Ćosić as the active subversive. The fact that Ćosić’s speech to the Fourteenth Plenum (on May 29, 1968) immediately preceded the outbreak of the student movement at Belgrade University on June 2 led then to the assumption that the two events were connected. Draža Marković, then a leading Serbian communist, wrote in his diary on June 16, 1968 that “there is no evidence for it, but I am convinced that there are immediate links between Gedža’s presentation at the Plenum and this action.”36 Many years later, Ćosić himself used virtually the same words in conversation with an interviewer: the student movement was “immediately linked to the Fourteenth Plenum of the CC LC Serbia…”37 Marković’s (but not so much Ćosić’s) temptation to credit Ćosić’s speech with fomenting student rebellion is understandable, if ultimately not credible. In 1968, Ćosić was personally close to the members of the “group of professors” (the Praxis group) who actually did inspire the students’ actions and actively participate in the student movement, even if we can now see that his ideas and theirs were growing apart. Furthermore, only four days passed between the Fourteenth Plenum and the beginning of the student demonstrations. However, there were so many more substantial and verifiable reasons for student discontent that to attribute them to one politician’s recent speech is to fundamentally cheapen the goals and ideals of the students. Ćosić has, however, always insisted that he had no direct involvement in the demonstrations themselves. In fact, he has claimed that the students tried to recruit him (a logical move, given his recent history), but he refused to join them out of fear that he could harm their cause.38 Ultimately, though, the point is that even if Ćosić was not an activist in early June 1968, and even if it takes a suspension of judgment to attribute the student movement to his speech of May 29, it is clear that Ćosić was assuming a symbolic role as the leader of forces opposed to Titoism in Serbia.

16The tendency—logical though it was—to conflate the actions and goals of Ćosić and the Praxis group cloaked the fact that there were now two separate tracks in Serbia’s nascent opposition to Titoism. One could be described as “revolutionary purism”—the Praxis group’s members sought a truer version of communism in Yugoslavia, more consistent with Marxist teachings, as opposed to Soviet/East European practice. The other might be labeled “reconstitutionalist,” and brought together Serbs who had begun to openly fear the dispersion of their arguably threatened nation. For now, Ćosić actually served as a bridge between the two orientations, as he had always sought the continued refinement of communism in the Yugoslav context, even if after 1968 he paid ever more attention to the problem of the Serbian nation’s spatial fragmentation.

17By 1968, Dobrica Ćosić was set on a path that he would follow to the end of Tito’s Yugoslavia. Still concerned with the development of culture in communism, Ćosić would add a sense of trepidation that the regime was fundamentally anti-Serbian to his growing belief that Tito was uninterested in seeing through the supranational vision of the new faith. Accordingly, his commentary eventually concentrated on defining Serbia’s culture under communism, as opposed to Yugoslavia’s. Ćosić’s ideas evolved—as seductive as it may be to believe that some catastrophic event caused him fundamentally to alter his focus, that was not the case. Nor is it the case that Ćosić was a closeted nationalist throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. The new Ćosić gradually redirected his focus from Yugoslavia to Serbia, all the while searching for a truly socialist cultural transformation in Yugoslavia as a whole. The primary problem that Ćosić identified in that development was the growing spatial and cultural divide within Serbian society. He might have asked: How can a universalist culture develop when it is being fragmented from within?


  • 39 Steven L. Burg, Conflict and Cohesion in Socialist Yugoslavia: Political Decision-Making Since 196 (...)

18Ćosić left the Serbian League of Communists in 1968 after two years of silent protest against the party’s response to the Ranković affair culminating with his noisy exit following the Fourteenth Plenum. It is clear that Ćosić saw Aleksandar Ranković’s fall as an injustice, a conclusion based equally on his personal feelings towards Ranković and his own political inclinations. The institutional implications of Ranković’s dismissal became apparent immediately, as the Yugoslav League of Communists formed a commission to consider the reorganization of the league. Its proposals were submitted to the LCY Central Committee in October, 1966. Aside from relatively cosmetic changes to the titles of positions (the “general secretary” of the LCY was replaced by the “president” of the league) and the structure of the federal administration (the old nineteen-member Executive Committee was replaced by a Presidium of thirty-five members and a new Executive Bureau of eleven members), the commission also noted the need to “adapt the organizational structure and method of work of the League of Communists to the new relations and to the development of the federative organization” of Yugoslavia.39 In other words, the structure of the party should be made to match the new intent to devolve power to the republics and provinces.

  • 40 Burg, Conflict and Cohesion, 39.
  • 41 Burg, Conflict and Cohesion, 41.

19Ćosić could not abide the post-affair reckoning within the Serbian party, which was being compelled from above to become less centralized and more responsive to the desires of provincial political elites. This tendency towards the devolution of power was initiated immediately after the fall of Ranković. Following the federal lead, the Serbian League of Communists appointed its own commission to reorganize itself and the way it chose representatives to its bodies. Setting the tone for future behavior in the post-Ranković era, the commission was forced to combat previous centralization of decision-making by presenting multiple proposals which would be debated not only by the Serbian central committee, but the regional committees for Kosovo and Vojvodina as well as mid-level party organizations.40 The result was a conflicted party whose leadership “retained only tenuous control” in the view of Serbs critical of the developments.41 Dobrivoje Radosavljević became the president of the Central Committee (the leading position among Serbian communists). As a member of the commission that accused Ranković of “deformations,” Radosavljević was a logical choice, but he lasted only a little over a year. Petar Stambolić, a longtime member of the Serbian party leadership, took over from Radosavljević in February, 1968.

  • 42 Slavoljub Djukić, Slom srpskih liberala: Tehnologija političkih obračuna Josipa Broza. (Belgrade: (...)

20Stambolić’s tenure was bisected by the student demonstrations of June, 1968. In the aftermath of the demonstrations, Tito is reported to have exclaimed that “all of them should go,” referring to the leaders of the Serbian party. Tito was convinced that the party had not paid enough attention to the Belgrade University professors (members of the Praxis group) who he believed had provoked the student movement.42 Stambolić resigned his position at the head of the Central Committee and arranged for the appointment of Marko Nikezić in his place; Latinka Perović would replace Stevan Doronjski, the secretary of the Central Committe. With the ascent of Nikezić and Perović to the top of the Serbian party hierarchy, the era of the so-called “liberals” in Serbian politics commenced. Until 1968, Nikezić (b. 1921) had devoted most of his public life to diplomacy, having served as ambassador to Egypt, Czechoslovakia, and the United States and as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Yugoslavia. Perović, a much younger woman (b. 1934), had risen through the party ranks as a member of the presidency of the Yugoslav Youth organization and of the Ideological Commission of the LCY. Together, they attempted to fundamentally alter the way politics was done in Serbia and Yugoslavia.

  • 43 Slobodan Inić, “Serbia’s Historic Defeat,” in New Politics (Summer 1993) 166.
  • 44 Djukić, Slom, 25.
  • 45 Djukić, Slom, 25.

21The liberals have become the objects of a Serbian cult of “what might have been.” They are credited with having tried to modernize the Serbian party, with having been the best and the brightest of their generation, and with having been the tragic victims of Tito’s jealous desire to remain the single arbiter in Yugoslav political life. One Serbian commentator, writing in 1993, said that “their time in office meant a break in the continuity of a rule in Serbia based on a combination of nationalism and dogmatism. For the first time in its history, in a perfectly democratic manner, Serbia achieved a political independence that was not directed against any other Yugoslav nation, Yugoslavia itself, or the interests of its own people.”43 If that was all true, then the fall of the liberals was indeed a tragedy for Serbia. All students of the period agree that the liberals were characterized by their ability (rather than their obedience) and their desire to mold a set of policies for Serbia that would modernize its economy, democratize its political life, and satisfy the desires of Serbs and the nationalities of Serbia. Nikezić later identified five principles that guided them: a market economy, a modern Serbia, freeing Serbia from the “ballast of Serbian Yugoslavism,” creating capable and expert cadres, and cooperation rather than confrontation with other republics.44 Nikezić continued: “The idea was to establish bridges with all republics, always conversation and not confrontation, then modernization and intensive development of Serbia proper, close cooperation with Vojvodina and Montenegro, the democratization of political life.”45 One of the thinnest lines the liberals would have to walk would be between the LC and the non-party intellectuals regarding the nature of Serbia’s organization after 1966; their attempt to encourage everything but physical unity among the various Serbian entities satisfied no one.

22Unfortunately for Nikezić and his colleagues, their arrival came at an inopportune time—not only were the student demonstrations fresh in the minds of Serbs and of Tito, but the Croatian mass movement was gaining momentum, and an Albanian national rebellion would break out in Kosovo on the third day after Nikezić and Perović were installed. Aside from those tangible crises, it also appears in hindsight that Tito was in the process of concluding that the party needed to reassert control of political life in Yugoslavia, undoubtedly under the impress of those same events. And finally, while the liberals attempted to navigate those events and put their stamp on a new, economically sound communism in Serbia, a non-party Serbian opposition to Titoism would begin to be heard, with Dobrica Ćosić as its alleged leader (although this opposition would not be a coherent or consistent one). All in all, it is difficult to say whether Serbia lost a “historic” opportunity when the liberals fell, because Nikezić and Perović had little chance to pursue coherent policies aggressively.

  • 46 Quoted in Inić, “Serbia’s Historic Defeat,” 166.

23It is surprising how much the Serbian liberals have come to be seen as Serbia’s failed hope, given how little they accomplished. But, they have come to occupy that symbolic position in the memory of Serbs who see what came after 1974 as a horrible tragedy inflicted by the inept party hacks with whom Tito replaced them. They resigned their positions in November 1972, eleven months after the Croatian leadership of Savka Dabčević-Kučar, Mika Tripalo, and Pero Pirker, who fell from power in December 1971 when the Croatian Spring movement which they embraced got out of hand. The comparison with the Croatian situation disturbed Serbs: Croatian party leaders embraced a nationalist, in the end even separatist, movement; Serbian party leaders wished to modernize Serbia and Yugoslavia, were not nationalists or centralists, yet lost their positions as well. The liberals could not overcome the complexity of their position—unlike Dabčević-Kučar and Tripalo, who are still revered by Croats for their efforts, the liberals were loved neither by Tito nor Serbs in general. Mijalko Todorović, an original partisan who was an integral part of the liberal group in Serbia after the fall of Ranković in 1966, believed that the liberals “did not have enough support in Serbia itself, i.e., that they did not express the majority mood.”46 Instead, they were caught between two rocks: Tito, and a Serbian intelligentsia which was growing more and more restive. The hectic nature of the liberal period in Serbian postwar politics was magnified by the fact that they and Tito were working at cross purposes. Whereas the liberals were concerned with modernizing and democratizing Serbia, Tito and Kardelj were most concerned with reasserting the power of the League of Communists.

  • 47 Trgovčević, Istorija, 137.

24The Liberals had to worry about both flanks: Tito and the Serbian intellectuals, flailing away at them from different corners. Ćosić now gave much of that brooding intellectual elite a focus for their anger at the regime. Ćosić, who had resigned from the UKS in 1965 and the SKJ in 1968, became president of the Serbian Literary Guild (SKZ) in 1969. His task, in the words of the historian of the SKZ, was to “return the guild to the nurturing of the soul of Serbian culture, to initiate new research and emphasize work in progression Serbian tradition, to revitalize its illumination of the entirety of Serbian cultural space.”47 In 1971, as president of the guild, Ćosić would lament the loss of Serbia’s connection with its past and ideals, which, he believed, had fallen by the wayside:

  • 48 Dobrica Ćosić, “Porazi i ciljevi,” in Ćosić, Stvarno i moguče, 86.

Some essential national and cultural goals of the Serbian nation, evidenced on battlefields and gallows, in prisons and camps, thus, everywhere at the highest cost—goals and ideals named by Vuk and Dositej, Njegoš and Branko Radičević, Sima Matavulj and Stojan Novaković, Djura Jakšić and Jovan Cvijić, Petar Kočić and Isidora Sekulić, Ivo Andrić and Veljko Petrović. To many of our contemporaries, a passel of national, social, and cultural ideals of several generations still seem unrealized.48

25Ćosić sought to reconnect the SKZ to that ignored past. His move had important institutional connotations: he had now begun to refocus his efforts, switching from the Yugoslav context, where he had concluded that the dream of integration had failed, to the Serbian context, where the task was parallel, but narrowed. Now, under his leadership, the SKZ would contribute to the integration of the Serbian people, wherever it lived. Having said that, however, Ćosić would continually emphasize—as he had earlier, in both “How We ‘Create Ourselves’” and in his speech to the Fourteenth Plenum—that Serbs were fundamentally, even intrinsically, universalist in their perspectives. In other words, their culture embodied the very virtues that a socialist, Yugoslav, culture would eventually embrace. They were, it seems, universalists, by definition.

  • 49 Dobrica Ćosić, “Duh obnove i savremenosti,” in Delo v. 16, no. 2 (February 1970) 187. This speech (...)

26As president of the zadruga, Ćosić turned his attention for the first time in fifteen years to practical matters: specifically, reviving an institution that had been allowed to wither after the Second World War, bearing the burden of its collaboration during that war. In his first speech to the guild as president, he bemoaned the weakness of the organization’s network of cultural activists and its funding. To those ends, he suggested that the guild be infused with a new crusading spirit in the hope of raising funds to allow it to publish as it had through the outbreak of the Second World War. Guiding these activities would be a reverence for “those ideas which make up the national culture, in spirit and in meaning, universally human in time and space.”49

  • 50 Trgovčević, Istorija, 139; Gligorijević, Slučajna istorija, 295–96.

27By May 1971, Ćosić had succeeded in building support for the SKZ, which now expanded to include an executive committee and a directorate. The executive committee of the zadruga included Mića Popović, Radovan Samardžić, Mihailo Djurić, Kosta Mihailović, Vojislav Djurić, Pavle Ivić, Dimitrije Bogdanović, Slobodan Selenić, Meša Selimović, Milorad Pavić, Dušan Matić, Ivo Andrić, Erih Koš, Svetlana Velmar-Janković, Skender Kulenović, Mihailo Marković, and many others. Ćosić, as president, Vojislav Djurić, as vice-president, and Selenić, as secretary, filled out the directorate. They represented a healthy cross-section of the Serbian intelligentsia, with perhaps more who could be described as critics of the regime than might have been expected.50

  • 51 Vlada Miletić, “Beseda stara i beseda nova,” in NIN (Belgrade) October 22, 1972, 15.
  • 52 Ćosić, “Porazi i ciljevi,” 87.
  • 53 Ćosić, “Porazi i ciljevi,” 87.
  • 54 Ćosić, “Porazi i ciljevi,” 88.
  • 55 Ćosić, “Porazi i ciljevi,” 88.
  • 56 Ćosić, “Porazi i ciljevi,” 94.

28Aside from bringing in some of Serbia’s most prominent writers and cultural figures, the only initiative that Ćosić was able to pursue was a series of speeches across provincial Serbia (Kragujevac, Leskovac, Bor, Zaječar, and other cities and towns).51 At these events, several writers would read from their work to a local audience; the goal was to increase an appreciation for literature among the less cosmopolitan people of Serbia. The SKZ sponsored these talks only in the territory of Serbia proper. Ćosić clearly wished to expand them to other Serbian-populated regions of Yugoslavia, but was not given the time, nor perhaps the permission, to do so. He was irked by the fact that the SKZ, which in his view had worked before the war throughout the Serbian culture zones of Yugoslavia, had “in recent decades seen its activity narrowed and for the most part reduced to the republic of Serbia.” He revived his rhetoric from 1967 and 1968. “The true extent of the spiritual unity of the Serbian people, the historical and textual unity of Serbian culture, the unity which has existed ever since there have been a Serbian people and national consciousness, are being called into question.”52 That unity, which Ćosić asserted rather than demonstrated, had “only been contested, between the Berlin Congress and our times, by Austria-Hungary and the Third Reich.”53 On paper, according to Ćosić, nothing had challenged Serbian cultural unity since 1945, either. But: “…reality and practice are notably different. It is obvious that since 1945 and the completion of the war, we Serbs have denied ourselves the right to emphasize and stress our national distinctiveness, convinced that in that way we contribute to socialist Yugoslavism more fully.”54 The result of that typical Serbian willingness to give up something essentially theirs for the greater good was that Serbia had been “reduced to the borders of today’s republic of Serbia,” and that anyone who questioned that situation was accused of “Great Serbianism.” The result: “Our culture remains without vision, is torn into anachronisms, gets mixed up in all kinds of errors, turns into the ditch of history.”55 Ćosić’s solution was of course to rebuild the unity of Serbian culture, rediscover cultural vision, and focus Serbs on that which was most important to them—their own culture, which had been set aside in the interests of a higher goal, now corrupted: socialist Yugoslavism. “I suggest then to awaken in people again a new and great hope. That is, I believe, the most difficult assignment of contemporary culture.”56

29Such a call—for a return to Serbian culture—could only set off alarms within the halls of power. The fact that he took over the SKZ and proclaimed such goals for it at an unstable point in Yugoslavia’s postwar history only increased the danger for Ćosić, but at that point it was not Serbian nationalism that threatened the existence of the state—it was Croatian. When Ćosić uttered these words before the annual congress of the SKZ in May 1971, the Croatian mass movement (maspok, or Croatian Spring) was in full force. Thus he made certain that no one doubted his, and by implication the SKZ’s, opposition to nationalism:

  • 57 Ćosić, “Porazi i ciljevi,” 91.

We reject nationalism in culture today, this culture of egoism and aggression, intolerance and collective stupidity, because ideas of hate towards other peoples, violence towards foreign values…the devaluing of the other, acceptance of local, regional, particular criteria and measures, is deeply foreign to that liberationist, humanistic, and tragic essence of the Serbian people and their culture.57

30For Ćosić, the failure to integrate Yugoslavia’s disparate cultures amounted to a devaluing of the Serbian contribution to Yugoslavism, for, he argued, it was precisely in its openness towards others that Serbian culture excelled. Serbia is open, Serbia gives, Serbia does not take, Serbian culture is antithetical to nationalism: reiterated, reformulated, repeated ad nauseum: Ćosić’s vision would consume Serbian intellectual and cultural life thenceforward.

  • 58 Perović, Zatvaranje kruga, 367–68, 385; Marković, Život i politika, v. 1, 348.
  • 59 Trgovčević, Istorija, 139.

31By late 1972, Ćosić had to resign as president of the zadruga. His own allegedly nationalist orientation, and easy comparisons of the work of the SKZ (specifically the besede) with the work of the Matica Hrvatska, which had recently been closed down as a result of its role in the Croatian Spring, made his exit imperative to the government. Between 1968 and 1972, the turbulence of the reform era reached its peak. Aside from the Croatian Spring, in Serbia, constitutional amendments designed as a second phase in the restructuring of Yugoslav society met with a variety of responses, none placid. The Serbian League of Communists, reformed under new “liberal” leadership following the end of the Ranković era, struggled to mediate between the inevitability of federalization and its own understanding of Serbian interests. Outside of the party, the constitutional changes found many critics from various perspectives. Certainly, Dobrica Ćosić was among those critics, but nobody in power had a clear idea of the precise nature of his role. Within the League of Communists he had already come to be a symbol of Serbian nationalism and in some amorphous way the source of all evil in Serbia. But, realistically, the activities of the SKZ were relatively benign, and Ćosić’s influence was far less important than many—himself included—believed. The Ćosić era at the SKZ, which ended in October 1972, left few marks on Serbian culture, more on Serbian memory. Tito had made it clear that he would not tolerate Ćosić’s leadership of the organization.58 Ćosić resigned on October 10, 1972 (the second day of Tito’s four-day meeting with the Serbian leadership, which was about to resign), “because of the situation in which the Serbian Literary Guild finds itself, through no fault of its own.” Twenty-six members of the executive committee, including Mića Popović, Kosta Mihailović, Pavle Ivić, Radovan Samardžić, Dimitrije Bogdanović, Slobodan Selenić, and Meša Selimović, followed suit.59


  • 60 Burg, Conflict and Cohesion, 211.
  • 61 Andrija Gams, “Koncepcije amandmana: istorijski promašaj,” in Intervju (Belgrade) August 4, 1989, (...)
  • 62 Gams, “Koncepcije amandmana,” 16.
  • 63 Kosta Čavoški, “Ustavnost i pravo veta,” in Kosta Čavoški, Revolucionarni makiavelizam i drugi ese (...)

32Ćosić, who bemoaned the spatial fragmentation of Serbia, gained a martyr in Mihailo Djurić. Djurić, a member of the Simina 9a commune, found himself at the center of two controversies in Serbia. The core issue in both controversies was the fragmentation of Serbia, politically and culturally. The first concerned proposed constitutional amendments. The second attended the erection of a new mausoleum for Njegoš. First, the political: on March 18, 19, and 22, 1971, the law faculty of the University of Belgrade hosted discussions of proposed amendments to the 1963 constitution of Yugoslavia. Like the University of Belgrade, other universities in Yugoslavia sponsored such public forums; these events were endorsed by the League of Communists as part of the function of self-management in this communist society. The amendments were also to be discussed by party aktivs of other organizations. In fact, harsh criticism was leveled at the amendments by Serbia’s most respected and loyal constitutional law expert, Jovan Djordjević, who criticized the amendments’ creation of a weak federal center and their inclusion of a right to republican or provincial veto of legislation.60 Coming from a respected member of the establishment, this critique was simply ignored. In the case of the University of Belgrade law faculty discussions, however, the criticism was more explosive. Djurić was one of several speakers who criticized the amendments mercilessly. Another, Andrija Gams, a professor of law, delivered a powerful speech that asserted that the amendments unfairly punished Serbia by creating virtually sovereign republics and autonomous provinces; he also explicitly bemoaned the fact that those Croats who most questioned the existence of a unified Yugoslavia were being rewarded with these amendments: “from that standpoint,” Gams said, “it seems to me that the amendments represent a great defeat [at the hands of Croats].”61 On a less emotional level, he criticized the fact that the constitutional amendments would break up the unified market in Yugoslavia: “To this point, practice has shown that a unified market is not possible when the legislative branch is broken down into six centers, and even down to the level of districts, or for that matter enterprises.”62 Kosta Čavoški, an assistant at the law faculty, criticized the virtual veto power that two amendments would give any republic or autonomous province, a power that he felt would paralyze any moves toward even gradual change in Yugoslavia. Noting that the same people who had brought Yugoslavia the centralist constitution of 1946 had now offered the federalist constitution of 1963 and its amendments, he asked in conclusion whether “the task of us lawyers will be to interpret and defend the Constitution or to lead the people to the consciousness of the right to rebellion?”63

33The most famous, and now even legendary, presentation at the law faculty in March 1971 came from Djurić, who refused even to speak about the amendments themselves.

  • 64 Djurić’s presentation is reprinted as “Smišljene smutnje” in Mihailo Djurić, Iskustvo razlike (Bel (...)

I will come out neither for nor against that which is written, as I believe that not many of you will be satisfied with fixing or adding individual formulations in the text which has been so graciously offered us for inspection. I will speak about the initial assumptions and eventual consequences of today’s constitutional crisis, and thus on something much more important, more fundamental, more essential; on something which the legal text does not cover, which is silenced in it, which is hushed up, hidden, even mystified by it.64

  • 65 Djurić, “Smišljene smutnje,” 12–13.
  • 66 Djurić, “Smišljene smutnje,” 13.

34That which was mystified: the fact that “Yugoslavia is virtually a geographical expression, given that on its soil, or more precisely, on its ruins…a few independent, autonomous, even mutually opposed nation-states have been established.”65 Djurić expressed disappointment that the national question had again come to dominate discourse in Yugoslavia. Like other Serbs, from the Proposal crisis through the failure of Ćosić’s initiative in the SKZ, Djurić meant by “national question” the Croatian national movement, and he clearly felt aggrieved at having to broach the topic at this point in Yugoslavia’s postwar development. “Neither the national question nor the question of the founding of the state,” he said, “has any higher epochal importance. Those are not essential questions of our times, in spite of the fact that an ill-fated mood so tirelessly awakens them in the dead of night in our region.”66

  • 67 Djurić, “Smišljene smutnje,” 14.
  • 68 Djurić, “Smišljene smutnje,” 17.
  • 69 Gams, “Koncepcije amandmana,” 14.

35As upsetting to Djurić as the revival of the national question, though, was the fact that the state seemed to be rewarding the Croats for their nationalism, to the detriment of the Serbs of the entire country: “…if we still must think and speak on national and state matters, if we still must align ourselves nationally and as states and delimit borders, then we must be conscious of our historical responsibility before the nation to which we belong…”, he complained, “then we must know that for the Serbian nation at this moment the question of its identity and integrity is of the greatest importance…” The Croats had made nationality an issue again—as they had in 1967 with the Declaration—and Serbs were forced to respond, again as they had in 1967. “It is much more important to warn [the Serbian people] that the Serbian nation already is in an unequal position regarding other nations in Yugoslavia, such that the proposed constitutional changes, in the end, are directed against its deepest existential interests. The ultimate consequence of the changes would be its complete disintegration.”67 Djurić’s prescription for the Serbian people in this crisis was that “today, more than anything, the Serbian nation must be sobered from the mistakes of the past. In order to survive today’s trials, to be able to sustain itself in the torrent into which it is pushed, the Serbian nation must turn to itself, it must begin to fight for its dangerously imperiled national identity and integrity. That is the fundamental precondition to its further historical self-affirmation.”68 Djurić’s presentation left little to the imagination. Gams spoke after Djurić and endorsed his comments.69 Both, and several others as well, would suffer for their remarks, but none like Djurić.

  • 70 Slavoljub Djukić, “Nasilje nad mišljenjem,” in NIN (Belgrade) May 28, 1989, 23.
  • 71 Djukić, Slom, 144–45.
  • 72 See the entire issue of Umetnost: Časopis za likovne umetnosti i kritiku(Belgrade) no. 27–28, July (...)

36Some of the presentations at the Law Faculty that March were reprinted in the student magazine Student; all were published in the Anali of the Law Faculty. In both cases, the publications were banned by the public prosecutor, whose decision was upheld by the Supreme Court of Yugoslavia.70 As evidence of the complicated position of the liberals, Nikezić is said to have intervened with the Yugoslav supreme court to limit Djurić’s punishment to a fine; none of the liberals were willing to argue against any punishment, allegedly because Tito was demanding scalps at a time when the party was being criticized from many different sides.71 Over a year later, in July 1972, Djurić was imprisoned for his presentation at the Law Faculty and one other written piece, protesting the erection of a mausoleum for Njegoš that was designed by Ivan Meštrović (in that case, Djurić was one of dozens of Serbian cultural and intellectual figures who protested the destruction of the old mausoleum).72 In his remarks to the court at his hearing in July, Djurić concluded with this:

  • 73 Mihailo Djurić, “Odbrana pred sudom,” in Iskustvo razlike, 31.

This prosecution is not only my affair and does not concern only myself personally. The fact that it was initiated and is being held has much broader social significance. In that, the judgment which this court will offer will not affect only me. It will decide also the fate of one great principle which sees in bravery for the truth the greatest expression of human integrity and the strongest confirmation of social engagement, and will, with that in mind, immediately influence the world view of many of my students with whom I have in the course of so many years tried to awaken the love of the truth as the greatest passion of the mind, or, which is one and the same, love towards justice as the most important determinant of character. I hope that this court will have enough strength to bring down a judgment such as is expected of it by all of those for whom the good of this country truly lies in their hearts.73

37In spite of his feverish self-defense, never mind the warning to his judges that he might become a symbol of that which they feared most (the “truth”), Djurić received two years imprisonment for his spoken and written words. There had been literally thousands of unjust prosecutions and incarcerations in Yugoslavia’s modern history; this one stood out for several reasons. First, Djurić was an active socialist intellectual, popular with his students; second, his talk before the Law Faculty had been public, heard by an audience and later published by Student, which meant that it was perfectly visible and could be judged on its merits rather than in a court of law; third, he made his remarks in an academic context which had been sanctioned by the LCY; fourth, in his talk he expressed ideas that were nationalistic, regardless his own disavowals of nationalism, while a nationalist movement peaked in another Yugoslav republic (Croatia).

38The government had not tried and convicted Mihailo Djurić solely on the basis of his talk before the Law Faculty. The indictment had also included a short written piece entitled “Kamen razdora” (Stone of Discord). Djurić had contributed this essay to a volume of works collected and published to protest the destruction of Njegoš’s mausoleum on the top of Mount Lovčen; a new mausoleum designed by Ivan Meštrović would replace it, by decision of the Montenegrin government. The “amendments affair” and the “mausoleum affair” concerned different spheres of public and private life in Yugoslavia, but they were analogous. The amendments affair highlighted the fragmentation of Serbia in politics, and illustrated just how little the state valued the opinions of experts; the mausoleum affair did the same, but concerned a cultural, not a political question. The decision to destroy the old mausoleum and replace it with Meštrović’s new one was made by the Montenegrin authorities in 1952; by 1969, the planning was nearly complete, and in 1971, the new mausoleum was built. It meant that the old chapel at the top of Lovčen—Njegoš’s chosen place of burial—had to be destroyed. The decision had provoked strong opposition among many Serbs (and also many Montenegrins, Croats, and other Yugoslavs), who grew upset on four points: first, that the original mausoleum, designed by Njegoš and on a site chosen by him, would be destroyed; second, that it would be replaced by one designed by Meštrović; third, that Meštrović’s design itself was outdated and inappropriate to the site; and fourth, that such a profound decision could be taken by the Montenengrin authorities without regard to the opinion of other Yugoslavs, and especially of Serbs, and beyond that of Serbs well-versed in Serbian cultural history.

  • 74 Umetnost, 52.
  • 75 Umetnost, 52.
  • 76 Umetnost, 53.
  • 77 Umetnost, 63.
  • 78 Umetnost, 148; from a long letter to Književne novine of December 21, 1970.
  • 79 Umetnost, 198.

39Many Serbs noted that Meštrović’s plan fit neither the specific situation nor the era in which Yugoslavs lived. The Fall 1971 issue of Umetnost, the leading Serbian art journal, brought together a long list of Serbian cultural luminaries to condemn the destruction of the original mausoleum in favor of Meštrović’s creation. Lazar Trifunović, the art critic who was close to Mića Popović, proclaimed Meštrović’s mausoleum, which was first designed in 1924, “completely counter to the spirit and essence of our art today and which totally contradicts contemporary concepts of the work of art.”74 Trifunović was the first of many who would associate this mausoleum with Nazi art and architecture: “It is no coincidence that this type of art has been supported by countries (for instance, Nazi Germany) which, on one hand, desired to glorify their political dictatorship, and on the other hand were against all that was progressive, avant-garde, and free in European art.”75 The mausoleum “glorified ideas which are very, very foreign to this country and this society.” Njegoš’s grave “dare not be weighed down by a type of mausoleum architecture which has adorned and still adorns the graves of tyrants and dictators.”76 Others had more commonplace aesthetic objections: Oto Bihalji-Merin believed, as did many, that the mausoleum was “oversized, too heavy for that position on the narrow summit of the mountain.”77 Still others asserted that Meštrović himself was a politically compromised individual who, as a Croat, was an outsider to Serbian culture. Yet Meštrović suited a regime that had enshrined the notion of “brotherhood and unity”—an outgrowth of early nineteenth-century Yugoslavism, of which Meštrović had been a representative. Žika Stojković pronounced Meštrović a political chameleon who was a Yugoslav, Croat, or even a self-proclaimed Serb when it suited the political climate.78 Pavle Ivić absurdly declared Meštrović “a man unsurpassed in his hatred for the Serbian people.”79

  • 80 Umetnost, 81.
  • 81 Umetnost, 198.
  • 82 Umetnost, 151.
  • 83 Umetnost, 246.
  • 84 Mihiz, “Obretenije glave Vladike Rada,” in Mihiz, Kazivanja i ukazivanja, 40–41.

40Virtually all of the Serbian opposition to Meštrović’s mausoleum based its resistance on the sanctity of Njegoš himself. There were variations within this theme, however. The Serbian Orthodox church opposed the building of the mausoleum. Vladika Danilo II, the Metropolitan of the Montenegrin branch of the Serbian Orthodox church, noted that “Njegoš was not a poet, ruler, and only then a bishop. He was first a bishop, ruler, and only then a poet. If he had not been a bishop, what then? An ordinary poet!” As such, the metropolitan asserted that “the district wishes to destroy a chapel which is already sanctified, meaning the possession of the church, and build a mausoleum on that place, which cannot be allowed. No one has the right to disturb Njegoš’s remains.”80 Serbian cultural leaders would not have agreed with the metropolitan’s premise—that Njegoš’s importance depended solely on his status as a bishop—but they did see him as a sacred figure in Serbian literature. Ivić, like many of the opponents of the Mausoleum’s construction, proclaimed Njegoš “the greatest Serb among Serbian poets.”81 For Stojković, placing Meštrović’s work on the top of Lovčen was “an artistic lie, a historical forgery, a challenge to all of that which Njegoš meant as a descendant and ancestor of those spiritual, moral qualities of his nationality…”82 Dobrica Ćosić might have been the most combative in this regard: “I don’t know what Njegoš is, if he is not the greatest Serbian poet of the nineteenth century, nor do I know what Serbian culture is without Njegoš in it.” Ćosić went further, however, accusing the Montenegrin authorities of coopting Njegoš for a “new” Montenegrin nation and culture: “The injustice which these ideologues do to him in their so-called revision of the cultural inheritance, and in alleged efforts to affirm a national culture, or a national specificity, these ideological compensations are the harshest betrayal of Njegoš, his universality, his greatness.”83 Mihiz entitled his lament “Obretenije glave Vladike Rada” (The Decapitation of Vladika Rade), after the poem “Obretenije glave Tsara Lazara,” to compare the treatment of Njegoš (known as Vladika Rade) to that of the headless Lazar, carried from place to place until Serbia rose again.84

41Mihailo Djurić’s contribution to the collection focused most on the temerity of a bureaucracy in making such a decision despite the impassioned opposition of the vast majority of Serbian cultural figures.

  • 85 Umetnost, 187.

In whose name do some provincial administrators assume for themselves the right to build a monument to a mover of the spirit who was in his own lifetime a citizen of the world, when they cannot even assure the common support, nevermind broadest support, of the domestic cultural public for their project?85

42Others agreed, of course. Lazar Trifunović led the opposition to Meštrović’s mausoleum, and constantly reiterated his disgust that the Montenegrin government ignored the advice of art historians. Mića Popović made the point as well:

  • 86 Umetnost, 204.

So many intelligent and thoughtful contributions have appeared in opposition to the Assyrian monument at the top of spiritual Montenegro! So many good arguments of experts and historians! So many of the Bishop’s own writings agree so perfectly with the arguments of the experts! So many people bemoaned the act, so many people went dumb before the vision of a beheaded Lovčen.86

  • 87 Umetnost, 246.

43For Ćosić, the fact that the government was creating a false cultural reality in the interests of a flawed brotherhood and unity promised a dangerous future: “That creates a hatred. A hatred which has a power—stronger than wisdom, courage, and honor of our generation. We can only be saved from that hatred by a new Mountain Wreath.”87 It is hard to imagine a less likely ode to tolerance than Njegoš’s The Mountain Wreath, but Ćosić was undoubtedly overwrought.

44Ultimately, the decision to place Meštrović’s mausoleum at the top of Mount Lovčen revealed currents of opposition to the way that “brotherhood and unity” were administered in Yugoslavia. All of the opponents of the mausoleum, whether Serb, Croat, Montenegrin, or of some other nationality, resented the fact that the decision was made by a bureaucracy without the advice of art historians and other experts. Many Serbs were certain that the decision had been made in order to provide support for the notion of Montenegrin nationhood. The fact that the outcry echoed strongest among Serbs prompted the Croatian press to label this an episode of Great Serbian nationalism. The historical, artistic, and literary arguments for and against Meštrović’s plan were entirely ignored by the Montenegrin government, rendering them academic. As would continue to be the case, politics prevailed in this instance. But, for our purposes here, it is necessary to note that Djurić was one among dozens of Serbs and others who publicly protested the erection of Meštrović’s mausoleum, and his contribution was far from the most aggressive. The prosecution of Mihailo Djurić appeared to be meant to balance the books, as the Croatian Spring had culminated with many Croats jailed for their ideas. The crackdown in Croatia had begun between the date of Djurić’s talk and his prosecution a year later. Finally, the ideas that Djurić expressed were so close to those of Dobrica Ćosić in 1968 that it was impossible for Serbs not to link them. Ćosić had left the party of his own free will, but would come to be perceived as a victim; Djurić now became the first real victim of the League of Communists’ fear of Serbian reconstitutionalism.

  • 88 “Za slobodu akademske diskusije,” Praxis (Zagreb) v. 9, no. 3–4 (May – August, 1972) 611.
  • 89 “Za slobodu akademske diskusije,” 612.

45Djurić found defenders who were willing to go public. Praxis, edited by people who could not be expected to share his perspective, nonetheless defended it: “the fundamental assumption of any academic discussion is the freedom of expression of one’s own opinion, without regard to whether it is right or wrong, acceptable or unacceptable.”88 The editors found the argument that Djurić was a nationalist absurd: “Obviously it cannot be shown that Mihajlo Djurić belonged to any sort of ‘nationalist movement.’” While distancing themselves from his remarks, “with which we do not agree,” the editors asked “is it necessary to judge and expel from the university a person who, in an academic discussion, utters even some sort of ‘nationalistic declaration’?”89 In the opinion of the editors, it was far more likely that Djurić was being persecuted because of his affiliation with Praxis itself, an affiliation that was long and deep. Several Belgrade university professors associated with Praxis had recently had their own passports confiscated; soon, eight of them would be fired from their jobs for their “moral-political unsuitability.”

  • 90 The issue of Filozofija in question, volume 2 of 1972, was confiscated by the censors, so the cont (...)

46The Serbian Philosophical Society, via public forum and its journal Filozofija, also rose to Djurić’s defense. Here Dobrica Ćosić stood out among the defenders. Ćosić adopted the same approach as the editors of Praxis had90:

  • 91 Ćosić, “Procesi,” 104.

None of us who have our opinions about the constitutional amendments, Meštrović’s mausoleum, and on Djurić’s thoughts on that mausoleum and those amendments, and are neither Četniks nor emigrants, can, in the name of some valid social principle, agree that differences of opinion be established and judged by criminal laws and courts.91

  • 92 Ćosić, “Procesi,” 106.
  • 93 Ćosić, “Procesi,” 109.
  • 94 Ćosić, “Procesi,” 111. On Ćosić’s primary authorship of the passage, see Djukić, Čovek u svom vrem (...)

47Is this only the beginning of the trials and convictions of “engaged contemporaries” who have written articles and given speeches over the past decade?92 In the same talk, Ćosić condemned the trial not only of Djurić, but those of Hungarian and Croatian intellectuals who were imprisoned for their ideas—not because he agreed with them, but because “the court is not the social force which can deeply and lastingly invalidate their backwards ideas, their misguided intellects…”93 To conclude, Ćosić quoted the conclusion of the very Program of the LCY (which he had in fact written): “Nothing that is created dares be so holy for us that it can not be surmounted and give way to that which is still more progressive, more free, more human.”94

48The uproar attending the destruction of Njegoš’s mausoleum introduced Yugoslavia to the issues that would come to dominate the eventual Serbian nationalist movement. In fact, the Umetnost issue that brought together the Serbian response serves as the best Serbian intellectual declaration of war on Titoism, even at this relatively early date. With the resulting hostility to bureaucracy, resentment of a regime that would ignore its cultural and intellectual leaders, fear of the political fragmentation of Serbia, and anger at the destruction of Serbia’s cultural inheritance, the imposition of a Croatian sculptor’s work in the interests of the invention of a specific Montenegrin culture provoked the crystallization of a nascent Serbian nationalist movement.


  • 95 Rusinow, The Yugoslav Experiment, 321–23.

49All the more ironic is the fact that the Serbian party leadership (Nikezić and Perović, et al.) that persecuted Djurić came as close as the intellectual opponents of Titoism would get to having friends in high places. Not only that, in November 1972, soon after the events described above, following a contentious four-day debate with Tito in October over the nature of the Serbian party’s relationship to other Yugoslav parties and Tito himself, Nikezić, Perović, and others withdrew from public life. The meeting followed the circulation of a now-famous letter (“The Letter”) in September. The Letter was composed and signed only by Tito and Stane Dolanc, the secretary of the Executive Bureau of the League of Communists. The essence of The Letter’s message was that the LCY would reassert control of cadre policy throughout the country; would determine the party’s line for the entire federation and all republican and regional parties; and would return to its status as a revolutionary party responsible for defending the achievements of Yugoslav socialism, especially self-management.95

  • 96 Djukić, Slom, 27.
  • 97 Djukić, Slom, 321–22.

50The meaning of The Letter was clear to the liberals, who had been less than subservient to Tito’s will during the preceding four years. Their independence had been manifested in different ways: Nikezić was openly critical of self-management, believing that market principles were a more rational basis for successful economic growth.96 Perović, who had been most responsible for relations with the Serbian intelligentsia, had failed to come down as hard on that segment of Serbian society as Tito had wished. Mihailo Djurić and Njegoš were but the tip of the iceberg in that regard: plays including Dragoslav Mihailović’s When the Pumpkins Blossomed (Kad su cvetale tikve), which was written by a survivor of Goli Otok, and Aleksandar Popović’s Second Door on the Left (Druga vrata levo), which dealt with the student movement, called into question the party’s legitimacy; the Serbian Literary Guild had been reinvigorated under Ćosić’s guidance after 1969; contentious writers, including Matija Bećković, were awarded state-sponsored prizes for 1971; Mića Popović was originally given an award for his Scenes exhibition (it was withdrawn at the behest of the party, however, as was Bečković’s). In most cases, Perović chose to attempt to ameliorate the differences between the party and the intellectuals rather than lose them permanently by persecuting them. She, and the liberals in general, were unable to walk that thin line; they were thanked neither by Tito nor by the intellectuals. Nikezić later said that although the liberals did not question or disrespect Tito as a leader, “I am certain that I called into question that ideological, religious foundation by which he was a leader. The problem was that he could not stand nonconformists…. The whole time, we felt that the President, sooner or later, would conclude that he had had enough of us.”97 The League of Communists of Serbia thus lost arguably capable leadership; Serbia gained more martyrs, although of a radically different and less clearcut sort than Ćosić and Djurić.

51When, in 1974, a new constitution was unveiled for Yugoslavia, the political and administrative changes initiated in the early 1960s reached their logical conclusion. The constitution institutionalized all of the changes that had prompted the antagonism of people like Ćosić and Djurić from the mid-1960s through the early 1970s: republics gained initiative, while the central government in Belgrade became virtually powerless; the autonomous provinces of Serbia achieved something akin to the status of republics, which, given the enhancement of republican status, was a double blow to those who feared the administrative parcelization of Serbia. Beyond those geopolitical structural changes, the widely-held Serbian position on the constitution of 1974 is that it made centralized decision-making virtually impossible, because in the federal parliament republican and provincial delegations voted as one, and any given delegation could veto legislation. Those republican and provincial delegations were elected by their own leagues of communists. Of particular concern to Serbs was the fact that the autonomous provinces were equal actors in this drama; beyond that, of course, the political will of the Serbs of Bosnia and Croatia was subsumed by the leaderships of those republics. Because those leaderships had been purged in 1971/72 by Tito, the republican delegations that were empowered by the 1974 constitution consisted of nonentities. A Serbian consensus of sorts is reflected in the words of law professor Vojin Dimitrijević:

  • 98 Vojin Dimitrijević, “The 1974 Constitution as a Factor in the Collapse of Yugoslavia, or as a Sign (...)

…the 1974 SFRY Constitution was an ornamental piece of rhetoric and a justification for dictatorial (largely totalitarian)rule, and that its main deficiency, which became quite apparent in the late 1980s, was that it was not meant as a supreme legal and political text, nor was it intended to be seriously put into practice in the political sphere…98

52Because that constitution put a premium on the republic/province as the source of authority in the federation, and because both the Serbian and Croatian LC’s had been thoroughly purged of experienced, somewhat independent, competent people before the constitution was proclaimed, the space available to intellectuals to influence affairs in Yugoslavia had become as small as it had ever been.

  • 99 Vojin Dimitrijević, “The 1974 Constitution and Constitutional Process as a Factor in the Collapse (...)

Tito’s “cultural revolution” purged the League of Communists of all liberal and pragmatic reformers and gave prominence in all professions to opportunists and poorly educated followers of the official line. At that time, no important influence on state matters was possible from without the party; nonparty philosophers, political scientists, jurists, and economists were, after 1971, reduced to virtual nonpersons…99

53When Serbian intellectuals began to challenge the authority of the party in the aftermath of Tito’s death, they would attack Titoism on the grounds that it had failed to incorporate all of Serbian (and Yugoslav) society’s intellectual resources in solving the country’s problems.


54By this time, Ćosić had begun to reconceptualize his role—and the role of intellectuals in general—in a socialist society. Whereas he had earlier been an advocate of engagement as a constructive, and even required, role for himself and for the intellectual generally within socialism, now he began to shape a vision of himself and of the intellectual as a moral force existing outside the realm of power. It is impossible to avoid concluding that he generalized from his own experience in both instances: until 1966, he had seen Yugoslav socialism as a positive moral force and thus seen his own creative accomplishments as a contribution to the creation of that socialism’s goals; thereafter, having seen power and the governing ideology shift away from his own system of beliefs, he defined himself as an outsider, and framed a justification for that role that would encompass any Yugoslav intellectual who wished to live and create (in Ćosić’s view) honestly.

  • 100 Dobrica Ćosić, “Kultura i revolucija,” in Praxis (1974) 520.

55In a 1974 speech sponsored by the Serbian Philosophical Society and given in the aftermath of several years of instability in Serbia that included the Djurić affair and the constitutional amendments, Ćosić presented his new understanding of the role of the intellectual. It was a combative role, one conditioned by his perception that the League of Communists had reached a point where the engaged intellectual was no longer valued. He asserted that “in the history of the world and of this country, the greatest misuses of freedom have always been accomplished by people of power and political passion.”100 One of those misuses was to devalue, fear, and thus limit the contribution of intellectuals. The intellectual was forced to be a hero to fulfill his mission:

  • 101 Ćosić, “Kultura i revolucija,” 516.

…man’s thoughts are evil and dangerous to those in power….As we all know, along with the hemlock, the very root of knowledge and conscience in European culture washes down. And thus from Socrates to Russell, from Dante to Thomas Mann and Mayakovskii, from Galileo to Oppenheimer and Saharov, and on our soil from Vuk Karadžić to the ‘moral-politically unsuitable professors’ of Belgrade University, one and the same tragedy of the spirit continues with the same protagonists.101

  • 102 Ćosić, “Kultura i revolucija,” 516.

56In spite of that depressing record of intellectual opposition to power, Ćosić now believed that the struggle against power itself was all that was worthy of the intellectual. He thought that there would always be intellectuals to take up the challenge: “even before the certainty of heaven and the uncertainty of freedom, there will always be an Adam who will choose freedom at any cost and decide for creativity regardless of the sacrifice. Such human decision and power create the ethos of both culture and revolution.”102 Ćosić in fact demanded that type of sacrifice from all intellectuals:

  • 103 Ćosić, “Kultura i revolucija,” 517.

Today, I believe, it is a moral imperative to reveal the pragmatism and hypocrisy of bureaucratic power towards culture, and it is urgent to work concurrently against the intellectual and moral conformism of the so-called honorable intelligentsia, that reserve army of the political bureaucracy, which it ceaselessly places against an intellectual minority that tirelessly serves the greatness of revolutionary ideals and humanistic values.103

57Such a conclusion must have been difficult for one who was so positively engaged until so recently in the construction of a socialist culture in Yugoslavia, in alliance with power, as one of those “honorable intellectuals.” So Ćosić obliquely addressed his own recent past and disillusion:

  • 104 Ćosić, “Kultura i revolucija,” 517.

I would say that we intellectuals, if we are revolutionaries, have no greater historical right to act like the first Christians and to believe that our revolution represents the salvation of humanity and the end of that world which, otherwise, with pretentiousness and naivete we call “prehistory”; we no longer have reasoned rationales to hope for an imminent final salvation, the impending appearance of a society and epoch which with romantic illusions we call the beginning of ‘real history’ of humanity.104

  • 105 Ćosić, “Kultura i revolucija,” 519–20.

58Ćosić had discarded his own “early Christian” approach to his role in socialism, but he had not abandoned socialism itself: socialism had, he believed, abandoned him. The promise remained: “Socialism is the only soil in today’s world in which I believe a truly epochal (according to motifs and content) art can appear. I see it in the synthesis of human tragedy. But, such art can appear only in freedom. To not understand and not accept that provocation of the soul is to remain inadequate before the epoch.”105

59Ćosić offered several prerequisites for the development of a true socialist culture in Yugoslavia:

  • 106 Ćosić, “Kultura i revolucija,” 520–21.

Given historical conditions, the freedom of creation in socialism, among other things, must consist of: 1) freedom to seek the truth and the right to fight against anyone’s lies; 2) the free choice of theme and form of scientific and artistic opinion; 3) society’s guarantee that thought and imagination are not sinful and politically criminal, that they not be subjected to any other sanction than the resistance of opposing opinions.106

60Stripped of its contentious political assertions, this article is vintage Ćosić: declamatory, didactic, but still as always open-ended and imprecise. To what end did the intellectual struggle against the oppressive regime? It is unclear, except that Ćosić seems to believe that the act of creation itself was an end in itself.

61What had clearly changed, though, was the place of Ćosić within that socialist world—or, the nature of the socialism of the Yugoslav government, the “power” that defined his place. For Ćosić, Tito’s communism had either become, or revealed itself to have been, nothing more than an entrenched bureaucracy interested in power for its own sake. With that revelation in mind, he was forced to reconceive his own role vis-a-vis that power. To the outsider, it may appear more convincing that it was Ćosić who had changed, and that his new convictions drove him into an adversarial position towards the Tito regime. Either way, the end result was that Ćosić remained just as engaged as he had been earlier—but whereas earlier he had been engaged in the creation of a socialist culture, now he was engaged in the discovery and proclamation of the “truth” in the face of bureaucratic absolutism. He was now the embodiment of his own metaphor: his very own “Adam.”

  • 107 Ćosić, Pisčevi zapisi (1969–1980), 323

62By the late 1970s, Serbian society suffered from a pervasive malaise. After 1974, Yugoslavia seemed to Serbs to be a place that rewarded the nationalism of others but not the loyalty of Serbs; to Serbs, it appeared that Croats had achieved their political goal of limited autonomy, in spite of the fact that their Croatian Spring had been roundly condemned, and many of its leaders imprisoned, only a few years before. For Serbs like Ćosić, the Croats who were thus rewarded were nothing better than Ustaša—in his diaries, Ćosić in fact refers to Vlado Gotovac, Dražen Budiša, Franjo Tudjman, and other leaders of the Spring as “Ustaša and Serbophobes.”107 On a less visceral plane, Serbian intellectuals bemoaned the death of the borba mišljenja, the struggle of ideas, which had enabled them to participate in the ideological life of Yugoslavia, to have a stake in its fate. Now they had been thrust aside. The 1974 constitution taught Serbs that their hopes and their fears were equally irrelevant to the regime. Thus in their own eyes, Serbian intellectuals were doubly cursed. The Yugoslavia in which they lived was no longer a vital and experimental communist state. Now it was a bureaucratic construction, headed by an elite that lived off the fruits of the earlier dynamism of state mythology and the Titoist foundation myth of openness.


1 From Laura Silber and Allan Little, Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation (New York: TV Books, 1996) 32.

2 Lenard Cohen, Serpent in the Bosom: The Rise and Fall of Slobodan Milošević (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 2001) 53.

3 Founded in 1932, the Kolarac People’s University was created in the name of Ilija Kolarac, a nineteenth-century Serbian merchant who wished his entire wealth to be devoted to the support of the development of Serbian culture. The university was shut down during the Second World War, and its directorate was imprisoned at Banjica, the German camp south of Belgrade. It began to function again on December 27, 1944. Thereafter it once again offered courses for the public and hosted lectures by Yugoslavs and foreigners designed to deal with “contemporary problems of science and life.” See “Od srede 27 decembra, počinje rad Kolarčevog narodnog univerziteta,” in Politika (Belgrade) December 24, 1944, 4.

4 Dobrica Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” in Dobrica Ćosić, Stvarno i moguće: Članci i ogledi (Ljubljana-Zagreb: Cankarjeva založba, 1988) 11–12.

5 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 19.

6 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 6.

7 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 10.

8 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 9.

9 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 12.

10 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 11.

11 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 8.

12 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 9.

13 Ćosić, “Kako da stvaramo sebe,” 10.

14 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 25.

15 Ćosić, “Kako da ‘stvaramo sebe,’” 25–26.

16 J.S., “Kako se ostvaruje politika nacionalne ravnopravnosti,” in Borba (Belgrade) May 29, 1968, 5.

17 Djukić, Čovek u svom vremenu, 185–87.

18 Djukić, Čovek u svom vremenu, 186.

19 Dobrica Ćosić, “Kritika vladajuće ideološke koncepcije u nacionalnoj politici,” in Dobrica Ćosić, Stvarno i moguće, 28.

20 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 27–28.

21 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 28.

22 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 29.

23 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 30–31.

24 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 33.

25 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 31.

26 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 32.

27 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 31.

28 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 32.

29 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 33.

30 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 36.

31 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 37.

32 Ćosić, “Kritika,” 40.

33 Djukić, Čovek u svom vremenu, 196–97.

34 Jež, 1510 (Belgrade) 7 June 1968.

35 Djukić, Čovek u svom vremenu, 185–200.

36 Draža Marković, Život i politika, 1967–1978 (Belgrade: Rad, 1987) v. 1, 74.

37 Gligorijević, Slučajna istorija, 133. Gligorijević and another Ćosić interviewer, Slavoljub Djukić, in his Čovek u svom vremenu, have virtually identical discussions of Ćosić’s actions in early June 1968.

38 Gligorijević, Slučajna istorija, 138.

39 Steven L. Burg, Conflict and Cohesion in Socialist Yugoslavia: Political Decision-Making Since 1966 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983) 33.

40 Burg, Conflict and Cohesion, 39.

41 Burg, Conflict and Cohesion, 41.

42 Slavoljub Djukić, Slom srpskih liberala: Tehnologija političkih obračuna Josipa Broza. (Belgrade: Filip Višnjić, 1990) 18.

43 Slobodan Inić, “Serbia’s Historic Defeat,” in New Politics (Summer 1993) 166.

44 Djukić, Slom, 25.

45 Djukić, Slom, 25.

46 Quoted in Inić, “Serbia’s Historic Defeat,” 166.

47 Trgovčević, Istorija, 137.

48 Dobrica Ćosić, “Porazi i ciljevi,” in Ćosić, Stvarno i moguče, 86.

49 Dobrica Ćosić, “Duh obnove i savremenosti,” in Delo v. 16, no. 2 (February 1970) 187. This speech was given to a meeting of the Srpska književna zadruga’s assembly on November 24, 1969.

50 Trgovčević, Istorija, 139; Gligorijević, Slučajna istorija, 295–96.

51 Vlada Miletić, “Beseda stara i beseda nova,” in NIN (Belgrade) October 22, 1972, 15.

52 Ćosić, “Porazi i ciljevi,” 87.

53 Ćosić, “Porazi i ciljevi,” 87.

54 Ćosić, “Porazi i ciljevi,” 88.

55 Ćosić, “Porazi i ciljevi,” 88.

56 Ćosić, “Porazi i ciljevi,” 94.

57 Ćosić, “Porazi i ciljevi,” 91.

58 Perović, Zatvaranje kruga, 367–68, 385; Marković, Život i politika, v. 1, 348.

59 Trgovčević, Istorija, 139.

60 Burg, Conflict and Cohesion, 211.

61 Andrija Gams, “Koncepcije amandmana: istorijski promašaj,” in Intervju (Belgrade) August 4, 1989, 14.

62 Gams, “Koncepcije amandmana,” 16.

63 Kosta Čavoški, “Ustavnost i pravo veta,” in Kosta Čavoški, Revolucionarni makiavelizam i drugi eseji (Belgrade: Rad, 1989) 273.

64 Djurić’s presentation is reprinted as “Smišljene smutnje” in Mihailo Djurić, Iskustvo razlike (Belgrde: Tersit and BIGZ, 1994) 11–17. This quote is on p. 11.

65 Djurić, “Smišljene smutnje,” 12–13.

66 Djurić, “Smišljene smutnje,” 13.

67 Djurić, “Smišljene smutnje,” 14.

68 Djurić, “Smišljene smutnje,” 17.

69 Gams, “Koncepcije amandmana,” 14.

70 Slavoljub Djukić, “Nasilje nad mišljenjem,” in NIN (Belgrade) May 28, 1989, 23.

71 Djukić, Slom, 144–45.

72 See the entire issue of Umetnost: Časopis za likovne umetnosti i kritiku(Belgrade) no. 27–28, July–December 1971.

73 Mihailo Djurić, “Odbrana pred sudom,” in Iskustvo razlike, 31.

74 Umetnost, 52.

75 Umetnost, 52.

76 Umetnost, 53.

77 Umetnost, 63.

78 Umetnost, 148; from a long letter to Književne novine of December 21, 1970.

79 Umetnost, 198.

80 Umetnost, 81.

81 Umetnost, 198.

82 Umetnost, 151.

83 Umetnost, 246.

84 Mihiz, “Obretenije glave Vladike Rada,” in Mihiz, Kazivanja i ukazivanja, 40–41.

85 Umetnost, 187.

86 Umetnost, 204.

87 Umetnost, 246.

88 “Za slobodu akademske diskusije,” Praxis (Zagreb) v. 9, no. 3–4 (May – August, 1972) 611.

89 “Za slobodu akademske diskusije,” 612.

90 The issue of Filozofija in question, volume 2 of 1972, was confiscated by the censors, so the contents were not publicly available for many years. Ćosić’s talk is reprinted in Dobrica Ćosić, “Procesi, presude, i naivna pitanja,” in Stvarno i moguće, 96–111.

91 Ćosić, “Procesi,” 104.

92 Ćosić, “Procesi,” 106.

93 Ćosić, “Procesi,” 109.

94 Ćosić, “Procesi,” 111. On Ćosić’s primary authorship of the passage, see Djukić, Čovek u svom vremenu, 98.

95 Rusinow, The Yugoslav Experiment, 321–23.

96 Djukić, Slom, 27.

97 Djukić, Slom, 321–22.

98 Vojin Dimitrijević, “The 1974 Constitution as a Factor in the Collapse of Yugoslavia, or as a Sign of Decaying Totalitarianism,” in Nebojša Popov, ed., The Road to War in Serbia: Trauma and Catharsis (Budapest and New York: Central European University, 2000) 419–20.

99 Vojin Dimitrijević, “The 1974 Constitution and Constitutional Process as a Factor in the Collapse of Yugoslavia,” in Payam Akhavan and Robert Howse, eds., Yugoslavia: the Former and the Future (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, and The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva, 1995) 53.

100 Dobrica Ćosić, “Kultura i revolucija,” in Praxis (1974) 520.

101 Ćosić, “Kultura i revolucija,” 516.

102 Ćosić, “Kultura i revolucija,” 516.

103 Ćosić, “Kultura i revolucija,” 517.

104 Ćosić, “Kultura i revolucija,” 517.

105 Ćosić, “Kultura i revolucija,” 519–20.

106 Ćosić, “Kultura i revolucija,” 520–21.

107 Ćosić, Pisčevi zapisi (1969–1980), 323

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