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Republic of Serbia

CAPITAL: Belgrade

FLAG: The flag has three equal horizontal stripes of red (top), blue, and white, with the coat of arms set slightly to the hoist side.

ANTHEM: Boze Pravde (God of Justice)

MONETARY UNIT: The new dinar (jd) replaced the dinar on 24 January 1994. jd1 = $0.01499 (or $1 = jd66.68973; as of 2 June 2006).

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is in force.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 and 2 January; Orthodox Christmas, 7 January; Orthodox New Year, 13 January; Unification of Serbia, 28 March; FR Yugoslavia Day, 27 April; Labor Day, 1 May; Victory Day, 9 May; St. Vitus Day, 28 June; Serbian Uprising, 7 July.

TIME: 1 pm = noon GMT.


Serbia is situated on the central part of the Balkan Peninsula. The total area was approximately 88,412 sq km (34,135 sq mi). The entire country is about the size of Maine. Serbia is bordered on the n by Hungary, on the ne by Romania, on the e by Bulgaria, on the s by Macedonia and Albania, on the sw by Montenegro, on the w by Bosnia and Herzegovina, and on the nw by Croatia; total land boundary length is 2,114.2 km (1,313.76 mi). There are territorial disputes with Bosnia and Herzegovina over Serbian-populated areas.

Serbia's capital is Belgrade, situated in north central Serbia.


Rich fertile plains are found in the Serbian north, while in the east there are limestone ranges and basins. Nearly half of Serbia is mountainous, with the Dinaric Alps on the western border, the North Albanian Alps (Prokletija) and the Sar Mountains in the south, and the Balkan Mountains along the southeast border. The highest point is Daravica, in the North Albanian Alps, at 2,656 m (8,714 ft). Of its mountains, 15 reach heights of over 2,000 m (6,600 ft).

The Danube is the longest river. With a total length of 2,783 km (1,729 mi), about 588 km (365 mi) flows from west to east through the northern region of Serbia. The Tisa, Sava and Morava rivers are major tributaries of the Danube.

Located on the Eurasian Tectonic Plate, there are several fault lines running through the country which seismically active. Earth tremors are fairly common and destructive earthquakes have occurred.


In the north, winters are cold and summers are hot and humid. In the central and southern regions, the climate is more continental. Annual precipitation in most of the country is 56 to 190 cm (22 to 75 in).


The forests of Serbia contain about 170 broadleaf species of trees and shrubs, along with about 35 coniferous species. The animals found in Serbia include types of hare, pheasant, deer, stag, wild boar, fox, chamois, mouflon, crane, duck, and goose. As of 2002, in the union of Serbia and Montenegro, there were at least 96 species of mammals, 238 species of birds, and over 4,000 species of plants throughout the country.


Industrial wastes are dumped into the Sava, which flows into the Danube. Air pollution is a problem around Belgrade and other industrial cities. Thermal energy plants utilize technology from the 1950s and mostly burn lignite; since combustion is inefficient, air pollution is a major problem in Kosovo. Destructive earthquakes are a natural hazard.

In 2001, the union of Serbia and Montenegro had 104 protected areas, covering about 3.3% of the nation's total land area. There are four Wetlands of International Importance in Serbia and three World Heritage Sites. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species in the union of Serbia and Montenegro included 10 types of mammals, 10 species of birds, 1 type of reptile, 1 species of amphibian, 20 species of fish, 19 species of invertebrates, and 1 species of plants. Threatened species include Atlantic sturgeon, slender-billed curlew, black vultures, asps, bald ibis, Danube salmon, several species of shark, the red wood ant, and beluga. At least one type of mollusk has become extinct.


The population of Serbia in 2002 was 7,498,001 (excluding Kosovo). In 2005, in the union of Serbia and Montenegro, approximately 14% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 19% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 99 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 0.2%, due to a low fertility rate and high emigration rate. The government of Serbia and Montenegro viewed the population decline as a major concern. The population density of the union of Serbia and Montenegro was 105 per sq km (272 per sq mi).

The UN estimated that 52% of the population of the union of Serbia and Montenegro lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 0.47%. The capital city, Belgrade, had a population of 1,576,124 in 2002.


The following information on migration pertains to the union of Serbia and Montenegro based on statistics gathered prior to Montenegro's independence in 2006. During the 1960s and 1970s, many Serbs fled from the Yugoslav Socialist Federal Republic, seeking political and economic freedom. The breakup of the Yugoslav SFR in the early 1990s and the ethnic hostilities that came in its aftermath resulted in enormous migrations to and from its various former republics. During the first half of 1999, the situation of refugees and internally displaced people deteriorated even further. As of 30 June 1999, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported 508,000 refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia; 770,000 returnees to Kosovo, and 500,000 other refugees remained; 220,000 Serb, Montenegrin, and Roma internally displaced persons from Kosovo were living in other parts of the former Yugoslavia. The total number of migrants in 2000 was 626,000. By the end of 2004, these numbers were still rising; UNHCR reported a total of 627,476 persons of concern. There were 276,683 refugees, 180,117 Croatians and over 95,000 from Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, in that same year there were 248,154 internally displaced persons, 85,000 local residents at risk, 8,143 refugees who returned primarily to Croatia), and another 9,456 refugees returning to other places of origin during the year. In 2004, over 204,000 Serbs and Montenegrins were refugees in Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, France, and Australia. Also, in that same year over 29,000 Serbs and Montenegrins sought asylum in 18 countries primarily in Europe, in the United Kingdom and the United States.

In 2005 the net migration rate was an estimated -1.3 migrants per 1,000 population, down from 3.9 migrants per 1,000 in 1990. The government views the migration levels as too high. Worker remittances in 2003 amounted to $2.7 billion.


Ethnic Serbs constitute a majority in Serbia, at about 82.86% (excluding Kosovo). There are 37 different ethnicities in Serbia. Ethnic Albanians are concentrated in the Kosovo region of southwest Serbia. Ethnic Hungarians make up about 3.91% of the population and live in northern Serbia near the Hungarian border. The remaining population consists primarily of Slavic Muslims, Bulgarians, Slovaks, Macedonians, Croats, Roma, Montenegrins, Ruthenians, Romanians, Vlachs, Bunjevci, and Turks.


Serbian is the official language; more than 95% of the population speak it; Albanian accounts for the remaining 5%. The script in official use is Cyrillic, while the Latin script is also used. In the areas inhabited by ethnic minorities, the languages and scripts of the minorities are in official use, as provided by law.


The ancestors of the Serbs converted to Christianity in the 9th century and sided with Eastern Orthodoxy after the Great Schism of 1054 that split Christendom between the Eastern and Roman Churches. The Serbian Orthodox Church has been autonomous since 1219. Islam came to the area from the Ottoman Turks in the 15th century. Though there is no state religion, the Serbian Orthodox Church does receive some preferential treatment from the state.

About 78% of the total population of the union of Serbia and Montenegro prior to Montenegro's independence in 2006 were Serbian Orthodox. Muslims accounted for 5% of the total population, Roman Catholics for 4%, and Protestants 1%. Protestant denominations include Baptists, Adventists, Reformed Christians, Evangelical Christians, Evangelical Methodists, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Church of Christ, Mormons, and Pentecostals. There is a small Jewish community in the country. In Kosovo, Islam is the dominant religion, but Serbs in Kosovo are generally Serbian Orthodox.


In 2002, Serbia had 3,619 km (2,248.8 mi) of railroads, all of it standard gauge. Railways connect Belgrade with Budapest and Zagreb. The Belgrade-Bar line links Serbia to Montenegro and terminates at the Adriatic Sea. Rail service is provided by locomotives manufactured in the 1950s and 1960s.

Asphalt road length totaled 42,692 km (26,528.8 mi) in 2002 in Serbia, and there were 24,860 km (15,448 mi) of concrete roads. While the freeway between Belgrade and Zagreb is officially open, the lack of normal relations between Serbia and Croatia has kept commercial traffic on the highway to a minimum. In 2003, there were 1,650,000 passenger cars and 155,000 commercial vehicles in the union of Serbia and Montenegro.

The Danube, Sava, and Tisa are important commercial rivers, with ports at Belgrade, Novi Sad, Sabac, Pancevo, Smederevo, and Prahovo. Serbia's river fleet has a large transport capacity in Europe. As of 2004, the union of Serbia and Montenegro's navigable inland waterway system totaled 587 km (365 mi).

There were an estimated 43 airports in Serbia in 2004. As of 2005, half of them had paved runways, and there were also four heliports. Yugoslav Aero Transport (YAT) operates from Belgrade. YAT is considering upgrading its aging fleet for European destinations. Passengers carried on scheduled domestic and international flights in 2003 in the union of Serbia and Montenegro were about 1.298 million.


The Serbs, one of the large family of Slavic nations, first began settling in the Balkans around the 7th century in the areas now known as Bosnia, Kosovo, and Montenegro, straddling the line that since ad 395 had divided the Eastern and Western halves of the Roman Empire.

Tracing the origins of the Serbs (and Croats) has fueled many debates among historians, but there seems to be a consensus on their Sarmatian (Iranian) origin. Having assimilated into the Slavic tribes, the Serbs migrated with them west into central Europe (White Serbia) in the Saxony area and from there moved to the Balkans around ad 626 upon an invitation by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius to assist him in repelling the Avar and Persian attack on Constantinople. Having settled in the Balkan area the Serbs organized several principalities of their own, made up of a number of clans headed by leaders known as zupans. Both the Byzantine Empire and the Bulgars tried to conquer them, but the Serbs were too decentralized to be conquered.

Between the 9th and 12th centuries, several Serbian principalities evolved, among them Raška in the mountainous north of Montenegro and southern Serbia, and Zeta (south Montenegro along the Adriatic coast), whose ruler Mihajlo (Michael) was anointed king by Pope Gregory VII in 1077.

In the late 10th century the Bulgarian khan (leader) Samuilo extended his control over Bosnia, Raška, and Zeta, north to the Sava River, and south over Macedonia. Raška became the area from where the medieval Serbian empire developed. Stephen Nemanja, grand zupan of Raška, fought against the Byzantines in ad 1169, and added Zeta to his domain in 1186. He built several Serbian monasteries, including Hilandar on Mount Athos. His son, Rastko, became a monk (Sava) and the first Serbian archbishop of the new Serbian Autocephalous Church in 1219. The second son, Stephen, received his crown from Pope Innocent IV in 1202. Stephen developed political alliances that, following his death in 1227, allowed Serbia to resist the pressure from Bulgaria and, internally, keep control over subordinate zupans. Archbishop Sava (later Saint Sava) preferred the Byzantine Church and utilized the Orthodox religion in his nation-building effort. He began by establishing numerous Serbian-Orthodox monasteries around Serbia. He also succeeded in turning Zeta from Catholicism to Serbian Orthodoxy.

The medieval Serbian empire, under Stephen Dušan the Mighty (133155) extended from the Aegean Sea to the Danube (Belgrade), along the Adriatic and Ionian coasts from the Neretva River to the Gulf of Corinth and controlled, aside from the central Serbian lands, Macedonia, Thessaly, the Epirus, and Albania. The Serbian Church obtained its own patriarchate, with its center in Peć. Serbia became an exporting land with abundant crops and minerals. Dušan, who was crowned tsar of "the Serbs and Greeks" in 1346, gave Serbia its first code of laws based on a combination of Serbian customs and Byzantine law. His attempt to conquer the throne of Byzantium failed, however, when the Byzantines called on the advancing Ottoman Turks for help in 1345. Even though Dušan withstood the attacks from the Turks twice (in 1345 and 1349), the gates to Europe had been opened, and the Ottoman Turks had initiated their campaign to subjugate the Balkans.

Under Ottoman Rule

Dušan's heirs could not hold his empire together against the Turks and the Nemanja dynasty ended with the death of his son Stephen Uroš in 1371, the same year his brothers Vukašin and Ivan Ugleš were killed at the battle of Marica. The defeat of the Serbs at Kosovo Polje in 1389 in an epochal battle that took the lives of both Sultan Murad I and Serbian prince Lazar left Serbia open to further Turkish conquest. Following a series of wars, the Turks succeeded in overtaking Constantinople in 1453 and all of Serbia by 1459. For the next three-and-a-half centuries, Serbs and others had to learn how to survive under Ottoman rule.

The Turks did not make any distinctions based on ethnicity, but only on religion. Turkish Muslims were the dominant class while Christians and Jews were subordinated. While maintaining their religious and cultural autonomy, the non-Turks developed most of the nonmilitary administrative professions and carried on most of the economic activities, including internal trade and trade with other countries of the Christian world. There was no regular conscription of non-Turks into the sultan's armies, but non-Turks were taxed to pay for defense. Christian boys between the age of eight and twenty were forcibly taken from their families to be converted to Islam and trained as "Janissaries" or government administrators. Some these former Christians became administrators and even became grand viziers (advisers) to sultans.

Urban dwellers under Ottoman rule, involved in crafts, trade, and the professions, fared much better than the Christian peasantry, who were forced into serfdom. Heavy regular taxes were levied on the peasants, with corruption making the load so unbearable that the peasants rebelled.

Two distinct cultures lived side by sideTurkish Muslim in cities and towns as administrative centers and Christian Orthodox in the countryside of Serbia. The numerous Serbian monasteries built around the country since the Nemanja dynasty became the supportive network for Serbian survival. The Serbian Church was subjected after 1459 to the Greek patriarchate for about a century until a Serbian patriarchate emerged again. The Serbian patriarchate covered a large area from north of Ohrid to the Hungarian lands north of the Danube and west through Bosnia.

The Serbian Diaspora

Over the two centuries 14591659 many Serbs left their lands and settled north of the Sava and Danube Rivers where Hungary had promised their leader ("Vojvoda") an autonomous arrangement in exchange for military service against the Turks. The region is called "Vojvodina" by Serbs, even though the Hungarians had reneged on their promise of autonomy. Fleeing the Turkish conquest many Serbs and Croats settled in Venetian-occupied Dalmatia and continued fighting against the Turks from fortified areas. The wars between Austria and the Turks in the late 17th through the mid-18th centuries caused both mass migrations from Serbia and the hardening of Ottoman treatment of their Christian subjects. Following the defeat of the Turks in 1683 at the gates of Vienna by a coalition led by Poland's king Jan Sobieski, the Christian armies pursued the Turks all the way to Macedonia and had a good chance to drive the Turks off the European continent. Turk reprisals were violent and many Serbs fled, leaving Serbian lands, particularly Kosovo, unpopulated. Albanians, whom the Turks favored because they were mostly Muslims, moved in. Conversion to Islam increased considerably.

A second large-scale migration took place 50 years later, after the 173639 Austrian defeat by the Turks. All these movements of population resulted in the loss of the Kosovo areathe cradle of Serbian nationhoodto Albanians. As a result, the Serbs were unable to give up control over an area to which they feel a tremendously deep emotional attachment, even though they represent only about 10% of its population. This situation persisted and remained unresolved as of the early 21st century.

Serbian Revolts and Independence

Meanwhile, two areas of active Serbian national activity developed, one under the Turks in the northern Šumadija region and the other in Hungary. Šumadija, a forested region, became the refuge for many hajduks (Serbian "Robin Hoods") that raided Turkish establishments. These hajduks were legendary heroes among the Serbian people.

In 1805, the Serbs defeated the Turks and gained control of the Belgrade region. The sultan agreed to Serbian terms for political autonomy in September 1806. A partially elected government structure was established, and by 1811 the Serbian assembly confirmed Karadjordje as supreme leader with hereditary rights. The drive of Serbia for complete independence was thwarted, however, because Serbia was still under Ottoman rule. The Turks reoccupied Serbia by 1813, retaliating against the Serbs by pillaging, looting, enslaving women and children, while killing all males over age 15, and torturing any captured leader.

A second uprising by the Serbs occurred in 1815 and spread all over Šumadija. It was led by Miloš Obrenović, who had participated in the first revolt. Successful in repelling Turkish forces, Obrenović gained the support of the Russian tsar, and after some six months he negotiated an agreement giving Serbia a de facto autonomy in its internal administration. By 1830, Serbia had gained its full autonomy and Miloš was recognized as an hereditary prince of Serbia. Serbia was internationally accepted as a virtually independent state.

Miloš Obrenović was an authoritarian ruler who had to be forced to promulgate a constitution for Serbia, establishing a council of chiefs sharing power with him. In 1838 a council was appointed to pass laws and taxes, a council of ministers was created, and provisions were formulated for an eventual assembly. A succession of rulers were installed and deposed over the next decade until, in 1848, the Serbian assembly demanded the incorporation of Vojvodina into Serbia.

The 1858 assembly restored Miloš Obrenović to power, but he died in 1860 and was succeeded, again, by his son Mihajlo. Mihajlo built up the Serbian army to fight a war of liberation against the Turks as a first step towards the goal of a Greater Serbia. Mihajlo developed a highly centralized state organization, a functioning parliament, two political parties, a judicial system, and urban educational institutions prior to his murder in 1868. Mihajlo's cousin, Milan, succeeded him, and accomplished total independence from the Ottomans in 1882. Despite this success, during the same period Austria conquered Bosnia and Herzegovina, badly wanted by Serbia. Milan became dependent on Austria when that country saved Serbia from an invasion by Bulgaria.

Milan Obrenović abdicated in 1889 in favor of his son Alexander, who abolished the constitution, led a corrupt and scandalous life, and was murdered along with his wife, the premier, and other court members by a group of young officers in June 1903. The assembly then called on Peter, Alexander Karadjordjević's son, to take the crown. Under Peter Karadjordjević, a period of stable political and economic development ensued, interrupted by the 1908 Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the 1912 and 1913 Balkan wars, and World War I (191318).

The Balkan Wars

Austria's annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was carried out in 1908 with the full backing of Germany. The Serbs saw Austria's move as a serious blow to their goal of a Greater Serbia with an outlet to the Adriatic Sea through Bosnia and Herzegovina. They turned to the only other possible access routes to the seaMacedonia, with its port city of Salonika, and the northern coast of Albania. The Balkan countries (Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Greece) formed the Balkan League and attacked Turkey in 1912, quickly defeated them and driving them to the gates of Constantinople. Austria and Italy opposed a Serbian outlet to the Adriatic in Albania, supporting instead an independent Albanian state and assisted its establishment in 1913. Serbia, deprived of access to the sea, requested it from Bulgaria. Bulgaria responded by attacking Serbia and Greece, hoping to obtain all of Macedonia. The resulting second Balkan War ended with the defeat of Bulgaria by Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, Romania, and Turkey, which gained back Adrianople and Thrace. Romania gained northern Dobrudja, Serbia kept central and northern Macedonia, and Greece was given control over the southern part with Salonika and Kavalla in addition to southern Epirus.

Austria viewed Serbian expansion with great alarm, and the "Greater Serbia" plans became a serious threat to the Austro-Hungarian empire. The Austro-Hungarians felt Serbia had to be restrained by whatever means, including war. They needed only a spark to ignite a conflagration against the Serbs.

World War I and Royal Yugoslavia

The spark was provided by the 28 June 1914 assassination in Sarajevo of Austria's Archduke Ferdinand and his wife. The archduke's visit to Sarajevo during large-scale maneuvers was viewed as a provocation by Bosnian Serbs, and they conspired to assassinate him with the assistance of the Serbian secret organization, Black Hand, which had also been behind the murder of Serbian king Miloš and his wife in 1903.

Austria presented an ultimatum to Serbia on 23 July with 10 requests, all of which were accepted by Serbia in a desperate effort to avoid a war. Austria, however, declared war on Serbia on 28 July 1914. They began bombing Belgrade the same day and sent armies across the Danube and Sava rivers to invade Serbia on 11 August 1914, taking the Serbs by surprise. The Serbian army twice repelled the Austrian forces in 1914, with tremendous losses in men and materials and civilian refugees. In addition, a typhus epidemic exacted some 150,000 victims among Serbian soldiers and civilians throughout Serbia, where there were almost no doctors or medical supplies. Still, an army of some 120,000 men joined the Allied forces holding the Salonika front in the fall of 1916. From there, after two years, they were successful in driving the Austrian forces out of Serbia in October 1918.

The Serbian elite's political goal for the main outcome of World War I was the samea greater Serbia, with the liberation of their South Slavic brethren, particularly Serbs, from the Austro-Hungarian yoke. The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire was not yet an operational concept. On 20 July 1916 the Corfu Declaration delineated the future joint state of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes while treating both Macedonians and Montenegrins as Serbs.

But Austro-Hungary was losing the war and disintegrating from the inside. In May 1917, the "Yugoslav Club" in the Vienna parliament, consisting of deputies from Slovenia, Istria, and Dalmatia issued a declaration demanding the independence of all Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs united in one national state. (The phrase "under the scepter of the Hapsburgs" was added to their declaration for safety reasons, to avoid prosecution for treason.) Poles, Czechs, and Slovaks were also agitating for their independence, and they all had received support from their communities in the United States. On 20 October 1918, US President Woodrow Wilson declared his support for the independence of all the nation subjects of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

Under the leadership of Monsignor Anton Korošec, a council of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs was formed in Zagreb, Croatia, to negotiate a union with the Kingdom of Serbia. The Serbian army entered Belgrade on 1 November 1918 and proceeded to take over the Vojvodina region. The armistice ending World War I was signed on 3 November 1918, and on 69 November a conference was held in Geneva by Serbia's prime minister Nikola Pašić, Monsignor Korošec, and the Yugoslav Committee.

The conference was empowered by the Zagreb Council to negotiate for it with the Allies. Prime Minister Pašić could not ignore the provisional government set up by elected representatives of the Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs. Thus, Pašić signed a declaration setting up a joint provisional government with the right of the National Council in Zagreb to administer its territories until a constitutional assembly could be elected to agree on the form of government for the new state. However, the Serbian government reneged on Pašić's commitment. The National Council delegation with Monsignor Korošec was detained abroad and, given the pressures from the ongoing Italian occupation of Slovene and Croat territories and the urgent need for international recognition, the National Council sent a delegation to Belgrade on 27 November 1918 to negotiate terms for unification with Serbia. But time was running out and the unification was proclaimed on 1 December 1918 without any details on the nature of the new state, since Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vojvodina, and Montenegro had already voted for their union with Serbia.

The Corfu declaration of 1917 had left open the issue of the unitarist or federalist structure of the new state by providing for a constitutional assembly to decide the issue on the basis of a "numerically qualified majority." Serbs interpreted this to mean a simple majority whereas others advocated a two-thirds majority. Following the 28 November 1920 elections, the simple majority prevailed, and a constitution (mirroring the 1903 constitution of Serbia) for a unitary state was approved on 28 June 1921 by a vote of 223 to 35, with 111 abstentions out of a total of 419 members. The 50 members of the Croatian Peasant Party refused to participate in the work of the assembly, advocating instead an independent Croatian Republic.

After 10 years of a contentious parliamentary system that ended in the murder of Croatian deputies and their leader Stjepan Radić, King Alexander abrogated the 1921 constitution, dissolved the parliament and political parties, took over power directly, renamed the country "Yugoslavia," and abolished the 33 administrative departments.

A new policy was initiated with the goal of creating a single "Yugoslav" nation out of the three "tribes" of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. In practice, this meant the Serbian king's hegemony over the rest of the nation. The reaction was intense, and King Alexander himself was assassinated in Marseille in 1934. Alexander's cousin, Prince Paul, assumed power and managed to reach an agreement in 1939 with the Croats. An autonomous Croatian banovina (territory headed by a leader called a ban ) headed by Ivan Subašić was established, including most Croatian lands outside of the Bosnia and Herzegovina area. Strong opposition developed among Serbs and there was no time for further negotiations, since Prince Paul's government was deposed on 27 March 1941 and Germany's Adolph Hitler and his allies (Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria) attacked Yugoslavia on 6 April 1941.

World War II

Yugoslavia was divided up and occupied by Germany and its allies. Serbia was put under the administration of General Milan Nedić who was allowed to organize his own military force for internal peacekeeping purposes. In Serbia the resistance was led by the "Cetniks," the "Yugoslav army in the homeland." The Cetniks recognized the authority of the Yugoslav government-in-exile, which, in fact, promoted Draža Mihajlović to general and appointed him its Minister of War. In the fall of 1941 Mihajlović and Josip Broz Tito, who led the Communist partisan movement, met to seek agreement on a common front against the Nazis. However, Mihajlović saw that Tito's goal was to conquer Yugoslavia for Communism. Mihajlović could not go along with this, nor could he accept Tito's request that he subordinate his command to Tito. A civil war between the two movements (under foreign occupation) followed. Meanwhile, large numbers of Serbs fled Croatia, either to join the partisans or to seek refuge in the Dalmatian areas under Italian control. British leader Winston Churchill, convinced by reports that Mihajlović was collaborating with the Germans while Marshal Tito's partisans were against the Germans, decided to recognize Tito as the legitimate Yugoslav resistance. Though aware of Tito's Communist allegiance to Stalin, Churchill threw his support to Tito.

When Soviet armies, accompanied by Tito, entered Yugoslavia from Romania and Bulgaria in the fall of 1944, military units and civilians that had opposed the partisans had no choice but to retreat to Austria or Italy. After the end of the war, the Communistled forces took control of Serbia and Yugoslavia and instituted a violent dictatorship that committed systematic crimes and human rights violations. Thousands upon thousands of their former opponents who were returned from Austria by British military authorities were tortured and massacred by partisan executioners. General Mihajlović was captured in Bosnia in March 1946 and publicly tried and executed on 17 July 1946.

Communist Yugoslavia

Such was the background for the formation of the second Yugoslavia as a Federative People's Republic of five nations (Slovenes, Croats, Serbs, Macedonians, Montenegrins) with their individual republics and Bosnia and Herzegovina as a buffer area with its mix of Serb, Muslim, and Croat populations. The problem of large Hungarian and Muslim Albanian populations in Serbia was solved by creating for them the autonomous region of Vojvodina (Hungarian minority) and Kosovo (Muslim Albanian majority) that assured their political and cultural development.

Tito attempted a balancing act to satisfy most of the nationality issues that were carried over, unresolved, from the first Yugoslavia. However, he failed to satisfy anyone. The numerically stronger Serbs had lost the Macedonian area they considered Southern Serbia; lost the opportunity to incorporate Montenegro into Serbia; lost direct control over the Hungarian minority in Vojvodina and Muslim Albanians of Kosovo (viewed as the cradle of the Serbian nation since the Middle Ages); were not able to incorporate into Serbia the large Serbian-populated areas of Bosnia; and had not obtained an autonomous region for the large minority Serbian population within the Croatian Republic. The official position of the Marxist Yugoslav regime was that national rivalries and conflicting interests would gradually diminish through their sublimation into a new Socialist order. Without capitalism, nationalism was supposed to wither away. Therefore, in the name of their unity and brotherhood motto, any nationalistic expression of concern was prohibited.

After a short post-war coalition government, the elections of 11 November 1945boycotted by the non-Communist coalition partiesgave the Communist-led People's Front 90% of the vote. A Constituent Assembly met on 29 November, abolished the monarchy and established the Federative People's Republic of Yugoslavia. In January 1946, a new constitution was adopted based on the 1936 Soviet constitution.

Yugoslavia was expelled from the Soviet-dominated Cominform Group in 1948, and was forced to find its own road to Socialism, balancing its position between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance and the Soviet bloc. Tito quickly nationalized the economy through a policy of forced industrialization, supported by the collectivization of the agriculture.

The agricultural reform of 194546 included limited private ownership of a maximum of 35 hectares (85 acres) and a limited free market (after the initial forced delivery of quotas to the state at very low prices) but had to be abandoned because of resistance by the peasants. Collectivization was initiated in 1949 but had to be abandoned by 1958 because its inefficiency and low productivity could not support the concentrated effort of industrial development.

By the 1950s, Yugoslavia had initiated the development of its internal trademark: self-management of enterprises through workers councils and local decision-making. Following the failure of the first five-year plan (194751), the second five-year plan (195761) was completed in four years by relying on the well-established self-management system. Economic targets were set from the local to the republic level and then coordinated by a federal planning institute to meet an overall national economic strategy. This system supported a period of very rapid industrial growth in the 1950s. But public subsidies, cheap credit, and other artificial measures led to a serious crisis by 1961, leading to the introduction of market socialism in 1965. Laws abolished most price controls and halved import duties while withdrawing export subsidies. Councils were given more decision-making power on investing their earnings, and they also tended to vote for higher salaries to meet steep increases in the cost of living. Unemployment grew rapidly even though political factories were still subsidized. The government responded by relaxing restrictions on labor migration particularly to West Germany, encouraging up to 49% foreign investment in joint enterprises, and removing barriers to the exchange of ideas.

Yugoslavia began to develop a foreign policy independent of the Soviet Union. In October 1949, Yugoslavia was elected to one of the nonpermanent seats on the United Nations (UN) Security Council and openly condemned North Korea's aggression in South Korea. Tito intensified his commitment to the movement of nonaligned "third world" nations in cooperation with Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Gamal Abdel-Nasser of Egypt, and others.

With the September 1961 Belgrade summit conference of nonaligned nations, Tito became the recognized leader of the movement. The nonaligned position served Tito's Yugoslavia well by allowing Tito to draw on economic and political support from the Western powers while neutralizing any aggression from the Soviet bloc. Tito condemned all Soviet aggression. Just before his death on 4 May 1980, Tito condemned the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In the 1970s and 1980s, Yugoslavia maintained fairly good relations with its neighboring states by playing down or solving pending disputes and developing cooperative projects and increased trade.

As an integral part of the Yugoslav federation, Serbia naturally was impacted by Yugoslavia's internal and external political developments. The main problem facing communist Yugoslavia was the force of nationalism.

As nationalism was on the rise in Yugoslavia, particularly in Croatia and Slovenia, Serbs were facing a real dilemma with the rising of Albanian nationalism in Kosovo. After World War II, Tito had set up Kosovo as an autonomous province and the Albanians were able to develop their own political and cultural autonomy, including a university with instructors and textbooks from Albania. Immigration from Albania also increased and after Tito's death in 1980, Albanians became more assertive and began agitating for a republic of their own, since by then they comprised about 80% of Kosovo's population.

The reverberations of the Kosovo events were very serious throughout Yugoslavia since most non-Serbs viewed the repression of the Albanians as a possible precedent for the use of force elsewhere. Serbs were accused of using a double standardone for themselves in the defense of Serbs in Kosovo by denying the Albanians' political autonomy and violating their human rights, and a different standard for themselves by demanding political autonomy and human rights for Serbs in Croatia.

In 1986, the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences issued a draft manifesto that called for the creation of a unified Serbia whereby all lands inhabited by Serbs would be united with Serbia while bringing Kosovo under control to be eventually repopulated by Serbs. To accomplish this goal, the 1974 constitution would need to be amended into an instrument for a recentralizing effort of both the government and the economy.

Recentralization vs. Confederation

In 1986, work was begun on amendments to the 1974 constitution that, when submitted in 1987, created a furor, particularly in Slovenia and Croatia. The main points of contention were the creation of a unified legal system, the establishment of central control over the means of transportation and communication, the centralization of the economy into a unified market, and the granting of more control to Serbia over its autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina. These moves were all viewed as coming at the expense of the individual republics. Serbia also proposed replacing the bicameral federal Skupština (assembly) with a tricameral one where deputies would no longer be elected by their republican assemblies but through a "one person, one vote" nationwide system. Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina strongly opposed the change, just as they opposed the additional Chamber of Associated Labor that would have increased the federal role in the economy.

Meanwhile, Slobodan Milošević had become the head of the Communist Party in Serbia in early 1987. An ardent advocate of the Serbs in Kosovo (and elsewhere) and a vocal proponent of the recentralizing constitutional amendments, he was able to take control of the leadership in Montenegro and Vojvodina and impose Serbian control over Kosovo.

The Slovenian Communist Party had taken the leadership in opposing the recentralizing initiatives and in advocating a confederate reorganization of Yugoslavia. Thus a political dueling took place between Slovenia and Serbia. Slobodan Milošević directed the organization of mass demonstrations by Serbs in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia. Serbs began a boycott of Slovenian products, withdrew savings from Slovenian banks, and terminated economic cooperation and trade with Slovenia. The tensions with Serbia convinced the Slovenian leadership of the need to undertake protective measures and, in September 1989, draft amendments to the constitution of Slovenia were published that included the right to secession, the sole right of the Slovenian legislature to introduce martial law, and the right to control deployment of armed forces in Slovenia. The latter seemed particularly necessary since the Yugoslav Army was largely controlled by a Serbian and Montenegrin officer corps.

A last attempt at salvaging Yugoslavia was made when the League of Communists of Yugoslavia convened in January 1990 to review proposed reforms. The Slovenian delegation walked out on 23 January 1990 when their attempts to broaden the reforms was rebuffed.

Yugoslavia's Dissolution

In October 1990, Slovenia and Croatia published a joint proposal for a confederation of Yugoslavia as a last attempt at a negotiated solution, but to no avail. The Slovenian legislature also adopted a draft constitution proclaiming that "Slovenia will become an independent state." On 23 December, a plebiscite was held on Slovenia's secession from Yugoslavia if a confederate solution could not be negotiated within a six-month period. An overwhelming majority of 88.5% of voters approved the secession provision, and on 26 December 1990 a Declaration of Sovereignty was also adopted. All federal laws were declared void in Slovenia as of 20 February 1991 and, since no negotiated agreement was possible, Slovenia declared its independence on 25 June 1991.

On 27 June, the Yugoslav army tried to seize control of Slovenia under the pretext that it was its constitutional duty to assure the integrity of Socialist Yugoslavia. The Slovenian "territorial guards" surrounded Yugoslav army tank units, isolated them, and engaged in close combat along border checkpoints, and the Yugoslav units often surrendered. Over 3,200 Yugoslav army soldiers surrendered, and the Slovenes scored an international public relations coup by having the prisoners call their parents all over Yugoslavia to come to Slovenia and take their sons back home. The European Community negotiated a cease-fire after ten days, with a three-month moratorium of Slovenia's implementation of independence.

The collapse of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989 had a deep impact in Yugoslavia. Communist leaders there realized that, in order to stay in power, they needed to embrace the goals of nationalistic movements. In Serbia and Montenegro, the Communists won on 9 December 1990 on the basis of their strong Serbian nationalism. In its last years, Yugoslavia became a house divided, prompting the parliament of Slovenia to pass a resolution on 20 February 1991 proposing the division of Yugoslavia into two separate states.

Suppression of Kosovo and Revolt in Croatia

On 2 July 1990, Albanian members of the Yugoslav legislature declared Kosovo a separate territory within the Yugoslav federation. Three days later, on 5 July 1990, the Serbian parliament countered the Albanian move by suspending the autonomous government of Kosovo. The next month (August 1990), an open Serb insurrection against the Croatian government was initiated apparently with the support of Slobodan Milošević. On 17 March 1991, Milošević declared that Krajina, a region in Croatia, was a Serbian autonomous region. Clashes between the Serbian militia and Croatian police required the use of Yugoslav army units to keep the peace.

The Serbian determination to maintain a united Yugoslavia hardened, while the determination of the Slovenes and Croats to gain their independence grew stronger. This caused the closing of ranks by the Yugoslav army command in support of the Serbian leadership and Slobodan Milošević. Since there was no substantial Serbian population in Slovenia, its secession did not present a real problem to Milošević, but secession by Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina would necessitate border revisions to allow land with Serbian populations to be joined to Serbia.

The new constitution promulgated by Serbia in September 1990 provided for a unicameral legislature of 250 seats and the elimination of autonomy for Vojvodina and Kosovo. The first elections were held on 9 December 1990. More than 50 parties and 32 presidential candidates participated. Slobodan Milošević's Socialist Party of Serbia received two-thirds of the votes and 194 out of the 250 seats. The Movement for Renewal, headed by Vuk Drašković, received 19 seats while the Democratic Party won 7 seats. With the mandate from two-thirds of the electorate, Slobodan Milošević had complete control of Serbia. Having gained control of Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Vojvodina, Milošević controlled four of the eight votes in the collective presidency of Yugoslavia. With the collective presidency stalemated, the top army leadership became more independent of the normal civilian controls and was able to make its own political decisions on rendering support to the Serbs in Croatia and their armed rebellion.

On 3 June 1991 Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia proposed the formation of a Community of Yugoslav Republics as a compromise. In this community, national defense, foreign policy, and a common market would be centrally administered while all other areas would fall to the jurisdiction of the member states (except for the armed forces and diplomatic representation). But it was already too late. Serbia disliked the confederate nature of the proposal and objected to leaving an opening for the establishment of separate armed forces. In addition, Milošević and the army had already committed to the support of the revolt of the Serbs in Croatia. At their meeting in Split on 12 June 1991, Milošević and Croatia's president Tudjman were past the stage of salvaging Yugoslavia when discussing how to divide Bosnia and Herzegovina into ethnic cantons.

The international community stood firmly in support of the preservation of Yugoslavia, of the economic reforms initiated by the Marković government, and of the peaceful solution to the centralist vs. confederate conflict. The United States and the European Community had indicated that they would not recognize the independence of Slovenia and Croatia if they unilaterally seceded from the Yugoslav Federation. With the then-Soviet Union also supporting Socialist Federal Yugoslavia, Milošević was assured of strong international backing. Slovenia and Croatia proceeded with their declarations of independence on 25 June 1991.

As a shrewd politician, Slobodan Milošević knew that a military attack on a member republic would deal a mortal blow to both the idea and the reality of a Yugoslavia in any form. Thus, following the Yugoslav army's attack on Slovenia on 27 June 1991, Milošević and the Serbian leadership concentrated on the goal of uniting all Serbian lands to Serbia.

This position led to the direct use of the Yugoslav army and its superior capabilities in establishing the Serbian autonomous region of Krajina in Croatia. Increased fighting from July 1991 caused tremendous destruction of entire cities (Vukovar), and large scale damage to the medieval city of Dubrovnik. Croatia, which was poorly armed and caught by surprise, fought over a seven-month period. It suffered some 10,000 dead, 30,000 wounded, over 14,000 missing, and lost to the Krajina Serbs (and to the Yugoslav Army) about one-third of its territory, from Slavonia to the west and around the border with Bosnia and south to northern Dalmatia.

The intervention of the European Community (as earlier in the case of Slovenia) and the United Nations (UN) brought about a cease-fire on 3 January 1992. UN peacekeepers were stationed by March 1991 to separate the Serb-controlled areas from Croatian army and paramilitary forces. Milošević had very good reasons to press the Krajina Serbs and the Yugoslav army to accept the cease-fire because the Serb forces had already achieved control of about one-third of Croatian territory. He was confident that the UN forces would actually protect the Serb-occupied territories from the Croats.

Aggression in Bosnia and Herzegovina

In the meantime, a far worse situation was developing in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Following the deployment in Croatia of UN peacekeepers, the Yugoslav army moved into Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia and Herzegovina held a referendum on independence in February 1992 in accordance with the European Community's conditions for eventual international recognition. In 1991, Bosnia and Herzegovina was about 44% Muslim, 31% Serbian, 17% Croatian, and 6% Yugoslav. Milošević's goal of unifying all Serbian lands would become impossible with an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina. Therefore, Bosnian Serbs abstained from voting, while 64% of eligible voters approved of an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina by an almost unanimous 99.7%.

At the same time, a provisional agreement had been reached at a conference in Lisbon in late February 1992 on dividing Bosnia and Herzegovina into three ethnic units, with related central power sharing. This agreement was rejected by the Muslim side, and the Bosnian Serbs, who had earlier organized their territory into the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, prepared for hostilities with the support of the Yugoslav army and volunteers from Serbia and Montenegro.

International recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina came on 6 April 1992, the anniversary of the 1941 Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia. The fear of another genocidal orgy against Serbs steeled the Serbs' determination to fight for their own survival. On 1 March 1992 a Serbian wedding party was attacked in the Muslim section of Sarajevo. This was the spark that ignited the fighting in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Serbs pounded Sarajevo for two years, reducing it to rubble. They took control of two-thirds of the territory, and carried out ferocious "ethnic cleansing" of Muslims in areas they intended to add to their own. Under international pressure, the Yugoslav army moved to Serbia, leaving to the Bosnian Serbs an abundance of weaponry and supplies.

Serbia and Montenegro formed their own Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 27 April 1992. Despite the lack of international support, Milošević was elected president in December with 56% versus 34% for his opponent, Milan Panić. Inflation, unemployment, and savage corruption convinced Milošević to support the various plans for bringing about peace to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Even with the eventual settlement of hostilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia faced serious internal political problems in addition to its ruined economy: the tradition of independence in Montenegro, the Albanian majority in Kosovo, the Muslims of the Sandžak area, the Hungarians in Vojvodina, and independent Macedonia.


Kosovo was the center of the Serbian kingdom in the Middle Ages. Firmly attached to their Christian faith and opposed to conversion into Islam, large numbers of Serbs were forced to leave the Kosovo region because of Turkish persecutions. In their place Muslim Albanians were settled in increasing numbers so that liberation of Serbian Kosovo in 1912 actually liberated an almost entirely Albanian area. By the end of World War II, the Kosovo area was already about 70% Albanian. Tito granted Kosovo a special autonomous status, keeping Serbian hopes alive that eventually Serbs could repopulate Kosovo.

The Albanians clamored for their right to self-determination and a republic of their own (still within Yugoslavia). Albanians increased their pressure on the remaining Serbian population, which had dwindled to some 10% of the total by 1991. Cries of genocide were raised by Serbian media, and a series of bloody clashes justified Slobodan Milošević's administration to develop a new Serbian constitution of September 1990, drastically limiting Kosovo's autonomy. Albanians then organized their own political parties, the strongest of which became the Kosovo Democratic Alliance led by Ibrahim Rugova.

In a street meeting on 2 July 1990, the adjourned Kosovo Assembly adopted a declaration proclaiming Kosovo a separate republican entity. Serbs reacted by suspending the Kosovo Assembly on 5 July 1990. Most of the Albanian delegates had to flee the country to avoid imprisonment.

Serbia found itself in a very peculiar and dangerous situation. Through several past centuries the Serbian people expanded their reach by forced mass migrations and wars that have contributed to the depopulation of its own cradle areaKosovo. The Serbian claims to these lands were being contested by neighboring states or other older populations. Serbia and Montenegro became isolated and were facing adversary states.

The Ongoing Conflict

The quest to create a "Greater Serbia"that is, to unite the Serbs under a single Serbian governmentresulted in continued fighting, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were summarily executed at Srebrenica in July 1995. On 8 September 1995, the leaders of Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina agreed on a new governmental structure for Bosnia and Herzegovina; the three parties soon afterwards refined their agreement to include a group presidency, a parliament, and a constitutional court in which Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia would share power with the Serbian republic.

In October 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina accused the Bosnian Serbs of war crimes, leading to international suspicion that Serbian soldiers had massacred thousands of Muslims. Pressured by air strikes and diplomacy, Serb authorities joined leaders from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia on 31 October 1995 in Dayton, Ohio, for a round of peace talks sponsored by the United States. On 21 November 1995, the three presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia finally agreed to terms that would end the fighting in Bosnia and Herzegovina after four years and an estimated 250,000 casualties. The agreement, formally signed in Paris in mid-December, called for 60,000 UN peacekeepers. The United States then ended its economic sanctions against Serbia.

Enforcement of the peace was difficult and problems arose over the exchange of prisoners. The United States ordered the leaders of the former warring parties to meet in Rome in February 1996 to recommit themselves to the Dayton agreement. Meanwhile, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague set out to find and prosecute Serbian soldiers accused of atrocities. In March 1996, the UN Tribunal filed its first charges. Among those cited were Serb generals Djordje Djukic and Ratko Mladic, and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. The latter two remained at large, spurring accusations by the United States and Europe that the Serbian government was protecting the international outlaws. In May 1996, Serbian President Milošević pledged that Karadzic would be removed from power. The presidents of Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina agreed to hold Bosnian elections in mid-September 1996.

While international suspicion swirled about him for his role in the Bosnian conflict, Serbian President Milošević was not very successful in delivering promised reforms for Serbia. In March 1996, a demonstration in Belgrade brought out 20,000 protestors against the Milošević regime, which opponents charged with starting the Bosnian conflict and devastating the Serbian economy.

Mass demonstrations against Milošević flared later in 1996 when he voided local elections won by the opposition. In December, the Milošević administration shut down Belgrade's independent radio station, which further alienated Serb citizens. Thousands of protesters met in the streets of Belgrade, hoping to topple the Milošević administration. In February 1997, Milošević relented and agreed to recognize the results of the previous local elections, in which opposition parties won majorities in 14 of Serbia's 19 largest cities. In July 1997, Milošević was appointed to the presidency of Yugoslavia by the federal parliament, allowing him to maintain control for another four years.

During early March of 1999, Albanian moderates led by Ibrahim Rugova (president of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo) and representatives of the Yugoslav government held talks in Ramboullet, France; they came up with a plan to give Kosovo back its autonomy under a three-year NATO occupational guarantee. The Serbs refused to sign the accord, and Yugoslav forces grew to 40,000 in Kosovo, continuing hostilities. Beginning 24 March 1999 NATO forces bombed Serbia and Kosovo, in an attempt to check human rights violations and end fighting. NATO bombs and cruise missiles fell on military targets in Belgrade and Pristina. Fears ran high that other European nations would get involved in the conflict and take sides, resulting in a third world war. Russia disagreed with the NATO bombing runs, attempting its own peace process. After 11 weeks of bombing, casualties reported by the Yugoslav government amounted to 462 soldiers and 114 police officers, but NATO estimates claimed 5,000 had died including 2,000 civilians. On 3 June, the Yugoslav government accepted a peace plan that involved removing Yugoslav troops from Kosovo, and giving some autonomy to the province. NATO troops entered Kosovo on 12 June to enforce the peace plan. Some 170,000 Kosovar Serbs were thrown out of Kosovo by the ethnic Albanian majority during the conflict, adding to an already large refugee population.

On 29 June 1999, 10,000 Serbian protestors gathered in Čačak, in northern Serbia, to demand the resignation of Milošević. In August, more than 100,000 Serbians called for an end to his rule in a march on Belgrade. The UN began the unwieldy task of reconciliation in the region during the fall of 1999. Kosovo was to remain under the sovereignty of Yugoslavia as a Serbian province, but with some future determination of further self-government (scheduled to follow the fall of the Milošević regime). The next regular presidential elections were set for 2001. Sweeping constitutional changes in July 2000 changed the presidential term so that Milošević could run for two additional four-year terms. They also made the weight of the Montenegran vote in the Yugoslav parliament equal to its population, or only 7%. Milošević called presidential elections early, for 24 September 2000; most believed that they would be rigged in his favor, and were planning to boycott the elections.

Milošević banned international observers from the process of monitoring the 24 September elections. The opposition to Milošević was strong, and a crowd of 150,000 turned out for the final pre-election rally against him. The opposition claimed victory in the election, with Vojislav Kostunica proclaiming himself the "people's president." The Federal Election Commission called for a second vote, stating that neither candidate had won an outright majority; this plan was met with worldwide opposition.

On 27 September, 250,000 people took to the streets to demand that Milošević step down. On 28 September, the Electoral Commission announced that while the Democratic Opposition group had won the largest single block of seats, the Socialists and their coalition partners had won an absolute majority. By 2 October, protesters had called a general strike, were blocking Belgrade's main streets and had caused a halt to economic activity in other Yugoslav cities. On 4 October 2000, the Constitutional Court annulled the election results and ruled that Milošević should serve out his last term in office. Tens of thousands of opposition supporters stormed and burned the parliament building on 5 October and captured the state television service; police joined the crowds. Kostunica told approximately 500,000 supporters at a rally in Belgrade that Serbia had been liberated. On 6 October, Milošević conceded defeat, and Kostunica was sworn in as president on 7 October. He stated his first objective as president would be to right the economy and lead reconstruction efforts. Milošević was indicted for atrocities in Kosovo by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. A bounty of us$5 million was offered by the US government to find the war criminal, but he remained in power even after losing the war.

The European Union (EU) and United States lifted their economic sanctions against Yugoslavia, and in November the country rejoined the UN; Kostunica indicated the country wanted to join the EU as soon as possible. In January 2001, Yugoslavia and Albania reestablished diplomatic relations after they had been broken off during the crisis in Kosovo in 1999.

On 1 April 2001, Milošević was arrested at his home in Belgrade after a tense standoff in which shots were fired; he had been charged with corruption and abuse of power within Yugoslavia. Kostunica had originally ruled out extraditing Milošević to the war crimes tribunal at The Hague. Milošević was formerly indicted by the tribunal in May 1999 for alleged war crimes in Kosovo; other indictments later included war crimes carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, including charges of genocide carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 199295. This was the first time a sitting head of state had been charged with war crimes. In June, then-Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic authorized the extradition of Milošević to the tribunal, exacerbating a rift between him and Kostunica, who favored a trial for Milošević in Belgrade. Milošević's trial at The Hague began in February 2002; Milošević died of a heart attack in prison in The Hague on 11 March 2006 with just 50 hours of testimony left before the conclusion of the trial.

Serbia and Montenegro

On 14 March 2002, in an agreement mediated by the EU, Serbia and Montenegro agreed to consign the Yugoslav Republic to history and create a loose federation called "Serbia and Montenegro." Both republics would share defense and foreign policies, but would maintain separate economies, currencies (the dinar for Serbia and the euro for Montenegro), and customs services for the immediate future. Each republic would have its own parliament with a central 126-member parliament located in Belgrade. Montenegrin president Milo Djukanovic reluctantly agreed to the union, commiting Montenegro to a three-year moratorium on an independence referedum, but in April, the Montenegrin government collapsed over differences on the new union. Kosovo, which remained under UN administration, remained part of Serbia. This angered many Kosovo activists, although the agreement looked to some as possibly accelerating the process of independence for the province. The parliament of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia voted to disband itself on 4 February 2003, dissolving the country and introducing the new state of Serbia and Montenegro. Both republics agreed they would be able to hold referendums on full independence in 2006.

Serbian presidential elections were held on 29 September 2002, with 55.5% of registered voters casting ballots. Kostunica won 30.9% of the vote, and his opponent Miroljub Labus finished second with 27.4%. The second round of voting was held two weeks later, with Kostunica winning 66.8% of the votes, to 30.9% for Labus. However, voter turnout failed to reach a mandated 50% (it was 45.5%), and the elections were declared to be invalid. Natasa Micic, formerly the speaker of parliament, became acting president. She stated Serbian presidential elections would be held after the adoption of the new Serbian constitution, after it was harmonized with the constitution of Serbia and Montenegro. Montenegrin general elections were held in October 2002, and in November, Djukanovic resigned as president to take on the job of prime minister. Presidential elections held in Montenegro in December 2002 and February 2003 were invalidated due to low voter turnout. Filip Vujanovich was finally elected president of Montenegro in the third round of voting.

On 7 March 2003, Svetozar Marovic, deputy leader of the Montenegrin Democratic Party of Socialists, was elected the first president of Serbia and Montenegro after Kostunica stepped down as president of the former Yugoslavia. Marovic was the only candidate to run; the next presidential elections were to be held in 2007.

On 12 March 2003, Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic was assassinated outside the main government building in Belgrade. Members of criminal organizations were suspected of carrying out the assassination; Djindjic had declared war on organized crime in Serbia, which was said to flourish under Milošević. After the assassination, Serbia was placed under a state of emergency and police arrested some 1,000 people, including members of Serbia's secret service and policemen. Zoran Zivkovic, a leading official of the ruling Democratic Party, was elected prime minister to replace Djindjic.

While the Montenegrins managed to elect a president for their small republic, the Serbs failed to do so, even after the third voting round (in November 2003), due to low voter turnout. In addition, the indecisive parliamentary elections results from December 2003 led to a crisis within the Serbian parliament. The crisis was ended on March 2004 when former Yugoslav president, Vojislav Kostunica, was appointed the new prime minister of Serbia. In June 2004, the Serbs also got a new president, Boris Tadic. Tadic, the leader of the Democratic Party, managed to defeat his main contenderthe nationalist Tomislav Nikolic, taking 52.34% of the tally in the second voting round.

In February 2005, officials from Montenegro asked their Serbian counterparts for an early vote on independence, claiming the union was inefficient and that it squandered money. Vojislav Kostunica refused the proposal and indicated that European integration and economic development should be the main focus of Serbia and Montenegro. A referendum on full independence for Montenegro was held on 21 May 2006; to be accepted internationally, a 55% majority was required for a "yes" vote. The vote on independence was 55.5% in favor. Voter turnout was 86.3%. A demand by pro-Serbian unionist parties for a recount was rejected. Serb politicians, Orthodox church leaders, and Montenegrins from the mountainous inland regions bordering Serbia opposed secession. However, ethnic Montenegrins and Albanians from the coastal area favored indpendence. Serbian President Boris Tadic recognized the independence of Montenegro. Serbia became the successor state to the union of Serbia and Montenegro, inheriting its UN seat and seats in other international institutions: the newly independent Montenegro would have to apply for UN and EU membership on its own, once it had been granted recognition by other states. Serbia's ambition to join the EU was hampered by its failure to arrest key war crimes suspects, including Ratko Mladic. Serbia inherited legal claim to the UN-administered province of Kosovo.


Prior to Montenegro's independence in 2006, the union of Serbia and Montenegro was a confederal parliamentary democratic republic, with two constituent statesthe Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Montenegro. As of June 2006, the Serbian province of Kosovo remained governed by the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and had self-government. The Serbian province of Vojvodina is nominally autonomous. A constitutional charter for the state of Serbia and Montenegro was ratified by both the Serbian and Montenegrin parliaments in January 2003, and the constitution for the unified state was approved on 4 February 2003. The constitution allowed the member republics to hold independence referendums in 2006, which Montenegro did on 21 May of that year.

Following the dissolution of the union of Serbia and Montenegro on 5 June 2006, the Republic of Serbia was faced with drafting a new constitution. As of June 2006, Serbia had a legislature (National Assembly) of 250 deputies chosen in direct general elections for a period of four years. The deputies in the National Assembly elect the government of the Republic of Serbia, which, together with the president, represents the country's executive authority. The Serbian government was formed on 3 March 2004 with the appointment of Vojislav Kostunica as the prime minister. Boris Tadić was serving as president in June 2006. The judiciary is independent.


The Republic of Serbia held parliamentary elections on 28 December 2003. The following political parties won seats in the National Assembly: Serbian Radical Party, 82 seats; Democratic Party of Serbia, 53 (includes candidates of the People's Democratic Party, the Serbian Liberal Party, and the Serbian Democratic Party); the Democratic Party, 37 (includes candidates from the Civic Alliance of Serbia, Democratic Center, Social Democratic Union, Bosniak Democratic Party of Sandzak, and the Social Liberal Party of Sandzak); the G17 Plus, 34 (including candidates from the Social Democratic Party); the Serbian Renewal Movement, 22; and the Socialist Party of Serbia, 22.

Other minor parties and coalitions which were not represented in the National Assembly include: Together for Tolerance; Democratic Alternative; For National Unity; Otpor; and Independent Serbia.


The Republic of Serbia is made up of 29 districts and the city of Belgrade. Each district is, in turn, divided into several municipalities.

Serbia's ethnic diversity often makes local governance a burdensome task. Besides Serbs and Albanians, there are considerable populations of Romanians, Hungarians, Roma, Bulgarians, Bosnians, Croats, Slovaks, and Montenegrins.


The Serbian Constitutional Court determines whether Serbian laws, regulations and other enactments are in conformity with the Serbian constitution. Any citizen may begin an initiative in the Court. The Supreme Court is the highest appellate court. It also has an administrative law department with jurisdiction over all appeals of final decisions by administrative organs. As of 2002, a new intermediate appellate body became effective, the Court of Appeals. It has jurisdiction over appeals from the municipal and district courts. Its decisions may be appealed to the Supreme Court. The Administrative Court provides first instance review of all final administrative organ decisions. The decisions of the Administrative Court may be appealed to the Supreme Court.

The district courts' jurisdiction is limited to first instance matters. The courts have jurisdiction to try criminal offenses punishable by ten years' imprisonment or more, and other specified offenses, juvenile offenses, civil disputes of substantial value and in other specified areas, labor disputes, and certain other matters. There are 30 district courts in Serbia. The 143 municipal courts are the principal first instance courts. The courts have first instance jurisdiction over all criminal and civil cases that do not fall within the first instance jurisdiction of the district courts.

Commercial courts have jurisdiction over a wide range of commercial disputes, including copyright, privatization, foreign investment, unfair competition, maritime and other matters. These courts also are responsible for the registration of commercial enterprises. There are 16 commercial courts, and their decisions may be appealed to the High Commercial Court, located in Belgrade. Decisions of the latter court may be appealed to the Supreme Court.


The following information on armed forces pertains to the union of Serbia and Montenegro prior to Montenegro's independence in 2006. Active armed forces numbered approximately 65,300 in 2005, supported by 250,000 reservists. The Army had 55,000 active personnel and was equipped with 962 main battle tanks, 525 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 288 armored personnel carriers and 2,729 artillery pieces. The Navy had 3,800 active personnel, including 900 Marines. Major naval units included eight tactical submarines, three frigates, 31 patrol/coastal vessels, 10 mine warfare ships, 23 amphibious landing craft, and seven logistical/support vessels. The Air Force had 6,500 active members, along with 101 combat capable aircraft, including 39 fighters, 51 fighter ground attack aircraft and 17 armed helicopters. There was also a paramilitary force that consisted of 45,100 personnel, of which an estimated 4,100 made up special police units, 35,000 were Ministry of Interior personnel and an estimated 6,000 were Montenegrin Ministry of Interior Personnel. Sixteen military personnel were stationed in four African countries under UN command. In addition, military contingents from 45 countries were stationed in Serbia and Montenegro as part of the Kosovo Peace Implementation Force. The defense budget in 2005 totaled $706 million.


The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was an original member of the United Nations (1945) until its dissolution and the establishment of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as new states. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was admitted to the United Nations on 1 November 2000. Following the adoption and promulgation of the Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro on 4 February 2003, the name of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was changed to Serbia and Montenegro. Following Montenegro's referendum on independence, Serbia became the sucessor state to the union of Serbia and Montenegro on 5 June 2006, and thus retained its membership in international bodies, including the UN and the specialized UN agencies, such as the FAO, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, the World Bank, IAEA, and the WHO.

Serbia is a member of the Council of Europe, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Zone, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the OSCE. It has observer status in the OAS and the WTO. In environmental cooperation, the country is part of Basel Convention, Ramsar, the London Convention, the Montréal Protocol, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea and Climate Change.


During the UN economic sanctions that lasted from 1992 to 1995, economic activity was extremely limited. By 1994, hyperinflation had brought formal economic activity to a virtual halt. By 1996, GDP had fallen to only 50.8% of 1990s total. Industry declined to just 46.6% of 1990s output; agriculture, 94.4%; construction, 37.5%; transportation, 29.3%; trade, 60.6%; and services, 81.1%. Formal lifting of these sanctions occurred in October 1996. However, the United States sponsored an "Outer Wall" of sanctions, which prevented Yugoslavia from joining international organizations and financial institutions. Taken together, the "Outer Wall," the Kosovo war, and continuing corruption continued to stifle economic development. In October 2000, the coalition government began implementation of stabilization and market-reform measures. Real growth in 2000 was reported as 5%. A donors' conference in June 2001 raised $1.3 billion in pledges for help in infrastructural rebuilding. Real GDP in 2001 was 5.5% and an estimated 4% in 2002. The average lending rate, at 79.6% in 2000 dropped to 33.2% in 2001, reflecting some improvement in economic security.

Economic output was positive but volatile after 2002, dropping 2.1% in 2003 and jumping to 8% in 2004; in 2005 it was estimated at 5.5%. Inflation was on a downward spiral, reaching 9.8%, but grew again in 2005 (to 15.5%) as a result of the increase of service and oil derivatives prices. Unemployment remained unusually high, hovering around 30%, but a large chunk of the unemployed are considered to work in the informal economy. One of Serbia's main tasks was to bring about fiscal and monetary stability, and create a legal framework that will allow the market economy to flourish.


The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $5,000 in 2005. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 5.5%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 15.5%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 16.6% of GDP, industry 25.5%, and services 57.9%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $1.397 billion or about $172 per capita and accounted for approximately 6.8% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $1,317 million or about $163 per capita and accounted for approximately 6.4% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reported that in 2003 household consumption in Serbia and Montenegro totaled $18.27 billion or about $2,246 per capita based on a GDP of $20.7 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that in 1999 about 30% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.


The labor force in the union of Serbia and Montenegro was estimated at 3.22 million in 2005. The unemployment rate in 2005 was estimated at 31.6%, with Kosovo's unemployment at around 50%. There was no data available as to the ocupational breakdown of the country's workforce.

With the exception of the military, all workers are entitled to form unions. However, the majority of unions are government-sponsored or affiliated: independent unions are rare. Therefore, unions have not been effective in improving work conditions or wage structure increases. Virtually all of the workers in the formal economy are union members. Strikes are permitted and are utilized especially to collect unpaid wages. Collective bargaining is still at rudimentary level.

The minimum employment age is 16 although younger children frequently work on family farms. As of 2005, there was no national minimum wage rate. On average, the full-time monthly wage in the public sector that year was $181, while the average wage in the private sector was $250. Niether wage rate offered a decent living wage for a family. The official workweek is set at 40 hours, with required rest periods and overtime limited to 20 hours per week or 40 hours per month. Health and safety standards are not a priority due to harsh economic circumstances.


The union of Serbia and Montenegro had 3,717,000 hectares (9,160,000 acres) of arable land in 2003. Serbia historically accounted for 60% of agricultural production. Vojvodina is the major agricultural region. In 2000, 20% of the labor force was engaged in agriculture.

Between 1991 and 1996, total agricultural production declined by 10%. During that time, production of farm crops fell by 9%; cereals by 12%. Viticultural production, however, increased by 51%. However, by 1999, total agricultural output was at 92% of the average during 198991. During 200204, crop production was 10% higher than during 19992001.

Agriculture contributed an estimated 17% to GDP in 2002. Major crops produced in 2004 included (in thousands of tons): corn, 6,287; wheat, 2,746; sugar beets, 2,643; potatoes, 1,098; and grapes, 490.

Serbia has a network of agrarian organizations in the form of chambers, farmers' cooperatives, and unions.


In 2005, the livestock population in the union of Serbia and Montenegro included 3,550,000 pigs and hogs, 1,796,600 sheep, 1,230,000 head of cattle, 182,000 goats, 40,000 horses, and 17,464,000 poultry. Total meat production that year was 848,240 tons; milk, 1,852,000 tons. Between 1990 and 1999, total livestock production increased by 1.8%, but during 200204 it fell by 5.4% from 19992001.


The total catch in 2003 was 3,665 tons in the union of Serbia and Montenegro, 86% from inland waters. Common carp accounts for much of the inland catch.


In 2000, estimated forest coverage was 2,887,000 hectares (7,134,000 acres) in the former Yugoslavia. Total roundwood production in the union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2004 was 3,520,000 cu m (124.3 billion cu ft), of which about 75% came from public forests. Sawnwood production amounted to 575,000 cu m (20.3 million cu ft); plywood and particle board, 59,000 cu m (2.1 million cu ft). In 2004, exports of forest products amounted to nearly $139.1 million; imports, $352.9 million.


In 2003 industrial production in the union of Serbia and Montenegro fell by 3% compared to 2002, although mining and quarrying operations reported a 1% increase from 2002. Aggregated production from the metals mining sector in 2003 fell by 33% from the previous year, although the output of basic metals increased by 2%. The country also confronted continuing economic sanctions and the loss of control of Kosovo, with its ores and production facilities for nickel, lead, zinc, coal, lignite, ferronickel, and tin-plate. In light of this, Serbia and Montenegro's gross domestic product (GDP) was officially reported to have increased by 3% in 2003. The country had significant capacities to produce refined aluminum, lead, silver, and zinc. In 2003, the output of bauxite fell by about 12% from 2002, although aluminum output remained at around 2002 levels. Although exports of primary aluminum and aluminum alloys grew by 18% in 2002, from 2001, eight-month data (January through August) for 2003 appeared to indicate a steep drop in those exports. Mining in Serbia dates back to the Middle Ages, when silver, gold, and lead were extracted.

Mine output of metals in 2003 were: lead ore (gross weight), 183,000 metric tons, down from 733,000 metric tons in 2000 and 284,000 metric tons in 2002; bauxite (gross weight), 540,000 metric tons, down from 612,000 metric tons in 2002 and from 630,000 metric tons in 2000; agglomerate iron ore and concentrate saw no recorded production from 2001 through 2003; and copper ore (gross weight), 5,710,000 tons, down from 12,896,000 tons in 2000 and from 7,968,000 tons in 2002. Production of silver in 2003 totaled 2,028 kg, down from 6,838 kg in 2002. Output of refined gold in 2003 was estimated at 600 kg, down from 900 kg in 2002. In 2003, the country also produced alumina, magnesium, palladium, platinum, and selenium. Among the industrial minerals produced were asbestos, bentonite, ceramic clay, fire clay, feldspar, pumice, lime, magnesite, mica, kaolin, gypsum, quartz sand, salt, nitrogen, caustic soda, sodium sulfate, sand and gravel, and stone.


The Electric Utility Company of Serbia (EPS) has control over coal mines, electric power sources (hydroelectric power plants, thermal power plants, heating plants) and grid distribution systems. Serbia has abundant hydroelectric potential, but there are frequent electrical blackouts and brownouts during the peak winter months. Since 1992 energy supplies have been interrupted by UN and US sanctions. Hydroelectric projects are located on the Danube, Drina, Vlasina, and Lim rivers. Thermal plants are located at Kostolac and in Kosovo. Total electrical generating capacity in 2002 was 9.6 million kW. Electric power production in that year amounted to 31.696 billion kWh, of which 67% was thermal and 33% hydroelectric. Consumption of electricity in 2002 was 33.090 billion kWh.

Serbia is the only Balkan country with substantial coal deposits. Proven reserves as of 1999 totaled 18.2 billion tons, 95% of which was lignite. The country's largest lignite mine has an annual capacity of 14,000 tons. Total coal output in 2002 was 39,568,000 short tons, of which lignite accounted for 39,445,000 short tons. Coal imports totaled 310,000 short tons in 2002, of which 171,000 short tons was hard coal.

Serbia has limited proven reserves of oil and natural gas. As of 1 January 2002, these reserves totaled 38.75 million barrels and 24.07 billion cu m, respectively. Production of crude oil in the union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2002 averaged 14,000 barrels per day. Refined petroleum product output in that year averaged 53,000 barrels per day. Imports of petroleum products in 2002 averaged 68,98 barrels per day, which included an average of 37,460 barrels per day of crude oil. Demand for refined oil products in 2002 averaged 83,82 barrels per day.

Natural gas production totaled 22.95 billion cu ft in 2002. Dry consumption totaled 80.87 billion cu ft. Dry gas imports totaled 59.68 billion cu ft in 2002.


Serbia contributed 35% to the total industrial production of the former Yugoslav SFR. Between 1989 and 1996, total industrial output fell by 60%. Production declines by sector during that time were as follows: metals and electrical products, 85%; textiles, leather, and rubber products, 75%; wood products, 63%; nonmetals, 56%; and chemicals and paper, 54%. In the mid-1990s, industry accounted for approximately 50% of the country's GDP.

The industrial production growth rate in 2000 was 11%, and industry accounted for 36% of GDP in 2001. Principal industries in Serbia include machine building (aircraft, trucks, automobiles, tanks and weapons, electrical equipment, agricultural machinery), metallurgy, textiles, footwear, foodstuffs, appliances, electronics, petroleum products, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. The country produced 8,978 automobiles in 2001, a 30% decline from 2000; it also produced 555 heavy trucks in 2000, a 33% increase over 1999.

The industrial production growth rate in 2002 was only 1.2%, way under the real GDP growth ratean indication that industry plays an increasing marginal role in the economy. In 2005, the industry of Serbia and Montenegro made up only 25.5% of the GDP. Agriculture contributed with 16.6%, and services came in first with 57.9%.

In 2000, there were 696,540 workers employed in industrial and mining companies in the Republic of Serbia, comprising 52% of the total active labor force. Small enterprises employed 82,273 workers, with 146,972 in medium-size and 457,286 in large enterprises. The Law on Privatization established conditions for reform of the industrial sector. Large industrial enterprises with financial difficulties are obliged to undertake a program of restructuring, which, it is hoped, will further attract foreign investment.


A large communications satellite station was made operational in Ivanica during the 1970s. Scientific and technological policies are developed and implemented by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of Serbia. As of 2002, there were a combined 1,330 scientists and 568 technicians engaged in research and development (R&D) per million people in the union of Serbia and Montenegro. There were 98 registered research institutions in Serbia and six public universities.

A nationwide scientific and technological development policy formulated in 1994 created 250 five-year basic research projects in all scientific disciplines.


Belgrade serves as the economic and commercial center of the country. Pristina and Subotica serve as regional market centers. The domestic economy has been held back for the past few years due the lack of major privatization reforms and trouble in the general European economy. Hours of business are usually between 8 am and 4 pm.


The United Nations imposed sanctions on international trade with Yugoslavia in May 1992 and lifted them in December 1995. During the war, when sanctions were in force, dozens of Cypriot companies, set up by senior Serbian officials and businessmen, trafficked millions of dollars in illegal trade.

Trade started to catch up in subsequent years, and in 2004 exports in the union of Serbia and Montenegro reached $3.2 billion (FOBFree on Board). In the same year, imports were almost triple that amount, at $9.5 billion (FOB), indicating that the economy in the two republics was in disarray, but that the union was trying to renew its industrial base. Most of the import commodities included machinery and transport equipment, fuels and lubricants, manufactured goods, chemicals, food and live animals, and raw materials. The imports mainly came from Germany (18.5%), Italy (16.5%), Austria (8.3%), Slovenia (6.7%), Bulgaria (4.7%), and France (4.5%). Exports included manufactured goods, food and live animals, and raw materials, and largely went to Italy (which receive 29% of total exports), Germany (16.6%), Austria (7%), Greece (6.7%), France (4.9%), and Slovenia (4.1%).

Imports were expected to be constrained by tight fiscal and monetary policies, while exports will be encouraged through targeted policy measures, and as a result of a restructured and more competitive economic base.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported that in 2005 the purchasing power parity of Serbia and Montenegro's exports was $5.485 billion while imports totaled $11.94 billion.

Exports of goods and services totaled $5.9 billion in 2004, up from $4.2 billion in 2003. Imports grew from $8.7 billion in 2003, to $12.8 billion in 2004. Consequently, the resource balance was on a negative upsurge, growing from -$4.5 billion in 2003, to -$7.1 billion in 2004. A similar trend was registered for the current account balance, which deteriorated from -$2.0 billion in 2003, to -$3.1 billion in 2004. The national reserves (including gold) were $3.6 billion in 2003, covering less than 6 months of imports; by 2004, they increased to $4.3 billion.


Serbia's banking system was still hampered by the history of international sanctions. Banks are severely hampered by a lack of liquidity, a result of the tight monetary policy prevalent in the country.


Insurance of public transport passengers, motor vehicle insurance, aircraft insurance, and insurance on bank deposits are compulsory. Only domestic insurance companies may provide insurance. In 2003, the value of all direct insurance premiums written in the union of Serbia and Montenegro totaled $436 million, of which nonlife premiums accounted for $420 million. In that same year, the top nonlife insurer was Dunav, which had gross written nonlife premiums of $138.6 million, while the country's leading life insurer was Zepter, which had gross written life insurance premiums of $7.1 million.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 the union of Serbia and Montenegro's central government took in revenues of approximately $11.4 billion and had expenditures of $11.1 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately $330 million. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 53.1% of GDP. Total external debt was $15.43 billion.


The republic of Serbia has a standard corporate tax rate of 10%. Capital gains derived from the sale of industrial property rights, real estate, shares and other securities, and capital participations are considered taxable income, and are taxed at the corporate rate. However, gains arising from certain government bonds or from bonds issued by the national bank are excluded from the tax. Dividends, interest and royalties are subject to a 20% withholding tax. Other taxes includes a value-added tax (VAT), with a standard rate of 18% and a lower rate of 8%, property taxes, transfer taxes, a tax on financial transactions, payroll taxes, and social security contributions. In Serbia, the republic government, rather than the city governments, collects local taxes and then disperses part of the funds to city officials. Local factories pay no city taxes in Serbia.


Serbia's has six tariff rates that range from 130%, with a weighted duty average of 9.37%. Serbia applies a VAT of 18%, with an 8% reduced rate for basic foodstuffs, medicines, published materials, public utilities and certain services. Serbia imposes excise taxes on certain luxury goods.

Serbia has established free trade zones (FTZ) in Smederrevo, Kovin, Nis, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Šabac, Pahovo, Sombor, Sremska Mitrovica, Subotica, and Zrenjanin.


Foreign investment was severely restricted during the years of the economic embargo. Since the sanctions have been lifted, foreign investors from neighboring countries, Russia, and Asia have expressed an interest in capital investment. The main sectors attracting the interest of foreign investors are metal manufacturing and machinery, infrastructure improvement, agriculture and food processing, and chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Foreign investors may hold majority shares in companies.

In 1997, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the former Yugoslavia reached $740 million, but dried up with the onset of the conflict in Kosovo. FDI inflows averaged $122.5 million in 1998 and 1999, then fell to $25 million in 2000. In 2001, FDI inflow reached $125 million.

In the following years, Serbia and Montenegro undertook an aggressive program of reforms aimed at both re-establishing the area as a major transportation hub, and at attracting foreign investment. These policies seem to have paid off as in 2004, capital inflows jumped to $3.4 billion. While Serbia is still considered to be a risky place for doing business, the political and economic climate is steadily improving.


Officials in general see revitalization of the infrastructure (roads, rail and air transport, telecommunications, and power production) as one step toward economic recovery. Another important aspect of economic reconstruction will be the revival of former export industry, such as agriculture, textiles, furniture, pharmaceuticals, and nonferrous metallic ores.

The Kosovo war in 1999 left much of Serbia's infrastructure in ruins, but reconstruction efforts were proceeding slowly in the early 2000s. The new government that came to power in 2000 faced numerous economic challenges. Nevertheless, inflation decreased sharply from 113% at the end of 2000 to 23% in April 2002. In 2002, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a three-year $829 million Extended Arrangement to support Serbia and Montenegro's (then Yugoslavia's) 200205 economic program. In 2002, the dinar became convertible. Privatization has been slow, and foreign direct investment lagged in the early 2000s.

While politically, and economically, Serbia is much more stable than in previous years, the economy is still in a quasi-state of disarray, with rampant unemployment, with a large grey market, and a relapsing industrial base. Foreign investors, as well as several international financial institutions (EBRD, IMF, and the World Bank), have recognized economic reforms as being ositive, and in 2004 increased their capital transfers to the region.

In 2005 there was a boom in several sectors: trade, financial services and transport and communications. The growth is to be sustained by continued investment in newly privatized companies, by strong local demand, and by an expansion of the services sector.


A social insurance system, updated in 2003, provides old age, disability, and survivorship benefits. The pension plan is funded by contributions from both employers and employees. The retirement varies depending on years of insurance; retirement from insured employment is necessary. Each Republic provides its own system for sickness and maternity benefits. Medical services are provided directly to patients through government facilities. Workers' compensation, unemployment benefits, and family allowances are also available. Family allowances vary according to the number of children in the family are adjusted periodically for cost of living changes.

Traditional gender roles keep women from enjoying equal status with men and few occupy positions of leadership in the private sector. However, women are active in human rights and political organizations. High levels of domestic abuse persist and social pressures prevent women from obtaining protection against abusers.

The government's human rights record remains poor and is additionally marred by the crisis in Kosovo, where police are responsible for beatings, rape, torture, and killings, committed with impunity. In May 1999, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague indicted Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes against the citizens of Kosovo. Milosevic was brought to trial at The Hague in 2002 for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Kosovo and Croatia, and for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina; in March 2006 Milosevic died in prison before a verdict could be decided.


The government provides obligatory health care to citizens for preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic, and rehabilitative services. There were 228 health institutions and about 3,000 other clinics, mostly private in Serbia and Montenegro in the mid-2000s. As of 2004, there were an estimated 20 physicians per 100,000 people. The University Clinical Center in Belgrade conducts about nine million examinations and 46,000 emergency operations per year and functions as one of the World Health Organization's largest diagnostic and referral centers.

In 2005 infant mortality in the union of Serbia and Montenegro was reported at 15.53 per 1,000 live births. Overall mortality was 9.7 per 1,000 people in the Republic of Serbia. Average life expectancy in 2005 in the union was 74.73 years.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.20 per 100 adults in 2003 in the union of Serbia and Montenegro. As of 2004, there were approximately 10,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 100 deaths from AIDS in 2003.


At the beginning of 1996, the former Yugoslavia had 3,124,000 dwellings, with an average of 3.4 persons per dwelling. Housing area at that time averaged 20 sq m (215 sq ft) per person. New housing completions during 1995 totaled 14,337 units, of which 11,847 were in the public sector, and 2,490 were in the private sector. According to a 1999 assessment, it was estimated that about 120,000 dwellings were damaged or destroyed in Kosovo due to internal conflicts. About 50,000 homes had been damaged in Serbia. Overcrowding, particularly in urban areas, has become more of a problem as Serbian refugees have returned from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2002, the nation counted about 2,790,411 households with an average of 2.89 people per household.


As of 2005/2006, education was compulsory for nine years of primary school. This may be followed by three years of secondary school, with students having the option to attend general, vocational, or art schools. The academic year runs from October to July. In 2001, about 43% of children between the ages of three and six in the union of Serbia and Montenegro were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2001 was estimated at about 96% of age-eligible students. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 82% of age-eligible students. It is estimated that about 96% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 20:1 in 2000; the ratio for secondary school was about 14:1.

Serbia has six universities (at Belgrade, Novi Sad, Pristina, Nis, and Kragujevac) with 76 academic departments. In 2001, it was estimated that about 36% of the tertiary age population in the union of Serbia and Montenegro were enrolled in tertiary education programs. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 96.4%.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 3.3% of GDP.


The National Library of Serbia (1.6 million volumes) is in Belgrade. The Matica Srpska Library has over 3 million volumes in holdings. The Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences in Belgrade has about one million volumes and the library system at the University of Belgrade has 1.45 million volumes. The Belgrade City Library is the largest public lending library system in the country; the network contains 14 branches and over 1.7 million items in collection.

Serbia has over 2,500 cultural monuments, including about 100 museums and 37 historical archives libraries. The Belgrade National Museum, founded in 1844, includes exhibits featuring national history, archaeology, medieval frescoes, and works by Yugoslavian and other European artists. Belgrade also has the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Science and Technology, which opened in 1989.


In 2003, there were an estimated 243 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people in the union of Serbia and Montenegro; about 313,500 people were on a waiting list for telephone service installation. The same year, there were approximately 338 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people. PTT Serbia is the monopoly owner/operator of Serbia's telecom network. There are 2.2 million installed fixed lines (700,000 are duplex shared lines) in the republic.

In Serbia and Montenegro, only the RTS television network was owned by the state; the other six (BK, TV Studio Spectrum Čačak, Kanal 9 Kragujevac, Pink, Palma, and Art Kanal) are privately owned. The ownership and editorial positions of television and radio stations usually reflects regional politics. Government control over independent broadcasts and the print media has discouraged political opposition parties that have called for greater democracy and a more open economy. In 2004, Serbia and Montenegro had about 297 radios and 282 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 27.1 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 79 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were nine secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

In 1791, the first Serbian-language newspaper was published in Vienna, Austria. Privately owned newspapers are sometimes critical of the government. The dailies with the largest circulation (as of 2002) are Politika (Politics, 300,000) and Vecernje Novosti (Evening News, 169,000). Other newspapers that are essentially controlled by the government, include (with 2002 circulation) Borba (85,000), Jedinstvo (6,090), Dnevnik (61,000), and Pobjeda (19,400). There are several minority language newspapers.

While the government provides for freedom of speech and of the press, libel suits have been fairly prevalent and some media sources have practiced self-censorship in order to avoid problems with government officials.


The Chamber of Commerce and Economy of Serbia is located in Belgrade.

The Matica Srpska was founded in Novi Sad in 1824 as a literary and cultural society. The Serbian Academy of Science and Art was founded in Belgrade in 1886. There are several organizations for professional journalists, including the Journalists' Federation of Yugoslavia, the Journalists' Association of Serbia, Independent Journalists' Association, and the Association of Private Owners of the Media.

National youth organizations include the Bureau of International Cooperation of Youth of Serbia, Union of Socialist Youth of Yugoslavia, and the Junior Chamber. Scouting organizations are also active. The Child Rights Centre and Child to Child are national groups working to promote the rights of children and youth. Creative Youth of Novi Sad offers a variety of educational, volunteer, and development programs for youth as well. There are a variety of sports associations available promoting amateur competition among athletes of all ages. There are active chapters of the Paralympic Committee, as well as a national Olympic Committee. There is a national chapter of the Red Cross Society.


Rich architecture, museums, galleries, cathedrals, parks, and rivers, are just some of the attractions that bring visitors to Serbia. The largest two of Serbia's five national parks are Djerdap (64,000 ha/158,000 acres) and Sar planina (39,000 ha/96,000 acres). Serbia has dozens of spa resorts such as Vrnjacka Banja, Mataruska Banja, and Niska Banja. Serbia has three UNESCO heritage sites. Popular sports in Serbia are rafting, hunting, fishing, skiing, and cycling.

All visitors need a valid passport to enter Serbia. Serbia requires an onward/return ticket, sufficient funds for the stay, and a certificate showing funds for health care. Visas are required for all nationals except those of 41 countries including the United States, Australia, and Canada.

In 2003, about 1.4 million tourists arrived in Serbia and Montenegro, of whom 93% came from Europe. Hotel rooms numbered 2,435 with 4,926 beds and an occupancy rate of 46%

According to 2005 US Department of State estimates, the cost of staying in Belgrade was $340 per day. The daily costs elsewhere in the country averaged $157.


Sava Rastko Nemanjic (c.11741235) was the first Serbian archbishop and a writer who became one of Serbia's most prominent figures of the Middle Ages. Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic (17871864) reformed the Serbian language by clarifying grammar, standardizing the spelling, and compiling a dictionary. Dositej Obradovic (17421811) was a famous writer, philosopher, and teacher.

Djordje Petrovic Karadjordje (17681817) led a rebellion against the Turks in 1804. Zivojin Misic (18551921) was a distinguished military leader during World War I. Prince Miloš Obrenović (r.18151839) founded the Obrenović dynasty and ruled Serbia as an absolute monarch. King Alexander of Yugoslavia (18881934) was assassinated in Marseille, France. Prince Paul of Yugoslavia (18931976) ruled as a regent for Peter II (192370) from 1934 to 1941 and was forced into exile after signing a secret pact with the Nazi government.

Slobodan Milošević (19412006) was elected president of Serbia in 1990 and 1992 before being elected president of Yugoslavia in July 1997. He came before the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 2002 for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, and died of a heart attack in his cell just months before the trial was due to end.

Ibrahim Rugova (19442006) was president of Kosovo and its leading political party, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK). During the many conflicts in Kosovo, Rugova was regarded as a moderate ethnic Albanian leader, and later by some as "Father of the Nation."

Ivo Andrić (18921975) received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961. Danilo Kiš (193589) established his reputation with his work A Tomb for Boris Davidovich (1976). Other notable Serbian authors include Meša Selimović, Miloš Crnjanski, Milorad Pavić, Dobrica Ćosić and David Albahari. Anastas Jovanović (181799) was a pioneering photographer. Kirilo Kutlik set up the first school of art in Serbia in 1895. Nadežda Petrović (18731915) was influenced by Fauvism while Suva Šumanović worked in Cubism. Other Serbian artists include Milan Konjović, Marko Čelebonović, Petar Lubarda, Milo Milunović, and Vladimir Veličković.


Serbia has no dependencies or territories.


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Basic Data
Official Country Name: Serbia
Region: Europe
Population: 9,981,929
Language(s): Serbian, Albanian
Literacy Rate: NA
Academic Year: September-June
Compulsory Schooling: 9 years
Foreign Students in National Universities: 1,180
Libraries: 749
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 72%
  Secondary: 63%
  Higher: 22%
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 22:1
  Secondary: 15:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Higher: 24%

History & Background

The Republic of Serbia (Srbija ) is located in southeastern Europe, not far from the Adriatic Sea. Bordered by Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, Croatia to the northwest, Hungary to the north, Romania to the northeast, Bulgaria to the east, the autonomous province of Kosovo and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the south, and Montenegro to the southwest, Serbia in early 2001 was part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), along with the Republic of Montenegro. With its largest city, Belgrade (Beograd ), both its capital and the Yugoslav capital, Serbia has been the politically dominant republic of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the FRY. Serbia's landlocked territory measures 88,412 square kilometers, which is slightly more than the U.S. state of Maine, and constitutes about 86.5 percent of the FRY's total territory. Serbia has an extremely varied terrain with fertile plains in the north and limestone mountains and basins in the east. Serbia's climate also varies, ranging from continental (with cold winters, hot, humid summers, and significant precipitation) to Mediterranean.

The Balkan peninsula where Serbia is located was settled by Illyrian, Thracian, and Dacian tribal groups in the pre-Christian era and by Greeks and Romans before becoming the home to Slavic tribes. The Serbs, a Slavic people, migrated to the Balkans from Galicia, near Russia's Dniester River, around A.D. 637, pressed by the Avars from their original territory. Invited by the Byzantine emperor to protect Illyria against enemy invasions, the Serbs were politically autonomous though Byzantine emperors viewed them as their vassals. Converting to Greek Orthodox Christianity in the ninth century but continuing to use the Cyrillic alphabet, the Serbs established the Kingdom of Serbia during the Middle Ages. In the 1300s Serbia increased its power under Stephen Dushan, though from 1459 until the early nineteenth century, the Ottoman Turks dominated the region and ruled the Serbs. With the Ottoman invasion into southeastern Europe and the settlement of Albanian families in the Kosovo region separating Montenegro from Serbia, Serbia grew politically and culturally distinct from Montenegro, another area inhabited by Slavs who spoke a variation of Serbo-Croatian. The Kosovo region came to be viewed by many Serbs as the heartland of Serbia, as the first Serbian Orthodox Church as well as many significant Serbian monasteries and historical monuments are located there. Furthermore, key battles fought by the Serbs against the Ottomans took place in Kosovo, the most important being the Battle of Kosovo Polje in 1389.

In 1813 Serbia became politically autonomous of the Ottoman Empire. Its status as an independent state was fully confirmed by other European nations at the Congress of Berlin in 1878. With the political and geographical changes wrought by World War I, Serbia joined its neighbors in 1917 to form the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and the Slovenes, which was renamed "Yugoslavia" in 1929. In the interwar years Yugoslavia experienced a serious economic decline and fell ripe to the commercial influence of Nazi Germany while under the dictatorship of King Alexander, a Serb who sought to dominate the other ethnic groups in the country and was assassinated by Croatian extremists in Paris in 1934. With the invasion of the Balkans in 1941 by Hitler's troops, Serbia fell to the Axis powers after Belgrade suffered intensive air attacks. During the German occupation of Serbia, the Orthodox population was persecuted by the Germans and Croatian Ustashi fascists. A Serbian nationalistic group, the Chetniks, tried to restore the exiled monarchy but eventually united with the Ustashi. They later joined the occupying fascists to fight the communist-inspired National Liberation Movement of Tito (Josip Broz). After the war, Serbia became one of the republics of socialist Yugoslavia in 1944, which was governed by Tito, a Croat who sought to unify the diverse ethnic groups in the Yugoslav federation during his long presidency that lasted until his death in 1980.

Whereas Tito had managed to keep the republics more or less connected, after his death dissension within the Yugoslav federation over political control and the best means to address the country's growing economic problems and political unrest led to increasing discontent over the Communist system and eventually the breakup of the federation as several republics seceded in 1991 and 1992. Slobodan Miloševic, the former leader of the Communist Party in Serbia that became the Serbian Socialist Party at the close of the 1980s, was elected president of Yugoslavia in December 1990. Expanding Serbia's frontiers by incorporating Yugoslavia's autonomous provinces of Kosovo, where about 90 percent of the population was now Albanian, and Vojvodina, with a large Hungarian population, into the Republic of Serbia, Miloševic refused to accept the peaceful secession of the former Yugoslav republics of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia in the early 1990s. The ethnic violence that followed, coupled with Miloševic's failure to transform Serbia's economy despite his attempts at absolutist political control, arguably led to his loss of power in October 2000.

Although Yugoslavia in the 1980s had remained relatively calm politically, riots in Prishtina, the capital of KosovoYugoslavia's economically poorest regionby Albanian nationalists in 1981 increased mistrust between the majority Albanian population in Kosovo and Kosovo's Serbs and Montenegrins, who were in the minority. Repression of Kosovar Albanians by Serbian security and police forces increased in the 1990s in response to Kosovar attempts to declare their province the sovereign Republic of Kosovo in September 1990 with Ibrahim Rugova, a non-violent resistance leader, as president. The reaction of Miloševic was to remove Albanians from government offices and state operations and to prohibit ethnic Albanians from attending university. Under Miloševic's influence, a new curriculum was introduced in Kosovo that featured Serbian instead of Albanian as the language of instruction and taught a decidedly Serbian view of Balkan history. Arbitrary arrests and police violence directed against Albanians in Kosovo became routine. Furthermore, economic output in Kosovo declined severely during the 1990s. The GDP of Kosovo shrank by an estimated 50 percent between 1990 and 1995, by which time the per-capita GDP in Kosovo was less than US$400, although the economy was based on industry, mining, construction, and agroprocessing with a significant contribution (about one-third of the GDP) from agriculture. The non-violent resistance movement in Kosovo created a system of parallel institutions, and education for Kosovar Albanians was provided in private homes, financed by a 3 percent tax that the Albanians paid to their "shadow" government.

Miloševic's imposition of a new constitution on Serbia that made Kosovo and Vojvodina autonomous regions within Serbia without the status of independent states ultimately led to armed rebellion by some Kosovars, notably the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), in 1996. By July 1998 the KLA had attacked enough Serbian police stations and Yugoslav army sites to take control of about 30 percent of Kosovo's territory. The Serbian state retaliated with armed attacks on Albanian villages and expulsions and massacres of ordinary Albanian citizens. The level of violence between the KLA and the Serb forces rapidly accelerated between October 1998 and February 1999, despite a United States-brokered cease-fire with Miloševic in October 1998 and the introduction of 600 (of a promised 2,000) unarmed monitors provided by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Serb forces conducted house to house searches, mass arrests, and beatings in Kosovo. A peacemaking attempt by the "Contact Group" of representatives from the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, Italy, and Germany was made in Rambouillet, France in February 1999 that involved Rugova and Albanian non-violent resistors, members of the Kosovar Albanian armed resistance, and Serbs (though only Serbs who backed Miloševic's views). Kosovar Albanians agreed to a three year period of autonomy after which Serbia and the international community would review the status of Kosovo. However, Serbia refused to accept NATO peacekeepers on Serbian soil, and on 24 March 1999, NATO began a bombing campaign in Yugoslavia to force Miloševic and the Serbian police and army to halt the ethnic violence and comply with the terms of the Rambouillet accord. Despite the presence and growth of a strong antiwar protest movement in Serbia and political opposition there to Miloševic's regime, the response from the Serbian state to the NATO attacks was a stepped-up effort to eradicate the Kosovar Albanian population. The violence on the ground wound down only after another form of violence was perpetrated on the people of Serbia and Kosovo: the massive bombings, including of civilian targets, by NATO warplanes.

With the extensive displacement of peoples on the Balkan Peninsula associated with the political and economic disruptions and ethnonationalist aggression of the 1990s, the statistical measurement of the population in Serbia and Kosovo has been severely hampered. Population counts and education-related measures for the 1990s and the early twenty-first century must thus be interpreted with caution, as their accuracy and reliability are often questionable. A new census scheduled for March 2001 in the FRY was expected to yield more accurate population counts toward the end of 2001. Bearing this in mind, Serbiathe largest of the six republics once belonging to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslaviahad a population in 1998 of approximately 7.8 million, excluding the population of Kosovo and Metohia. The population of Serbia and the provinces it had incorporated was estimated at almost 10 million in the year 2000. This included thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) who had left other parts of the Balkans due to ethnic violence and intimidation in the late 1980s and 1990s.

During the time Miloševic was in power, 250,000 persons reportedly were killed in the Balkan states, 90 percent of them civilians. From 1991 through 1995, approximately 690,000 refugeesalmost half of them younger than 28 and nearly three-fifths of them femalefled the war in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina and entered Serbia. About 300,000 people from Serbia, most of them highly educated, left Serbia in the 1990s. About 740,000 Kosovar Albanians were expelled from Kosovo in 1998 and 1999, many fleeing to nearby Albania and Macedonia. In the year 2000 an estimated 230,000 displaced persons from Kosovo as well as 500,000 refugees from Bosnia and Croatia were living in the FRY (including Montenegro). In September 2000 about 82,000 ethnic Albanians who had fled Kosovo returned to that province, although almost 223,000 Kosovo Serbs, Roma, and members of other minority groups continued to be displaced inside Serbia and Montenegro. Other counts indicated that about 400,000 refugees remained in Serbia in early 2001.

In 1910 Serbia had an urban population of 315,366, approximately 10.8 percent of Serbia's population at the time, who lived in 40 towns of at least 2,000 inhabitants each. Eighty years later in 1991 about 52 percent of the population of the FRY (Serbia and Montenegro) lived in urban areas. In 1991 the ethnic composition of Serbia was about 80 percent Serb; 4.4 percent Hungarian; 2.3 percent Bosniac; 1.5 percent Montenegrin; 1.2 percent each Croat and Roma; 1 percent Albanian; less than 1 percent each Slovak, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Romanian, Bunjevci, Ruthenian, and Valachian; and 5 percent other (mainly "Yugoslav"). In terms of religious affiliation, in 1991 approximately 65 percent of the inhabitants of the FRY (Serbia and Montenegro plus the 2 autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina) was Orthodox, 19 percent was Muslim, 4 percent was Roman Catholic, 1 percent was Protestant, and 11 percent had other religious affiliations. About 95 percent of the population of the FRY spoke Serbian (though the Montenegrin version of Serbo-Croatian differs slightly from the main language of Serbia) and about 5 percent spoke Albanian.

In 2000 the total fertility rate in Serbia was about 1.7 children born per woman. An estimated 20 percent of the country's population was 14 years old or younger while about two-thirds of the population was between 15 and 64 and about 15 percent was 65 years of age or older. (Again, this assumes an age balance in 2000 equivalent to that in 1991, when the last census was taken. Due to large population shifts, this probably was not the case.) In 2000 Serbia had an infant-mortality rate of 20 per 1,000 live births and the average life expectancy at birth was 72.4 years (69.3 for men and 75.7 for womena significant gender difference).

Before the former Socialist Yugoslav federation dissolved in the early 1990s, Serbia had an estimated population of 9.3 million out of a total 23.5 million for all of Yugoslavia and produced 38 percent of the former Yugoslavia's economic output. In 1999 the structure of Serbia's workforce stood as follows: 37.3 percent of the labor force was employed in industry and mining and just 4.3 percent was employed in agriculture, fisheries, and forestry; the rest were employed in commerce, crafts, and service jobs. About 8.4 percent of the workforce was employed in education and culture. That year, the FRY had an annual economic growth rate of -20 percent of the GDP. Economic outputs declined substantially in the 1990s, and the FRY stood in dire need of international economic assistance. However, international financial support to Serbia was severely limited due to the sanctions that remained in place for much of the 1990s and Serbia and Montenegro's resistance to cooperating with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia before late June 2001, when ex-president Miloševic was extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague.

In 1998 Serbia's GDP was US$16.4 million, but significant black-market and gray-market activity also existed in the FRY, complicating the accurate estimation of real economic outputs for the 1990s. GDP per capita in Serbia in 1998 was estimated to be US$2,000. In the late 1990s unemployment in the FRY went as high as 60 percent. Unemployment in Serbia in July 2000 ranged up to about 33 percent, depending on skill level and educational attainment. Unqualified workers, lower-skilled workers, and skilled workers had the highest unemployment rates (33 percent, 26.3 percent, and 28.3 percent, respectively). Near the close of the twentieth century, Serbia derived its income mainly from the industrial and service sectors with less of an emphasis on agriculture and almost no income gained from the maritime trades due to Ser bia's landlocked status.

Serbia required substantial international development assistance during the 1990s and early twenty-first century to repair the damage caused by the 1999 NATO bombings and to recover from the economic disruptions of a decade of war and international sanctions. Total economic damage in Serbia due to the NATO attacks was estimated to be about US$30 billion. Prior to a conference of international donors held on 29 June 2001, in Brussels, Belgium to discuss financial assistance for the FRY, Serbia received relatively little financial support from abroad other than through the black market and the Serbian "mafia." At the June 2001 conference representatives from about 40 countries, UN agencies, and the World Bank pledged about US$1.2 billion to help the FRY rebuild its infrastructure, including war-damaged schools, and pay the salaries of teachers and doctors.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations

At the turn of the millennium Serbia was one of the two republics (and two autonomous provinces) belonging to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, self-proclaimed on 11 April 1992 as the successor state to the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) and formally established by the Constitution of 27 April 1992. During the 1990s the United States refused to acknowledge the FRY as a legitimate country and chose instead to deal separately with the republics of Serbia and Montenegro. In November 2000 the newly elected government of the FRY, eager to democratize and build economic ties with the West, dropped the FRY's claim of successorship to the SFRY, and the international community officially recognized the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a legitimate, independent state.

Serbian law is based on a civil law system. All Serbs, women and men, are eligible to vote at age 18; 16- and 17-year-olds also can vote if they are employed. Besides participating in the election of the president of the federation, Serbs elect their own republican president as chief of state of the Republic of Serbia. Milan Milutinovic was elected president of Serbia on 21 December 1997 (although he himself was indicted by The Hague Tribunal and considered ripe for arrest shortly by mid-2001). The prime minister of Serbia in early 2001 was Zoran Djindjic, who in late June 2001 arranged for Miloševic's extradition. At the federal level, Miloševic was the president of the FRY from 1987 until October 2000 after he lost the September 2000 presidential election to Vojislav Koštunica, an opposition party candidate who ran on a platform of democratic reforms, economic improvements, and an end to corruption in the FRY. The executive branch at the federal level also includes a prime minister, several deputy ministers, and a cabinet known as the Federal Executive Council. The prime minister of the FRY in early June 2001 was Zoran Zizic, who resigned in protest after Miloševic's 28 June extradition to the International Criminal Tribunal, claiming that federal constitutional procedures had not been followed and that the Serbian prime minister had had no right to extradite the former Yugoslav president.

At the federal level the legislative branch of the FRY is a bicameral Federal Assembly (Savezna Skupstina ) composed of a Chamber of Republics (Vece Republika ) of 40 members, 20 of them Serbian representatives and 20 Montenegrin representatives, elected to 4 year terms and distributed according to the party distributions in the republican assemblies of Serbia and Montenegro, and a Chamber of Citizens (Vece Gradjana ) of 138 members, 108 of them Serbian representatives (half of whom are elected by constituency majorities and half by proportional representation) and 30 of them Montenegrin representatives (6 elected by constituency majorities and 24 by proportional representation), all of whom serve 4 year terms. The third branch of the federal government is the judicial branch, consisting of a Federal Court (Savezni Sud ) and a Constitutional Court, both of whose judges are elected to nine year terms by the Federal Assembly.

Under the Miloševic regime, the human rights situation in Serbia and the rest of the federation was notoriously poor. According to the Country Report on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia released in February 2001 by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, prior to Koštunica's election, former Yugoslav President Miloševic had brought Serbia closer to open dictatorship than ever before. Immediately following the 1999 war in Kosovo, Miloševic moved to consolidate his weakened position in Serbia through a campaign of intimidation and violence against his political opponents, representatives of the independent media, student groups, civil society, and even, in certain cases, members of the regime. Miloševic had also tried to populate federal institutions, including the judiciary, with his cronies and supporters and thus had disrupted normal politics and the progress that others in Serbia and Yugoslavia wanted to make toward democracy and transparency. Under Miloševic the FRY's security forces frequently had abused their power, terrorizing those who opposed Miloševic's policies and actions, especially in Kosovo. Students, too, sometimes became victims of police abuse. In November 1999 Belgrade police forcibly stopped the protests of 2,500 students in Belgrade who were demanding early parliamentary elections in Serbia. Dominated by Miloševic supporters, the federal legislature had the federal constitution altered in July 2000 to restrict Montenegro's autonomy and to allow one more presidential term for Miloševic. The Montenegrin government boycotted the September 2000 federal election as a result. Miloševic then manipulated the federal election commission and constitutional court in Yugoslavia to try to force a second round in the federal presidential election of September 2000 where he had been defeated by Koštunica. The response of mass rallies by opposition supporters led to the storming of the federal parliament on 5 October 2000 and the occupation of the Serbian state television station. On 7 October Miloševic finally conceded the election to Koštunica, who was immediately inaugurated as president of the FRY.

Within the FRY serious human rights problems existed in 2000, including violence and discrimination against women, trafficking in women and girls for forced prostitution, and police repression, as well as official and societal discrimination against Muslims, Roma, and other minorities in various parts of the FRY. Severe repression of political critics, student activists, the media, and political dissidents under the Miloševic regime also was a serious problem prior to Miloševic's loss of presidential power in September/October 2000, his arrest in April 2001, and his extradition in June 2001.

With the removal of Miloševic, national and international observers in mid-2001 predicted other arrests of indicted war criminals would follow in both Serbia and Montenegro and expected to see the republican governments and possibly the federal government as well adopt more cooperative attitudes toward the International Criminal Tribunal. The promise of substantial international donations to reconstruct the economies and infrastructure of the FRY following Miloševic's extradition were viewed as a spur likely to produce a more positive climate within Serbia and Montenegro for international cooperation with great potential for positively impacting social and economic conditions in Serbia. Hopes inside Serbia and the FRY and internationally ran high by mid-2001 that with Miloševic no longer dominating federal politics, the human rights climate could turn more positive and Serbia could begin the difficult task of democratizing the government and society and rebuilding the economy and the country's infrastructure, including the educational system.

Educational SystemOverview

The education system in Serbia has been shaped in large measure by that of its predecessor, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and by Serbian and federal laws passed in the 1990s. Educational policy in Serbia is determined by the federal government together with the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia, with cooperation in some areas from international actors, such as the European Union, UN agencies, and nongovernmental organizations. At the turn of the millennium the Ministry of Education was concentrating its efforts on making education and the management of education more democratic, improving Serbia's secondary level vocational education institutions and programs, and strengthening adult education and training. Significant efforts also were being directed toward repairing schools damaged in the 1999 NATO bombing campaign and toward outfitting schools with necessary teaching materials and equipment. According to a May 2001 publication of the European Commission's European Training Foundation, Serbia's Minister of Education sought to accomplish the following strategic goals:

  1. Introduce a new model of governance based on the active involvement of a large number of actors in the decision-making process and the implementation of policy.
  2. Instill radical change in the decision-making and policy-development culture within the institution by mobilizing external expertise, working in tandem with other actors, and using information on the actual state of the education system and its needs.
  3. Ensure a better relationship between the Ministry and schools by shifting the focus from controlling schools to directing and supporting their performance.

Short term goals of the Ministry in 2001 were to create a more efficient internal structure within the Ministry and to develop an educational reform strategy that could accomplish three goals: make schools more democratic bodies fostering democratic education, use education to promote and achieve social and economic development, and match secondary vocational education and adult education to Serbian labor market needs.

In 1991 the literacy rate in Serbia was estimated to be about 98.3 percent in urban areas and 95.2 percent in rural areas, with an estimated 92 percent of rural women literate. Compulsory education in Serbia includes the 8 grades of primary school that are typically attended by students 7 through 14 years of age. Serbian has been the principal language of instruction in Serbia's schools, almost all of which are public. Other languages of instruction include Hungarian, Albanian, Slovak, and Romanian at the elementary and secondary levels. In the 1998-1999 school year, 37,594 primary pupils and 8,867 secondary students were taught in minority languages or in bilingual schools in Serbia.

In 1997 about 32.2 percent of the population in the FRY was of school agethat is, between 3 and 24 years of age. The 1997-1998 gross enrollment ratio for Serbia at the primary level was 98.4 percent. In 1999-2000 about 48.6 percent of the students who were enrolled in Serbia's basic education programs were girls; 50.4 percent of upper secondary students (both general and vocational) were female, as were 53 percent of the students at the tertiary level that year. Nearly 1.3 million Serbs were enrolled in primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions out of Serbia's total population of about 8 million, excluding Kosovo and Metohia for whom educational statistics are generally excluded in the European Training Foundation Montenegro's January 2001 report.

Participation in preschool programming is optional in Serbia. However, 1,661 public kindergartens existed in 1999-2000. Basic education is divided into two stages: lower primary, covering grades 1-4 for children ages 7 through 10, and upper primary, covering grades 5-8 for children aged 11 through 14. Pupils in grades 1-8 numbered 731,427 in 1999-2000 in Serbia, but the gross enrollment ratio for basic education (the free, compulsory, first 8 years of schooling) is not available for that year.

Upper secondary schooling in Serbia includes either 4 years of general education for students 15 through 18 years of age or 2, 3, or 4 years of vocational education for students starting at age 15. Specialized secondary schools also exist to provide four years of education in the arts, music, or ballet. Tertiary education is provided through university faculties and art academies for four to six years or through postsecondary schools where courses usually last two to three years. Tertiary education typically begins for students at age 19. Specialized university studies are also available that last an additional one to two years beyond undergraduate education and lead to a diploma with a professional title. Post-graduate studies leading to magisterial (Master's) degrees last two years, and doctoral degree programs require three years of postgraduate study.

Schools in Kosovo were heavily damaged during the NATO bombing raids in 1999. In a survey taken jointly by UNICEF and other nongovernmental organizations just after the NATO military campaign to halt Serb aggression against Kosovar Albanians, an estimated 37 percent of 784 schools in Kosovo were found to have been completely destroyed or in very bad condition. Water and sanitation facilities in many, if not most, schools in Kosovo also stood in dire need of repair or construction. Additionally, many school buildings had almost no equipment or textbooks. One educational expert wrote in a European Training Foundation report in December 2000 that "initially there was an overwhelming need for repair and reconstruction and as well, supplies in order to meet the immediate aim of ensuring that children returned to school at the start of the 1999-2000 school year." Technological equipmentand school equipment in generalwas sorely missing from Kosovo's schools at the start of the new millennium. By January 2000, some 362 school buildings out of a total of 800 that had needed significant repairs were completely repaired and back in operation, while 281 additional buildings were still under repair. Largely through international contributions, basic furnishings and supplies were provided to schools in Kosovo so that education could be restarted after the NATO bombing attacks.

The structure of the educational system in Kosovo closely resembles the educational system in Serbia, although vocational education at the secondary level normally lasts three or four years. Additionally, the greater involvement of international nongovernmental organizations, during the late 1990s and afterwards, in Kosovo rather than in Serbia has enriched program offerings at the preschool level and elsewhere in the educational system to a greater extent. For example, since 1998 the Open Society Institute's Step by Step program has been offered in Kosovo to expand the teaching methodologies of preschool teachers and to encourage more democratic participation of teachers, parents, children, and community members in the educational process. Additionally, Step by Step in Kosovo has tended to the needs of minority children such as the Roma, impoverished children, and children with disabilities, as well as to children displaced by war. By the time the NATO bombing began in Kosovo in March 1999, Step by Step had already supported 17 preschool classrooms in preschool and primary institutions, reaching more than 1,000 young children. Following a hiatus due to the military strife, Step by Step recommenced its activities in Kosovo and planned to offer faculty in the two main teacher training institutions in Kosovo specialized training beginning in the year 2000. With the likely injection of substantial educational assistance from the international community into Serbia beginning in the second half of 2001, Serbia, too, will benefit from wider collaborations with international partners.

Preprimary & Primary Education

In the mid-1990s an estimated 31 percent of the age-relevant children were enrolled in preprimary educational institutions in the FRY (Serbia and Montenegro) (i.e., the gross enrollment ratio for preprimary education was 31 percent). As noted above, preprimary education in Serbia is optional. Nonetheless, nearly 165,000 children in Serbiaabout 10.5 percent of all children ages 0 to 7were enrolled in preprimary education in the 1999-2000 school year and taught by 8,134 educators. The ratio of children to educators was reported as 10 to 1 (presumably because preschoolers typically attend half day sessions).

In 1999-2000 about 350,000 pupils were enrolled in lower primary schooling (grades 1-4) and about 380,000 were enrolled in the upper primary grades (grades 5-8) at 3,616 state schools in Serbia, of which 1,443 were full primary schools covering all 8 of the basic education grades. No private primary schools existed in Serbia. With an average pupil to teacher ratio of 16.6, about 44,000 teachers provided primary level instruction in Serbia. Significant differences in class size could be found between village and urban schools with a much lower pupil to teacher ratio in the first four grades of village primary schools than in urban areas. The pupil to teacher ratio for basic education in the FRY as a whole was almost the same: 16.9 in 1997. Few curricular innovations were made in Serbia in the later 1990s at the basic education level except for slight reductions in the number of lessons taught so as to relieve some of the academic pressure on the pupils.

In 1999-2000 almost 287,000 pupils were taught at the primary level in Kosovo, approximately 262,000 of them (91.3 percent) using Albanian, Bosniac, or Turkish as the language of instruction and a little more than 25,000 (8.7 percent) taught in Serbian. Of this 91.3 percent, about 138,000 pupils (52.4 percent of the group) were male and nearly 125,000 (47.6 percent) were female. Of the same 91.3 percent, most (92.3 percent) were taught in Albanian. Late twentieth century estimates indicated that the dropout rate in Kosovo at the primary level was about 6.7 percent; of the 30,000 pupils who enroll in grade 1 each year, only 28,000 were completing their 8 years of primary education. Reportedly 919 schools provided instruction at the primary level, all of them publicly funded, with 15,788 teachers employed. The pupil to teacher ratio was slightly higher in the Albanian language stream (18:1) than in the Turkish and Bosniac streams (16:1) and significantly lower in the Serbian language stream (13:1).

Secondary Education

In 1999-2000 approximately 333,000 students were enrolled in secondary schools covering 4 grades of secondary education in Serbia (80,643 students, or about one-quarter, in general education programs and 251,916 students taking 2, 3, or 4 year vocational programs). The balance of general versus vocational secondary education in the federation as a whole differs significantly from the balance in Serbia. In 1996 about 55.7 percent of upper secondary students in FRY followed general courses of study while 44.3 percent were enrolled in vocational and technical programs. Upper secondary vocational education is directed toward training students along 543 educational profiles in 15 fields of work in Serbia. Thirty-one educational profiles involve 2 years of vocational or technical education, 133 require 3 years, and 148 require 4 years. Additionally, 231 specialist profiles can be followed after 2 years of work experience.

In the 1999-2000 academic year, secondary schools in Serbia numbered 126 general education schools and 311 vocational schools, all of them public, as well as 2 private schools offering general secondary programs. With 24,603 teachers providing secondary instruction, classes ranged from 10 students each in some villages to an average of 30 to 40 students per class in urban areas. The average student to teacher ratio at the secondary level for Serbia was 14. About 52.5 percent of secondary education students in the FRY were female in 1999-2000, but gender-related educational statistics for Serbia were not readily available; neither were reliable, secondary level, gross enrollment ratios available.

Curricular changes in Serbia in the late 1990s included the introduction of computer and informatics courses in all general education secondary schools. The need to revise history textbooks in the FRY was highlighted at the start of the new millennium by reform-minded individuals who found history instruction to be overly biased in a Serbian nationalist direction. Texts covering historical events, such as the war in Bosnia and the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, had a decidedly Serbian ethnonationalist cast to them and stood in significant need of revision so that Balkan history would be more accurately portrayed and ethnically balanced.

In 1999-2000 a reported 80,661 students attended secondary schools in Kosovo, about 61 percent in vocational programs and 39 percent in general education programs. Fifty-four public schools provided secondary education and employed 3,094 teachers. The student to teacher ratio was 19 in the Albanian, Bosniac, and Turkish language stream and 8 in the Serbian language stream. In the 1999-2000 school year, secondary students in Kosovo general education programs numbered 31,318. Of these students 92.9 percent were ethnic Albanians, 5.1 percent were Serbs, and only about 1 percent each were Bosniacs or Turks. Very few Roma students (just five individuals) participated in the general track of secondary education in Kosovo. At the secondary vocational level, 49,343 students were enrolled, of which about 10 percent took the 3 year program and the rest followed 4 year courses of study. Of the vocational students, about 90.9 percent were Albanians, 7.8 percent were Serbs, and less than 1 percent each were Bosniacs, Turks, or Roma. Here, more Roma participated: 53 students. Toward the end of the twentieth century, the dropout rate in Kosovo at the secondary level was around 34 percent with a significantly higher dropout rate for female than for male students.

Higher Education

Serbia had 58 tertiary institutions in the 1999-2000 academic year: 9 public universities (including Prishtina University, which had moved to Central Serbia from Kosovo in 1999) and 3 private universitiesthe 12 universities encompassing 85 faculties. The private universities offered training in commerce, management, and the arts. Serbia also had 49 non-university, post secondary schools. In 1997-1998 the gross enrollment ratio at the tertiary level for people ages 18 through 24 in Serbia was about 22.6 percent17.8 percent in university programs and 4.8 percent in non-university higher education. For the FRY as a whole, gross tertiary enrollment ratios in the mid-1990s had been around 16.5 percent to 21 percent with somewhat higher participation rates for females than for males. In 1999-2000 a total of 211,137 students were enrolled in tertiary studies in Serbia: 156,754 students (85,153 of them enrolled full time) in university programs and 54,383 students (22,540 of them full time) in non-university programs. University level teaching staff numbered 9,561, and the student to teacher ratio was reported as 16.4. Other post secondary tertiary level teaching staff numbered 1,690 with a student to teacher ratio of 32.2. In 1997 tertiary students in the FRY specialized in various disciplines in the following proportions: 7.7 percent of students concentrated in the humanities, 20.8 percent in the social and behavioral sciences, 7.4 percent in the natural sciences, 11.1 percent in medicine, 17.9 percent in engineering, and 35.2 percent in other subject areas.

In the 1999-2000 academic year 22,058 students were enrolled in tertiary programs at the University of Prishtina, where the language of instruction was Albanian. No data were available for the Serbian language stream of tertiary studies. The University of Prishtina, consisting of 14 faculties, and 7 higher schools provided instruction at the tertiary level in Kosovo. The total number of teachers in university and post secondary positions, including university professors, lecturers, higher school professors, assistants, and collaborators, was 1,083, yielding a student to teacher ratio of 20:1.

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

The Ministry of Education has primary administrative responsibility for Serbia's basic education system and for the secondary and tertiary levels of instruction as well. At the federal level, the Rectors' Conference of Yugoslavia seated in Belgrade also formulates and administers education policy and practices. In 1998 public expenditures on education and training in Serbia amounted to US$621 million or about 3.8 percent of the known GDP. About 40.4 percent of government expenditures covered net salaries while about 2.2 percent went to investments, 11.2 percent covered school equipment, 29.5 percent paid for social allowances, and 16.7 percent covered other education-related expenses. Of all funds spent on education, 46.5 percent were allocated for basic education, 25.3 percent for secondary education, and 28.2 percent for education at the tertiary level. The government ministry responsible for social and family care and for welfare provided the state contribution to preprimary education: one year of preschool for all six year olds (three hours per day) and preschool education for children without parents, children with emotional or behavioral problems, and children hospitalized for long periods. Municipal authorities and parents covered daycare costs for preprimary children.

Despite the international sanctions imposed on the former Yugoslavia beginning in 1991 in response to "ethnic cleansing" in the Balkans, certain international donors provided substantial educational support to Serbia by the late 1990s. This preceded the more sizable promise of international development funds at the June 2001 international donors conference for the former Yugoslavia held in Brussels. For example, UNICEF alone gave US$1.4 million in 1998, $2.4 million in 1999, and about $4.0 million in 2000 to make emergency repairs on school buildings and heating facilities and to provide books for school libraries, clothing and shoes for children, preprimary equipment and toys, and in-service teacher training in Serbia.

The Ministry of Education of the Interim Government of Kosova and the Department of Education and Science of the UN Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) handle educational administration. The Department of Education and Science pays salaries financed mainly by international donors, based on criteria established for the "consolidated budget" for Kosovo. Some educational institutions are directly funded by agencies and nongovernmental organizations or generate their own revenue (e.g., by renting out their facilities), while others receive modest funds from the consolidated budget to cover basic operating expenses. Public spending on education in February 2000 amounted to about 28 percent of all public spending in Kosovo. Regarding the division of funds across the various education levels, about 5 percent of the public funds used for education went to preschool programming, 65 percent covered primary education, 19 percent covered secondary education, and 11 percent went to higher education. In the year 2000, major grants from international donors to finance school reconstruction amounted to US$36.6 million with the Japanese government and UNICEF together providing US$8 million, the International Development Bank and Danida (the Danish government agency for international development assistance) each providing US$6 million, and ECHO providing $7 million. Other contributors giving between US$1 million and $2.5 million in 2000 included SDC, CIDA, the British Red Cross, UNDP, and DRA in collaboration with OxFam.

Nonformal Education

In 1999-2000 about 2,200 adult learners in Serbia were enrolled in basic education programs through 18 publicly funded institutions where a total of 197 teachers provide instruction and the student to teacher ratio was 13. In the late 1990s adult vocational and technical education programs at the secondary level existed in Serbia through part time studies within regular upper secondary schools; no special upper secondary schools existed where only adults were enrolled. Additionally, some community open universities provided informal training to adults in Serbia. A significant shortage of education and training opportunities for adults in Serbia was acknowledged.

A May 2001 description of Serbian education published by the European Training Foundation observed, "Adult education and training has suffered significantly during the last few years. It is estimated that in recent years only 1 percent of the adult population received training." Although traditionally adult education schools had existed in Serbia, most of the participants were young dropouts between the ages of 15 and 18 rather than older adults seeking retraining. Workers Universities had previously offered short and long courses to adults looking for additional training or developing new skills, but in 2001 only 10 of these were still operating. Employment Offices also had customarily provided training to job seekers and employees, yet financial and size constraints in 2001 were prevented them from serving all those interested in benefiting from their training services. Courses in the state-sponsored Employment Offices generally focused on computing, project management, management skills, and job-seeking tactics. Finally, training centers established within private enterprises also existed, though little information was publicly available concerning their capacity to adequately train employees who sought instruction there. As already noted, one of the Minister of Education's priorities in 2001 was to improve the course offerings and training possibilities open to adult learners in Serbia so as to better match job skills with those needed in the economy.

Teaching Profession

Pedagogical institutes and in-service teacher training centers in Serbia were closed in 1991. For the next 10 years, the Ministry of Education provided no systematic in-service education. However, the Ministry offered one or two seminars and workshops per year to teachers as refresher courses in specific subject areas. Initial teacher preparation has been provided by a variety of institutions. Preschool teachers receive two years of post secondary training either in specialized teacher preparation schools or in university faculties. Primary teachers of the first four grades attend teacher training colleges for four years and primary teachers of grades 5-8 also complete four years of tertiary education, covering the relevant disciplines in which they will teach. Primary teachers of music and the arts receive training in post secondary art schools (for both music and the arts) that offer specialized training. Secondary level teachers receive four years of higher education in arts and science faculties with special courses in education and teaching methodology integrated with their studies plus a semester of practice teaching during the year before they graduate. Educators at the tertiary levelassistants, docents, faculty professors, regular professors, and extraordinary professorsobtain their higher education (and research training, depending on the level of education and area of expertise) in university undergraduate and post-graduate programs. Those interested in promotion to the highest positions must obtain the Doktor Nauka (Doctor of Science) degree in the appropriate fields of higher education and research. All teachers at the tertiary level must receive some form of specialized training.

New efforts in the late 1990s to increase the skills of teachers through in-service training were provided mainly by nongovernmental organizations and international agencies in Serbia, offering basic education teachers training in active learning methods, democratic and multicultural education, psychosocial rehabilitation, and children's rights. UNICEF programs run cooperatively with the Ministry of Education trained about 5,000 teachers in active teaching and learning, about 15,000 teachers in nonviolent conflict resolution skills, and about 10,000 in methods of providing psychosocial support and assistance in difficult circumstances; about 1,000 preschool teachers received training from UNICEF in more flexible, innovative, child-centered teaching methodologies.


At the start of the twenty-first century, Serbia required substantial inputs to reconstruct its damaged educational system. Many schools were damaged in the violence of the 1990s and stood in major need of repair at the turn of the millennium. Educational equipment was in considerably short supply, and teaching materials sometimes were provided by international organizations such as UNICEF rather than by the state, due to Serbia's severe economic problems and the economic embargo on the country. The most needed reforms to be made in the educational system of Serbiaother than repairing basic infrastructure in Serbia and Kosovocentered on democratizing education, both from a procedural and a management standpoint, and making learning a more active enterprise for students and teachers alike. Kosovo was receiving substantial support in this area by the year 2000 from the international community, but assistance to Serbia was slower to follow due to the political and economic constraints on the republic and the slow pace at which Serbian and Yugoslav officials complied with the demands of the International Criminal Tribunal. Curricula also needed to be revised to more accurately depict historical events and to reflect the multicultural, multilinguistic nature of Serbia and the rest of the Balkan peninsula. In June 2001 a large conference of international donors met in Brussels to discuss an international package of financial assistance to the former Yugoslavia, including Serbia and Kosovo. Much of the US$1.2 billion in funds pledged at the conference was designated for the educational sector to cover the salaries of educational personnel and to rebuild war-damaged schools and equip them with the materials needed to restart and improve educational programming. By 2001 Serbia seemed to be marking a new political direction for itself that would lead to social and economic improvements for the people of Serbia and Kosovo, including in the field of education. The possibilities for enhancing the educational system seemed promising as the government of Serbia prepared to develop a comprehensive educational reform package and to receive the necessary financial means to implement the desired reforms, including educational changes that would stimulate the Serbian economy and promote greater cooperation across Serbia and Kosovo, the other Balkan states, and beyond.


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Barbara Lakeberg Dridi

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SERBIA. The kingdom of Serbia disappeared from the map of Europe in the fifteenth century, following defeats at the hands of the Ottoman Empire beginning with the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. The Ottoman conquest socially leveled Serbia. The Serbian aristocrat either converted to Islam, lost his lands and privileges, or was killed. The result was a society consisting of peasants. However, the memory of independence was kept alive by the Serbian Orthodox Church. A Serbian archbishopric had been founded in 1219 thanks to the initiative of the monk Sava (Rastko Nemanjic, a son of Nemanja, the founder of the Nemanjic dynasty). The archbishop had been raised to the level of patriarch by Stefan Dušan in 1346. Although this patriarchate did not survive him, a Serbian church remained and continued to define the Serbian population culturally. The Ottomans restored the Serbian patriarchate in 1557 at Peć, a city in modern northwestern Kosovo. It lasted until 1766, when fears of collusion with Ottoman enemies convinced the government to abolish it. The church, ministering to its peasant flock via its peasant clergy, nourished the continued existence of a Serbia not as a state, but as an identity.


Most of medieval Serbian territory fell to the Ottoman province of Rumeli, which extended from the Peloponnese to the Danube; Serbian populations also inhabited the provinces of Bosnia, Kanije, and Temeşvar, until the latter two were taken by the Habsburg Monarchy in wars of the seventeenth century. The notable towns of the Serbian kingdom now became Ottoman garrisons. Belgrade, not a part of Stefan Dušan's Serbia in any case, had up to 40,000 inhabitants in 1632, but was down to 15,000 in 1838. Niš, Kruševac, Peć, and other important towns in Serbia withered. As inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire, Serbs both suffered and benefited. Many Serbs chose to convert to Islam, in which cases they instantly became members of the favored faith and thus part of the ruling class. It is true that Orthodox Christian Serbs were subject to taxes and levies that Muslims did not pay, but those burdens were potentially balanced by the fact that Christians did not have to fight in Ottoman armies. Above all, though, the fact remains that the Orthodox Christians of the Ottoman Empire were administered via the millet system, by which they were governed by their own church hierarchy.

The millet system was established in 1453 as a result of a decree by Sultan Mehmed II (ruled 14441446, 14511481). It reflected the Ottoman belief that one's identity is fundamentally religious. Thus, while one had the option to convert to Islam and enjoy the fruits of that conversion, one also had the right to maintain one's faith. Thus, the Ottomans administered their subjects as religious beings, and the Orthodox patriarch in Istanbul was given responsibility for the Orthodox Christians of the empire. On the local level, where contact between the believer and the church was most common, the parish priest was of the ethnicity of the flock. The church was made responsible for marriage, divorce, and the collection of dues to the church as well as to the state. The millet system thus ameliorated some of the effects of the Ottoman conquest. Serbian statehood was gone, but a Serbian, Orthodox Christian identity was maintained through what many Serbs see as a "dark age" thanks to a system that allowed a degree of self-administration.

Over the course of the Ottoman conquest and in subsequent centuries, many Orthodox Christians migrated northward and westward under the pressure of the Ottoman advance. Thus, a large Serbian presence was established in the Habsburg Monarchy. Population movements began in earnest after the Battle of Smederevo in 1459, and by 1483, up to two hundred thousand Orthodox Christians had moved into central Slavonia and Srijem. The final major population shift occurred in the 1690s, following an Austro-Ottoman war, when at least 30,000 Orthodox Serbs, led by Patriarch Arsenije III Crnojevic, made their way from Kosovo north to southern Hungary. The center of authority in the Serbian Orthodox Church moved with the migrants. The Patriarchate at Peć, which would finally be extinguished by the Ottomans in 1766, was essentially replaced by the Metropolitanate of Sremski Karlovci, in Croatia. Through the late nineteenth century, two institutions, the military frontier and the metropolitanate, would define Serbian life in the Habsburg Monarchy. The military frontier would exist until 1881. The Orthodox Christians who had made their way from Ottoman territories to the Habsburg Monarchy were given certain privileges, usually including a plot of land, freedom from taxation by the local aristocracy, and freedom of worship, but they paid for these privileges with military service in times of crisis. Individual agreements, the most famous of which was the Statuta Valachorum, issued in 1630 by Emperor Ferdinand II (ruled 16191637), regulated the obligations of the Orthodox Serbian population. Settlement patterns, with Banija, Kordun, and Lika in the west, and parts of Slavonia in the east, heavily populated by Serbs, were a result of these agreements.


Although the Serbian population of the Habsburg Monarchy was more advanced economically and educationally, the origins of a modern Serbian state can be traced to the late eighteenth century in the pašalik (Turk., pashalik ) of Belgrade, the northernmost reach of the Ottoman Empire in Europe. This region, south of the Danube and Sava rivers and east of the Drina River, would become the geographic core of modern Serbia. The first stirrings of rebellion among the Serbs of the region followed the Austro-Ottoman War of 17881791, during which Serbs had fought for the Austrian empire. Thereafter, the Serbs of the region were left to their own devices by the Austrians, who had lost the war. In spite of their disloyalty to the sultan, the Serbs as well as the Ottomans desired stability in the region. However, in the ever-weaker Ottoman Empire, the borderlands had come under the sway of local janissaries, and the pašalik of Belgrade was no exception. The sultan and his Serbian subjects had a mutual interest in destroying the destabilizing influence of the janissaries, and the roots of the Serbian independence movement were thus paradoxically to be found in an alliance of local Serbian headmen with the Ottoman central government. The revolution of 1804 thus began as a movement for economic and political stability within the Ottoman Empire rather than as a romantic-nationalist movement for independence.

See also Austro-Ottoman Wars ; Balkans ; Ferdinand II (Holy Roman Empire) ; Ottoman Empire .


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Nicholas J. Miller

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Serbia Balkan republic that, with the smaller Republic of Montenegro, forms the rump federal state of Yugoslavia. Serbia is bounded n by Hungary, e by Romania and Bulgaria, s by Macedonia, sw by Albania and Montenegro, w by Bosnia-Herzegovina, and nw by Croatia. It includes the provinces of Vojvodina (n) and Kosovo (s), formerly autonomous under the Yugoslav federation. The capital is Belgrade, and other major cities include Niš (Serbia), Novi Sad (Vojvodina), and Priština (Kosovo). The republic can be geographically divided between the mountainous s and the fertile n plain drained by the rivers Danube, Sava, Tisza, and Morava. Vojvodina is the principal agricultural area, producing fruit and grain. Serbia is the principal industrial area, with mining and steel manufacture. Kosovo is a poor region with large coal deposits.

History and Politics

Serbs settled the area in the 7th century ad, and they adopted Orthodox Christianity under Byzantine rule. Serbia was the leading Balkan power until defeated by the Ottoman Turks in 1389. The Ottomans divided the territory and installed a puppet regime. In 1459, Serbia became a province of the Ottoman Empire. The 18th-century decline of the Ottoman Empire encouraged Serbian nationalism. In 1829, Serbia gained autonomy under Russian protection. In 1867, Milan Obrenović began a war in support of a rebellion against Turkish rule in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Russia intervened to aid Serbia and, in 1878, Turkey finally granted Serbia complete independence. In 1903, King Alexander Obrenović was assassinated, and Peter I (the Great) became king.

In 1908, when Austro-Hungary annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia responded by forming the Balkan League. In 1912, the alliance defeated the Turks but disintegrated into factional feuding. In 1913, Serbia defeated Bulgaria in the second Balkan War. The expansion of Serbian territory in the Balkan Wars antagonized Austria, and the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand led to the outbreak of World War 1. In 1918, Serbia became the leading force in the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, renamed Yugoslavia in 1929. During World War 2, the German army occupied and divided Yugoslavia. Resistance was two-fold: Tito led the Yugoslav communist partisans, and Mihajović led the Serbian nationalists (Chetniks). In 1946 Serbia became an autonomous republic within Tito's neo-communist Yugoslavia. In 1987, President Slobodan Milošević restated nationalist claims for a Greater Serbia, including Vojvodina, Kosovo, and Serb-populated areas in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Macedonia. In 1989, Serbian troops were sent to suppress Albanian nationalism in Kosovo. In 1991, Serbia prevented Croatia from assuming presidency of the federation. Croatia and Slovenia responded by declaring independence, and the Serbian-controlled Yugoslav army invaded. In 1991, the army withdrew from Slovenia. In 1992, Serbia and Croatia agreed to a UN-brokered ceasefire, allowing Serbia to keep the territory it captured. Serbian troops quickly seized nearly 75% of the newly recognized republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and pursued a policy of ‘ethnic cleansing’, forcibly resettling, incarcerating or killing Muslims, and repopulating villages with Serbs. The UN imposed sanctions on the Serbian regime, but atrocities continued on both sides.

In 1995, Bosnian-Serb troops captured UN protected areas, and Western governments and NATO launched air strikes against Serb targets. Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia began a new offensive against Serbia and reclaimed much lost territory. The US-brokered Dayton Peace Accord (November 1995) divided Bosnia-Herzegovina into provinces. Following peaceful, mass demonstrations in Belgrade, Milošević was forced to concede some of the Zajedno coalition victories in 1996 elections in Serbia. In 1997, Milošević resigned the Serbian presidency in order to become president of Yugoslavia. Fighting recommenced in Kosovo in 1998, and hundreds of thousands of Kosovars fled into neighbouring countries, mainly Albania and Macedonia, to escape ‘ethnic cleansing’. In 1999, NATO launched a wave of air strikes against Serbia, devastating its economy. In June 1999, the Yugoslav Army withdrew from Kosovo and a United Nations' peace-keeping force (K-FOR) deployed in the province. In 2000 elections, Vojislav Koštunica replaced Milošević as president of Yugoslavia. In 2001, Milošević was arrested on charges of corruption and abuses of power and faced the International War Crimes Tribunal. In 2003, prime minister Zoran Djindjić was assassinated.

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SERBIA. SeeYugoslavia, Relations with .

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SerbiaGambia, ZambiaArabia, labia, SwabiaLibya, Namibia, tibia •euphorbia •agoraphobia, claustrophobia, homophobia, hydrophobia, phobia, technophobia, xenophobia, Zenobia •Nubia • rootbeer • cumbia •Colombia, Columbia •exurbia, Serbia, suburbia •Wiltshire • Flintshire •gaillardia, Nadia, tachycardia •steadier • compendia •Acadia, Arcadia, nadir, stadia •reindeer •acedia, encyclopedia, media, multimedia •Lydia, Numidia •India • belvedere • Claudia •Cambodia, odea, plasmodia, podia, roe-deer •Mafia, raffia, tafia •Philadelphia • hemisphere •planisphere • Montgolfier • Sofia •ecosphere • biosphere • atmosphere •thermosphere • ionosphere •stratosphere • headgear • switchgear •logia • nemesia • menhir

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