Yugoslavia, 1980-1992

Administration and Signs of Disintegration . Marshal Josip Broz Tito died in 1980. The Yugoslav federation continued for another decade. The administration of Yugoslavia was to be conducted by the constitution of 1974. From 1980 to 1990 the chairmanship to the collective presidency rotated on an annual basis, it was held by Cvijetin Mijatovic (Bosnia & Herzegovina) 1980-1981, Sergej Kraigher (Slovenia) 1981-1982, Petar Stambolic (Serbia) 1982-1983, Mika Spiljak (Croatia) 1983-1984, Veselin Djuranovic (Montenegro) 1984-1985, Radovan Vlajkovic (Vojvodina) 1985-1986, Sinan Hasani (Kosovo) 1986-1987, Lazar Mojsov (Macedonia) 1987-1988, Raif Dizdarevic (Bosnia & Herzegovina) 1988-1989, Janez Drnovsek (Slovenia) 1989-1990, Borisav Jovic (Serbia) 1990-1991. According to the constitution and principle of rotation, Croat Stipe Mesic was to follow; the Serb bloc first prevented his inauguration, due May 15th, until July 1st, and then ousted him on Oct. 3rd 1991. Branco Kostic became acting president.
The constitution of 1974 foresaw the 6 republics and 2 autonomous regions to have an equal share in the federal government. From 1986 onward the disatisfaction of the political leadership of the Serb ethnicity, the largest within Yugoslavia and because of the constitution underrepresented, displayed dissatisfaction with the system. A Serb bloc, consisting of the Republics of Serbia and Montenegro, emerged. In 1988 Slobodan Milosevic succeeded in a coup, cancelling the political autonomy of the Kosovo and Vojvodina regions. Both regions maintained their position within the federal constitution, but were now represented by governments which joined the Serb bloc.
The Serb claim for the control of Yugoslavia was met by a demand of Slovenia and Croatia for a greater degree of political autonomy, later upgraded into a demand for political independence, as in Croatia also nationalist tendency was on the rise. The ethnic Serb minority within Croatia again was not willing to accept the status of a minority within an independent Croatia.
Slovenia and Croatia proclaimed independence in 1991, followed by Bosnia shortly afterward. When the Federal Republic of Germany recognized these countries' independence in 1992, fighting broke out. The Yugoslav army, taking the rest-Yugoslav (Serbian-Montenegrin) side. Still stationed in all Yugoslav republics, fighting commenced in Slovenia, which soon was evacuated by the Yugoslav army.

The Economy . In the 1980es the Yugoslav economy experienced a collapse. The country was heavily indebted; in 1980 the unemployed numbered 785,000, in 1988 1,132,000 (IHS p.165). From 1982 onward, Yugoslavia suffered from strong inflation. Industrial wages doubled from 1985 to 1986, tripled from 1987 to 1988 (IHS p.187), and failed to keep up with rising prices. A 1990 currency reform which erased four digits (1 Convertible Dinar = 10,000 Hard Dinar) failed to check the ongoing inflation.
As the national currency was unstable, the (FRG) German Mark was generally accepted as unofficial second currency.
Yugoslavia did export textiles, refrigerators and washing machines, the Yugo car, items which had in common that they were considerably cheaper than the competitors producing in advanced economies, but also offered considerably lower quality.
Yugoslavia's foreign trade, to a considerable extent (in 1981 over 50 %, BBoY 1982 p.733) was conducted with COMECON nations. The collapse of COMECON in 1989 thus had a considerable impact on the already weakened Yugoslav economy.
The richer republics of the north (Slovenia, Croatia), where most of these industries were concentrated, asking if they have to pay forever for the underdeveloped regions of the south (Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia) and for the administrative center at Belgrade, strove for a higher degree of autonomy or even for full independence.

Cultural History . In 1984, Yugoslavia successfully staged the Winter Olympics at Sarajevo, still remembered for the performances of the athletes, of special importance as the summer games of Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984 were boycotted by many western resp. eastern countries. Yugoslavian athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988.

Social History . In 1987 the total population of Yugoslavia was estimated at 23.4 million (Serbia 5.8, Kosovo 1.8, Vojvodina 2.0, Montenegro 0.6, Macedonia 2.0, Bosnia and Herzegovina 4.4, Croatia 4.6, Slovenia 1.9 million; BBoY 1989 p.736).
In 1987 the number of refugees from Yugoslavia seeking asylum in the FRG rose sharply, at that time little understood by German authorities.

Articles Yugoslavia : Breakup, Collapse of the Yugoslav Economy, Cvijetin Mijatovic, Sergej Kraigher, Petar Stambolic, Mika Spiljak, Veselin Duranovic, Radovan Vlajkovic, Sinan Hasani, Lazar Mojsov, Raif Dizdarevic, Janez Drnovsek, Borislav Jovic, 1984 Winter Olympics, Yugoslavia at the 1980 Summer Olympics, Yugoslavia at the 1984 Summer Olympics, Yugoslavia at the 1988 Summer Olympics, from Wikipedia
Yugoslavia, History of, from Library of Congress, Country Studies
Serbia, from A Global History of Currencies (B. Taylor)
DOCUMENTS Yugoslav Statesmen, from World Statesmen by Ben Cahoon
Yugoslav banknotes, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money and from Curency Museum
REFERENCE IHS : B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics : Europe 1750-1988, NY : Stockton Press 1992 [G]
Fred Singleton, A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples, Cambridge University Press (1985) 1999
Article Yugoslavia, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1981, pp.732-733, 1982 pp.731-733, 1983 pp.731-732, 1984 pp.732-733, 1985 pp.556, 815, 1986 pp.551, 816, 1987 pp.521, 784, 1988 pp.477-478, 736, 1989 pp.478-479, 736, 1990 pp.495-496, 752, 1991 pp.480-481, 736, 1992 pp.450-451, 756 [G]
Dejan Djokic (ed.), Yugoslavism. Histories if a Failed Idea, University of Wisconsin Press 2003, KMLA Lib.Sign. 949.7103 D626y
Article : Yugoslavia, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1981-1982 pp.1616-1623, 1983-1984 pp.1608-1616, 1984-1985 pp.1605-1617, 1985-1986 pp.1601-1613, 1986-1987 pp.1599-1611, 1987-1988 pp.1602-1614, 1988-1989 pp.1605-1617, 1989-1990 pp.1601-1613, 1990-1991 pp.1608-1616, 1991-1992 pp.1598-1611, 1992-1993 pp.1607-1620 [G]
Article : Jugoslavia, in : The World in Figures 4th ed. 1984 pp.240-241 [G]
Article : Yugoslavia, in : Americana Annual 1988 p.571, 1989 pp.575-576, 1990 pp.560-561, 1992 pp.569-572 [G]
Article : The Breakup of Yugoslavia, in : Americana Annual 1993 pp.38-47 (on events of 1992) [G]
Article : The Yugoslav War of Secession, in : Americana Annual 1994 pp.26-35 (on events of 1993) [G]
Article : Yugoslavia, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Encyclopedia Year Book 1983 pp.434-435 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on July 3rd 2007

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