News Release

Revolution in Yugoslavia?

ROBERT HAYDEN
Director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Blueprints for a House Divided: The Constitutional Logic of the Yugoslav Conflict, Hayden said today: “The army has broken with the regime. The state media has been taken over by the opposition. It’s a real revolution — but it’s also anarchy…. I know the opposition leader, Vojislav Kostunica. He’s a constitutional lawyer, he’s a Serbian patriot, a democrat. He’s called a meeting of the newly-elected federal parliament, which will meet today or tomorrow and establish a democratic government. He’s untainted by dealings with either the Milosevic regime or the Clinton administration…. NATO has indicated that it may attempt to intercept Milosevic’s plane if he tries to leave the country…. Since Milosevic made it impossible for the opposition to have any kind of access to internal funding, they had to turn to outside sources.”

STEPHEN ZUNES
An associate professor of politics and chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco, Zunes said: “Change in Eastern Europe has come not from the armed force of NATO but from large-scale nonviolent action of the subjugated peoples themselves. This was true in 1989 and it is true today in Yugoslavia. If anything, NATO’s bombing last year may have set back the growing anti-Milosevic movement. Now, however, the dictator’s days may finally be numbered.”

MARJORIE COHN
Associate professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Cohn recently attended an international conference at Belgrade University on the ethics of humanitarian intervention and is writing a book on the subject. She said today: “For months before the Sept. 24th election in Yugoslavia, the U.S. and its NATO allies poured millions of dollars and technical support into the opposition movement. They also bankrolled pre-election polls which showed Kostunica leading Milosevic. Many people in Yugoslavia oppose Milosevic but they also despise NATO, which subjected them to a ruthless 11-week bombing campaign. Yugoslavia remains crippled by economic sanctions imposed by the West. The U.S. interference has tainted the election…. They must be able to choose their own leadership, free from Western domination…. The long-term question is who will run Yugoslavia once Milosevic is ousted — Kostunica or NATO? Members of the opposition have been meeting in Bulgaria with representatives from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and NATO.”

JEREMY SCAHILL
An independent journalist who reports for the nationally-syndicated radio show Democracy Now!; Scahill, who is in Belgrade, said today: “Hundreds of thousands of people are in the streets, they have taken over the federal parliament and the media. Police and military are actually in the streets mingling with the protesters. Already 100 people have been injured in clashes and two people have been shot. The opposition is doing its best to prevent a looting frenzy. Even if the democratic opposition of Serbia takes power in Yugoslavia, there are still many issues unresolved, not the least of which is future relations with the U.S.”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167