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The Return of the Yogurt Revolution

Gašper Blažič Photo: Magazine Demokracija

These days, I am again thinking a bit about the situation in the second half of the 1980s in what was then Yugoslavia. Remember: in 1986 Slobodan Milosevic climbed to the top of the Republican ZK, the same year some Serbian media published summaries notorious memorandum by Serbian academics, on the Serbian national issue within Yugoslavia. The memorandum was published in its entirety only a few years later, but even then it has generated a lot of excitement in the party circles, saying that it is a nationalism that threatens Yugoslavia.

Only a few months had passed, and as early as in the 1987 introduction, a new, noisy response by party leaders followed. This time to the 57th issue of the “Nova revija” magazine, which at that time contained a rather bold Slovenian national program.

Of course, the situation in the then common country was getting worse. Not only because of the worsening hyperinflation, but also because of the Belgrade centralists’ attempts to centralize Yugoslavia through constitutional reform. However, Milosevic went his own way – he took advantage of the naivety of the President of the FR Serbia Presidency, Ivan Stambolic, who left Kosovo to Milosevic and enabled him to become a new hero. The path to tragedy was open: a media-driven psychosis began to strengthen, initially aimed only at Kosovo Albanians, but a little later against all those who opposed centralism and dogmatism. 1988 brought the first rallies that were paid through mafia deals and organized with the help of KOS JLA. Demolition of disobedient republican and provincial leaderships began. This was also felt on his skin by former ZK President Bosko Krunic, who “solved” problems with Slovenia a little earlier, but then became one of the collateral victims of political jihad street marches, driven by people such as Mihail Kertes, Miroslav Solevic, Bogdan Kecman, Mihajlo Svabic and others.

The official ideology of Milosevic’s clique at the time was based on the thesis that the Serbian people are in grave danger, that they must protect themselves (arm themselves) and come together – which in other words means that traitors must be immediately eliminated and severely punished. Party authorities have been well aware of the methods of psychological intimidation of the people, including through the actions “Nothing should surprise us”, which were carried out in accordance with the directives of the concept of universal popular defence and social self-protection. Anti-bureaucratic or the “yogurt revolution” was coupled with the statements that “the nation happened”, an outward expression of a very intense social event, which was also well known by the then head of the Slovenian ZK Milan Kucan. He latter was at one time also the head of the commission for psychological and propaganda activity at the ZK, the forum being created in 1975, shortly after the removal of Stane Kavcic and after the adoption of the last Kardelj’s constitution. All these intense events have led to tragedy: first in Kosovo, then in Croatia (the bouldering revolution and with it the war), in Bosnia and Herzegovina and then again in Kosovo. But the very serious price was actually paid for by the Serbs themselves: with the permanent loss of Kosovo and the backlog of development, since they have to pay taxes for Milosevic’s rule twenty years after the fall of his regime. In fact, this regime fell very late.

Why did I even remember the memories of Serbia during the time of “vozd”? Mainly because of similar phenomena in modern Slovenia, which are very reminiscent of those times. Of course, with a significant difference: at that time there was no internet and no opportunity for mass influence from the authorities of the independent media that were driven to the periphery in Serbia. Otherwise, it is true that the current alternative media, which is opposed to the regime’s propaganda apparatus, does not fare much better: the pressure on the advertisers is too great, now for some time now there have been myths based on allegations of some kind of mafia financing Demokracija, Nova 24tv and SDS . This of course, was only the beginning of the creation of a kind of mass psychosis about the enemy, which is corrupting Slovenia from the inside. The regime’s press association also appeared, followed by the famous campaign, so called 75 academics, and last night a bizarre appearance by the first signed dr. Rudi Rizman and then some documentary testimony by dr. Zdenko Roter. Well, thank God there was at least one good show on national television that night and one from a foreign production – she was talking about the Muslim Brotherhood organization, its metastases across Europe, money laundering through humanitarian organizations and money coming from Qatar. Perfect – from Qatar, there were also donations to build Ljubljana Islamic Centre, which all those who are now harbouring psychosis over a possible Jansa government are displaying as a major civilization and cultural acquisition.

Psychosis is now quite clearly escalating. With a tearful note on Facebook, the resigning Prime Minister Marjan Sarac and his sidekick Damir Crncec, appeared today, and last night the police leadership prevented KNOVS control and portrayed itself as a victim of political pressure. So it can be expected that unions and various societies will appear soon and they will feel threatened by a possible third “right” government. Meanwhile, the campaign is also on the ground, among the simple people, who are informed by the informants of the “facts” that they will lose what they have if Jansa’s “fascists” come to power.

And what can follow? Perhaps it would be that in the event of the election of the third Jansa government, there would be mass demonstrations that could be much more noisy even than popular uprisings and comparable to the rallies in Serbia in the late 1980s, when, for example, in Novi Sad and then Titograd (now Podgorica), Milosevic’s propagandists harassed people to surround the political organs, and noisily made them “treacherous” rulers (which it could have meant that they were too under-heated) to announce their resignation and withdrawal from politics. Given the wide network, a scenario is also possible in Slovenia that the political territory will force early elections just across the street. Of course, this is a reminder of the double game of the political underworld: it is partly prepared to cooperate with the opposition SDS for the needs of Slovenia’s EU Presidency next year, while the dogmatic part of the nomenclature opposes it at any cost, while the backdrops use this pat position to escalate tensions and division. If the barely-elected government had to step down due to street pressure, it would mean early elections in a very heated atmosphere, which would be a very favourable circumstance for the transitional left – unless it had some unexpected surprise. Otherwise, it would again brag about coming to power democratically – because that’s what people wanted.

So the yogurt revolution is back, through the side door. So let’s not underestimate the old networks and their methods.

P. S. Referring to the memorandum of Serbian academics, which was supposed to be the basis for solving the Serbian national issue in the 1980s and 1990s, we might also find a parallel with the memorandum of 75 Slovene “intellectuals” who warn against the fascists’ march to power…

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