A DEMOCRAT IN A "GREATER
by Slobodan Inic
One of the opposition protagonists who most contributed to a sorry
political and national state of affairs in the country, after five years of
"pluralism", is the other Vojislav (not Šešelj), but ...Vojislav Koštunica.
He is a politician who consistently espouses high principles in the politics and political
struggles, and often quotes an old phrase of Jaša Prodanovic from the time of
"partisanship" strife in early Twentieth century Serbia, although he is
simultaneously ready to betray them when the first favorable occasion arises, in his role
of the frontman of the latest generation of "democratic" Serbs.
This political portrait traces Koštunica's authentic appeal to
observance of principles, and accordingly the adoption of the "right" political
condcut. I shall try to give an answer whether Koštunica who tends to teach other
protagonists of the Serbian so-called political life, indeed adheres to principles in
practice, that is in his "real politic".
Reluctance to explain his own role
Most recent Koštunica's assessment, and hopefully his last, unless he
once again changes his opinion on the just finished Bosnian war, indicates amply
Koštunica's propensity to trample upon his much-touted principles and "strict
separation between the opposition and authorities".
In his letter to Kragujevac-based strikers, workers of the Weapons
Plant, leader of "democrats", sends a clear message: "Situation with which
we are faced... is a consequence of crazy politics of the regime which had lost
pointlessly waged war, for Serbs from Diaspora became refugees, and those in the domicile
country became hungry and humiliated". ("Naša Borba", 3 September 1996)
The leader of the Serbian "democrats" only failed to tell them
- how he personally - in addition to the main culprit - the regime - contributed to our
current "predicament". Koštunica has no less responsibility for the current
situation, for he was one of the opposition leaders who induced and encouraged the regime
to war-mongering policy, which he today calls a crazy and pointless one.
It is difficult to say whether Koštunica thinks today that that war
could have been won by "a smart" policy!? In fact the Greater Serbia
understanding of the Serbian national interests, rather than "a crazy policy"
led up to the current situation. Koštunica seems to want to say something else: had he
been in a position to pursue a similar policy, it would have been a smart one. The same
goal, but attainable by a "smart" policy!
Hence that policy was "crazy" because it was pursued by
Miloševic, and not because such an understanding of "Serbhood" was crazy in its
essence, irrespective of those who espoused it and transformed into the national policy -
Miloševic, Jovic, Kadijevic, Koštunica, Vuk, Šešelj and that whole bunch of
"Greater Serbs", whether of "traditional" or bureaucratic,
"red" Nazi descent.
Difference between Koštunica's "smart" national policy and
Miloševic's "crazy", authoritarian and only seemingly nationalistic one (its
gist and consequences being anational or antinational ["Javnost", 10 2 1996]) is
best indicated by his oft-repeated phrase "a different, democratic national policy of
Had he been in Dayton...
Koštunica beleived that, had he been in Dayton instead of Miloševic,
he would have taken "more care" of independence of Republika Srpska than of
independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina?! But it is difficult to discern how he would have
achieved that: by words or further armed threats: as regards his words nobody in the
international community is any longer willing to listen to the blood-minded Serbian
vocabulary. By armed force? I am afraid that, had Miloševic not accepted the Dayton
accord, the war would have ended with "all Serbs in one cemetery", instead of
"all Serbs in one state".
However, Koštunica continued to speak about "a different,
democratic, national policy"! Does it mean that he is a consistent
"Miloševic" at the end of the war, like Miloševic himself was at the outset of
the war when he warned the whole world: "Do not threaten us with arms, we are an
armed power!" But all the aforementioned only indicates that there is no difference
between Miloševic and Koštunica, despite the latter's bombastic phrase about "a
different, democratic, national policy", barring the one that our
"national" democrat would have remained "the lawyer of Serbood" to the
benefit of his client, and not to his detriment, until the "client" paid with
his own head consistency of his "lawyer".
Thus spoke jurist Voja Koštunica, the author of books on democracy and
capitalism ("Political system of capitalism and the opposition", 1977;
"Party pluralism and monism", 1983). He probably thinks that the lawsuit, that
is the meadow at stake, shall be won by the most persistent party! But the entire problem
lies in the very wrong essence of such a policy, and not in the fact that Koštunica and
his like-minded politicians had not been in Miloševic's shoes.
Miloševic had amply manifested his craziness, but also that he could be
stopped. Hence the following is much more surprising: the leader of "democrats"
thinks that Miloševic master-minded the fourth-Serbian uprising only to finally betray
the Serbs. This by far exceeds all the monstrous self-images which Miloševic has to date
For if Miloševic had not been stopped by a stronger power, he would
have gone to Salzburg in the north and Thessaloniki in the south! In that case he surely
would not have let Koštunica be his rival in the race for honor, glory and credits for
the pan-Serbian unification. Thus, in addition to evidence of Miloševic's impossibility
to achieve that goal, we must additionally continue to have faith in Koštunica's words
that "he could have achieved that goal by a different, democratic, national
The second Yugoslavia never existed
There is also another difference between Miloševic and Koštunica,
judging by the latter's much-repeated statements. Namely, Koštunica would have been able,
probably as "a democrat", contrary to Miloševic, to convince in a
"lawyer-like manner" the international community that the second Yugoslvia had
not existed at all?! That is, "only the first Yugoslavia existed... the one won by
the Serbian military victory and moral credit from the WW1". Thus, according to
Koštunica, the West would have resolved the Yugoslav crisis without "the six
republics, artificially created after the W.W.II, in the Communist Yugoslavia".
But as the Serbian cause was represented by Miloševic, the
international community passed its verdict: the Western anti-Communists in their
anti-Communism, decided to recognize the Communist solution of the second Yugoslavia -
republics as states and borders between them, as the state boundaries!? Thus the West
overlooked the existence of Koštunica and his position that only the first Yugoslavia,
the one from 1918, truly existed. There is still no evidence that because of such a
verdict Koštunica accused the West of being steeped in Communism.
Koštunica then wanted to give his assurances that he politically
respected the international community: "The Belgrade authorities did their utmost to
turn into enemies the leading powers within the international community. That was one of
the least sensible moves. Something tantamount to challenging the fate". But, alas,
this "principled" politician cannot even stick to his much publicized positions!
His propensity for changing positions would have even scared Miloševic from the period of
the battle for Vukovar, and notably the ensuing statement: "Jovan Ducic wrote
that...Serbia and Bosnia before the WW1 were 'indivisible'. Then Serbia and Bosnia were
not together, because Bosnia was annexed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today we must act
as if Serbia, that is the FRY and Republika Srpska, are 'indivisible'," whereby
Koštunica failed to produce evidence of "indivisibility of Serbia and Bosnia and
their 'oneness' in the state-like manner". But maybe such evidence is not needed, as
his statements are deemed sufficient per se.
Koštunica probably thinks that his statements are a sensible move which
do not make enemies from the international community, and do not represent the challenge
to the fate! Biljana Plavšic was compelled because of similar statements to publicly and
humiliatingly read an apology via the electronic media. But that gesture has not impressed
or affected Koštunica. The man is simply internationally "untouchable". He
continues to spin the same yarn about "a different, democratic, national
The West against modern Serbia
Finally, this Serbian "democrat" explicated his stance on the
countries of Western democracy early this year by the following, "momentous"
statement: "There is the second angle according to which the Western countries shall
need Miloševic as long as he prevents the creation of modern and democratic Serbian
state. The Serbian opposition must rely on its own forces, which does not mean that it
should wage war with the West ("NIN", 23 February 1996). This was said by
somebody convinced of being able to clearly distinguish the role of the opposition in
socialism and capitalism?
As a democratic and modern Serbian state, to be built by the opposition
"democrats" spearheaded by Koštunica does not suit democratic and
anti-Communist West, the latter has found Miloševic, the former communist leader, to
thwart aspirations to "democracy and modernity" of that "democratic
front". But most recent findings indicate that Serbia is bursting at the seams from
an overdose of modernity and democracy!
In fact this stance of Koštunica has deep roots: Serbia is not between
the East and West, it is above the East and West. This approach differs only slightly from
the Communist one, to the same traditional collectivism: Serbia is a collectivist society,
even when it is not a Communist one. We should be, however, comforted by the fact that
Koštunica and his opposition colleagues, judging by their last promise, shall not wage
war against the West. But who knows? Having in mind Koštunica's principled stand, he
might change his position very soon.
"Democrats" like Koštunica have dispelled an earlier myth of
the Serbian opposition, namely that "it was in conflict with Communists", as the
opposition in fact backed the Communist-led war and the nationalism-minded policy in a sly
and covert way, while seemingly criticizing Miloševic, as a Communist, for telling us
that there was no difference between anti-Communist nationalists and Communist
nationalists. Now those very "democrats" are dispelling another self-created
myth about an allegedly natural, democratic connection between the Serbian opposition and
However, not only that connection is non-extant, but in fact Serbia is
engaged in a genuine confrontation with the Western democracies. Probably only Koštunica
and similar, national "democrats" know how one can be a democrat in Serbia, and
simultaneously be at loggerheads with the West.
War for the "second lung"
That the war was waged "pointlessly" - that can be said only
by somebody else, somebody who was always against that war and such a bloody policy of
Serbhood. But as regards Koštunica's opinion, it seems that he is convinced that the war
was waged with a certain goal! Only a year ago that national "democrat"
developed a monstrous "organicistic theory" with "scientific-popular
pretensions", about "Serbia with two lungs"!?
"Only if Republika Srpska survives, Serbia shall have both lungs.
Without its Western lands Serbia would be an invalid with only one lung. The Contact Group
plan or any similar solution preserving Bosnia and Herzegovina within its former borders,
although it grants a status of a federal unit to Serbs, does not represent a solution bent
on saving that other lung of the Serbian people" ("Argument", 11 August
In line with the earliest and most elementary forms of awareness of
society, community and people, characteristic of the pre-Deluge era, Koštunica, as we can
see, at the end of the Twentieth century, invented a "life-saving" theory for
Serbian people: we can finally imagine Serbia with two lungs!? So how come that war was
waged "pointlessly"!? What about the "second lung"? What will Serbia
do without the second lung? My advice is: "Let Serbia eat 'Negro' candies - they ease
the breathing process".
By counting on a more massive acceptance of such and similar nonsenses,
"...that Serbia as a living being (?) cannot breathe and live without both
lungs", Koštunica and others contributed to the current Serbia's predicament. But at
the same time Koštunica did not disclose, in his letter to Kragujevac-based Weapons Plant
workers, that his and similar positions were the real causes of "the refugee fate of
Serbs from diaspora, and humiliation and hunger of those in the domicile state".
Moreover, such statements were made by an ambitious jurist and legal
expert, and not by a politician like the fatal Borislav Jovic and the other
quasi-politician, Mirko Jovic. Koštunica is in fact an author of certain theoretical
works with serious pretensions. As such and after gaining all the knowledge about society,
people and state, he dared espouse the natural-organicistic theories in interpretations of
national interests. So then, why would one wonder at equally mindless theories of
In his "theoretical effort" to make Serbia attain "the
other lung" Koštunica did not accept the other, artificial lung. "The Contact
Group plan or similar solution preserving Bosnia and Herzegovina within its former
borders, although it grants a status of the federal unit to Serbs, does not represent a
solution bent on saving the other lung of the Serbian people".
Nationalism elevated to racism
According to Koštunica, the other worthwhile reason for waging war in
Bosnia and Herzegovina was his "organicistic" discovery that Bosnian Serbs were
much more Serbs than their fellow-nationals across the river Drina, in Serbia: "We
must save that part of our people... for it represents, if I am allowed to deal with such
kind of assessments, a healthy national substance. That part of our people can help
strengthen the national feeling, which has been greatly weakened in metropolis and in the
domicile state in general".
To challenge that thesis would be as mindless as its creation by
Koštunica was in the first place. But Koštunica persists in his thesis by offering a
mystical explanation: "Can we consider ourselves true descendants of our great
ancestors... Changes in the national character and the crisis of national identity can be
accounted for by all the ills which befell the Serbian people, all wars, the Ustashi
genocide and a fifty-years long regime of the communist repression and corruption of
But were we to believe in a kind of the Serb-Teutonic breed of our
ancestors, we must first find the answer to the following question: "And why are we
today so 'small' if we had such 'great' and 'glorious' ancestors?" My findings
testify to the contrary, namely: all the things happening in Serbia now, have already
happened to it in the past! Such a minor nation, and such a grand image of its historic
To be "a great Democrat and simultaneously a great Serb through a
measured, persistent democratic nationalism" ("Vreme", 17 2 1996), as
Koštunica believes, is not possible, unless such a person, despite his personal and
private seriousness, assumes some responsibility for the predicament of his country and
Serbia's predicament, contrary to Koštunica's opinion, representative
of the Serbian Orthodox nationalism, was not caused by those who did not have faith in
their own nation, but rather by those who persisted, both tragically and ludicrously, in
such faith, and even sacrificed themselves in that respect.
At the outset of conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, all sensible people
were aware that Serbs were misled into waging wars or rather committing atrocities and
wanton destruction across the rivers of Drina and Sava, by their political an intellectual
"elite", in the name of wrongly interpreted national interests.This is best
attested to by the painful process of catastrophic collapse of the "Serbian
cause" from then onwards. The example of the end of so-called Republika Srpska
Krajina indicates that the idea behind its "conception" was indeed the
expression of a total Serbian National Stupidity. Vojislav Koštunica has been one of its