This explains the unpredictable forms taken by Serbian identity politics, in which very different political, moral and ideological standpoints are “reconciled” and united.In search of new national symbols: Serbia after 2000After the dissolution of the Yugoslav federation, which coincided with the end of socialism in Eastern Europe, Slobodan Milošević’s nationalist politics dominated Serbia for another decade.
The very different, often opposing ideas about national identity in Serbia result not only from internal political constellations, but also from EU-centred discourses and strategies.
Combining extreme nationalism with elements of socialist ideology and claiming to be protecting the Serbian people while simultaneously saving Yugoslavia, Milošević effectively made it impossible after the “democratic change” in 2000 to use socialist symbols in Serbian identity politics.
So, of course I have been reading the Kosovo constitution and I think I can say that I know their constitution better than most police officers because their constitution is not so bad with the general protection for minority rights, there is a protection for freedom of expression, and what is important for my case is the protection of privacy. The Kosovo police had violated their own constitution. So, of course together with the Serbian political analyst Obrad Kesić, we are now collecting a legal team to sue the Kosovo police for harassment and discrimination on June 28th .
The following articles comprise part of a larger project aimed at examining the history of the biographical series, Lives of Remarkable People ( Zhizn’ zamechatel’nykh liudei), as a prism through which to view continuities and change in Russian, Soviet and post-Soviet culture. Our introduction gives a brief overview of the evolution of the series, from its inception in 1890 by the publisher Florentii Fedorovich Pavlenkov through the Soviet era and into the present day at Molodaia gvardiia press. It also situates the genre of literary biography, both within the European tradition and within the series itself. The subsequent three articles arose out of panels on biography and the Russian national tradition presented at the national conferences of ASEEES and AATSEEL in 2013 and 2014. They examine the triumvirate of Pushkin, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and the changing perceptions of these literary greats as reflected in biographies from the tsarist era to the current day. All three articles are an exercise in comparative biography, and as such provide a valuable argument in favor of the rigorous study of the important functions that biography fulfills in many different societies. In comparative biography, readers “discover how reputations developed, how fashions changed, how social and moral attitudes moved, how standards of judgment altered, as each generation, one after another, continuously reconsidered and idealized or condemned its forebears in the writing and rewriting of biography” (Peter France and William St. Clair (eds.), Mapping Lives: The Uses of Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 15–16). In this sense then, no one single biography can ever become definitive because of the changing concerns and demands of different readers in succeeding eras. Our contributors trace the way that the telling of these iconic writers’ lives has evolved over three centuries fraught with political, social and literary changes; these biographies serve as tools to evaluate what each author has meant to different generations in various eras.
The employment of this legacy in the symbolism of Serbian statehood is paradigmatic for contemporary Serbian identity politics: the spectrum of historical events included in the celebration of Statehood Day and the wide range of political discourses make it possible to unite or reconcile very different and often opposing approaches to Serbian identity.
Stating without a doubt who President Tomislav Nikolic really is and what his real plans for Serbia are is something that it too early to do. Many pro-Serbia activists and politicians, including many of my contacts in Serbia, say that he (Nikoloic) is just another pro-Western instrument and that it is not possible for anyone who has an anti-NATO anti-West position to win office.
Members of the Serbian elite involved in the creation of new national and state symbols openly “admit” that meeting European expectations has been their main concern, while politicians justify political actions as conducive for Serbia’s accession to the EU, largely characterized by conditionality (cf.
This may be one reason why the socialist Yugoslav legacy in Serbia is strongly marginalized: its traces have been almost completely eradicated from public spaces, despite the fact that Serbia is considered (and perceives itself) as a successor of Yugoslavia in various political and social domains.
After the aggression, over 250,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians have been forced out the Province of Kosovo and Metohija; even today, 15 years later they are not allowed to return freely and safely to their homes. Ethnic cleansing and even drastic change of ethnic population structure are tolerated by so called international community if only to the detriment of Serbs. The remaining Serbian population in the Province of about 120.000 continues to live in fear and uncertainty. Attacks upon Serbs, detentions and killings, including liquidations of their political leaders, have been continuing up to these days, and nobody is held responsible.
 One need only hint at the particulars that occurred with Serbia's presidential elections in 2002, when all three run-offs failed the criterion of 50% participation, to learn that politics is still much discredited amongst the Serbian population.
Cultural scientists have recently applied the distinction between a 'culture of shame' and a 'culture of guilt', which can help to shed some light on the cultural gap between Western and Eastern patterns of modernisation that Popov has hinted at. In this account, Serbia would have to be depicted as an instance of a culture of shame, in which society is typically perceived as the central authority. In turn, individual actors will refrain from developing an evaluative faculty on their own. Psychological investigations have confirmed an interconnection between traumatisation and shame. James Gilligan has recently concluded that 'shame is the central motive for collective as well as individual violence' (2003:1162). Drawing from the German context, Aleida Assmann and Ute Frevert have likewise worked out an 'affinity between cultures of shame and militarized societies' (Assmann and Frevert 1999:90). These depictions can induce the conclusion that a fatalistic attitude towards politics, which must be asserted even for the present Serbian society, was thus not only due to a temporal state of traumatisation that has been evoked by public and media policy since the 1980s, but is also related to a certain pattern of state-society relations typically wielded by communist and socialist systems. If we recall that political nationalism, following social-scientific interpretations, allows for one typical reaction among others towards a state of fear that occurs in ambivalent situations, the resulting picture might add a little to an understanding of why '"the return of the suppressed" occurred among the Serbian people in a dramatic, but not cathartic way' (Popov 2000b:102).
The main feature that characterises a mythological mode of perception has long been recognised as the blurring of the distance between past and present. The strategy of the Miloševic regime can be discerned as a policy of 'forced remembrance' that appealed to the historically inherited cultural fears and, thus, supported the retreat to traditional ways of 'problem-solving'. Thereby, the new stories that were spread among the population through the media machinery all followed the simple but innately habituated pattern of the Kosovo narrative: the threat of being wiped out of the homeland. Victor Turner's concept of 'emplotment' (1981:149) pertains to the generative energies that epic narrative genres, when applied by political leaders, can exert on the lives of a population. For our special case it may be summarised thus: 'people adjusted to a life of semi-war' (Markovic 2000:600). The 'sense of the "nowness" of history' (Blagojevic 2000:230) that was engendered through this process amazingly caused the historical gap between 'Kosovo' and the current wars in Bosnia and Croatia to dwindle, as can be felt in the statement of a soldier who said: 'We are living history right now, it's not just something that happened in the past' (Judah 1997:18), or even by a distinguished Serbian historian who articulated it in this way: 'Kosovo is not some imaginary legend of the past, but a real historical destiny that continues today' (Bogdanovic 1999:4).