© Columbia University Press
Paper, 288 pages,
In recent years, the contemporary Serbian political scene has been a much-discussed topic in the international media yet untangling the complicated web of parties and factions has become a more difficult task. Robert Thomas carefully examines the complexities of modern Serbian politics, largely in the words of the political players themselves. Drawing from a vast body of interviews and news coverage in Serbian and international media, Thomas brings the shifting political positions of these actors into sharp focus.The Politics of Serbia in the 1990s illuminates the chronic factionalism that has frustrated any attempt to unseat Slobodan Milosevic from the presidency. Opposition leaders have gone through many successive shifts in overall platform and specific tactical maneuvers, and this trend has made it difficult for them to launch a sustained, effective challenge to Milosevic. The Serbian president, meanwhile, emerges as a cunning manipulator of popular prejudices who has managed to retain power while leading the country into blundered wars and deepening economic distress. Dissecting Serb politics of the past decade, Thomas's study opens with a detailed overview of Serbian history and its communist years, and political dissent during this era. The book continues with in-depth explorations of such subjects as the fragmentation of Serb politics during the most deadly years of fighting in the region, the nation's fragile electoral politics at several critical moments, the alliance of radical and socialist groups and its rapid disintegration, and the aftermath of the Dayton accords. The author provides a complete list of abbreviations and a comprehensive index.