By Charles Ingrao, Thomas A. Emmert
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Additional resources for Confronting the Yugoslav controversies : a scholars’ initiative
Well in those days, my boys, refugees came to our village. . I remember that one day Lazar and Vasilij came. They had taken in refugees and had heard what was happening to the Serbs in Croatia. 22 ◆ ANDREW WACHTEL AND CHRISTOPHER BENNETT They told me, but I didn’t want to hear. Don’t you guys tell me this, I say. Pašić and Prince Aleksandar, Colonel Garašanin and Mladen should hear this. ”22 By the mid-1980s, however, the dissatisfaction of Serb intellectuals and political figures with the state of affairs in Yugoslavia revolved ever more frequently around the issue of Kosovo.
That changed in the aftermath of the Kosovo clampdown when, under pressure from their domestic public, Slovenia’s Communists broke ranks. The Slovene Communist leadership was aware of the perception of many Slovenes that their separate cultural and linguistic identity was threatened by Yugoslavia’s Serbo-Croat–speaking majority and pandered to it. At the federal level, Slovenia’s Communists worked to retain as much autonomy as possible, whereas at home they attempted to promote a sense of Slovene national pride, including a publicity drive around the theme “Slovenia My Homeland” in the mid-1980s.
As pressures for democratization grew in the course of the 1980s, canny political figures came to recognize that public support would be necessary to retain power. The obvious basis of support for all such politicians was nationalism, and in each of the republics the most powerful political parties to emerge were formed on the basis of ethnic affiliation. In some cases their foundations were laid by the former Communist elites, in others by those who had been sidelined earlier for nationalist tendencies.