Wednesday, February 05, 2003
Yugoslavia is dead, long live Serbia and Montenegro.
Lawmakers in Belgrade's federal Parliament consigned the troubled name Yugoslavia to the history books today, endorsing the Constitution of a new, less binding union between the republics of Serbia and Montenegro.
The new state, to be called simply Serbia and Montenegro, is a compromise between the aspiration among many Montenegrins for independence and an edict from international officials that there can be no further redrawing of borders in the Balkans.
As such, it is a solution that satisfies few people, as today's heated parliamentary debate illustrated, despite the adoption of the constitutional charter by overwhelming majorities in both chambers.
If anything, this latest incarnation of this country has only increased nostalgia for the peace and relative prosperity that Serbs and Montenegrins shared with their Croatian, Bosnian, Macedonian and Slovenian neighbors before the ethnic wars of the 1990's ripped apart the socialist Yugoslavia created by Marshal Tito in 1945.
An earlier incarnation of Yugoslavia, which translates as the Land of the South Slavs, had been ripped apart in savage violence during World War II. The country was first formed as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918, before adopting the name Yugoslavia in 1929. Throughout its life, Yugoslavia was troubled by tensions between its constituent peoples.
Apparently they think it won't be now if they just slap a new name on it...