Archive through December 17, 2000
Bloomberg, 11/29 08:41
Yugoslav Rocker Dinkic Takes Helm at Central Bank: Profile
By Jelena Radulovic
Belgrade, Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- When Yugoslavia's new central bank governor Mladjan Dinkic isn't formulating policy or tracing funds he says were
spirited out of the country by the former regime, he's playing guitar with his rock band, Monetary Strike.
The 36-year-old economist rose to prominence as a critic of former President Slobodan Milosevic in 1997, when he formed the G- 17 group of opposition
economists. In 1998, he published a critique of Milosevic policies called ``The Economics of Destruction,'' and gained popularity because of his ability to
explain complex issues in plain language. After Milosevic was driven from office last month, Dinkic became a key adviser to President Vojislav
``Dinkic is a human bulldozer, someone capable of cleaning up the piles of trash at the central bank,'' said Milos Markovic, editor of the Belgrade-based
Ekonomist magazine. ``He is a man of strong will and enormous energy.''
Dinkic said his main goals are to help Yugoslavia rejoin the International Monetary Fund and other international financial institutions, and to keep the
dinar's value steady at the current level of 30 to the deutsche mark. He has served as acting central bank chief since October. He was confirmed by a
vote of 73 in the 138-seat lower house of parliament and by 29 votes in the 40-seat upper house.
At the parliament session before his confirmation late yesterday, Dinkic said he wants to increase Yugoslavia's foreign currency reserves to a level equal
to about three months of imports. October imports totaled $212 million. The central bank also will take a more active role in the short-term securities
market and start to lower interest rates, he said. The bank also will aim to eliminate restrictions on converting dinars to make trade and other
``The next goal is an introduction of convertibility of the dinar in all current account transactions,'' Dinkic said after parliament's vote. ``That would mean
the elimination of the black market rate of the currency.''
Under Milosevic, hyperinflation eroded the dinar's value as the country started, and lost, a series of wars in the region. In January 1994, the monthly
inflation rate reached 313 million percent.
After mass protests forced Milosevic from office following his defeat in the Sept. 24 presidential election, Dinkic said that Milosevic's associates tried to
take at least $22.5 million from the central bank out of the country, in cash and via electronic transfers. He said he shut down the central bank's
computers to thwart the thefts.
Hard-Line on Milosevic
Dinkic also called for Milosevic and his allies to face trial, after Kostunica had said he wouldn't extradite the former president or other indicted war
criminals to the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.
``On Sept. 24, you chose to live in a country in which the best would rule and the worst would be in prison,'' Dinkic said at a Belgrade rally on Sept. 27.
``Milosevic has at most a week to leave the country, or he will have to face court, and I don't mean the one in The Hague.''
He shook a baby's rattle while talking to the 200,000-strong crowd, a symbolic gesture meaning Milosevic was ``broken like a baby's rattle,'' a common
Serb expression to describe something as defective.
Dinkic was born in 1964 into a middle-class Belgrade family, the child of two well-known economists. In `The Economics of Destruction,'' Dinkic wrote
that dinnertime conversations at home often focused on economic issues. In the book, he quotes extensively from Western economists such as John
Kenneth Galbraith, and argues that Yugoslavia's economy under former dictator Josip Broz Tito, often called the communist bloc's most successful,
actually was a house of cards kept afloat by the West.
Dinkic studied economics at Belgrade University and later taught there. Last year, a month after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's bombing of
Yugoslavia ended, Dinkic published ``Final Account,'' a study of estimated war damages.
The full extent of damage inflicted on Yugoslavia's economy by Milosevic's government still is unknown, Dinkic said. Recently, he said he's concerned
that gold reserves of the former Yugoslavia held at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland may have been looted.
``I wasn't able to determine whether the gold is there simply by looking through the central bank documentation,'' said Dinkic. ``So I will go to Basel,
enter the bank treasury and find out on my own if the gold is there.''
According to a formula determined by the IMF, 46 tons of former Yugoslavia's gold reserves should be divided between the existing Yugoslav federation,
made of Serbia and Montenegro, and Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Macedonia.
Another challenge for Dinkic will be to establish a new payment system between Yugoslavia's two republics, Serbia and Montenegro, he said.
Montenegro stopped using the Yugoslav dinar earlier this month, ending a dual currency system in which it was used along with the deutsche mark. The
smaller Yugoslav republic, which also formed its own central bank on Nov. 2, will use the deutsche mark exclusively as its currency.
``Over the next three months one of the goals is to establish payment operations between Serbia and Montenegro together with the federal government
and the governments of the republics,'' Dinkic said.
Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic has refused to mend ties with Belgrade after the change in power, insisting the two republics first separate and
become independent states and then create a monetary union and take joint control of the army.
In the federal parliament, Montenegro's opposition Socialist People's Party deputies said they voted for Dinkic because they wanted to see the central
bank perform its duties across Yugoslavia, including Montenegro. Their vote was considered key in the parliamentary vote, analysts said.
Dinkic is married, with no children. His band, which has one CD - also named Monetary Strike - played its last gig at a pre- election rally.
>>>A NATO pilot admits that civilian targets were deliberately attacked during the operation
"Allied Force" and that NATO aviation used chemical weapons and experienced fatal
accidents during this operation. <<
DER SPIEGEL: "NATO Is Our Private Army"
DER SPIEGEL (Hamburg)
11 December 2000
[Translated from German]
Interview with Kosovo leader Ibrahim Rugova
by Renate Flottau, Martin Doerry and Hans Hoyng in Pristina
NATO Is Our Private Army
Kosovo leader Ibrahim Rugova over the fight for his
country's independence, the relationship with the new rulers in
Belgrade, the impossibility of reconciliation between Albanians and
Serbs and the deadly struggle for power with his rivals
(Der Spiegel) Mr. Rugova, you have fought for the independence of
Kosovo for over ten years. What have you achieved?
(Rugova) Thanks to the presence of KFOR peacekeeping troops, NATO's
support and the UN's reconstruction assistance Kosovo today is de facto
independent. We control the country and after the parliamentary and
presidential elections scheduled for next year also expect formal
recognition. This is an inexorable process, one we want to realize at any
(Der Spiegel) ...but one that contrasts with almost all statements by
Western politicians, who continue to see Kosovo as part of the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia.
(Rugova) I am convinced that this view will change very quickly.
I have already called on the EU to show more courage. Those who want to
become independent should also BECOME independent -- starting with
Montenegro and Kosovo. But the international community is presently
seeking a consensus for this problem. That is why no one wants to rush
(Der Spiegel) Kosovo also belongs to Yugoslavia according to UN
Resolution 1244, and no one wants to change that.
(Rugova) This resolution was just a compromise to gain Yugoslavia's
agreement to peace. Why can there not simply be a new referendum under
international supervision on the question of Kosovo's independence?
Negotiations on the issue strike me as meaningless and unnecessary.
(Der Spiegel) Is that why you are not replying to the invitation to
meet from new Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica?
(Rugova) Now is not the right time for negotiations, neither for us
nor for the Serbs. After the elections in Serbia, when the new forces
have more authority, we can talk about a normalization of relations, but
initially only at a relatively low level of representation at most. It
would be very helpful if the Serbs would recognize our independence
(Der Spiegel) You do not seriously hope for that?
(Rugova) No one will ask the Serbs, and no one needs their agreement.
They have to accept the decision of the international community.
(Der Spiegel) And if the West calls on you to accept a status of
autonomy for Kosovo?
(Rugova) That is completely unthinkable. In the past, every agreement
with the Serbs has turned into a tragedy for us. Most recently Belgrade
conducted a ten-year war against us in which thousands of Albanians were
killed, harassed and beaten.
(Der Spiegel) Would not an independent Kosovo then destabilize the
entire region? The Albanians in Montenegro, Western Serbia and Macedonia
would certainly want to join the new state immediately.
(Rugova) On the contrary. The situation would become less tense. Just
a few neighbors, like the Serbs in Macedonia, are stirring up such fears.
There is an agreement between all Albanian political parties of the
former Yugoslavia under which they support the independence of Kosovo in
the present borders.
(Der Spiegel) Have not the Albanians in Macedonia already threatened
(Rugova) They just want to receive a constitutional guarantee that
they will enjoy the same rights as all other citizens of Macedonia. What
could become genuinely dangerous for Macedonia would be to preserve the
previously uncertain, undefined status of Kosovo. That strengthens the
extremist currents among the Albanians who are demanding more than we
are, such as unification with Albania.
(Der Spiegel) For Germany as well, ultimately reunification was
(Rugova) Naturally it is understandable that all Albanians would
like to live in their own country. But we see such integration only in
the framework of a united Europe. Naturally, I cannot rule out the
possibility that some day another option for the future might appear,
perhaps even unification with Albania.
(Der Spiegel) After the change in power in Yugoslavia the West
noticeably shifted its priorities to Belgrade. Do you not fear that like
Montenegro's President Milo Djukanovic you face the danger of taking a
(Rugova) I cannot rule out the possibility that Belgrade will now
play the democratic card and want to collect the reward for the change.
But the international community will quickly understand that the old
Serb ideas about Kosovo have not been buried, merely covered up.
(Der Spiegel) So you still see no difference between former dictator
Slobodan Milosevic and the opposition in power?
(Rugova) Unfortunately, on the Kosovo issue they are all the same.
But I do not exclude a possible positive change. The essential thing is
that the Serbian people have finally decided to break out of their
(Der Spiegel) Will you be prepared for a compromise on the Kosovo
(Rugova) The unconditional holding on to Kosovo was just a myth of
the Belgrade elite. The rest of the population was never interested in
Kosovo. Naturally the Serbs also must cope with a few painful changes in
the near future. But despite all reservations I am more optimistic than
(Der Spiegel) Could you imagine the international community offering
Belgrade the division of Kosovo as an option, into a Serb north and an
(Rugova) Impossible. The borders of Kosovo cannot be changed. The
Kosovo Serbs must adapt to the institutions of our country. They will
then have equal rights in all areas: political, economic and social.
They will be better off than we were in the past. We have had bitter
experiences with an exclusively cultural autonomy.
(Der Spiegel) Why must the Serbs continue to live in ghettos and be
escorted by KFOR when they leave their villages?
(Rugova) Please, the war is just one and a half years in the past.
There is deep bitterness here. Hundreds of Albanians are still locked up
in Serbian prisons. It will take a while yet before we can assure the
Serbs of full freedom of movement. But that is our priority. It is good
that there are still 100,000 Serbs living in Kosovo. Once the situation
becomes more stable then all the Serbs who fled can return. However, we
need proof that these Serbs recognize Kosovo as their country.
(Der Spiegel) In past weeks there have been sharp clashes on Kosovo's
border with southern Serbia. Does the new Albanian liberation front want
to force an exchange of territory there -- the predominantly
Albanian-populated Bujanovac and the Presevo Valley in exchange for Serb
communities in the north of Kosovo?
(Rugova) The time is not ripe for that. Our people must remain in
southern Serbia. The Milosevic regime tried to ethnically cleanse this
region to control the sea access to Thessaloniki, Greece that was
important to Belgrade.
(Der Spiegel) But the activities of this liberation front have caused
the West to think seriously about Serbia's demand to station about a
thousand troops of the Yugoslav Army in the border region.
(Rugova) That would be absurd. It would also undermine the security
of the KFOR troops. After all, there was a reason why the demilitarized
buffer zone was created. Be that as it may, for Serbia the game is over.
(Der Spiegel) Your party, the Democratic League LDK, has now won a
clear election victory in the local elections. Does that compensate you
for the attitude of those Western politicians who had already written you
(Rugova) Naturally I was happy about this proof of trust. But the LDK
was always more stable than was perceived in the West. We have created
this state and shaped it for ten years, without violence and without an
aggressive policy of confrontation.
(Der Spiegel) But the USA has clearly tried to build up former UCK
(Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA ) leader Hashim Thaci as a future
political leader of Kosovo. Now his extreme nationalist party has lost.
(Rugova) I am not sure whether these parties are more radical than WE
are on national issues. Kosovo's citizens have grasped the fact that the
war is over and now a peace with prospects for the future must be built.
(Der Spiegel) But politics in Kosovo appears to still be dangerous.
Four close friends of yours have been killed.
(Rugova) Our citizens were shocked by these attacks. We used to have
Belgrade as the opponent, and we Albanians were the good guys. Now that
the danger from Belgrade has been banished, the devil in our own ranks is
again making his appearance.
(Der Spiegel) But no one actually doubts that your domestic policy
rivals are behind the attacks. Why are there still no arrests?
(Rugova) The UN administration UNMIK and the international police are
conducting their investigations, and I expect the culprits will be
quickly apprehended and sentenced. We have had a functioning judicial
system for eight months, but none of the culprits has yet been taken into
custody. If this continues it will not be possible to stop the murders.
(Der Spiegel) Is the international community really interested in
punishment of the culprits, or do they possibly enjoy political
protection, for example from the USA?
(Rugova) I do not believe there is foreign protection. But I do not
rule out the possibility that a few political parties in Kosovo are
protecting the murderers. That is why UNMIK must have an interest in this
being solved quickly, because otherwise violence will get the upper hand
(Der Spiegel) Are you afraid?
(Rugova) I would like to see the people who are indifferent to such
threats. But as a politician you have to accept this danger. The last
murder was aimed directly at my office and at me.
(Der Spiegel) Isn't that a bad omen for the coming elections?
(Rugova) The goal of these groups is in fact to block the elections
through such acts of violence. In a democratic law-based state and in
normal times these extremists and war profiteers would have lost their
position a long time ago.
(Der Spiegel) So you believe your rival Thaci is behind these
(Rugova) Until the investigations have ended I cannot accuse anyone.
(Der Spiegel) Most Albanian politicians are harshly critical of UNMIK
and feel they are being dictated to. What could be done better?
(Rugova) We have to be realistic. UNMIK encountered a destroyed
country and has achieved a great deal: Today we already have 20
ministries, including finance, justice and education. But initiatives in
the area of foreign investment are stagnating. Our Kosovo police could
also be better.
(Der Spiegel) Is it influenced too much by Thaci's former UCK
(Rugova) Some parties wanted to see only former UCK members in the
new security forces. It would clearly have been more advantageous to also
integrate our former Kosovo police. But we will soon have a police
academy of our own, based above all on professional criteria, not
(Der Spiegel) How long will the UN continue to be present in Kosovo?
(Rugova) After the parliamentary and presidential elections our
Albanian politicians will obtain more power and responsibility. UNMIK
will stay a while longer to help with the transition, but with fewer
(Der Spiegel) Republican George W. Bush has already announced he will
withdraw the American KFOR troops. What happens then? A new war?
(Rugova) NATO must stay forever in Kosovo, whatever it calls its
mandate. For example, fixed NATO bases to protect the entire region are
(Der Spiegel) Do you seriously expect NATO to accept this role as
Kosovo's private army?
(Rugova) NATO is already our private army. But in the future we will
share responsibility and also develop an army of our own as a protective
(Der Spiegel) Mr. Rugova, thank you for this interview.
Sounds like folorn hope against the odds!
If It’s Good Enough for Serbia’s
Goose, Why Not for Croatia’s
"A good Ustasha [Croatian
Nazi] is one who can use his knife to cut a Serb child from the womb of his
CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING
In a Reuter’s report published in the Washington Times on 28 January 1998,
"Three Croatian ex-soldiers tell media of atrocities" committed in 1991 against
the ethnic Serb minority and Croatians in Gospic who did not agree with
hard-line nationalist policies. One of the Croatian ex-soldiers spoke of seeing
"truckloads of bloated, stinking bodies, mothers and children blown up by bombs
and someone wearing a necklace made of ears." How similar this is to reports by
Holocaust survivors who described what happened in 1941: "To give a little
variety, noses and ears were cut off, and eyes scratched out. The Italians
photographed an Ustashi [Croatian Nazi] wearing two chains of human tongues
and ears around his neck." (Testimonies from Holocaust survivors, Jean-Marc
Sabatier in Paris-Match, May 25, 1957 and Edmon Paris, "Genocide in Satellite
Croatia, 1961, Chicago, American Institute for Balkan Affairs). Be it 1941 or
1991, it appears that history repeats itself in Croatia.
Columnist A.M. Rosenthal: "In World War II Hitler had no executioners more
willing, no ally more passionate, than the fascists of Croatia. They are returning,
50 years later, from what should have been their eternal grave, the defeat of
Nazi Germany. The Western Allies who dug that grave with the bodies of their
servicemen have the power to stop them, but do not."
The Washington Times of 29 December 1995: "Croats will ‘kill people for the
color of their skin’." [US Colonel Fontenot, Commander of NATO forces in