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The Serb Radical Party in the Republic of Serbian Krajina, 1992-1995 (with an emphasis on its activities in Slavonia and Baranja)
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Str. 495 - 525
The most important political party in the self-declared Republic of Serbian Krajina was Serb Democratic Party (Srpska demokratska stranka, SDS). Already in 1990, after the first democratic elections in Croatia, SDS, supported by Belgrade and Slobodan Milošević, led the Serb nationalist movement aimed at creation of Serb autonomous regions in Croatia. These autonomous regions were created with the aim to remain within the rump Yugoslav state under Serb domination in the case of Croatian independence. Such opposite politics finally led to an all out war between Croatia and ethnic Serbs supported by Yugoslav People's Army. Republic of Serbian Krajina was proclaimed in December of 1991. It existed until 1995 as the "most western Serb state", although it was not recognized as such, not even by Belgrade. Croatia attempted to regain territories lost to Serbs with the help of United Nations forces that were deployed in Serb held areas and offered Serbs autonomy in the municipalities where they made the majority of population before the conflict. Krajina leadership refused such solutions and opted for unification with Serb Republic in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1995 most of the Serb held areas were retaken by Croatian army and areas under Serb control in eastern Croatia were peacefully restored to Croatian rule in 1998. The article deals with the foundation and activities of the Serb Radical Party (Srpska radikalna stranka, SRS) in Serbian Krajina. Differently from SDS which was originally founded in Croatia and later among Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serb radicals were first founded in Republic of Serbia and its president was Vojislav Šešelj. Serb radicals and Šešelj soon distinguished themselves as an ultranationalist political party that openly advocated the establishment of the "Greater Serbia". In the parliamentary elections held in Serbia during late 1992 radicals were successful and became the second largest party in Serbian parliament. During war in Croatia in 1991 radicals organized and sent their volunteers to help Krajina Serbs in fight against Croatian forces. Political organization of Serb radicals in Serbian Krajina began during 1992 and leader of the radicals for Serbian Krajina was Rade Leskovac from eastern Slavonia. At the parliamentary election held in December of 1993 radicals became the third strongest political party with a total of 16 deputies in the Krajina Assembly, after Serb Democratic Party of Krajina and Serb Democratic Party of the Serb Lands. During 1995 radical party, its parliamentary deputies and Šešelj himself played an important role in the political developments in Serbian Krajina. They advocated the unification of Serbian Krajina with the Serb Republic in Bosnia-Herzegovina and rejected any compromise with Croatia. Such policy finally prevailed after the removal of Krajina's Prime Minister Borislav Mikelić but it ultimately led to military confrontation with Croatia in early August of 1995 and to a quick military defeat of the Serbian Krajina.
Croatian war for independence; Republic of Serbian Krajina; Serb Radical Party; Vojislav Šešelj; Rade Leskovac; Branko Vojnica
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