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People’s gatherings in Knin in 1989 – the breakdown of Yugoslav constitutional construct in Croatia

Davor Marijan orcid id ; Hrvatski institut za povijest, Zagreb, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 2.876 Kb

str. 439-467

preuzimanja: 3.268



In socialist Yugoslavia, the year 1988 was marked by mass gatherings of the Serbs and the Montenegrins. Consequently, in autumn of the same year, leaderships of Socialist Autonomous Provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo were crushed. The same model was successfully applied in Montenegro in January 1989. These gatherings were called truth meetings, people’s gatherings or antibureaucracy revolution. Their most important effect was the breakdown of Yugoslav federalism, i.e. of the constitutional construct set in the 1974 Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This construct was based on keeping control over Serbian unitarism and Croatian separatism, which the League of Communists of Yugoslavia held to be the most dangerous for Yugoslavia. Key elements of this construct were two autonomous provinces within the Socijalist Republic of Serbia, which represented elements of federal organisation; defining the national state of Croatian people of the Socialist Republic of Croatia and the status of the Serbs in Croatia; and the recognition of the Muslims as apeople, which made a miniature Yugoslavia out of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this fashion, an interdependent system of providers that maintained Yugoslavia as a whole was formed. Thanks to the support of structures from the Socijalist Republic of Serbia, it was endeavoured to apply the model of people’s gatheringsin the Socialist Republic of Croatia, too, in order to destabilise it. Two such meetings of the Serbs were held in Knin in February and July 1989 under the pretence of providing support to the Serbs and the Montenegrins in Kosovo and the limitation of the autonomy in socialist provinces. The February meeting showed that there existed national partitions within the League of Communists of Croatia, while the July meeting disclosed partitions among the population. The yearlong Croatian silence was thereby concluded. In both cases, party and republic leadership was not capable to adequately respond to the set challenge. The meetings had far-reaching effects on Serbian community in Croatia. By providing support to Serbia in its endeavours to set limits to the autonomy of the provinces, the loud share of the Serbs failed to comprehend – or neglected – the fact that in such a manner they supported the change of the federal structure that guaranteed them a state of the Serbs within Croatia.

Ključne riječi

Croatia, Yugoslavia, Serbs, city of Knin, people’s gatherings

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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