Saturday, August 10, 2013

91. Serbia and Motenegro - Introduction

Serbia and Montenegro was a country in the Balkans, created from the two remaining republics of Yugoslavia after its breakup in 1991. The republics of Serbiaand Montenegro together established a federation in 1992 as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). In 2003, it was reconstituted as a state unionofficially known as the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.
The FRY aspired to be a sole legal successor to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but those claims were opposed by other former republics. The United Nations also denied its request to automatically continue the membership of the former state. Eventually, after the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević from power as president of the federation in 2000, the country rescinded those aspirations and accepted the opinion of Badinter Arbitration Committee about shared succession, and reapplied for and gained UN membership on 2 November 2000. From 1992 to 2000, some countries, including the United States, referred to the FRY as "Serbia and Montenegro".
The FRY was initially dominated by Slobodan Milošević as President of Serbia(1989–1997) and then President of Yugoslavia (1997–2000). Milošević installed and forced the removal of several federal presidents (such as Dobrica Ćosić) and prime ministers (Milan Panić). However, Montenegrin government, initially enthusiastic supporters of Milošević, started gradually distancing themselves from his policies. That culminated in regime change in 1996, when his former ally Milo Đukanović reversed his policies, became leader of Montenegro ruling party and subsequently dismissed former Montenegrin leader Momir Bulatović, who remained loyal to Milošević. As Bulatović was given central positions in Belgrade from that time (as federal Prime Minister), Đukanović continued to govern Montenegro and further isolated it from Serbia, so that from 1996 to 2006, Montenegro and Serbia were only nominally one country — governance at every feasible level was conducted locally (Belgrade for Serbia and Podgorica for Montenegro).
A loose union, Serbia and Montenegro were united only in certain realms, such as defense. The two constituent republics functioned separately throughout the period of the Federal Republic, and continued to operate under separate economic policies, as well as using separate currencies (the euro was the only legal tender in Montenegro). On 21 May 2006, the Montenegrin independence referendum was held, and 55.5% of voters voted in favor of independence. The state union effectively came to an end after Montenegro's formal declaration of independence on 3 June 2006, and Serbia's formal declaration of independence on 5 June. After the dissolution, Serbia continued to be the legal successor of the union, while Montenegro re-applied for membership in international organizations.