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Serbia, anti-bureaucratic revolution, 1987–1989

Slobodan Karamanić

Subject History » Political History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Europe » Eastern Europe
Balkans » Serbia

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics autonomy, bureaucracy, nation, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01337.x


The “anti-bureaucratic revolution” (ABR) in Serbia signified a process of political cadre changes, arrests, and constitutional reforms, simultaneously followed by a series of organized “spontaneous” meetings, demonstrations, and riots. The events led Slobodan Milošević to advance his political control over Serbia and Yugoslavia, undermining the delicate political balance within the federal system. Through abolishing political autonomy in two Serbian provinces, Vojvodina and Kosovo, in 1989 and removing political cadres in Montenegro, ABR sharpened the latent political and socioeconomic crisis, leading to the disintegration of Yugoslavia's socialist institutional framework. As a pretext for launching the ABR, Milošević seized upon Kosovo Serbian protests against the bureaucracy, which they saw as a cause for economic decline. In April 1987, the Yugoslavs sent Milošević to Kosovo as an emissary, where he supported their “justified popular grievance” against the Kosovo bureaucracy. The statement was an unprecedented policy shift, representing the first instance since World War II that a leading party official advanced the claims of a national group against the state. Soon after, on September 21, 1987, Milošević officially pronounced the “anti-bureaucratic revolution” at the Eighth Plenum of the Central Committee of the Serbian League of Communists, accusing party leadership of being ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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