Yugoslavia Teetering on the Brink

The economy is sinking, and the regions are restless

The food vanished first. As word spread that the government was drastically raising prices, panicky shoppers snapped up sugar, flour and cooking oil by the crateload, quickly clearing grocery-store shelves. Decorum went next. Chanting "Down with prices!," 5,000 striking steelworkers hurled tin cans and hunks of bread at officials in the southern city of Skopje in the first organized labor protest to hit Yugoslavia since it became a Communist country, in 1945. Cowed officials promptly doubled some wages. In a no less startling outburst, the press and even some Communist leaders intensified calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Branko Mikulic,...

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