They March, but Milosevic Isn't About to Step Down

  • Share
  • Read Later
Slobodan Milosevic looks set to rule into the next century. Despite opposition protests in different parts of Serbia Tuesday night, there’s little sign of any serious challenge to the indicted-war- criminal president in the short term. "Not only is the opposition divided among itself, but it lacks a strategy," says TIME Central Europe bureau reporter Dejan Anastasijevic. "They’re hoping that daily demonstrations will persuade Milosevic to go, but this strategy failed in the past — and back then the demonstrations were a lot bigger." U.S. attempts to unite and organize the opposition may also have helped Milosevic in the short term, by allowing the regime’s propaganda machine to paint opposition activities as a continuation of NATO’s bombing campaign.

Coping with the after-effects of war occupies the minds of most Serbs, and as much as they may revile Milosevic for visiting devastation and isolation on their country, they have little appetite for political action. "Potential opposition supporters are demoralized, and few people believe that continual demonstrations will have any effect," says Anastasijevic. "With winter approaching, most people are too busy trying to make sure they have enough fuel and food to think about marching against Milosevic. So he’s unlikely to be forced out of power this year." Maybe next year...