Cellphone From Belgrade: Bring on the Boredom!

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TIME reporter Dejan Anastasijevic was forced to flee his native Serbia with his family last year, after being threatened with imprisonment and targeted for intimidation following articles heíd written about atrocities committed by Serb paramilitaries in Kosovo. He found himself in TIMEís Central Europe bureau in Vienna, waiting for Milosevicís regime to collapse. But he couldnít stay away while the story was unfolding, and began repeatedly returning home for longer and longer stays, and has been there since the election cycle began. Now that Milosevic has gone, Dejan can finally resume a normal life at home.

Is it really over now? Have all the power centers in Serbia accepted that Kostunica is in charge?

Essentially, yes. Formally, not yet. For example, the militaryís chief of staff convened a meeting of his general staff today, but they issued no statement. Still, it was leaked from the meeting that the military intends to stay out of politics. Kostunica has formed a crisis committee of opposition leaders to run the country as a sort of provisional government for a few days, as they get through the ceremonial matters such as his inauguration and convene a constituent assembly — which will be the federal parliament.

But doesnít Milosevicís party still have a majority in the federal parliament?

Well, they did while they had the support of a pro-Serb Montenegrin party. But this party may now be switching its allegiance to Kostunica — itís not yet certain — and that would give Kostunica a comfortable majority.

How is the atmosphere now?

Some people are still out there celebrating, and everybodyís very jubilant. But itís basically calm and peaceful. Shops are open, restaurants are open, factories are open. Itís like Serbia is finally open for business.

The onset of the "normality" that Kostunica has promised must be a mixed blessing for a journalist. After all, as soon as things are back to normal the international media tend to lose interest in a countryÖ

Iím really looking forward to that moment! My only wish right now is to be left alone for three and four days, to enjoy this moment as an ordinary citizen rather than as a journalist. But I know thatís not possible, at least for the next few days. Still, I donít care if its boring from now — Iíve had my share of adventure over the last ten years in Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and here. My only problem now is that I promised to give up smoking once Milosevic was out of power, and that may be too difficult right now. But I suppose this is the Balkans, and weíre renowned for breaking promisesÖ