Dear Reader, welcome to the first issue of Contemporary Southeastern Europe! This peer-reviewed journal is published as an open-access academic journal, by the Centre for Southeast European Studies. We are firmly committed to the highest standards of academic publishing, including rigorous, double-blind, peer review and making research available, free of charge, to an interested audience. As subscription costs rise and many libraries have to save resources, we are committed to making high quality research available for researchers without cost.
This article focuses on the political dimension of Ante Marković’s attempt to reform the federation of Yugoslavia during his mandate as prime minister between 1989 and 1991. While the literature about the crisis and dissolution of Yugoslavia has usually depicted Marković as the initiator of crucial reforms in the economic domain but having limited action outside of those measures, here the attention is devoted to his agency in the political domain, namely: 1) the attempt to redesign the institutional framework to restore the fundaments of Yugoslav statehood, 2) the introduction of a state-wide multiparty system that would recreate a supra-national demos, and 3) the reanimation of the historical and symbolic principles of democratic Yugoslavism.
This paper proceeds with an overview of the context in which the elections took place, followed by their results, which are compared with previous elections for added understanding of the similarities and differences. The second part of the paper enumerates the consequences of the elections for the political system, the political parties and individual actors, and the society at large. In the conclusion, a projection of the short- and medium-term influence of these elections is given.
On 27 December 2019 the parliament of Montenegro passed a new Law on Religious Freedom. This law replaces an older law regarding the same topic from 1977. There is a broad consensus that the old law is outdated and needs to be revised. However, the new one is (among other aspects) mainly criticized for its articles 62-64, which refer to the ownership of holy assets.
Some years ago, the Romanian writer Mircea Cartarescu was approached by a German publisher at the Frankfurt book fair, who said he was interested in Eastern European writers. Cartarescu immediately responded that he did not consider himself an Eastern European writer. “Of course,” the publisher con-ceded, “as a Romanian you are from Southeastern Europe.” For Cartarescu this simple spacing had the following direct message: “Stay where you are,” the publisher was telling me in a friendly manner. “Stay in your own ghetto. De-scribe your tiny chunk of (South) Eastern European history. Write about your Securitate, about your Ceausescu, about your People’s House. About your dogs, your homeless children, your Gypsies. Be proud with your dissidence during the communist days. Leave it to us to write about love, death, happiness, ago-ny, and ecstasy.
Two recent books on Kosovo offer some compelling insights and answers as to why international state-builders stumbled in Kosovo: Elton Skendaj’s, Creating Kosovo: International Oversight and the Making of Ethical Institutions and Andrea Lorenzo Capussela’s State-Building in Kosovo: Democracy, Corruption and the EU in the Balkans. Both books are welcome additions to the growing discourse on state-building and touch on some of the more important themes that have recently dominated the literature, including the principle of local ownership, the limitations of technocratic approaches to state-building, and the dilemmas of political corruption and state capture in postwar societies.