Yugoslavia became a Communist state in 1945 under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito, who ruled until his death in 1980. Under Tito, Yugoslavia developed its own form of Communism, independent of control by the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was the most powerful Communist country in the world until 1991.
The Communists in Yugoslavia banned all other political parties. However, they lifted the ban in 1990.
That year, the first multiparty elections were held in all the republics. Non-Communist parties won control of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, and Slovenia. Communists renamed Socialists, continued to hold power in Serbia and Montenegro.Order now
National government. In theory, Yugoslavia’s government is democratic. It has an elected parliament and an appointed president and Prime Minister.
In practice, however, power is in the hands of Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic. In May 1992, elections were held for parliament. However, opposition parties boycotted the elections, and Milosevic’s party–the Socialist Party of Serbia–won a majority of seats in the legislature. Milosevic’s control of the parliament allowed him to rule in a dictatorial manner.
Local government. Both Serbia and Montenegro have a popularly elected president and parliament.
Serbia includes the provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina. These provinces had many powers of self-government until 1990, when Serbia stripped them of their special status.
Yugoslavia is what remains of a much larger country, also called Yugoslavia that broke up into several independent nations in 1991 and 1992. The new Yugoslavia, like the former, lies on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe. Belgrade is the nation’s capital and largest city.
The name Yugoslavia means Land of the South Slavs.
The name comes from the fact that the first Yugoslav state was formed in 1918 with the goal of uniting three groups of South Slavs: the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. Yugoslavia’s mix of people gave the country a rich variety of cultures. However, differences in religion, language, and culture eventually contributed to Yugoslavia’s breakup.
From 1946 to 1991, Yugoslavia was a federal state consisting of six republics. In 1991 and 1992, four of the republics–Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, and Slovenia–declared their independence. Fighting then broke out between Serbs and other ethnic groups in Croatia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
As a result of this fighting, Serbian forces occupied about 30 percent of Croatia’s territory and about two-thirds of Bosnia-Herzegovina. A cease-fire ended most of the fighting in Croatia in January 1992. But in May 1995, Croatian government forces began to take back the areas that were held by the Serbs.
In April 1992, Serbia and Montenegro formed a new, smaller Yugoslavia. However, the United States and most other nations have refused to recognize the country.
After the Communists took control of Yugoslavia in 1945, they began working to develop Yugoslavia from an agricultural country into an industrial nation.
The government introduced programs to encourage industrial growth and to raise living standards. At first, government agencies developed and carried out the programs. But in the 1950’s, the government began a system of self-management. Under this system, workers in individual enterprises, such as factories and mines do economic planning. Workers’ council in each enterprise determines production goals, prices, and wages–all based on government guidelines. In the early 1990’s, the new Yugoslav government announced plans to move gradually toward a free-enterprise system.
Under such a system, business owners and managers would decide what to produce and how much to charge.
Agriculture still employs a large number of Yugoslavs. Farmers in Serbia and Montenegro grow corn, potatoes, tobacco, and wheat. They also raise cattle, hogs, and sheep. Other important crops in Montenegro include cherries, figs, grapes, olives, peaches, pears, and plums. Farmland covers nearly half of Yugoslavia.
Forests, which cover about a fourth of the country, are an important natural resource. Yugoslavia also has mineral resources. Mines yield bauxite, coal, copper ore, lead, and zinc. Wells in the Pannonian Plains and in the Adriatic Sea produce petroleum and natural gas.
Factories in Yugoslavia make aluminum, automobiles, cement, iron and steel, paper, plastics, textiles, and trucks. A good system of roads extends from Belgrade, the capital.
Roads in the rest of the country, especially in Montenegro, are less developed. There are airports in Belgrade, Nis, Podgorica, Pristina, .