1990 Serbian nationalism explodes
According to CountryAAH, the total population in Serbia is 8,737,382 people in 2020. The federal government blamed nationalist and extremist separatist forces for being encouraged from abroad to seek Kosovo’s detachment from Serbia and Yugoslavia. Many Serbs and Montenegrins left the province. The conflict cost killed and wounded, mutual diplomatic accusations flew back and forth between Belgrade and Tirana, and in March 90, Kosovo’s head of government, Jusuf Zejnullahu withdrew. At the same time, there were tensions in other republics due to rising activism among Muslim and Catholic groups.
At the same time, inflation was running low. In 1986 it was 90%. In 1989, it was four-digit. When the LCY analyzed the economic situation and the ethnic conflicts, the party came to the conclusion that they expressed more profound contradictions. During these years, the implementation of several government corruption lawsuits showed that the system was failing. The Communist parties in Slovenia and Croatia made it clear that they would break out of the LCY. At a January 90 congress, the LCY abandoned its political monopoly, as it had under the Constitution, and asked Parliament to take steps to draft a new constitution that was not based on a one-party system or the leadership role of the Communist League in all spheres of society.
At the first multi-party elections since World War II – in April 90 – nationalist groups in all republics – except Serbia and Montenegro – won. They all wanted the cancellation of the federation or the formation of a confederative structure.
Since 1989, Yugoslavia’s last prime minister, neo-liberal Croat Ante Markovic, had undergone structural reforms to curb the development of the crisis. The country eliminated the duty of 90% of its imports, increasing it by 11.9%, while exports grew much slower (5.6%). This led to a slight increase in GDP of 0.6% and in industrial production 0.9%. Agricultural production rose 5.2% and real wages rose 26.6%. At the same time, inflation fell slightly: from 1,255.7% in 1989 to 587.6% in 1990.
Yugoslavia hoped that Western Europe’s renewed interest in Eastern Europe could help it in liberalizing its economy, but throughout 89 it did not receive a single dollar in foreign aid while having to pay about US $ 3.7 billion to its foreign lenders.
From 1990, the situation deteriorated dramatically. Industrial output fell by 18-20% in Serbia and 13% in Montenegro, while the Federation’s external debt reached US $ 16.3 billion. Of this, Serbia and Montenegro accounted for 5.5 billion.
The economic chaos led to rapidly rising social tensions while the state apparatus was in disarray. In this situation, two options were contrasted. One was to implement a decentralization that exempted the rich northern republics from funding the development of the poor southern. This model was put forward by the renovated communist and president of Slovenia, Milan Kucan. The second model consisted of strengthening the central power and deepening solidarity within the federation. This model was put forward by Slobodan Milosovic as president of Serbia and leader of the Socialist Party of Serbia – the former Serbia Communist League.