By Charles Ingrao, Thomas A. Emmert
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Extra resources for Confronting the Yugoslav controversies : a scholars’ initiative
Steadily, Milošević ratcheted up the pressure on the leaderships of both Vojvodina and Montenegro, which were already unpopular, until toward the end of the year tens and even hundreds of thousands of demonstrators regularly surrounded the parliaments, demanding the resignations of the governments. In the absence of any support from the federal authorities, both governments caved in, Vojvodina in October 1988 and Montenegro in January 1989. As soon as the governments resigned, they were replaced with Milošević supporters who proceeded to carry out a thorough purge of society, the party, and the media.
As important as what was actually happening in Yugoslavia during 1990 and the first half of 1991 were perceptions of what was taking place. These perceptions depended not on real events but on the atmosphere created by political rhetoric and rival media because a climate for war existed months and possibly years before anyone was killed. The first showdown took place in Pakrac, a Serbplurality town in western Slavonia, where on 2 March armed Croats and Serbs faced each other with the JNA in the wings.
16 As long as ready sources of external cash were available (which took the form of foreign aid, borrowing, and/or remittances from Yugoslavs working abroad) to help float the economy, economic problems could remain under the radar screen. By the mid-1970s, however, international credit tightened, remittances declined as the European economies faltered, and real economic strains began to become apparent. Thus, by the middle to late 1970s, Yugoslavia had changed from a country marked by brotherhood and unity with the emphasis on the latter, to a society with very little unity and with brotherhood more in principle than in fact.