[english / srpskohrvatski] Speech by Dušan Milenković, representative of the League of the Communist Youth of Yugoslavia (SKOJ, youth organization of the NKPJ, Serbia)

Held at the conference-debate:

A che punto siamo con la diffamazione della Resistenza e la deriva revisionista-rovescista in Italia e in Europa?

Bologna, giovedì 6 febbraio 2020
presso la sala "Benjamin" del Centro sociale della Pace, Via del Pratello 53


Historical Revisionism in Nowadays' Serbia

Speech by Dušan Milenković (SKOJ-NKPJ)

[na srpskohrvatskom dole]

[AUDIO in EN / in IT / starts at 86m20s]


I would first like to thank tonight’s speakers for their contributions, and I would like to thank Coordinamento Nazionale per la Jugoslavija very much for having us.

As the only youth organisation with a consistently Marxist-Leninist line in Serbia and with the hope of becoming a pan-Yugoslav organisation in the future, we from SKOJ and the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia have consistently condemned and opposed historical revisionism in Serbia and beyond. As we are primarily based in Serbia, allow me to very briefly sketch a picture of the current state of legal historical revisionism in this country, which of course exists in the context of broader European anticommunism, equation of communism with Nazi-fascism and falsification of history.

The currently existing revisionist tendency is founded on ostensibly liberal and anticommunist ideology stemming from the late Yugoslav period, spearheaded by figures such as Vojislav Koštunica, Kosta Čavoški (later leaders of governing liberal parties in Serbia) and members of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Exacerbated by the fratricidal wars of the 90’s and the broadly rediscovered principles of ethno-nationalism, any ostensibly pro-Serbian element in the history of the Balkans came to be viewed with renewed interest and open admiration. Among the movements and figures viewed in this light are the collaborationist Četniks and their leader Dragoljub Draža Mihajlović, who espoused a royalist and Serbian nationalist position during WWII. Despite their multifaceted collaboration with both the Nazi occupier and the genocidal regime of the Independent State of Croatia or NDH, they were legally equated with the antifascist Yugoslav Partizans in a law passed in Serbian parliament on December 22th 2004. In the hearts of many Serbian nationalists, they are the nationally conscious antidote to the cosmopolitan Partizans, who are portrayed, being overwhelmingly communists, as having committed nothing but grave offences against the Serbian people during and after WWII.

The rehabilitation law of 2004 was a logical result of the victory of the so-called “democratic” factions of the Serbian political scene in the year 2000, when Milošević was ousted and the Socialist Party of Serbia came to play a mere background role in political discourse. It was followed by a series of bizarre reinstitutions of pre-socialist imagery and symbolism, such as the introduction in 2006 of the theistic and monarchist hymn “Bože Pravde”, which praises God as the protector of Serbs (this despite Serbia’s pluri-ethnic history and present), and the monarchist coat of arms bearing the two-headed eagle with a royal crown – the latter especially farcical, as Serbia has been a republic since the end of WWII.

While such symbolisms help in accomplishing the ideological paradigm shift that is required for normalising royalist and right-wing discourse and thus historical revisionism, the more weighty issue is of course the direct rehabilitation of fascist collaborators. On that front, the law of 2004 equating Četniks with Partizans was followed by the Law on Legal Rehabilitation (Zakon o pravnoj rehabilitaciji) in 2006, which was expanded in 2011. This law was again backed and spearheaded by the democratic majority government at that time, as well as being backed by the Socialist Party of Serbia, which in its program lauds Serbia’s Partizan and antifascist history. Through this law, more than 3000 people were rehabilitated in Serbia, many with hefty “reparatory” compensations for their descendants. Major figures once considered traitors, such as the royal family Karađorđević and Dragiša Cvetković, who signed Yugoslavia’s ascension to the Tripartite Pact, were swiftly rehabilitated. But not only royalty and politicians were among those receiving the privilege of rehabilitation; many were once convicted for committing the most heinous war crimes during WWII. Members of the Nedić Quisling government’s militia, members of Serbian Volunteer Corps (Srpski dobrovolajčki korpus) headed by the Serbian fascist Dimitrije Ljotić, as well as members of the SS division Prinz Eugen and members of the Ustaša movement, which committed a genocide against Serbs, Jews and Roma during WWII, were rehabilitated. Attempts were made to rehabilitate Milan Nedić, Serbia’s Quisling, but this was evidently a step too far – even for a state willing to rehabilitate such figures as I’ve just mentioned. I should also note here that the European Union has repeatedly urged Serbia to enact and uphold the Law on Legal Rehabilitation and all the fiascos that have come from it.

But that is not all. In still more recent times, we have not seen a halt in the trend of historical revisionism through legal rehabilitation. Last year, the Četniks and their leader Draža Mihajlović were honoured as antifascist heroes by the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, in the presence of delegates from the USA, Canada, Italy, Poland, France and the UK. This happened in commemoration of operation Halyard and represented the first time in history that a Serbian president honoured Draža Mihajlović and the Četniks under such auspices.

Ana Brnabić, president Vučić’s counterpart and prime minister of Serbia, committed a similar outrage last year in a visit to Argentina, visiting the grave of Milan Stojadinović and singing his praises. Stojadinović, once prime minister of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, was a committed anticommunist. In 1954 he met with Ante Pavelić, Croatia’s Hitler, in Buenos Aires and elaborated nationalist ideas with him: an independent Croatia and an independent Serbia, both in vehement opposition to the progressive Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

All this normalisation of abnormality has had severe effects on the intellectual and political discourse in Serbia. Books apologising for “Đeneral Milan Nedić” as nothing but a man who tried to save his people in dire conditions, or about the “antifascist” character of the Četniks, abound. They are accompanied by a broad nationalist pseudo-scientific literature mythologising Serbian history, going so far as to claim that the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet is the oldest in the world and that prehistoric Europeans were all Serbs. Such discourse is fully tolerated and treated as equal in weight to true scientific investigation, effectively deluding all but non-specialists and robbing them of the ability to tell truth from falsehood. This post-fact state of affairs means that anything goes and agendas are easily pushed with enough money to back them.

In all this chaos, far-right movements are experiencing a resurgence among desperate people searching for a way out of the political circus. This is exemplified by the very recent return to Serbia of Goran Davidović, a leader of neo-nazis and perpetrator of hate crimes, who was acquitted of his charges last year and again allowed to participate in politics. It is imperative that we give the antidote to these kinds of messages, that we plead for social justice and continue breaking illusions in the sphere of historical revisionism.

Since its founding in 1990, the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia, together with its Youth League SKOJ, has faced historical revisionism head on, both on the street and in written discourse, both in journalistic and in academic publications. Each of the instances I have mentioned was vehemently opposed by us with all of our admittedly limited faculties, and it is of the utmost importance that we continue and intensify our work in defending history into the future as the contradictions inherent to capitalism and class antagonisms continue to sharpen. It is, therefore, a blessing that our organisations are growing and expanding, especially SKOJ, where the youth is opening many new spheres of activity and deepening others. We also hope to continue our internationalist cooperation in the spheres of historical revisionism and welcome with open arms any contribution in this sphere from comrades in Italy, who are fighting many of the same battles.

Grazie mille, thank you very much




15.2.2020. – Savez komunistićke omladine Jugoslavije učestovao je 6. feburara u Bolonji na skupu proitv revizije istorije u organizaciji Coordinamento Nazionale per la Jugoslavia – ONLUS. Našu organizaciju je predstavljao sekretar SKOJ-a za Holandiju I član komiteta za međunarodne odnose drug Dušan Milenković. U nastavku možete pročitati njegovo izlagnanje.

Pre svega bih se zahvalio svim govornicima za njihove doprinose, a takođe bih se jako zahvalio organizaciji Coordinamento Nazionale per la Jugoslavija za gostoprimstvo.
Kao jedina omladinska organizacija sa konzistentnom linijom u skladu sa Marksizmom-Lenjinizmom u Srbiji sa jugoslovenskim karakterom, mi iz SKOJ-a (i NKPJ) smo dosledno osuđivali reviziju istorije u Srbiji i bivšoj Jugoslaviji i protivili se istoj. S obzirom da trenutno radimo prvobitno u Srbiji, dozvolite mi da ukratko ocrtam trenutno stanje legalnog i istorijskog revizionizma u toj zemlji, koje naravno postoji u kontekstu šireg evropskog antikomunizma, jednačenja komunizma sa fašizmom i lažiranja istorije.
Trenutno postojeća težnja k reviziji istorije je osnovana na liberalnoj i antikomunističkoj ideologiji koja potiče iz kasnog jugoslovenskog perioda, koju su predvodile ličnosti poput Vojislava Koštunice, Koste Čavoškog (kasnije lideri vladajućih liberalnih partija u Srbiji) i članova Srpske akademije nauka i umetnosti (SANU). Svaki navodno pro-srpski element u istoriji Balkana je počeo da privlači novu pažnju i poštovanje, što je još više važilo zbog bratoubilačkih ratova 90. godina i obnove etnonacionalizma. Među pokretima koji su se tako smatrali su bili i kolaboracionistički četnici i njihov vođa Dragoljub Draža Mihajlović, rojalisti i srpski nacionalisti koji su učestvovali u Drugom svetskom ratu. Uprkos raznovrsnoj kolaboraciji ne samo sa nacističkim okupatorom nego i sa genocidnim režimom NDH, oni su izjednačeni sa antifašističkim partizanima u zakonu usvojenom u Srbiji 22. decembra 2004. godine. Po mnogim srpskim nacionalistima, oni su nacionalno svesni protivotrov za kosmopolitske partizane, pretežno komuniste, koji su predstavljeni kao počinioci ogromnih ratnih i posleratnih zločina nad srpskim narodom.
Zakon o rehabilitaciji iz 2004. godine je bio logični ishod pobede takozvanih „demokratskih“ stranaka na srpskoj političkoj sceni 2000. godine, kada je Milošević svrgnut a SPS počela da igra pozadinsku ulogu u politici. Posle tog zakona se javio niz bizarnih nametanja pre-socijalističke simbolike, kao što su teistička i monarhistička himna „Bože Pravde“, uvedena 2006. godine, koja veliča Boga kao zaštitnika srpskog naroda (iako je Srbija oduvek plurietnička zemlja), i grb sa kraljevskom krunom, što je naročito smešno jer je Srbija od kraja Drugog svetskog rata republika.
Dok takve simbolike pomažu u menjanju ideološke paradigme, što je potrebno da bi se normalizovala monarhistička i desničarska stanovišta a s time i revizija istorije, teže pitanje je naravno direktna rehabilitacija fašističkih kolaboracionista. Na tom polju je zakon jednčenja četnika i partizana iz 2004. godine praćen Zakonom o pravnoj rehabilitaciji 2006. godine, koji je proširen 2011. Ovaj zakon su ponovo predvodile demokratske stranke koje su u to vreme činile vlast, kao i Socijalistička partija Srbije, koja u svom programu veliča antifašističku i partizansku prošlost Srbije. Putem ovog zakona je rehabilitovano preko 3000 osoba u Srbiji, mnogi uz znatne „reparacije“ isplaćene njihovim potomcima. Velike ličnosti koje su se u prošlosti smatrali izdajnicima, poput kraljevske porodice Karađorđević i Dragiše Cvetkovića, koji je potpisao stupanje Kraljevine Jugoslavije u Trojni pakt, su rehabilitovane. Ali nisu samo kraljevska porodica i političari ti koji su dobili privilegiju rehabilitacije; mnogi od njih su jednom osuđeni kao počinioci najstrašnijih ratnih zločina tokom Drugog svetskog rata. Članovi Nedićeve kvislinške milicije, članovi Srpskog dobrovoljačkog korpusa, koje je vodio srpski fašista Dimitrije Ljotić, kao i članovi SS divizije Princ Eugen i razne Ustaše, čiji je pokret počinio genocid nad Srbima, Jevrejima i Romima, su rehabilitovani. Bilo je i pokušaja da se Milan Nedić, srpski Kvisling, rehabilituje, ali to je očigledno bilo preko svake mere – čak i za jednu državu koja je bez problema rehabilitovala ličnosti kakve sam upravo pomenuo. Trebalo bi ovde i da podvučem da je Evropska unija više puta podsticala Srbiju da u potpunosti sprovede Zakon o pravnoj rehabilitaciji i sve katastrofe do kojih je on doveo.
Ali to nije sve. U skorijim vremenima nismo videli zastoj revizije istorije putem rehabilitacije. Prošle godine su Četnici i njihov vođa Draža Mihajlović imali čast da ih predsednik Srbije, Aleksandar Vučić, veliča kao antifašističke heroje pred delegatima SAD, Kanade, Italije, Poljske, Francuske i Velike Britanije. To se dogodilo na spomenu operacije Haljard, a predstavljalo je prvi put da je predsednik Srbije tako odao čast Draži Mihajloviću i Četnicima.
Ana Brnabić, premijerka Srbije i saradnica predsednika Vučića, je na sličan način digla prašinu prošle godine u poseti Argentini, gde je posetila grob Milana Stojadinovića i hvalila istog. Stojadinović, nekada premijer Kraljevine Jugoslavije, je bio posvećeni antikomunista. Godine 1954. se sastao u Buenos Airesu sa Antom Pavelićem, hrvatskim Hitlerom, kako bi razradili raznorazne nacionalističke ideje: podela Jugoslavije u nezavisnu Hrvatsku i nezavisnu Srbiju, obe žestoko naspram progresivne Socijalističke Federativne Republike Jugoslavije.
Sva ova normalizacija abnormalnosti je ozbiljno uticala na intelektualne i političke rasprave u Srbiji. Knjige koje brane „Đenerala Milana Nedića“ kao čoveka koji je samo želeo da spase svoj narod iz iskušenja, ili koje brane „antifašistički“ karakter Četnika, su u izobilju. Uz njih ide široka nacionalistička i pseudo-naučna literatura koja od srpske istorije čini mitologiju, pa čak i trvdi da je srpska ćirilica najstarije pismo na svetu i da su praistorijski Evropljani svi bili Srbi. Takav diskurs se u potpunosti toleriše i jednači sa istinitim naučnim istraživanjima, i tako svakome ko nije ekspert oduzima sposobnost da istinu odvoji od laži. Ovo postčinjeničko stanje znači da više nema pravila i da se bilo koja agenda lako progura uz dovoljno finansiranja.
U svom ovom haosu se pokreti ekstremne desnice preporađaju među ljudima koji iz očaja traže put iz zvaničnog političkog cirkusa. Kao odličan primer toga služi skorašnji povratak u Srbiju Gorana Davidovića, vođe neonacista i počinioca zločina iz mržnje, koji je prošle godine oslobođen od optužbi i kome je ponovo dozvoljeno da učestvuje u politici Srbije. Mi biti protivotrov za ovakve poruke, da se borimo za socijalnu pravdu i nastavimo da razbijamo iluzije u sferi istorijskog revizionizma.
Otkako je osnovana 1990. godine, Nova Komunistička Partija Jugoslavije se, zajedno sa omladinskim savezom SKOJ, direktno protivila reviziji istorije svim stredstvima, ma koliko ograničenim, koji su joj na raspolaganju. Krajnje je važno da nastavimo i pooštrimo svoje delatnosti u sferi odbrane istorije u perspektivi, jer će to sigurno biti potrebno kako se protivrečnosti kapitalizma i klasni antagonizmi intenziviraju. Stoga nam je blagoslov što nam se organizacije šire, a naročito SKOJ, gde omladina otvara mnoge nove oblasti delatnosti i produbljuje druge. Takođe bismo rado nastavili internacionalističku saradnju u oblasti revizije istorije i oberučke prihvatamo bilo koji doprinos u toj oblasti naših drugova iz Italije, koji se takođe suočavaju sa sličnim problemima.

Hvala vam puno

Dušan Milenković

SKOJ - Savez komunističke omladine Jugoslavije