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Yugoslavia: Notes and Episodes

Belgrade, Yugoslavia Sketches from the program of Atelje 212 production of “Hair”. The Hotel Esplanade’s lobby and lounge this particular night were ornamented with uncommon glitter and elegance. For one thing, a  flock of more affluent Italians was in the Croatian capital of Zagreb f or a pigeon shoot, for which each sportsman paid an entrance fee of 3,000 dinars, the equivalent of just under $250, plus an additional $2-50 for every live bird put up before his gun. The call boards, carried silently through public rooms by bellhops in forest green jackets matching a muffling expanse of carpet, were chalked with distinctly Italian names. And a few of the younger shooters in mod Edwardian coats and bellbottoms hunted through the lobby, eased in red velvet chairs around the bar, or strolled into the gambling casino for roulette.cabaret Equally as conspicuous as the Italian crowd was the gathering of Zagreb journalists, wives and guests. For their annual dinner dance, clearly an “in” event of the Zagreb social season, the men, most of them, were in

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Yugoslavia: Days of Disenchantment

Words … Deeds … Words…Deeds … Words… From Borba “You know,” a Yugoslav friend said during one of those earnest, late night conversations, “our problem now is that we have no purpose, no cause, nothing that brings us together, nothing that excites us.” It was one of those honest and unencumbered remarks. No modifications, no “however” to dull the bite. It was the type of comment that professional nation-builders here would decline with a bulwark of statistics constructing a society on the move. Melancholy or despondency are not the best fuels for a developing country. And yet there is an air of intellectual weariness, of indifference and monotony. Perhaps the gray winter overcast takes a toll on the Belgrade spirit. Or the daily immersion in a city where on mornings the factory and train smoke occupies the low areas like a fog, and where the soot from soft coal fires and the exhaust from too many cars and buses packs the air. Or the steamy crush of people filling their string bags in the self-service

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The Yugoslav Economy: Reform and the Consumer 

Yugoslavia’s drift toward a consumer economy, symbolized by growing car ownership, has transformed the Square of the Republic in Belgrade into a parking lot. It was a wholly typical Saturday on the Terazije. The streets emptying into Belgrade’s prime shopping intersection gave off mingled sounds of small Fiats, Volkswagens, Mercedes, and lumbering British-made buses. The nearby Square of the Republic, once the leisurely preserve of pedestrians and now serving ignobly as a parking lot, was bumper to bumper. Only with luck could a driver find a vacant parking meter or sidewalk space along the curbs. Belgraders, out to satisfy their robust consumer appetite, surged in and out of shops in what was clearly a buying mood. In the main Beograd Department Store, for example, a mother sized up a full-length leather coat for her young daughter, a well-made piece of clothing, luxurious by any standards: price—700 dinars ($56 at the official exchange rate of 12.5 dinars to the dollar). On the floor above, the radio-TV section bustled with customers eyeing foreign and domestic products, and

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Yugoslavia – The Politics of Culture

Belgrade, Yugoslavia   December 20, 1969   Dushan Ludvig in Borba   These have been trying months for freedom in Yugoslavia. Many liberals fear, not without reason, that the political establishment is retrenching and that subtly and surely devices will be found to quell the most outspoken critics of the League of Communists and to mold the press into a more “responsible” instrument. The.League, on the other hand, is conducting a two theme campaign. It remarks at every turn that, of course, there can be no return to “administrative measures”—the euphemism for totalitarian rule. And, then, in tight conjunction, it proclaims against any-forum for the ideas of nationalists, anti-socialists, chauvinists, Cominformists and other assorted deviants. The controversy is likely to linger on, rather than mount to one of those reverberating crescendos that everyone can understand as the finish of the score. To the outside observer, the debate over free expression may thus be the duller. But it is the more significant precisely because it continues, for that in itself testifies to an authentic, though undeveloped

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Yugoslavia on Balance 

Dushan Ludvig in Borba Yugoslavia closes out the decade of the sixties in a perplexed and searching frame of mind. Perplexed because the elaborate and ambitious economic reform undertaken in 1965–the most recent of several experiments in charting a road between east and ,west—remains imprecise and uncertain. And searching, because there persists a greed for innovation among at least the “liberals” of Yugoslavia’s social managers. The result is that Yugoslavia is in a visible state of flux, a period of social instability in which no Yugoslav convincingly speculates on what the immediate years will bring. The economic system, a bewildering mixture of public ownership, state regulation and private entrepreneurship, is in a tenuous moment of transition to market socialism. Old guard politicians, the World War II Partisan alumni who came into Belgrade from the hills to establish a new order, reasonably resist the fission activated by “self-management” of factories and enterprises since their once commanding authority is threatened. And therefore, economic reform inevitably has cleaved the League of Communists and various bureaucratic satellites into segments.

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