Zoran Djindjic

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Zoran Đinđić
Zoran Đinđić

Zoran Djindjic Template:Audio (Zoran Đinđić, in Serbian Cyrillic: Зоран Ђинђић) (August 1, 1952March 12, 2003) was Serbian prime minister, long-time opposition politician and philosopher by profession.

Đinđić was born in Bosanski Šamac, a town on the Sava river in northern Bosnia. His father Dragomir was an officer in the Yugoslavian army. His mother Mila was a hostess. Đinđić had one older sister - Gordana. Đinđić took an interest in politics as a student at the University of Belgrade.

A pro-reform socialist, Đinđić was imprisoned for several months after he tried, along with other students from Croatia and Slovenia, to establish a non-communist student organisation. Released from jail, he continued his studies in Germany under professor Jürgen Habermas in Frankfurt. In 1979 he obtained a Ph.D. in philosophy from the university of Konstanz. He spoke fluent German. His English was of a moderate level.

In 1989 Đinđić returned to Yugoslavia to take up a teaching post at Novi Sad University, and together with other Serb dissidents he founded the Democratic Party. He became Chairman of the Executive Board of the party in 1990, and was elected to the Parliament of Serbia in the same year. In 1993 he became the President of the Democratic Party. Following the collapse of the short-lived coalition "Zajedno" (Together) with Vuk Drašković's SPO and Vesna Pešić's GSS, Đinđić registered as a separate candidate. After a massive series of public protests over rigged elections, Đinđić became Mayor of Belgrade in 1997, the first non-communist mayor to hold that post since the Second World War.

During the NATO bombing campaign of Serbia, Đinđić sought safety and fled to temporary exile in Montenegro because of information provided to him by Arkan that he was at the top of the assassination list of then-President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia Slobodan Milošević's secret service. Before long, he left for Western countries, visiting Gerhard Schröder and Bill Clinton. Photo of his handshake with Clinton at time of bombing was used by Milošević's propaganda to portray him as a traitor. Upon his return to the country in July 1999, Đinđić was charged with endangering state security in a trial that was rigged and closed to the public. In September 1999 Đinđić was named by TIME magazine as one of the most relevant politicians for the 21st century.

Đinđić played a prominent role in the presidential elections of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in September 2000 and in the October 5 uprising that overthrew the Milošević's regime, and then led the broad-based 18-party Democratic Opposition of Serbia coalition to victory in the Serbian elections of December 2000. He became Premier of Serbia on January 25, 2001. He played a key role in sending Milošević to the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. However, Đinđić said that he became disillusioned with the protracted trial of Milošević, and later condemned it as an expensive "circus". Đinđić said the court in The Hague was "allowing Milošević to behave like a demagogue and to control the trial".

Đinđić was received favourably by Western nations. His meetings with Western leaders George Bush, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac and others strongly indicated that the West supported his politics. Đinđić had constant disagreements with federal president Vojislav Koštunica. On the other hand, he had a close relationship with Montenegrin president Milo Đukanović.

On August 7, 2001, Đinđić headed a delegation that met with Bill Gates, in Redmond, becoming the first head of state to pay an official visit to Microsoft. Đinđić and Gates discussed the modernization of Serbian public services, and agreed that Serbia would become Microsoft's strategic partner and that Belgrade would become Microsoft's main residence and software representative center for the underdeveloped region of the Balkans. Nothing has come of this initiative thus far.


Đinđić was assassinated in Belgrade in the stairway of the main Serbian government building on March 12, 2003, 12:23 PM. Shot once in the chest, a high-power bullet penetrated his heart and killed him instantly. According to the official government statement, Đinđić was not conscious and did not have a pulse upon arriving at the emergency ward. His bodyguard Milan Veruović was also seriously wounded in stomach by another shot. Đinđić's alleged assassin, police specialist Zvezdan Jovanović, called Zveki, had fired the bullets by sniper scope from the window of a nearby building. Jovanović, codenamed Snake, was born in 1965 in Peć, Kosovo. He had been a member of the feared paramilitary unit, the Red Berets, and held the police rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Jovanović was active in the series of Serbian wars in the 1990s.

The assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić was preceded by several unsuccessful attempts to end his life. Most notable was an attempt several days before March 12, 2003, in which a truck driven by Dejan Milenković, a known member of the criminal "Zemun Clan", tried to force the Prime Minister's car off the highway in New Belgrade. Đinđić escaped injury only due to the outstanding reaction of his driver and his security detail.

Missing image
Zoran Đinđić's funeral
Đinđić had made many enemies for his pro-Western stance, reformist policies which had seen unemployment rise to over 30%, for arresting Milošević, for relinquishing him to The Hague, and for clamping down on organized crime. The murder was allegedly organised by Milorad Ulemek, an ex-Commander of the special police, also known as Legija, who ordered Jovanović to carry out the assassination. Legija was connected to the powerful Zemun clan of the Serbian mafia. Vojislav Šešelj, an ultra-nationalist foe of Đinđić's, was suspected of playing a role in the instigation of the assassination plot.

Nataša Mićić, then acting President of Serbia, declared a state of emergency immediately following the shooting. Zoran Živković was elected by the Serbian Democratic Party as Đinđić's successor. However after new parliamentary elections Boris Tadić was appointed president of the party.

Đinđić was married to Ružica and had two children with his wife. His daughter Jovana was born in 1990 and his son Luka was born in 1992.

His solemn state procession and funeral on March 15, 2003 was attended by many citizens as well as by foreign delegations. Đinđić's death represented a political and moral tragedy for many Serbs who saw in him a man who had guaranteed coexistence with neighboring nations, integration with Europe, and economic recovery.


If someone in Serbia thinks the law and the reforms can be stopped by eliminating me, then he is in a huge delusion. Serbia will continue to live on, and proceed that path with or without me, because I myself am not the regime.” — Politika (February 21, 2003) and Glas Javnosti (February 24, 2003).
In Serbian: “Ако неко мисли да ће зауставити спровођење закона тиме што ће мене уклонити онда се грдно вара, јер ја нисам систем. Систем ће функционисати и даље и нико неће добити амнестију за злочине тако што ће уклонити једног или два функционера државе.” Политика 21. фебруар 2003. и Глас Јавности 24. фебруар 2003. године.

External links

de:Zoran Djindjić es:Zoran Djindjić nl:Zoran Djindjic no:Zoran Djindjic pl:Zoran Đinđić sr:Зоран Ђинђић sv:Zoran Djindjic tl:Zoran Ðinđić


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