May 23, 1994 Vreme News Digest Agency No 139

Vojislav Seselj, SRS Leader and Memeber of the Federal Parliament

by Milos Vasic

Year and place of birth: October 11, 1954, Sarajevo.

Orientation: Herzegovinian, although has a certificate by the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences (SANU) that he is a Serb.

Career: Consists of two phases. The first was communistapparatchik and brilliant. The second, when he saw the light following his rigthtful subjection to persecution, also brilliant. He graduated in law at Sarajevo University and earned Ph.D. in people's defense for one of those thesis that go ``On Contribution of Tito's Thought...'' He was in for a bright future in the communist apparatus all until he noticed that Branko Miljus, another golden boy from the same team, shamelessly plagiarized his doctoral thesis and warned about it. Thus the calvary of the young doctor began: Miljus's highly positioned patrons (Hamdija Pozderac and Branko Mikulic), who ruled supreme in Bosnia, began persecuting him politically. Criminal persecution was added when it turned out that Seselj was bullish and tough which makes an ideal political prisoner. Seselj ended behind bars becoming a dissident in bad times. Dissidents throughout former Yugoslavia signed pettitions for his release. Many were to face a dilemma later on wheter it had been the right thing to do. He was thrown out of the Croatian Philosophers' Society. He became a Serb nationalist with equal zeal as when he was a communist: fierce, ``consistent'' (according to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic), obstinate and cynical to extremes.

Best friends: Following the chronological order first the liberal intelligentsia in Belgrade who bought him books when he was poor as a church mouse and called him drinks so he could tell them about his life; then the Serbian literary nationalists (Dobrica Cosic provided him food) and Vuk Draskovic, who christened Seselj's son, became close with Seselj only to desert him following the affair over the money donated by the emigration. After the war broke out in former Yugoslavia, is his credo. He can be extremely brave if it proves necessary but with a cool head. He is the man who has come to terms with all consequences. He doesn't trust anybody, as he learned about the human nature. Seselj understands and respects the influence of the media and is always willing to talk to the journalists even to those whom he considers to be ``traitors.'' He is insolent to obscenity which blows away his opponents (it is their problem). Aware that he is the only authentic extremist and that no one is crazier than he is, Seselj makes sure that every debate is reduced to violence and threats with violence; his message is, ``You can only kill me.''

Weaknesses: The lack of a flexible political vision that reaches beyond the war. Primitivism that he nurses as an image, although he can be very polite in private.Violent when he is stronger, reasonable when weaker. Makes serious tactical mistakes because of being overconfident: supports Milosevic (he obviously has a weakness for him despite all quarrels and islavia Seselj made friends in the ranks of the State Security Service (Radmilo Bogdanovic, the Interior Minister, Mihalj Kertes, involved in the arming of the Serbs outside Serbia, Jovica Stanisic, the Head of the Service, etc.) and also among hardline Serb officers of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) (General Ljubomir Domazetovic, the Head of Personnel, General Bozidar Stevanovic, the Commander of 1st Air Force Corps who let Seselj use helicopters to pilots' horror, Nedeljko Boskovic, the Head of Military Security who supplied him with classified information). Borisav Jovic, the former VicePresident of the SFRJ Presidency and a high SPS official, also liked him. Nevertheless, the best friend Vojislav Seselj has ever had is Slobodan Milosevic: Seselj has become what he is today thanks to his mercy.

Worst enemies: All nonSerbs and ``bad'' Serbs (who disagree with him), especially Croats and Muslims. After the session of the Bosnian Serb assembly on Mount Jahorina, Seselj decided to launch a direct attack on the Socialist Party of Serbia and Milosevic personally becaus of ``cowardice.'' In the autumn of 1993 Seselj was left without all his gest friends in order to gani the best enemySlobodan Milosevic.

Fulfilled promises: Seselj was the one who said outloud whatever was on Milosevic's mind. That is how all his stories came true: Slovenia was thrown out of Yugoslavia, JNA was ethnically cleansed, turned into the Serb army and ``Serb Chetniks'' became a part of it, Milan Panic, the Federal Prime Minister, Dobrica Cosic, the Federal President, General Zivota Panic, the ChiefofStaff of the Yugoslav Army were replaced. ``I never make a wrong move,'' Seselj said last autumn when he and Milosevic fell out.

Unfulfilled promises: Serbia with the borders at Karlobag, Ogulin, Karlovac, and Virovitica; seizure of Zagreb with 10,000 Chetniks; bombing of the nuclear power plant Krsko; destruction of the Djerdap dam; bombing of the Vatican, Vienna, and several other European capitals; ``Slobodan Milosevic will be the next prisoner'' (the statement made upon his release from prison in Padinska Skela ahead of the 1990 elections); equal salaries and pensions for all; ousting of Slobodan Milosevic; The Union of All Serb States.

Virtues: Quick wit and strong nerves. Seselj is the man who means it seriously and to the end, ``I decided to go into politics seriously, and I know that patience is of utmost importance in politics'' in a manner which shows the lack of principles and is much too obious, which will eventually cost him dearly (that is Milosevic will), since if he lets go of Milosevic he'll be lost.

Events: Beaten several times in prisons and Belgrade restaurants; beat others on a few occasions. Constantly threatens with the gun which lacks style. Still hasn't fired a bullet in anger in the street or on the front. Moreover, he ran away from students and taxidrivers in Belgrade. He led a good life with the help of currently prominent ``moderate'' and ``nonparty'' figures at the time when he was Serbian President's ``favourite politician.'' He showed offon the front in riding boots and tight fatigues with a weapon and escort. In the afternoon of November 13, 1991, in Vukovar, before the city was to fall, he met with the JNA officers (Major Sljivancanic saluted him as he were Supreme Commander) and ordered that, ``Not one Ustashi (read Croat) can live Vukovar alive'' (the communists say that the order was obeyed as much as it was possible). During the night, around 4.30 a.m., he was almost killed by two JNA missiles that missed the target (falling short of the city centre).

He needn't be afraid of: Court case, either locally or by the International War Crimes Tribunal. He knows too much to be tried that easily. Vesna Pesic and Nebojsa Popov(CivicAlliance leader and antiwar activists).

He should be afraid of: Former friends, such as Slobodan Milosevic, Radmilo Bogdanovic and the like. Current friends. His party that may not be clever enough to understand him. Tomislav Nikolic, the vicepresident of the Serbian Radical Party, who is sufficiently quick and clever to endanger him.