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(What was left of) Yugoslavia

File:Yugoslavia1 3461.png
  • A House Divided: Being part of Austria-Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Vojvodina (northern Serbia) were not only cultrually different, but economically far more advanced then the other republics who for centuries were under Ottoman rule. Especially in the late 1980s this gave Slovenes and Croats the impression that due to the centralized economy they had to feed the other republics often summerized by the saying "we earn, you spend". From the Serbian perspective Yugoslavia existed on their expense. Not only weren't Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia given any autonomy nor even an entity, but Vojvodina and Kosovo received the status of autonomous republics within Serbia who de facto had the same power just like any other six republics. Tito did this to prevent Serbs dominating Yugoslavia like they did in the Yugoslav Kingdom. Not only was it often believed that Yugoslavia could exist only on a basis of a weak Serbia, but also that Croats and Kosovo Albanians, especially the latter one, were not only pardoned but also rewarded for their crimes in World War II with an autonomous province. Speaking of World War II, the atrocities the ethnic groups did towards each other created a resentment that was suppressed by Titos ironfisted policy in the name of "Brotherhood and Unity". Instead of refurbishing the dark past, it became a taboo topic only to be ignited during the collapse of Yugoslavia. Also in the name of said Brotherhood and Unity, any form of nationalism was supressed in order to create a Yugoslav identity. What put the final nail in Yugoslavia's coffin was the constitutional reform of 1974 which granted any of the six republics the right to legally scede from Yugoslavia. Said reform also accepted the Bosnian Muslims (who were either regarded as Muslim Croats, Serbs or simply Yugoslavs) as an official ethnic group making things even more complicated than they already were. The more decentralized the government became the more the local communist parties alienated from each other making Yugoslavia a loose confederation.
  • You Fail Economics Forever: The reason for this entire mess. Yugoslavia's economy was unproductive and inefficient without external life support (in fact the reason why the country prospered during the Cold War was mostly American economic aid). Once the US stopped sending money to Yugoslavia everything came crashing down and the disasterous policies of the IMF put the final nail in Yugoslavia's coffin. The reform attempts of Ante Marković came too late as the Yugoslav leadership spent too much time putting its head in the sand.
  • Crazy Prepared / Fridge Horror: The Siege of Sarajevo and other great operations the JNA (and later Serb forces) pulled off were prepared long ago during Tito's days in case if an ethnic group should rebell. Yugoslavia has always seen her own population as her biggest threat.
  • Dirty Communists: Averted from a Western point of view as Yugoslavia was economically, politically and culturally open to to the west. Yugoslavia was if not de jure at least de facto a NATO member as the north Atlantic alliance would have offered military assistance in case of a Soviet aggression. Played straight from a Croatian POV though.
  • The Empire: Slovenians and especially the Croats viewed it as the so-called "Serbo-Yugoslav" giant since the Yugoslav regime at this point was hijacked by the Serb plurality.
  • The Federation: Deconstructed. Every republic and Autonomous Province had a great deal of autonomy from the central government. The constitution of 1974 gave every republic the legal right to secede form Yugoslavia which, given the borders and the ethnic composition of Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and to a certain extent Macedonia, in the ensuing war was a lot easier said then done.
  • Multinational Team: Brutally deconstructed. The unresolved grievances and issues the various ethnic groups had with each other were heated up during Yugoslavia's economic collapse which in the end ripped the country apart.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: Arguably. While Yugoslavia wasn't always sunshine and roses and since Tito had his own shares of Moral Event Horizons, Yugoslavia was one of the most prosperous and least oppressive communist regiemes during the Cold War.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Most soldiers (especially the non-Serbs) of the JNA. This video sums it up well.

 Reporter: Do you know all intel about your enemy?

Soldier: No idea, the only thing I know is that they are shooting at us and nothing else.

Reporter: Do you know who is shooting at you?

Soldier: The Territorial Defence militia of course.

Reporter: Do you know why this war is waged?

Soldier: How the hell should I know...they are, like, they want to secede and we are, like, we don't let them. Really, we just want to go back to the barracks and nothing else.

Reporter: What do you think? What are you going to do now and how will this go on?

Soldier: What am I supposed to think? I'm just thinking of staying alive.

  • State Sec: The UDBA.
  • Vestigial Empire: The socialist Yugoslavia was by the late 80s and early 90s merely a shadow of its former self. Crippled and mauled by economic decline and torn apart by ethnic tensions, the local communist regimes in Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia were toppled and replaced by right-wing ultranationalist firebrands, and it was only a matter of time until everything would burn.

Ante Marković

  • Badass Bureaucrat
  • Last Stand: His attempted economic reforms to keep the Yugoslav economy alive could be seen as such. Unfortunately he was sabotaged by Kučan, Tuđman and Milošević.
  • The Messiah: How the people saw him.
  • Nice Guy
  • Only Sane Man
  • Opt Out / Screw This, I'm Outta Here: By late 1991 having realised that Yugoslavia and her economy were dead at this point and that he had no chance to talk sense into the various leaders of whom all jumped on the nationalist bandwagon, Marković threw the towel and resigned from his post.

Veljko Kadijević

  • Majored in Western Hypocrisy: The only thing Kadijević learned from the Americans during his studies was their arrogance according to a book about the collapse of Yugoslavia.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: And gives you political asylum, citizenship and protection from Croatian authorities.

Blagoje Adžić

The Serbs

The Serbs have been the largest and most powerful group on the Balkans. As the old saying went: "Serbia may be a small kingdom, but between Constantinople and Vienna there is no larger." While they tried to keep as much Serbs as possible in one state, they were plagued by disunity.

Tropes that apply to all Serb factions

File:Serbs 896.jpg
  • A House Divided: What often bit them in the ass. The relation between Karadžić and Milošević was distanced and Belgrade's support to the Bosnian and Croatian Serbs was half-assed. Since the JNA withdrew in 1992 from Croatia and Bosnia, regular forces from Serbia proper were no longer involved. Milošević was more than happy to abandon the Krajna Serbs and in 1994 he closed the borders to the Republika Srpska and leaving them to their fate until Karadžić granted full control to Milošević.
    • Many Serbian paramilitary formations had different agendas. The volunteers of Arkan and the likes were mostly marauders and brigands interested only in plunder. Rumors say that Arkan's men occasionally even pillaged fellow Serbs. The volunteers of Šešelj's Serbian Radical Party were sent to give military support to local Serbs in the Krajna and the Republika Srpska, at least according to him.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: A lot of irregular militias. Special mention goes to Arkan's Serb Volunteer Guard who recruited hooligans and criminals.
  • Berserk Button: The assassination of Zoran Đinđić triggered a country wide manhunt in Serbia dubbed as Operation Sabre. It ended with most big fish of the Serbian underworld (many who were close allies of Milošević) arrested or KIA.
  • Big Badass Bird of Prey: The Serbian double headed eagle.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The Serb militias and other irregulars. Their ranks ranged from patriotic men going to war to protect their fellow Serbs to psychopathic monsters who were in only for profit and the kicks.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The Serbian army was in almost every engagement against the KLA outnumbered at least 2:1 and still the Serbs wiped the floor with them.
    • The wily Albanians, on the other hand, responded by taking photos of the dead bodies and crying about "Serb atrocities" to the Western media.
    • Of course, this was also in play to some degree on the strategic level, where the Serb and Montenegrin alliance was by a wide margin the strongest of the post-Yugoslav powers, only to steadily lose that advantage after subsequent poundings by the Slovenes, the Croats, the Bosniaks, and (to some degree) NATO, coupled with rampant defections after the Slovene expedition collapsed.
  • Demonisation: Oh where to begin? In fact, almost 99% of English speaking fiction set during the Yugoslav Wars has them as the bad guys.
    • Designated Villain: While Western media demonized the Serbs in a juvenile and almost cartoonish manner, the Serbs themselves were neither better nor worse than any other of warring factions. The only difference was that the Serbs committed most of these gruesome acts as they were, due to their superiority in numbers and weapons they got from Yugoslavia, the most dominant faction by far. Otherwise Croats, Bosniaks or Albanians may have been demonized as the "New Nazis" by sensationalist media. While it doesn't excuse them the least from what they did, it should never be neglected that Serbian Orthodox churches were also defiled and destroyed and Serb villages and cities too were bombarded, torched, pillaged and destroyed in great numbers. Serbia actually has the largest refugee population in Europe, comprised of nearly 500,000 ethnic Serbs who were forced from their homes in Croatia and Kosovo to escape persecution.
      • Of course, that is primarily because they *lost*, and so said 500,000 Serbs were forced out by the advancing Croat and Bosniak armies. Had it been the other way around, it isn't hard to see the situation reversed.
    • Historical Villain Upgrade: As mentioned, Serbs themselves were neither better nor worse than the others.
      • A DEFINITE YMMV here. The fact is that the vast majority of, and the most systematic atrocities were carried out by Serbian forces.
    • The Scapegoat: In spite of the complex nature of this conflict, the Serbs are blamed for every ill by Western media and painted as the aggressor, even though the break up of Yugoslavia was a civil war rather than a Serb Nazi style conquest to expand their Lebensraum at the expense of the "poor and innocent" Croats, Bosniaks and Albanians.
    • Villain by Default: Again, how the majority of Western media likes to portray them.
  • Dumb Muscle: Subverted. For being the largest and most powerful force in this conflict, you may ask yourself why they didn't roll over Bosnia and Croatia. Keep in mind that the local Croatian and Bosnian Serb army and militias were badly equipped, badly trained and only had the advantage of numbers once the JNA (and thus Serbia itself) abandoned them in 1992. Generals like Mladić were mediocre at best, while most of the Serb generals of the former JNA either left when the JNA was disbanded or remained passive with the VJ in Serbia. And even those employed questionable tactics and methods that often led to some embarrassing results. Otherwise averted when you see the tactics they used during the NATO airstrikes that kept their military casualties at a minimum.
  • The Empire: How they were perceived by the other factions and the majority of the outside world.
  • Enemy Mine: The only reason some of their neighbours seem to have a warm relationship is their common hatred towards the Serbs.
  • Fighting For a Homeland: The goal of the Krajna Serbs was to ensure the independence of what they saw as their homeland and to split off from Croatia the same way Croatia declared herself as independent from Yugoslavia. A similar goal had the Serbs of the Republika Srpska who fought for their fatherland against what they perceived as Muslim and Croat aggression. In fact the Bosnian War is often referred as the "Patriotic War" by the Bosnian Serbs. Unfortunately their homeland was also someone else's homeland. Serbia herself(or better said the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) fought for its territorial integrity against Albanian separatism in 1999.
  • Humiliation Conga: An awful lot of things went wrong for the Serbs in the last two decades. First the Serbian Krajna in Croatia falls after Operation Storm. Then comes the political suicide that was the massacre of Srebrenica which branded the Serbs as genocidal savages in the eyes of the Western world. The war in Bosnia ended with a draw after the Dayton Agreement prevented a military disaster of the VRS. While the Republika Srpska does exist within Bosnia and occupies 49% of the country, keep in mind that before the turning point in 1995 they held almost 70% of Bosnia. While in the Kosovo War the Serbian forces wiped the floor with the KLA, Serbia could not afford to continue the war with a ruined infrastructure and economy due to the NATO airstrikes for much longer. When the war ended, Belgrade lost its control over Kosovo and to rub salt in the wound most of the parliament members of the new state in Europe were former KLA members protected by the Western powers. Ouch!
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Western propaganda tried to display the KLA as noble "freedom fighters" who are in dire need of help against "Serb repression". While the Serbs did have their own share of war crimes during this conflict, is very hard to sympathize with them once you read their entry below.
    • Some of them were themselves also the subject of this trope, and in turn doled it out to at least a few of their enemies who also fit it.
  • Memetic Mutation: The so-called Dat Face Soldier has his origins from this propaganda song.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: How they were portrayed in the most hysterical way. Though it really doesn't help when their forces were responsible for most of the atrocities like systematic mass killings, death camps and other things that Europe hasn't seen since World War II.
  • Slave to PR: Something they should have kept in mind if they wished to avoid the demonisation by Western media.
  • The Sociopath: An awful lot of their paramilitary formations like Arkan's Volunteer Guard, the Scorpions or the White Eagles who were mostly in for profit, plunder or simple For the Evulz. See Army of Thieves and Whores above.
  • Strange Salute: The three-Finger salute.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: As much as Serb forces whipped the KLA and suffered embarrassingly minimal military casualties by NATO, they had to abandon Kosovo to the Western alliance when signing the Kumanovo Treaty after suffering high civilian losses and horrendous damage to the civilian infrastructure.
    • Inverted with the Bosnian Serbs whose military collapse was averted by the Dayton Agreement and NATO threatening the Bosniaks to bomb them too if they don't stop.
  • Vestigial Empire: Serbia and Montenegro were what was left of Yugoslavia from 1992 - 2006. The Serbs also inherited most of the JNA arsenal.


Slobodan Milošević

File:Milosevic 779.jpg
  • Acceptable Target: To everyone for good reasons.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Big time.
  • The Caligula
  • Chewbacca Defense: He made an extensive use of it during his trial.
  • Corrupt Politician
  • Consummate Liar
  • Diabolical Mastermind: A big part of the problems that led to the collapse of Yugoslavia were caused by him.
  • Disc One Final Boss: By ousting Slobo in October 2000, Serbia's problems were far from over as the economy was still in ruins and most of the mob bosses who de facto reigned Serbia along him were still in charge until 2003.
  • Due to the Dead: Averted with Stambolić who was burried in a forest after Slobo ordered his assassination. Played straight with Slobo himself though.
  • Evilly Affable: He may have been responsible for a lot of misery in Yugoslavia and he may have lived at the expense of the Serbian population that was starving under UN sanctions, yet he never lost his charisma.
  • Evil Is Hammy
  • Evil Overlord
  • Fisher King: Inverted. While he and his family and mafia pals became ritcher, the Serb population was starving and suffering under extreme poverty.
  • Forehead of Doom
  • Fountain of Memes: At least in Serbia.
  • Friendly Enemy: With Franjo Tuđman, with the emphasis on friendly.
  • Humiliation Conga: Before the Yugoslav tragedy Milošević's power was at it's peak, with Serbia and Montenegro, and thus half of Yugoslavia, under his direct control. After his electoral fraud became apparent in 1997, his approval rating in Serbia dropped almost to zero. After the lost Kosovo War in 1999 and the arrest warrant sent by the ICTY, the once "mighty Caesar" was degraded to a mere alleged war criminal. After the Serbs had enough of him, he was ousted by the Democratic Opposition and handed over to the ICTY in 2000 where he died six years later during the trial.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Contrary to popular Alternate History thoughts it wasn't Milošević that created the situation but the other way around. Yugoslavia's economy was in the crapper, Slovenian and Albanian seperatism were on the rise and the many unresolved issues and grievances the various ethnic groups had with each other were heated up long before he came to power. In other words: If it wouldn't have been for Milošević, it would have been for someone else.
  • Large Ham
  • Manipulative Bastard: Oh so much...
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He may have been many things but unrealistic wasn't one of them.
  • Propaganda Machine: The entire Serbian media was under his control during his reign.
  • Signature Line: "You will not be beaten!"
  • The Starscream: To Stambolić. On the 8th Session of the League of Communists of Serbia Milošević ousted him and made his ally Petar Gračanin the new head of Serbia.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: While things wheren't sunshine and roses for Serbia since the late 1970s it was when Milošević ousted Stambolić and took power that things really started to go downhill.
  • Villain Ball: He held it tightly during the Kosovo War and did things that caused him a lot of unnecessary problems.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Among the Serbs during the wars.
  • Visionary Villain: At least how he presented himself. While officially he tried to keep as many Serbs as possible in one state, thus keeping Yugoslavia alive, Slobo was in reality a political opportunist who used the nationalist sentiment as a mean to manipulate the Serbs for his goals.

Borisav Jović

File:Jovic 2203.jpg


Radovan Karadžić

File:Karadzic 6414.jpg

Vojislav Šešelj

File:Seselj 1226.jpg



Milan Martić

  • Porn Stache
  • What an Idiot!: Being completely abandoned by Serbia since the withdrawal of the JNA in 1992 and the Republika Srpska being more than busy fighting against the ArBiH and the HVO, the Republika Srpska Krajina was left to fend for itself. Meanwhile Croatia has built a considerable army outnumbering them at least 3:1 and an invasion of the Krajina was already greenlighted by the NATO. The Contact Group (USA, France, Germany and Russia) developed the Z-4 Plan which would have granted the Karjina autonomy within Croatia.
    You'd expect that given the grim and hopeless situation Martić, who at this time was the President of the RSK, would pick this last straw and save the Krajina Serbs from certain doom.
    Instead he even refused to look at it resulting in around thousand Serbs dead and over 250,000 being forced to leave Croatia with most of them never to return after the war.

Jovica Stanišić

Biljana Plavšić

Ratko Mladić

  • A Father to His Men: Especially during his service in Croatia.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The Srebrenica Massacre. While it is commonly agreed that thousands of Muslim men and boys were killed by Serb forces, there is an ongoing debate and invesitgation on the circumstances. While Mladić is accused of genocide by the ICTY, the recorded phone calls he had with Milošević, Perišić and others suggest that while he ordered the capture of Srebrenica the crimes were commited by the Scorpions. Needless to say the opinions people have of him range from being a hero to being a mass murderer and as for now it remains to be seen wether he was an Axe Crazy General Ripper or not.
  • The Captain
  • Despair Event Horizon: The death of his daughter turned him more and more into a shadow of his former self.
  • Family Values Villain
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero / Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Congrats Rale! You have captured Srebrenica and thus ended the pillage raids of Naser Orić and his goons on neighbouring Serb villages. Unfortunately your guys killed thousands of Muslim men and boys (both civilians and POWs) and gave the NATO the reason they needed to bomb the Serbs. Thus you played in the hands of Izetbegović ensured the political suicide of the Republika Srpska.
    • The idea that the Srebrenica massacre was an act of revenge for Naser Oric's raids (the scale of which are usually exaggerated, and the circumstances of which are rarely taken into account by Serb nationalists) has been pretty thoroughly discredited.
  • Sergeant Rock
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: What might have happened to him if you see it from a certain point of view. The capture of Mladić was one of the main conditions for Serbia to join the EU. No matter how you see it, it is still interesting that a few days after Barroso promised Serbia that the recognition of Kosovo's independence would not be a condition to join the EU, Mladić was captured and sent to the Hague.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters / Villain with Good Publicity: As he was the commander of the VRS and many Bosnian Serbs think that without him there wouldn't have been a Republika Srpska, it is only natural that many would regard him as a hero. To those who concider him a hero he is basically the Serb counterpart to the Croatian Gotovina and the Bosniak Dudaković.

Milan Lukić

File:Milan Lukic 1816.png

Patriarch Pavle

  • Hate Dumb: Some hate him for paying visits to Karadžić and giving him his blessing while others think being the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church makes you a Villain by Default. Keep in mind that he was the head of said religion and even black sheep like Karadžić are part of the herd.
  • The Messiah: He was often reffered as "The Walking Saint"

  Pavle: I will not purchase an automobile until every Albanian and Serbian household in Kosovo and Metohija has one.

  Pavle: So I say: if a Great Serbia should be held by committing crime, I would never accept it; may Great Serbia disappear, but to hold it by crime - no. If it were necessary to hold only a small Serbia by crime, I would not accept it. May small Serbia disappear, but to hold it by crime - no. And if there is only one Serb, and if I am that last Serb, to hold on by crime - I do not accept. May we disappear, but disappear as humans, because then we will not disappear, we will be alive in the hands of the living God.

Željko Ražnatović "Arkan"

File:Arkan 1214.png


Milorad Ulemek "Legija"

Zoran Đinđić

File:Djindjic 7570.jpg

  Đinđić: "Never go to bed and say 'thank God the day is over'. Instead say 'finally a new day has begun' when you wake up."

The Croats

The Croats, being the second-largest group in the Balkan area, are Catholics and traditional rivals of the Serbs (who are Eastern Orthodox) for a very long time. As cracks appeared in the Yugoslavian state, this ancestral rivarly manifested itself again.

Tropes that apply to all Croat factions

File:Croats 8878.jpg
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Next up in line behind the Serbs to get this treatment, particularly in the Serbian and Russian media. Of note is the fact that they recieved a sizable amount of aid from Nazis by the *same* name, as Western Neo-Fascist groups jumped on their bandwagon.
  • Character Development: Just like Serbia, Croatia's political landscape changed since the end of the war to the point of being almost unrecognizable.
    • The HDZ which started as right-wing ultranationalist thugs turned into Christian democrats and center-right social conservatives over the years. The HSP transformed itself from neo-fascists to right-wing ultranationalists.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Operation Storm. Justified when you take into account that the the Army of the Serbian Krajna was at best a militia of 40,000 rag-tag peasants led by a dentist who were outnumbers by a professional army by 3:1 that had NATO support.
  • Demonisation: The Croats were demonized by Serbian propaganda during the war and the memories from the fascist NDH state during World War II and the atrocities of Ustaše being used as demonizing devices to stir up the hatred even more. In fact, Croatian forces and to a certain extend even civilians were informally designated as Ustaše.
  • Determinator: Against all odds the Croats held out in Vukovar against a larger force of the JNA and local Serb militia making it a Pyrrhic victory at best for them.
  • The Empire: How the Krajna Serbs viewed and Serb media portrayed them.
  • Fighting For a Homeland: Croatia itself fought for its independence against the JNA and later after its retreat for the reintegration of the renegade Serb provinces. The Bosnian Croats who lived in Bosnia sought to split off from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Putting on the Reich: The HOS used symbols reminiscent of the Ustasha like for example the 13th Company from Tomislavgrad. It doesn't help that the HOS was the military arm of the HSP which was back then a semi-fascist right wing party.
  • The Rival: To the Serbs.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: The Bosnian Croats. After Croatia dismanteled the Herceg Bosna due to American preassure and the promise that Croatia would enter a confederation with Bosnia after the war, the Bosnian Croats ended up in the Bosniak-Croat Federation where the Bosniaks are de facto calling the shots. While the Serbs have with the Republika Srpska their state within a state, the Bosnian Croats lost virtually everything. Just to add insult to injury, during Mesić's rule Croatia turned her back on the Bosnian Croats and told them that Bosnia was their state while Serbia is still flirting with the Republika Srpska.

Franjo Tuđman

  • Appeal to Tradition: He used this *a lot*. Sometimes, he went so far as to invent certain traditions.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: He was so devoted to become the next big leader of Croatia that he often lost his sense for reality. Fortunately for him some of his advisors saved him from potential embarassment.
  • Corrupt Politician: The irregular privatization during his time in office ran many companies into the ground, and left hundreds of thousands of workers unemployed and/or cheated of their savings. Meanwhile, people close to the regime (primarily the notorious "200 families") became millionaires overnight.
  • Evil Is Hammy
  • Evil Overlord: Seen as this by Serbs and many Bosnian Muslims. Although many Croats considered him a hero during the war, they rapidly became disillusioned soon after. His party, the Croatian Democratic Union, was soundly defeated at the first elections after his death.
  • Friendly Enemy: With Milošević. Together they drew up a plan to divide Bosnia between the Serbs and Croats. The Muslims would have been "resettled" in two small enclaves...
  • Large Ham
  • Not So Different: He was pretty much the Croatian counterpart of Milošević, and who tried to revive imperialist ideals from the 19th century.

Mate Boban

Stjepan "Stipe" Mesić

File:Mesic 4027.png
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is he a Reasonable Authority Figure who stayed sane in times of insanity or just a world-class opportunist who switches allegiances and ideologies that suit him the most for his political career? Is he a man devoted to peace or only beloved when he speaks against a certain group (Serbs, Bosnian Croats)? Or all of them? It is safe to say that especially amongst the Croats Mesić is a controversial figure who sparked countless Flame Wars.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows
  • Commander in Chief: After a letter was published, he reminded everyone that he was the chief.
  • Didn't See That Coming: He led the relief convoy to Dubrovnik as the supreme commander of the Yugoslav armed forces and wound up having to negotiate safe passage with the blockading Yugoslav Navy. Whooops.
  • Fan Dumb: Lots of his ardent detractors hate him for supposedly claiming he ended Yugoslavia, whilst at the same time lauding the end of Yugoslavia. Go figure. He actually said that his post on the Presiding Council as Croatia's member does not exist anymore since Croatia was no longer a member state of Yugoslavia.
  • Forbidden Friendship: He was a close friend of the late colonel Gaddafi, much to the displeasure of the US and UK.
  • Lighter and Softer: His presidency followed that of Tudjman, who scowled constantly and spoke of 20-25% of the population as being "internal enemies" (this is AFTER the Serb exodus!). Mesić told jokes. Frequently about Tudjman.
  • Older Than They Look
  • Only Sane Man
  • Opt Out: In 1994, he left the HDZ because it became an organisation commited to plundering national resources, war profiteering and carving up Bosnia.
  • Popularity Equals Quality: As a president, he attracted the approval of voters from the centre-right to the far-left, as his high approval ratings dirung the two terms in office attest.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure / Pragmatic Villainy: See Alternative Character Interpretation above.
  • Whistle Blower: Say what you will about the man, but he was consistently the type of guy to speak up against injustice. As a young municipal judge, he denounced local officials using official vehicles for private purposes, as a president and seasoned politician he spoke up against HDZ's many crimes.
  • Unreliable Narrator
  • What the Hell, Hero? / Et Tu, Brute?: How many Bosnian Croats feel about him when he turned his back on them by saying that Bosnia is their state and not Croatia. It really doesn't help though that the local Croats were put in the Federation with the Bosniaks by American pressure and that unlike the Bosnian Serbs they don't have their own entity.
  • Wild Card

Gojko Šušak

File:Gojko Susak 8141.png
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is he a Croatian hero or was his betrayal of the Posavina unforgivable?
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: In terms of eyebrows Šušak is the closest thing in Real Life you'll get to Kenshiro.
  • Canada, Eh?: Where he lived in exile until 1989.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He started out as a construction worker and owner of a pizzeria before being Croatia's Minister of Defense.
  • Red Baron: The Pizza Man.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Although he is considered a hero by many Croats, there are a lot of indications that he was at least partly responsible for quite a few war crimes, and is suspected to have been involved in the murder of Josip Reihl-Kir (see below). In some ways, he died at exactly the right time - just before Croats started being called to stand trial at the ICTY.

Anton Tus

Mladen Naletilić "Tuta"

Ante Gotovina

Martin Špegelj

Blaž Kraljević

Josip Reihl-Kir

  • Badass Pacifist: A Croatian police chief and one of the few people who believed in a peaceful solution to the Yugoslav crisis to (tragic) end of his life. Where he went, Serbian barricades started disappearing. Unfortunately, this got made him some powerful enemies among those politicians who wanted war...
  • Only Sane Man
  • Tear Jerker: His death at the hands of a Croatian assassin, who was certainly not acting alone. To add insult to injury, his murderer was pardoned by none other than Franjo Tuđman himself. The murderer then moved to Australia, where he lived in relative luxury for a decade. While the assassin was finally caught and sentenced a few years ago, Croatian courts showed very little interest in finding out who ordered the assassination - and this is despite evidence pointing to some key figures in the Croatian Democratic Union (and some of whom are still active in Croatian politics!).
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Like Đinđić (see under "Serbs", above), he paid for his ideals with his life.

The Bosniaks

The Muslims of Bosnia (who are a separate ethnic group from the Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats). Since they are Muslims, although very secular ones, they have often been treated as The Scrappy of the Balkans and referred to as "infidel Turks". And after the Yugoslav republic broke apart into several countries, the Bosniaks found themselves with a country where large minorities of Serbs and Croats lived, who had no intention of being part of Bosnia.

Tropes that apply to all Bosniak factions

  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: Bosnia Herzegovina, a once prosperous Yugoslav republic, is today a highly dysfunctional state and one of the poorest former Yugoslav republics. Having still not recovered from the effects of the war, the economy is artificially kept alive by the EU and the UN and most of the development aid being lost the the swamp of corruption. Split into three entities (the Serbian Republika Srpska, the Bosniak-Croat Federacija and the Brčko Distrikt), the central government has no authority and the three ethnic groups, especially the Republika Srpska, show almost no interest in working together.
  • Zerg Rush: A popular tactic employed by the ArBiH.

Alija Izetbegović

  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
  • Enemy Mine: He agreed to ally with the hated Croats in the struggle against the mutual enemy, the Serbs.
  • Evil Overlord
  • Manipulative Bastard: Manipulated the Western press to turn popular opinion against the Serbs.
  • What The Hell "Hero"?: To ensure American military assistance by giving them a reason to intervene, he ordered the local ArBiH to pull out from Srebrenica leaving the town at the mercy of the Serbs.

Fikret Abdić

  • A Father to His Men: One of the reasons he was called "Babo" ("Daddy").
  • Et Tu, Brute?: How many Bosniaks felt about his betrayal.
  • Humiliation Conga: After the fall of the Republika Srpska Krajna and with the military collapse of the Republika Srpska, Abdić had no means to defend Velika Kladuša against the ArBiH and the advance of Dudaković's forces brought an end to the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia. When the Serbs abandoned him Croatia granted him asylum which was revoked after Tuđman's death. Since 2002 he has been convicted by the Croatian court to 20 years prison (which 2005 was reduced to 15 years) for war crimes.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Propably the reason the Bosniaks forgave him the Agrokomerc scandal as they thought that "he may have been a thief but at least he was our thief".
  • Les Collaborateurs: His short-lived and Serb-aligned Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia.
  • Meaningful Name: He got his nickname for a good reason. Being the CEO of Agrokomerc since the 1970s, he turned Velika Kladuša from a remote backwater village in one of the most prosperous cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Only Sane Man: He saw no point in dragging the Bosniaks to a war against the Serbs. See Pragmatic Villainy below.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: As Babo was at first of all things a business man he saw it as more practical to ally himself with the Serbs and do business with them instead of dragging his people to a bloody war.
  • The Quisling: From the Bosniak point of view.
  • What Could Have Been: Babo won the first presidential elections of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He gave the position to Izetbegović for reasons that are unclear even to this day. Speculations range from Izetbegović promising to rule for only one year to him threatening to kill his family.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Agrokomerc scandal in 1987. In short: He built his personal fiefdom in Velika Kladuša by paying with promissory notes which turned out to be useless and thus ending up stealing up to US$ 900 million from the state. He was released three years later when it became apparent that the notes weren't as useless as thought.

Haris Silajdžić

Atif Dudaković

Naser Orić

The Albanians

Tropes that apply to all Albanian factions

File:Albanians1 5507.png
  • Amazon Brigade: Due to a lack of manpower the KLA also recruited women in their ranks. Not that it helped them much.
  • Arch Enemy: How they view the Serbs.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: The KLA recruits ranged from normal young people who wished to fight for what they concidered their homeland to sociopathic convicted criminals and terrorists.
  • Cannon Fodder: The NATO used them as such.
  • Child Soldiers: The KLA made extensive use of them.
  • The Clan: The Albanians started out as a clan based society with some elements being present even today.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy / Pragmatic Villainy: The reason their propaganda was more credible than the Serb's.
  • Designated Hero: The KLA and it's successor organisations.
  • Redshirt Army: While the KLA and the Armed forces of Kosovo employed successful hit and run tactics against the local Serb police, they became this once they fought the Yugoslav Army.
  • Start of Darkness: Contrary to popular belief, Albanians and Serbs had a relatively normal relationship until the early 20th century. When Serbia took Macedonia, Sandžak and Kosovo and occupied parts of northern Albania during the Balkan Wars, the local Albanians, who sided with the Ottomans, went on an armed resistance against the Serbs. The Serbs in return retaliated brutally. Since then Serbia made no effort to integrate her Albanian population while the Albanians showed little to no interest in being part of Serbia. After World War I the Serb dominated Kingdom of Yugoslavia followed a predatory policy towards Albania attempting to annex northern Albanian territorries while encouraging Serbs to resettle Kosovo. During World War II forces of the Axis aligned Albania and militias like the Balli Kombëtar commited a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Kosovo Serbs. In Tito's Yugoslavia Serb refugees were prohibited from returning to Kosovo while said region became an Autonomous Province and 1974 a de facto republic. After many years of local authorities abusing said right by allowing the development aid to be lost in the swamp of corruption and turning a blind eye on the violence towards Serbs and other ethnic minorities, Kosovo lost its privileges in 1990. As a result the Albanians created a parallel state known as the Republic of Kosova and resisted Serb authorities either passively and non-violently by rallying behind Ibrahim Rugova, or joined the KLA which became active in 1996.
  • Villain White Washing Service: Again the KLA by the Western media. An irredentist terrorist group who weren't any better than the IRA or the ETA, who had a good share of atrocities, who had ties to organized crime and accoring to some reports even Osama Bin Laden and whose goal was a Greater Albania cleansed of Serbs, Roma and other "undesired elements".
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The KLA was the head of. A guerilla force, not unlike the IRA or the ETA, that has been on the international list of terror organisations up to 1998, has been portrayed by western media in the most heroic light possible.
      • Allegedly, many NATO soldiers are dreaming of the day they can open fire on the Albanian gangsters they are meant to protect. This is what always happens when you try to solve the Balkan gang war by knocking out the largest gang; another gang will simply move in and take over.
  • The Scrappy: How they were sadly treated not only by the Serbs, but by other peoples of Yugoslavia as well (though not as much as the Roma but still). The fact that Albanians aren't Slavs (and thus felt alienated to the premise of Yugoslavia herself) and that every republic was obliged to offer economic development aid to the poorer ones (especially Kosovo) might have been a factor.
  • Western Terrorists: The KLA being Type III with some Type VI elements.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: So much with the KLA. In fact read their Wikipedia articles in different languages.

Riza Sapunxhiu

Ibrahim Rugova

Adem Jashari

Hashim Thaçi

Agim Çeku

Ramush Haradinaj

Fatmir Limaj

Bekim Berisha

The West

Our "heroes", ladies and gentlemen. In this context the West is used as an umbrella term for the NATO (especially the United States), the United Nations and the European Union.

  • A House Divided: The Western nations failed to reach a common consensus on how to deal with the war in Yugoslavia. While at first the United Kingdom and the United States were for neutrality, Germany and Austria staunchly supported the Croats.
    • Allied Force showed that even the NATO was prone to this. While the US and the UK were in favor of a land invasion of Serbia, France and Germany were against it (the latter for historic reasons). Some NATO members even objected the bombing campaign itself for various reasons. Italy had no interest to accept thousands of Albanian refugees, Hungary wasn't eager to have a war in her own backyard while the Greeks were traditional allies of the Serbs for almost a millenia.
  • The Alliance / The Empire / The Federation: Depends strongly on who you ask.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Played with Operation Allied Force. While the Serb military got away with minimal damage thanks to their ingenious tactics, the civilian losses and the damage to Serbia's infrastructure were horrendous.
  • Designated Hero
  • Eagle Land: Type I to the Bosniaks and Albanians, Type II to the Serbs.
    • The Croats seem to be split on the issue.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade
  • Game Breaker: The NATO.
  • General Ripper: Wesley Clark. While ordering the deliberate strikes on civilian targets in Serbia during the Kosovo War was morally objectionable enough to say the least, he ordered the British and French KFOR contigent to attack the Russian forces that after the war occupied the Pristina International Airport. Fortunately the British General Mike Jackson refused to carry out the operation and thus spared us World War III.
  • Good Republic, Evil Empire: How they portrayed the conflict.
  • Kangaroo Court: The ICTY especially to the Serbs and Croats.
  • Peacekeepers Are Useless: In both Bosnia and Kosovo where the only thing they accomplished was arming and protecting local warlords while doing nothing to prevent the ethnic cleansings.
  • Unfortunate Implications: The Luftwaffe's participation on the air strikes against Yugoslavia amongst the German people.
  • Unreliable Narrator
  • Written by the Winners
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: After the deployment of the KFOR, Kosovo became an even more unstable region and a haven for narco terrorists. On top of that having set a precedence for Albanian seperatists the war swapped over to the Presevo Valley and Macedonia. Even up to this day Kosovo has yet to be a safe and stable place.
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