Balkans tobacco connection
Nacional, a Zagreb-based weekly, recently published a story about Stanko Subotić Cane, inciting public reaction in Croatia and Yugoslavia. Subotić, considered "chief of the Balkans Mafia, with a Croatian passport," is a fugitive from Yugoslavia.
The article not only talks about his alleged close business relationships with Slobodan Milošević, the former president of Yugoslavia, and top officials of his Socialist Party of Serbia, but also with present Prime Minister of Serbia Zoran Đindić and Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović.
The popular Croatian weekly accuses Subotić of involvement in a large number of mob-related and political murders throughout Yugoslavia, Croatia and Greece; and concrete financial transactions with Prime Minister Đindić and President Đukanović.
The whole affair has a lot to do with tobacco. Subotić, whose assets are estimated to be worth USD 500 million, received Croatian citizenship when he purchased the complete yearly production of Ronhill cigarettes from the Rovinj Tobacco Factory in Croatia, and subsequently became the official dealer in Yugoslavia.
A major part of their production, however, is sold illegally in Yugoslavia. According to other unofficial sources, he was one of participants in negotiations concerning the establishment of a British American Tobacco factory in Kragujevac, Yugoslavia.
Nacional's story includes a lot of details about Subotić's fleet of Cessna airplanes and claims both Đukanović and Đindić used them. In a very brief statement for Glas javnosti, a Yugoslav daily, Serbian PM Đindić only said that he was paying for the use of planes, which left a lot of room for further speculation. Đukanović was not available for comment. Similarly, Đukanović offered no comments on previous articles that ran in British and Italian press about his possible involvement in smuggling of cigarettes in Montenegro.
Minorities, nationalities and citizenship
After two-weeks of discussion in Vienna, former Yugoslav republics have reached an agreement about the succession of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). The chief of the Yugoslav delegation said that they reached compromise on all disputable issues.
The Democratic Party of Vojvodina Hungarians welcomed a statement of Hungarian PM Victor Orbán, who said that there will be no particular obstacles for implementation of dual citizenship in the case of Vojvodina Hungarians and the Hungarian Government is already prepared to sign the appropriate documentation to back this up, reported Magyar Szó, a Hungarian language daily published in Yugoslavia.
The complex situation of nationalities in Yugoslavia, especially after the wars, is really unique in the world. Muslims in Serbia have demanded to be called Bosnians and not Muslims.
"The demand of ethnic Muslims in Serbia to be officially called Bosnians is the result of their wish to get their national name back. This is the unique example in the world that a nation gets its name after religion," Yugoslav Minister for Minorities and Ethnic Communities Rasim Ljajić (who is Muslim) explained for the Novi Sad daily Dnevnik.
The term "Bosnians" was introduced as a nationality in Bosnia-Hercegovina after the war and it applies to citizens of the Muslim religion only. Nationalities of other citizens of Bosnia-Hercegovina are Serbs, Croats, Yugoslavs, etc.
Ljubomir Pajić, 25 May 2001
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