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BRINGING "THE NORMAL LIFE" TO YUGOSLAVIA

by Jared Israel [2 June 2001]

"[Secretary of State Madeleine Albright]...promised assistance from Washington and its European allies for reconstruction so that Yugoslavs 'can have the normal life that the rest of the Balkans are beginning to have.'" ('LA Times', 10/6/00, my emphasis)

"The Russian Academy of Medical Sciences told AP on 5 October that the number of normal births in the Russian Federation declined from 45.3 percent in 1992 [after International Monetary Fund 'reforms' were first instituted, which destroyed the Russian social safety net] to just 30 percent in 1999." ('Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Newsline, 10/6/00)

Quoted in 'What is Albright Really Promising for the 'New' Yugoslavia?' (1)

In the article, "U.S. Arrogance and Yugoslav Elections" I argued that an election victory by the 'Democratic' Opposition of Serbia, or 'D'OS, would be a disaster for ordinary people. I said DOS was a U.S. creation, funded and trained by Washington and its semi-private proxy groups, such as the Soros Foundation. Moreover, its program was dictated by the G-17 'economists'. The G-17 people were and are intimately tied to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. (5)

The pre-election DOS program clearly prescribed an economic reform 'treatment' using standard IMF 'medicine':

"Immediately after taking the office, the new government shall abolish all types of subsidies. This measure must be implemented without regrets or hesitation, since it will be difficult if not impossible to apply later, in view of the fact that in the meantime strong lobbies may appear and do their best to block such measures... This initial step in economic liberalization must be undertaken as a 'shock therapy' as its radical nature does not leave space for gradualism of any kind." ('[G-17] Program of Radical Economic Reform' (www.g17.org.yu/english/programm/programr9.htm My Emphasis. Quoted in 'Everything We Wrote Comes from Official Sources' (2) )

This IMF shock therapy approach defined the 'D'OS election program:

"This 'democratic opposition' has endorsed a Program written for them by G-17, the group of neoliberal economists in Belgrade, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy. This Program is posted on the websites of both G-17 and the 'student group', Otpor. The program has a list of points which the 'democratic opposition' is pledged to carry out were they to win the presidential and/or other elections. Here are some of the main points:

"1. The 'democratic opposition' program proposes the option of adopting the German Mark as a legal currency for the whole of Yugoslavia, following the lead by NATO forces in Bosnia, Kosovo and Montenegro. This would immediately impoverish the Yugoslav people by making the country an economic dependency of Germany.

"2. The 'democratic opposition' program calls for ending all price controls. No subsidized food, no social protections. Working people, including a million refugees whose conditions are already difficult, would be buying food at Western prices but without Western wages.

"3. The program calls for the immediate shock treatment of introducing a full capitalist society without first providing Yugoslavs with the necessary financial means to participate in such an economy. The result would be the transfer into foreign hands of control of the entire Yugoslav economy. Similar provisions for the application of so-called 'modern economic ideology' have already succeeded in destroying Russia's economy.

"4. Curiously the 'democratic opposition' program makes no mention of NATO's criminal aggression against Yugoslavia.

"5. The program calls for slashing public spending, demilitarization, radical tax changes, drastically limiting the power of the central government. All these measures set Yugoslavia up to be controlled from the outside.

"6. The program would accept the US dictate that Yugoslavia no longer exists and that Serbia must come on bended knee to Washington to be recognized anew. This would mean the immediate surrender of all the assets and historical rights of the Yugoslav state. These assets include billions of dollars worth of embassies, the Yugoslav navy, the air force, bank accounts frozen all over the world, foreign assets, property assembled by the Yugoslav people since the end of World War I.

"Kostunica's candidacy is nothing more than an effort to paper over the easily recognized faces of the United States' discredited agents in Yugoslavia." (From 'U.S. Arrogance and Yugoslav Elections") (3)

Following the coup Oct. 5th, 'D'OS used gangs of U.S.-paid thugs to take over Belgrade government. The G-17 boys were in full democratic control of the Ministry of Finance and the Yugoslav Central Bank.

The 'AP' dispatch gives some sense of what they have done. Here's what the indispensable Ms. Albright meant when she urged economic reforms to bring Yugoslavs 'the normal life.'

-- Jared Israel

Soaring Prices Strain Yugoslavia

By KATARINA KRATOVAC .c The Associated Press

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) -

"Delivering more dark predictions, Serbia's prime minister, Zoran Djindjic, said the national currency, the dinar, may soon be devalued.

"'Foreign currencies are too cheap here and this is not stimulating exports,' Djindjic said. 'The dinar's exchange rate is not the Holy Bible and it will be adjusted, depending on the needs of the economy and the state.'''

"A side effect from former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's ouster from power in October was a torrent of price increases as the new, pro-democracy authorities abandoned strict price control measures."
(From below)

Yugoslavs were hit Friday by a new wave of price increases, prompting fears the country's fledgling democracy could be in jeopardy as living standards continue to plunge. (4)

Electricity prices soared 40 percent - on top of a 60 percent increase in April - while postal services climbed 30 percent.

A kilowatt of electricity now costs the equivalent of about 50 cents, with an average apartment using between 600 and 800 kilowatts a month, meaning monthly bills would total $300 to $400. A postage stamp to send a regular letter within Yugoslavia is now the equivalent of 70 cents.

About half the work force is out of a job, and those who are employed earn a mere $100 per month on average.

Because of the continued price increases, ``the new government is losing much of its credibility among the people,'' analyst Bratislav Grubacic said, predicting social unrest in the autumn if the downslide isn't stopped.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are calling for the price increases because "we have to attune domestic prices to Western levels,'' Grubacic said. "But it has come too fast.''

The opposition Serbian Renewal Movement demanded the government revoke the new electricity prices, claiming they will cause a "chain reaction and drown residents in Serbia in deepest poverty.''

Even Mladjan Dinkic, the National Bank governor, warned the new electricity rates would significantly boost inflation, which already has topped the 50 percent mark predicted for this year.

The majority of Serb households rely on electricity for heating and cooking, so the latest price increases will cause a major strain on already-exhausted family budgets. Statistical surveys show a three-member household needs $200 just to pay for basic food, clothing and hygienic products.

Delivering more dark predictions, Serbia's prime minister, Zoran Djindjic, said the national currency, the dinar, may soon be devalued.

"Foreign currencies are too cheap here and this is not stimulating exports,'' Djindjic said. "The dinar's exchange rate is not the Holy Bible and it will be adjusted, depending on the needs of the economy and the state.''

A side effect from former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's ouster from power in October was a torrent of price increases as the new, pro-democracy authorities abandoned strict price control measures.

(C) 'AP' 2001, Reprinted for Fair Use Only

Further Reading...

1) What is Albright Really Promising for the 'New' Yugoslavia?', at http://emperors-clothes.com/analysis/medical.htm

2) 'Everything We Wrote Comes from Official Sources'at http://emperors-clothes.com/debates/data.htm

3) From 'U.S. Arrogance and Yugoslav Elections" which can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/engl.htm#p

4) On the earlier wave of price increases see:

 

5) 'The International Monetary Fund And The Yugoslav Elections'  http://emperors-clothes.com/analysis/1.htm

***

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