The proposal to honour the former war criminal in Belgrade reflects a wider power play in Serbia and the rest of the Balkans

The commission for monuments and naming of streets and squares in Belgrade will soon rule on a proposal to erect a statue of Slobodan Milošević, Serbia’s late president, who led his country into and through the collapse of Yugoslavia and a series of calamitous wars in the 1990s.

This proposal, made by the youth wing of Milošević’s Socialist party (now back in government in Belgrade), tells us much about the state of politics in Serbia and the wider Balkans. To the west, Milošević – who died in 2006 while on trial for crimes against humanity at The Hague – was a war criminal; to many Serbs he was not only that but also the man who oversaw a collapse in living standards, the isolation of Serbia and the loss of swaths of territory that had once been majority Serb.

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