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The Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (often referred to as the SANU Memorandum) was a draft document produced by a committee of the Serbian Academy from 1985 to 1986. In September 1986, parts of the draft were published by Večernje novosti. The Memorandum immediately became well-known in Yugoslaviamarker, as it gave voice to controversial views on the state of the nation and argued for a fundamental reorganization of the state. Its main theme was that decentralisation was leading to the disintegration of Yugoslavia and that the Serbs were discriminated against by Yugoslavia's constitutional structure. Among many in Yugoslavia, including Serbia, it was deemed to be an expression of Serbian nationalism and Greater Serbia. It is considered a key moment in the destruction of Yugoslavia and a contributor of the Yugoslav wars.

Overview

The memorandum is divided into two parts: one on the "Crisis in the Yugoslav Economy and Society", the other on the "Status of Serbia and the Serb Nation". The first section focuses on the economic and political fragmentation of Yugoslavia that followed the promulgation of the 1974 constitution. The second section focuses on what the authors saw as Serbia's inferior status in Yugoslavia, and used the status of Serbs in the province of Kosovomarker and in Croatiamarker to make its point.

The Memorandum argues that at the end of World War II, Tito deliberately weakened Serbiamarker by dividing up the majority of what was perceived by Serb nationalists as Serb territory, namely present day Serbiamarker, Montenegromarker, the Republic of Macedoniamarker, Bosniamarker and some small parts of Croatiamarker with Serb majority populations. It also argued that Tito reduced Serbia's status further by including two autonomous provinces (Kosovomarker and Vojvodinamarker) within its borders, something that was not done in any of the other Yugoslav Republics.

Within the Memorandum, one can find discrete contributions by Kosta Mihajlović on the economy, Mihailo Marković on self-management, and Vasilije Krestić on the status of the Serbs of Croatia, among others. The document as a whole is often wrongly ascribed to Dobrica Ćosić, who took part in discussions about it but was not on the committee that produced it.

Reception

The Memorandum was shunned by most politicians in 1986, including future president of Serbia, Slobodan Milošević, who publicly called the Memorandum "nothing else but the darkest nationalism", and future president of the Republika Srpska entity in Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker, Radovan Karadžić, who stated "Bolshevism is bad, but nationalism is even worse". Despite these declarations, Milošević, Karadžić and a number of Serb politicians ironically supported most of the memorandum's statements and went on to pursue an agenda which followed the Memorandum's views and formed close political connections with the writers of the Memorandum such as Mihailo Marković who became the vice-president of the Socialist Party of Serbia and Dobrica Ćosić who was appointed the first President of the new Federal Republic of Yugoslaviamarker in 1992.

The Memorandum was proclaimed by some non-Serbs to be a virtual act of aggression against Yugoslavia. Serbs sympathetic to the aims of the Memorandum's authors have long argued that it should not be considered any such thing, as it was never edited for public consumption.

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