Hrvoje Klasić

„Flexing the Federation:”
Sociopolitical changes in
Yugoslavia in the 1960s ands





Case study 4


Over four and a half decades of its existence socialist Yugoslavia has amended four constitutions.1 This very fact indicated the problems and challenges the Yugoslav federation had been faced with continually since its establishment.2 Responses to existing circumstances, domestic and international, were being searched for in different constitutional solutions that were also used as guideposts to new modes of functioning of Yugoslav political, economic and social system. The same as the first two – proclaimed in 1946 and 1953 – that, due to specific situations the country found itself in (the end of the war and the (Communist Information Bureau) Comintern Resolution), placed the ongoing political developments in the forefront and were, as Vladimir Bakarić put it, more “concerned with the past,”3 not even the third Constitution of 1963 managed to respond to the challenges facing the Yugoslav federation. Though passed in by far more stable political situation than its predecessors, this Constitution was declared against the turbulent economic and political backdrop of the late 1950s and early 1960s. But that was the time when the Yugoslav “economic wonder” of the country’s development, society’s modernization and growing standards of living was slowly losing momentum. Heavier and heavier burden of economic problems pressing the country resulted in a Pandora’s Box: other problems that had been placed in the back seat in the previous period due to economic growth emerged. In early 1974 socialist Yugoslavia got its fourth Constitution. By its contents, and consequences as well, this was probably the most complex project for defining internal relations in the Yugoslav federation. It has to be stressed, however, that constitutional provisions voted in on February 21, 1974 by the Federal Assembly had been backed with years-long exchanges, mutual adjustments and negotiations. Despite the proclaimed agreement in stances, the said process had frequently revealed radically different views development of Yugoslavia and its socialism. Inter-republican and interethnic relations, the role of the federal center and the future of self-government at all levels and in all segments of the society were just some of the issues reflecting the controversy of the debate on constitutional reform. Declaration of the Constitution did not put an end to these disputes and antagonisms. And in the last decade of socialist Yugoslavia’s existence, this very Constitution will stand for a legal starting point in the country’s disintegration.


The role assigned to (central) government or, to put it more precisely its power, was among main characteristics of and at the same time a specific difference between Yugoslav and Soviet models of socialism-building. Following the Cominform Resolution Yugoslav communists opted for a sociopolitical experiment meant to prove their distancing from Stalinist understanding of Marx’s and Engels’ ideas of a state’s “dying out.” Accordingly, the state should be deprived of power – as soon and as much as possible – and the concept of workers’ and social self-government should be the means for attaining that goal.4 However, the said concept did not imply that just the federal center should be made weaker. A radical decentralization should equally weaken and then eliminate the predominance of the federation, but republican centers of power as well. On the other hand, local self-governments and direct producers – i.e. workers via their workers’ councils – should be key players in political and economic development of the society. What happened in real life was quite contrary to this idea notwithstanding all the proclaimed principles. In fear of economic anarchy, powers in (planning) economy remained invested in the federation.5 The biggest losers of this policy were republics. The emphasis placed on social and workers’ self-government at lowest levels, and the political leadership’s stance that national issues had been settled (in the war, i.e. revolution) did not encourage development of Yugoslav federalism but, on the contrary, strengthened centralistic tendencies. Annulment of the Chamber of Peoples in the federal assembly also testified that decentralization, in the form of self-government, was carried out at the detriment of federalism. Under constitutional provisions of 1946 the Assembly of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia had two chambers – the Federal Chamber and the Chamber of Peoples – the latter composed of representatives of all republics and provinces. This provision was amended in the Constitutional Law of 1953: the Chamber of Peoples was replaced by the Chamber of Producers.6

In the late 1950s the country’s stabilized international standing, growing economic prosperity but also many half-finished solutions in the self-government system gave rise to first debates on functioning of the Yugoslav federal model. Dušan Bilandžić takes that the issue was firstly placed on the agenda in 1958, on February 6, at the “secret” meeting assembling members of the Executive Committee of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia and top brass of republican and federal institutions.7 The strike staged by miners in Trbovlje, the first bigger expression of the working class’ dissatisfaction after the end of World War II, triggered off a deeper analysis of Yugoslavia’s sociopolitical situation. The analysis was mostly focused on the relationship between republics and the federation, and relations between the republics but on interethnic relations as well. Despite worrisome theses voiced throughout the debate, the party leadership decided to pursue along the same course of social development. Thus the problems were not overcome but, moreover, under the new circumstances marked by negative influence of the economy, became factors of instability that weighted on Yugoslavia until its disintegration. To put it simply, the basic problem boiled down to the calculation of the amounts of “who” was giving to the federation and “who” getting from it. Republics established as socialist but also nation-states added a new dimension to the antagonism between developed and underdeveloped regions, inherited from the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. One of major goal of centralized economic and investment policy was to decrease the existing disproportion. As long as economic growth was high everyone was happy with this policy. The underdeveloped were being paid huge sums from the common treasury to develop their economic resources and social standard, whereas the developed benefited from their better starting point in industrialization, infrastructure and common market opportunities, as well as lower prices they paid for raw material.8 Disagreements between supporters of the centralized planned economy and advocates of decentralization on the principles of self-government were evident throughout the 1950s. At this early stage the resistance to centralism did not automatically imply advocacy for more rights to be invested in republics. This was probably best illustrated in the stances of Vladimir Bakarić, the number one of Croatian communist and, together with Edvard Kardelj, strong advocate for economic and political decentralization. In his view, the self-government reform should have proportionally decreased the powers of federal and republican institutions. Stronger republican statehood (including Croatia’s) is the expression of nationalism, he said, and contrary to interests of the (Croatian) people.9 Advocates of decentralization argued that the struggle against centralism and planned economy was in the interest of all citizens of Yugoslavia rather than just one people or republic. However, economic growth of the developed slowed down for the benefit of the underdeveloped was also not in the interest of the entire socialist community. And this exactly became a crucial economic and political problem in the functioning of the Yugoslav federation. “Developed regions, those that made bigger progress, must be lagging in the domain of investment; otherwise, those that are not made progress cannot develop themselves,” he said in 1960, adding that due to such policy Croatia had been lagging behind less developed republics for the past 15 years.10 In Bakarić’s opinion – to be accepted by the majority of the Croatian leadership – the federation should become much more flexible (to different solutions), i.e. it should “flex.”11 Motives of the opponents of decentralization were different. For some, loss of the monopoly on centralistic decision-making led towards nationalism and disintegration; as for representatives of less developed republics, this was all more about existential than ideological issue. They saw liberalization of the economic policy, introduction of market criteria in economic life and, above all, the end of federal subventions as insurmountable obstacles to further development of their societies. All this once again revealed many lose ends of the Yugoslav sociopolitical experiment. Along with the existing argumentation relations between republics and interethnic relations became main criteria for decision-making throughout the 1960s.


High – or, to put it precisely, unrealistic – expectations from the country’s economic growth, along with growingly evident shortcomings of the existing system, brought about (another) crisis in the early 1960s. Deeper and deeper gap between theory and practice of the Yugoslav system of self-government remained a key problem. Full implementation of provisions of federal legislation and wordings of party documents was impossible “in the field.” The state remained the most powerful subject of economic policy. The attempt at a mini-reform in 1961 failed. True, for the first time since 1950 the state permitted enterprises to independently decide on the use of their income – but that was mostly the one and only achievement.12

According to Branko Horvat, one of most renowned Yugoslav economist of the time, the reformist attempt failed for two reasons. Firstly, political opposition to further liberalization of the economy (and society) was growing. Secondly, nothing or almost nothing was known about functioning of a decentralized economy mechanisms, which was why the reform was neither properly prepared nor implemented.13 After ten years of permanent economic growth the new crisis baffled many and even shaken their belief. Doubts about the rationale behind decentralization and more radical function of market mechanisms were more and more given voice to. The dilemma – to stick to the reformist course or resume the old model – split economist and Yugoslavia’s political leadership alike. By their views on the role a state should play in development of a society, their split boiled down to two camps: centralists and decentralists. The former were also labeled conservatives, bureaucrats and dogmatists, while the latter – liberals.14 As the time went by, this heterogeneity was more and more manifest. Antagonisms between republics, peoples and generations just fit in the existing ones. Although opposing stands were more and more evident it was hard to tell at the beginning which of the two opposing “camps” individual leaders have belonged to.

The situation culminated in 1962. In his opening address to the session of the Executive Committee of the CC of the LCY on March 14-16, 1962, Tito said, “In my opinion, this is not an economic but a political crisis that shakes our country…Just take a look, comrades, at the atmosphere of the meetings of the Federal Executive Council!...Listen to the sound and contents of the debates they engaged in!...One often asks himself, ‘Well, is that country of ours really capable of holding on, not to disintegrate?’”15 Quoting major reasons behind the crisis Tito spoke as a mouthpiece of the conservative current. “What we are having now is unconcern, party indiscipline, cadres who are swept by the avalanche of petty bourgeois, under the influence of nationalistic and chauvinistic circles, and preoccupied with everyday work and local interests while neglecting basic interests of our whole community. And, of course, we also have disparities in economic development and unfair competing in investments, construction of various uneconomic and other not exactly necessary facilities that are costly and insufficient solidarity among the republics.”16 Speaking of decentralization Yugoslavia’s Number One concludes, “Some of our people are more and more perceiving in decentralization the character and sense of disintegration.17 The same, conservative tone marks one of Tito’s best known speeches, delivered in Split on May 6, 1962.18

Differences in views about Yugoslavia’s future were also bigger and bigger among economic experts. Open conflicts between them coincided with conflicts in the political leadership. Key issue debated at the conference of the Alliance of Economists of Yugoslavia, in December 1962 in Belgrade, was whether to prioritize market economy or (social) planned. A month later in Zagreb (January 17-19, 1963) an even sharper discussion by same participants ensued. This time the opposing groupings presented two documents (known as Yellow and White Book) whereby each argued for its economic models.19 The “Yellow Book” composed in the Federal Bureau of Planning, indentified the causes of the crisis in poorly prepared and implemented “liberal” reforms (1961), and serious mistakes made in the structure of investment. The “White Book” was produced in Zagreb at the initiative of Vladimir Bakarić. Its authors were Croatia’s leading economists, including Savka Dabčević Kučar, Jakov Sirotković and Ivo Perišin who would play more and more important roles in the next period. According to the three, centralistic planning was useful in the early stage of economic development, but then became extremely dysfunctional. Now, when economic growth was at a much higher level, the economy should function more by market laws, and less by interventions of “planners” or politicians. Dennison Rusinow takes that the “White Book” was the first comprehensive document that signaled the Croatian model for a developed socialist state.20

Although the crisis shaking the country and criticism of the economic policy by Yugoslavia’s leading economists played into the hands of “centralists” that was not enough to generate a U-turn in governance. Like in many other similar situations Josip Broz Tito had a final say. Despite between-the-lines wavering in his earlier speeches throughout 1962, as early as in July of the same year, at the Fourth Plenary Session of the CC of the LCY he made no bones about his idea of Yugoslavia’s future course. Having warned of the growing bureaucratization, he criticized dogmatic centralism and once again emphasized the crucial role of decentralization: decentralization of the state capital in favor of direct producers in the first place.21 The choice he made signaled victory of reformist forces and the possibility for further improvements in the existing system. This was the atmosphere in which the Constitution of the SFRY – also called the Self-government Charter – was declared (April 7, 1963) and the 8th Congress of the LCY (December 7-13, 1964) held.22 Adoption of the self-government idea – and almost fifteen years of its inconsequent implementation – Yugoslavia’s economic and hence overall social development found themselves in a blind alley. The level of development the country has reached called for more active involvement in global economic processes and excluded fragmentary measures compromising by character.

A package of measures the Federal Assembly adopted on July 24, 1965, implying the most radical transformation of the country’s economic system since the beginning of self-government in 1950, was expected to solve the problem. The economic reform of 1965 took into account all the lessons learnt and set several main goals.23 It posited that further development was possible only by having the extensive production model replaced by an intensive production one.24 Some new measures were introduced in addition to those ensuring continued struggle against still omnipresent elements of bureaucratic centralization and creating conditions for enterprises to directly dispose of segments of their accumulation and increased reproduction. With a view to making Yugoslavia as good as possible player at the international market, prices underwent correction (they grew in this case) and customs changed accordingly. Dinar was devaluated vis-à-vis US dollar as a prelude to changes in the domain of foreign trade.25 Probably Dennison Rusinow best described how all-inclusive and extensive the economic reform was. In his report on Yugoslavia he called it, in order to make it better understandable to American readers, „laissez-faire socialism“or „Adam Smith without private capitalism“.26

This time, however, it became evident at the very beginning of the reform that desired results would be much harder to achieve than expected. Standards of living suffered first since citizens’ expenditures grew by 35% due to overall price raise. The state intervened: only two weeks after the reform had been started it decided to put an end to price raise of services and commodities.27 Then the newly introduced earnings system began generating by far bigger and more far-reaching problems. Autonomous status of enterprises implied noninterference in business policies on the one hand, but the end of governmental subventions on the other. Majority of enterprises were not prepared for such a “liberal” U-turn. Chain reaction of negative effects on enterprises and individuals alike ensued. In fear of unfavorable business conditions enterprises decided against cuts in material expenses and wages; instead they decided to stop employing people and then to fire workers. According to a November 1965 survey, 425 enterprises employing 225 thousand people had already given walking papers to 12,574 and planned to let go another 19,000.28 For the first time after 1945 the number of working people either stagnated or decreased. Apart from numerical indicators the said process also had a strong influence on the structure of the employed. More and more of young and highly educated people were among the unemployed: they soon went abroad in search of jobs. Like other trends in economy functioning, GNP rate became negative. While in 1957-64 GNP rate was 10.2%, in 1964 – 65 it spiraled down to 2.9%. The rate of industrial production from 12.5% dropped to 8%.29

Though many reformist politicians were also disappointed with the initial outcomes it never occurred to them to intervene in the proposed measures. On the contrary, this time they opted for a showdown with “brakemen” of changes to manifest how strongly they believed in the reformist course. As mentioned above, the term “conservatives” had already embed itself in political vocabulary to denote all the opponents to the reforms. As the time went by the term was implying much more than that. In terms of generations it mostly referred to “old” partisan cadres and staunch communists to whom economic and political decentralization meant nothing by disintegration of the country they had created in the war. From intellectual angle the term was reserved for poorly educated or uneducated persons in high offices in the administration and economy alike. They were aware that their positions were shakier and shakier with the country’s further modernization and integration into global economic processes.30 In regional terms, conservatives were practically equally distributed throughout Yugoslavia although undeveloped republics were usually quoted as “centers” of their operation. Generally speaking, the new economic and social reform was seen as more beneficial to Slovenia and Croatia, whereas other (less developed) republics would have made more progress in a centralized state. However, generalization by the principle “liberal” and reformist Slovenians and Croats on the one hand, and conservative Serbs, Macedonians, Montenegrins and Muslims on the other only further antagonized relations between Yugoslav peoples. In their analyses of the situation in Yugoslavia it was in this perception that some identified a generator of misunderstanding and even growingly open conflicts between republics. “Serb ‘conservatives’ tend to think that pro-reform ‘liberals’ are all Croats and Slovenes, favoring the interests of their relatively developed parts of the country; at the same time, a terrifying weakness of Croat ‘liberals’ is their common failure to perceive that all Serbs, etc., are not necessarily ‘conservative’ representatives of economically and politically underdeveloped regions.“31 Considering all this, it is obvious that opponents to the reform did not make up an organized and homogeneous grouping, but it is evident as well that they had a considerable influence on the process of decision-making and implementation of the reform. It was clear, therefore, that would be impossible to choke down each individual “conservative.” It was decided instead to open fire just on the very center of the resistance and a person considered as the one standing behind dogmatic, Unitarian and anti-reformist trends. The situation was the more so complicated since this was about the untouchable and omnipotent UDB (Department of State Security) and its boss Aleksandar Ranković considered Yugoslavia’s number two for years. His deposal following the Fourth Plenary Session of the CC of the LCY (July 1, 1966) and ensuing reorganization of the state security service initiated a wave of liberalization in all segments of the society. In her memoirs Savka Dabčević Kučar comments on the situation after the Brioni Plenum saying, “As if we were now breathing more freely.”32 Although Ranković had been ousted and intelligence services thoroughly reformed expectations that all centralist elements would disappear in Yugoslavia were unrealistic. These elements had been defeated but yet omnipresent in all segments of the society, at all levels of power and in all parts of the country. However, decentralization – political and economic – was jeopardized or questioned no more. Decentralization, regretfully, did not mean complete abandonment of all centralist tendencies. Instead of the federal center the state was more and more thorn by six republican centralisms. Many controversies and all economic, national and social differences – not necessarily factors of instability per se – surfaced against a backdrop as such. The country’s biggest problem became people supposed to be act as its leaders. Political elite was disunited and state interests were more and more held down in favor of republican. Power struggle, concern for own problems and disregard of the problems facing others justified Tito’s fears that decentralization could easily lead towards disintegration.

In the late 1960s decision-makers – apart from know-how - were more and more split by regional, i.e. republican “key.” Decentralization of economic policy and introduction of the laws of free market further emphasized differences between Yugoslavia’s developed and underdeveloped republics. Unlike subventions that often turned unprofitable, the struggle for more favorable investment and loans deepened rivalry between enterprises throughout Yugoslavia. The novelty was banks replaced the state as key players of financing and lending. Banks were first of all other economic factors that adjusted themselves to market economy. To them, profit was crucial rather than interests of the country’s economy. Accordingly, the new investment and credit policy favored successful and profit-making enterprises while neglecting those that failed to find their way in new circumstances. Fully justified from a capitalist point of view, in a socialist society this was diametrically opposite to initial wishes; and the more so since most capital began concentrating again in one place – this time not in the federal treasury but in several most powerful central banks.

The state did transfer some of its rights and duties to the banking system but still kept to itself the right to participate in investment programs though the so-called non-budget balance of payment. By its own criteria it continued financing (old and new) project with these funds. And those criteria, often politically rather than economically motivated, were factors that further sharpened republics between republics. Along with funds that survived (such as the Fund for Speedier Development of Less Developed Regions) the moneys from non-budget balance of payment were straws to clutch at for all those unable to produce good results on their own. Reciprocity of this form of solidarity was questioned as crucial to further functioning of the federation on equal footing. Given that development of each and every sociopolitical community (municipality, province or republic) was in reciprocal relationship with economic results on its territory competition in economic sphere moved to political as well. In a socialist state with a strong monopoly of one party a specific federal system was in causal relation with economic, political and social problems. Stable and even prosperous economic situation in earlier periods guaranteed social and political peace. On the other hand, economic crisis that started shaking the Yugoslav society following the economic reform in 1965 threatened with turning into an open political crisis with far-reaching consequences. This is why solving of accumulated economic problems had to be placed at the priority list of politics. Unfortunately, political elite and economic experts mostly failed to meet the criteria necessary for pulling the country out of crisis.

The wave of student protests that swept over almost all Yugoslav universities in the first week of June 1968 was only one of many signs warning that the country was in a deep crisis. In general public the crisis was being mostly perceived through its economic consequences (the fall in living standard, growing unemployment, etc.). However, the economic crisis was in causal relation with its deeper and deeper political counterpart. Though not so much visible to most citizens, and especially not in its full intensity and all of its forms, its escalation threatened even the very survival of the federation. The political crisis was by far more dangerous than negative trends in the economy. The model (s) of the federation’s functioning, economic and political position of republics undergoing economic and social reforms, and relations between the “developed” and “underdeveloped” were just some of the issues highest officials were growingly unable to reach consensus on. Despite all the attempts to resort to Aesopian hints so as to assuage the crisis among the general public, stormy meetings behind closed doors indicated overt antagonisms between individuals and even the entire republican leaderships. One of such meetings was that of the Presidency of the EC of LCY, chaired by Tito, held on June 9, 1968. Members of the Serbian leadership used the debate on successes and failures of the economic reform to complain against their Zagreb colleagues. They accused the Croatian leadership, especially Mika Tripalo, of undermining the principle of democratic centralism by publicly criticizing the federal bodies’ stands. They mostly referred to the so-called May Consultations of the CC of LCC (May 28-29, 1968) and interviews some of Croatian leaders gave to the media after it. Serbian politician Dobrivoje (Bobi) Radosavljević reproached the Croats for openly accusing the Serbs of still building unprofitable plants. Some of them, he said, are important for political rather than economic reasons, but the problematic should be nevertheless considered against a larger economic-political background and in a long run. “We are ready to discontinue construction of every facility,” he argued, adding “However, we in Serbia are hypothecated by old relations, by the compromise between republican leadership and these facilities are a hypothecation of that compromise.”33 The problem of the so-called political facilities was not the only one, it was used just as a paradigm. Critical remarks were also about the Croatian leadership’s practice of open polemics all other problems of the economic reform, such as the federation’s balance sheet and foreign exchange regime. He especially criticized the Croats for using Tito as “a shelter” much too often. “Comrade Tito, as we have said on hundreds occasions, belongs to all Yugoslav people, he personifies our revolution and our attainments…Comrades from Croatia have to solve everything they disagree with through dialogues with other republics so that we find mutual solutions in debates. One cannot go to Tito to settle the matters,” he warned.34 Representatives from Montenegro (Đoko Pajković) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (Rato Dugonjić) sided with the Serbian leadership. However, they criticized the methods used by the Croatian leadership more than what the latter had actually said. Responding to all this, Savka Dabčević-Kučar, minutely elaborated the stances on (non)implementation of economic reform taken by the Croatian leadership. He pointed to crumbling economy, inconsequent foreign trade and foreign exchange regimes, non-existence of clear-cut and transparent accounts such as the federation’s balance sheets, etc. To end with, she said that in her opinion speaking publicly about the stances voted in by the Croatian Assembly and Executive Committee that were contrary to the decisions taken by federal institutions were not political subversion. This meant not disagreement with the majority or disrespect of democratic centralism, she said, but an obligation towards citizens of one’s republic, the more so since after each meeting of the Federal Executive Council /SIV/ a brief about a consensus reached on decisions made was being issued. Following her lengthy discussion that clearly indicated many problems undermining not only economic reform but also federal relations, no one denied her critical remarks. Dobrivoje Radosavljević and Rato Dugonjić just repeated their criticism of going public. “In my view, one should go public but should first think twice when and how, and try to settle everything among leaderships,” said the Serbian delegate while his counterpart from Bosnia-Herzegovina wondered, “Can one political leadership problem one policy and fight for it without having discussed in here first?”35 Neither of the two pointed a finger at what was actually mistaken in the policy proclaimed by the Croatian leadership. This provoked Mika Tripalo’s comment on the whole discussion. “We haven’t heard any argument that would deny some of our basic political stands…I do not claim that we are right about everything we are saying, but let’s then discuss contents, not methods.”36 Two statements by Jakov Blaževića further sharpened the debate. He first said that assaults at Tripalo were in fact screened assaults against the economic reform and Tito in person.37 This provoked Petar Stambolić to call for the Presidency’s and EC CC LCY’s distancing themselves from Blažević’s statements as untrue. Blažević’s second statement, actually his rhetorical question about how come that hotbeds of crisis had not been identified, as well as the people responsible for student protests if the latter had been known for years. Members of the Serbian leadership realized that they were actually on the carpet list. Radosavljević said to Blažević nervously, “Why don’t you, comrade Jakov, come to Belgrade to govern, as you are capable of assessing everything? But you are sitting in Zagreb and reading papers, and conclude that the CC leadership is opportunistic. None of us should be just sitting here, so come on and govern!”38 Petar Stambolić followed in his footsteps in the same tone; he criticized Blažević of not having taken into consideration documents of Serbia’s Presidency and EC of CC of LCS while assessing the situation but only statements given by some individual leaders. He also reproached the entire Croatian leadership: at the moment student protest broke out Zagreb enquired whether demonstrations were pro-Ranković or progressive. On the basis of the official stance that the protest was against the regime, Stambolić drew the conclusion that the enquiry suggested that the Serbian leadership was seen as conservative and, therefore, protests against it could be either pro-Ranković or progressive.39 As said above, over this Croatian-Serbian polemics Bosnian and Montenegrin representatives made no bones about what they agreed and what disagreed with. Macedonian representative Krste Crvenkovski tried to position himself as an impartial observer aware of failures of both sides but appealing for unity in the interest of the progress of the whole country. The stance taken by Slovenian representative France Popit was more clear-cut. The same as the Croatian leadership he criticized elements of centralism still visible in functioning of the federal administration, and emphasized the necessity placing many powers from federal to republican level. His motivation, however, was not to provide support to the Croatian leadership but to advocate the interests that would benefit his own republic. Sharp statements heard at this meeting indicated that cohesion of Yugoslavia’s top political leadership was considerably undermined. More and more often, like at this meeting, it was only Josip Broz Tito’s authority that could put an end to mutual allegations and accusations. Apart from documents, impressions by many of those involved also indicate to seriousness of the situation. In her memoirs Savka Dabčević Kučar writes about her flight on the way to this meeting. While her plane was nearing Belgrade a military aircraft intercepted the plane so closely that it lost altitude and its pilot hit his head on the cabin’s roof. Considering that never before had military aircrafts “welcomed” planes taking politicians to meetings, she writes, “Have they, probably, wanted to get rid of all of us, at once and just by ‘chance’?”40

Antagonism between Croatian and Serbian leaderships was by far more complex than a misunderstanding over one statement. The problem was in their differing perception of the goals of the economic reform and, hence, in their different understanding of republics’ economic-political standing within the federation. Comments on the federation’s balance sheets made by two of Serbia’s top brass politicians best illustrate these fundamental differences. While transparent accounts were for Zagreb condition sine qua not of the federation’s sustainability and guarantees of equality of its constitutive parts, what bothered Dobrivoje Radosavljević was that the Croats were “carping on the issue for months.”41 Draža Marković also voiced his disagreement with Croatian requests. He wrote in his diary on May 17, 1968, “The situation of balance sheets (relations with the Croats, in fact) is turning more and more complicated. However, it’s good that they remained isolated and will surely have to withdraw.”42 Marković was only partially right. The Croats did remain alone since their requests were outvoted in federal institutions. On the other hand, he was not exactly right in his argument about their withdrawal. In the line with democratic centralism the Croats acknowledged the majority vote but decided to take a step that would cause the above-mentioned stormy reactions. This time frustration with the decision-making procedure in Belgrade, especially with the quality of these decisions, spread beyond the small circle of top leaders. Having realized that support could not be obtained from politicians the leadership of the SR of Croatia turned to the general public.

In late May 1968 (28-29) the EC of the CC of LCC initiated consultations in Zagreb (May Consultation) with participation of political leaders from all over Croatia. Though presented as one in a row of pre-congress debates the consultation was mostly used for informing the public about the stands the Croatian leadership considered incorrectly outvoted at the federal level. In his address Secretary of the EC Mika Tripalo stressed out imperative disburdening of the economy, which would make it possible for working organizations to operate more freely, enable investment in modernization and ensure higher salaries. Otherwise, working organizations’ insolvency would strengthen the monopoly of new centers of economic power such as banks and foreign trade or re-export enterprises.43 Notwithstanding all objectively aggravating circumstances one of most influential factors slowing down the economic reform was the very League of Communists, said Tripalo. “Devoid of clear-cut prospects the League of Communists manifests ideological confusion as some of its highest bodies are paralyzed,” said Tripalo.44 This was not for the first time that he warned his colleagues that settling the situation of their own ranks preconditioned reformist tendencies in the society.45 However, this time he argued for a public debate on the newly emerged problems since the political leadership had not found a solution to them. “Saying that the debate has to be public means not an open debate within the party but the debate involving the whole society, which is the only way for truly socialist and progressive forces to win out…A discussion in forums behind closed doors fundamentally hinders attainment of that goal and leaves negative political and social side-effects on our country.”46 To end with he stressed that consequent implementation of the economic reform implied certain changes in the political system. This primarily referred to a change in the relationship between the federation and republics, but also to further improvements in inter-republic and interethnic relations. In order to make self-governing relations stronger at all levels, said Tripalo, the Croatian leadership takes that many activities federal institutions were implementing could be transferred to self-governing bodies and their administrative divisions in republics and communes. In response to the arguments that suggestions as such were undermining Yugoslavia, he said, “Yugoslavia is not strengthened only by the federal centre but by all its parts, and on the basis of full equality of all nations and their mutual cooperation.”47 Although Tripalo’s address already hinted true reasons for convening the May consultation meeting the very announcement that Savka Dabčević-Kučar would address it removed doubt. The Member of the Presidency of CC of LCY and President of the Republican Executive Council was asked to provide a more precise explanation of the SIV press release saying that all the republics had reached a consensus on the federation’s balance sheet on the one hand, and the Croatian leadership’s well-known opposite stand about the matter on the other.48 The main problem, said Dabčević-Kučar, was absence of precise quantification of indicators of the plan’s implementation and non-implementation, which preconditioned objective assessment of results of the economic reform. This was why the Croatian leadership had asked to see the complete balance sheet of the federation, which implied the federal budget, non-budget balance sheet, the balance sheet of the General Investment Fund, as well as the balance sheet of foreign economic relations. It turned out, however, that authorized bodies had no system for monitoring and registering accounts that would have make it possible to determine the exact state of affairs in individual sectors. Consequently, assessment of the progress made and the plan for the steps to be taken was brimming with contradictions.49 At the SIV session of May 17, 1968 representatives of other republics had not accept critical remarks by the Croatian leadership calling them superfluous, and measures suggested by the SIV sufficient for correction of negative trends in 1967. Without questioning the majority will Dabčević-Kučar nevertheless warned that the public was entitled to be informed about Croatian stands as well. The May Consultation was held ten days later.

Although Serbian politicians criticized their Croatian colleagues the most saying that it was solely about Croatian-Serbian dispute would be absurd and untrue. Anyway, the 5:1 ratio in major decision-making clearly denies such a thesis. It should be said that the said ratio was mostly manifest when it came to measures taken in economic policy since the reasons behind them were diametrically opposite to those for taking political. In economic matters too big differences in the level of economic development between Yugoslav republics and provinces were decisive factors. Slovenia, Croatia and Province of Vojvodina were by many criteria above the Yugoslav average, Serbia without provinces was in the mean, while Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Province of Kosovo below the average.

Such constellation, to start with, hindered a homogeneous approach to resolution the country’s economic problems. Before and even more after the beginning of economic reforms the underdeveloped had not been capable of developing their societies with their own funds and resources. Therefore and despite a general advocacy for political and economic decentralization they had still been vitally interested in receiving funds from various federal sources. Whether or not all deals and transactions in the process were fully transparent and economically justified did not matter much to them. On the other hand, the developed saw the measures of economic reforms and, especially, decentralization as opportunities for making even speedier progress. The attempts at having the accounts settled or the necessity to have the state of accounts determined in detail, and then also the modalities for the use of mutual funds were stroke the eye eve more against a backdrop as such. All this did not question further assistance to underdeveloped regions; on the contrary, Croatian politicians and economists were proposing even more funds to them, but this time through instruments that would not be contrary to reformist principles.50 Apart from leaderships of underdeveloped republics the Croats also perceived the federal bureaucracy – above all SIV and various departments and commissions of the Federal Assembly – as major straitjackets of the economic reform.51 Overt disagreement with the decisions by the highest executive body was even more manifest in early 1968, at the above-mentioned parliamentary debate on the Resolution on the Principles of Economic Policy in 1968. Although they had managed to have the decision on limiting contribution rates annulled by then, their dissatisfaction with functioning of the federal administration remained evident. Kiro Gligorov, the vice-president of the Yugoslav government and one of politicians with biggest influence on shaping the country’s economic policy, was seen as ‘drum major’ of anti-reformist forces. The meeting of the closest circle of Croatian politicians of April 6, 1968 provides a most illustrative instance of the extent of animosity for this Macedonian leader. A debate on the state of affairs at Yugoslav universities unavoidable led to a debate on successes/failures of the economic reform. In this context Kiro Glogorov was mentioned as one of most responsible individuals. “The entire group assembled around Kiro is a gang that should be chased away,” argued Vladimir Bakarić to what Mika Tripalo added, “Including him in person although he somewhat stands for the reform.”52 No one obviously denied that Glogorov was the one who introduced the economic reform but, as time went by, people became skeptical about the way he was trying to put theory into practice. Probably neither was the fact that Kiro Gligorov represented one of most underdeveloped Yugoslav republics, which could have barely benefited from consequent implementation of reformist measures overlooked. Savka Dabčević Kučar carried the argument a step further: she connected criticism of Gligorov with his favoring of the solutions proposed by Serbia.53 The fact that Croat Mika Špiljak acted as the president of the Yugoslav government in 1968 further complicated rather undermined relations between the Croatian leadership and federal institutions. Thorn between his republic’s expectations and the actual power balance in the federation he more often than not gave the upper hand to the latter in decision-making. So he did in the case of the federation’s balance sheet. After many meeting at which Croat stands were mostly outvoted, in early summer of 1968, at Špiljak’s request the Federal Assembly gave a vote of confidence to the SIV and, by doing it, according to Tripalo, adopted the untrue balance sheet of the federation.54 Tito considerably contributed to such denouement: he wanted to lessen inter-republican tensions and so put an end to the debate on the balance sheet, calling the latter “a problem of secondary character.”55

The country’s bad economic situation opened up yet another “front” for competing republics. Debates on which of them scored worst in Yugoslavia’s overall economic development intensified. Since everyone documented his thesis with statistical data, Stipe Šuvar commented on the new situation saying, “Inter-republican and interethnic accounting is blooming, while everyone presents the data that suits him and gives voice to his own version of the truth, which he serves to his national community often by using refined or else underhand methods.”56 Indicatively, not a single republic was satisfied with the level and speed of its economic growth; each saw itself as deprived of this or that when compared with the rest. Developed republics were trying to prove that their economic stagnation was in discord with their potentials and opportunities for development. Major critical remarks were that disproportionately large funds were flowing from Ljubljana and Zagreb into federal funds and that these funds were irrationally distributed to underdeveloped regions. The monopoly of foreign export companies and the so-called federal banks was especially on the carpet list – they were accused of having taken over from the state “the role of an expropriator of the surplus of labor” from producers.57 On the other hand, the underdeveloped complained of economic position within the federation. According to them, they were the ones taken advantage of. First, as they are sources of raw materials that are then used by industries of developed republics under favorable conditions, and then turned into markets for the developed to sale their tariff-free products, they argued.58 The measures of economic reforms further intensified the existing contradictions in socioeconomic relations, which, in turn, triggered off open debates on equality of Yugoslav republics and nations. Though “defense of self-government” was still quoted from political rostrums as a main reason for correction of disparities, the thesis about defense of national interests was spreading in the public life. This was especially the case in developed republics. So, for instance, during student protests in 1968 Slovenian students and politicians were stressing further development of the system of higher education as “a vital, national problem” given that “unbearable situation of education threatens Slovenia’s development.”59

Several months before the Belgrade-seated NIN magazine published a summarized version of the article President of the Executive Council of SR of Slovenia Stane Kavčič had written for Theory and Practice (Teorija in praksa) magazine. Referring to the necessity for revaluation of the roles of Yugoslav republics within the federation he writes among other things, “I would say that we, the Slovenes, also have to think about statehood – but, of course, the statehood that would imply a modern, organized society rather than be a synonym for bureaucracy.” He argues against the so-called federation of communes – with its too many and poorly mutually connected communes – with the thesis about republics as nation-states being more influential within Yugoslavia. “In fact, this is all about realization that some issues concerning an entire nation had to be settled in alliance with others, and fight against such localism that is irrational and harmful to the nation as a whole. If we have acknowledged nations and are aware that they would be there for long time to come, then we also have to acknowledge that there could be no state without a nation or nations, and that those nations cannot be indifferent to their own surplus of labor…All this logically implies that each republic has to be provided bigger economic competences.”60


Shortly after initial measures of the economic reform were implemented it became evident that the SFRY Constitution had to undergo changes: some provisions of the federal constitution were incompatible with the tendency of intensive decentralization of the society. The process of building of a new political and legal frame that would enable attainment of the expected objectives and results of the economic reform in the interest of all nations and national minorities, and hence of the entire federation, was launched. In April 1967 the federal parliament adopted a package of six initial constitutional amendments.61 Though the contents of these amendments were considerably changed already next year, their purpose was obvious: to “weaken” the federation and strengthen federalism. Instead of the Federal Chamber all major powers were invested in the Chamber of Peoples, which further strengthened position of constitutive elements of the federation, i.e. republics and provinces.62 Economic rights of the federation were also limited in line with basic principles of the economic reform. The state’s still present much too strong interventionalism was moderated under amendment 3 providing that “the federation may participate, with its own funds, only in financing the investments in special purposes as provided under the federal legislation.”63 In late 1968, at a joint session of the Federal Chamber and the Chamber of Nations, the Federal Assembly decided to proclaim another 13 amendments.64

Among other things, these amendments resulted in more autonomy of provinces named socialist autonomous provinces (SAP) since, and turned into special self-governing sociopolitical communities entitled to independently decide on relations with the rest, determine sources of their income and decide on their organizational arrangements. Their position was considerably equalized with that of socialist republics. While the 1963 Constitution listed only republics as constitutive elements of the federation, the 1968 amendments added yet another two socialist provinces on the list.65 This provision did not provide the right to self-determination and secession that still belonged only to “peoples of Yugoslavia.” No doubt that the purpose of the constitutional reform was more far-reaching and complex than improvement of the position of two Yugoslav provinces and two biggest national minorities. Another change of the role of the Chamber of Peoples illustrates how vital for relations in the federation inter-republican and interethnic relations became at the time. Under this new amendment this chamber became predominant and biggest by its membership, while the Federal Chamber was extinguished.66 As usual when crucial problems of the country were on the agenda view on causes and consequences of all changes were rather contrary. According to some, latest constitutional reforms were unnecessary and coercive67, while the others argued that they were inadequate to a fundamental transformation of the society. Supporters of consequent decentralization took that the Constitution retained too many elements of centralism, whereas centralists argued strengthening of republican “statehood” threatened stability and integrity of Yugoslavia. The fact that all critical remarks were partially justified was one of many signals that it would be harder and harder to reach a consensus on crucial issues of Yugoslavia’s development in the period to come.

Democratization and decentralization of the society such as Yugoslav were impossible without appropriate changes in the LCY. In this context, federalization of the LCY was a vital element of reform of the country’s leading ideological-political power. The Ninth Congress of LCY (March 11-15, 1969) was an attempt at securing party organizations in republics the same position constitutional amendments had done for stronger standing of republics. Basic documents of the Congress – including provisions of a new Statute – put an emphasis on independence and individualism of republican organizations within the unique LCY.68 While opposing centralism these documents were insisting on affirmation of the national factor and, in parallel, elimination of all elements of centralism from further development of the LCY.69 A changed schedule of party congresses was an illustrative example of decentralization of the LCY. Until then a federal congress had come as the first in a row while congresses in republics followed. On the eve of the Ninth Congress this procedure was reversed: republican congresses were held in the late 1968 and the federal one in March 1969.70 The change in schedule indicated that a new political paradigm was introduced. Republics were no longer obliged to first hear and then implements decisions made at the federal level; from then on stands were first harmonized at republican levels while it was on delegates at a federal congress to confirm them. For the first time a new leadership of the LCY was elected by this procedure: members of the leadership had been nominated by republican congresses and their nomination was confirmed at the federal. The same as in the election of delegates of the Chamber of Nations, equal representation of all the republics and provinces was strictly observed in the election of the highest party body.71 An efficient executive body – to act as a kind of collective leadership and collective authority – had to be established to ensure influence of republican “policies” on the federal one. Fifteen members of the Executive Bureau included two outstanding politicians from each republic and one from each province, and Josip Broz Tito.72 Many thought that the Executive Committee was formed not only for the sake of efficiency and authority but for various unspoken reasons. Latinka Perović writes that Mijalko Todorović, the secretary of the EC of the CC of LCY, was the one who initiated the whole project. Faced with growing decentralization of the country Todorović saw a factor of stability and synthesis in a party center that would include highest politicians from every republic and province. Besides such powerful composition of a collective leadership, in his opinion, would be a guarantee against Tito’s personal dominance in the party.73 Though this thesis was not so explicitly elaborated to him, Tito’s inherent instinct for political survival put an end to this course of action; on the contrary, as time went by the collective leadership became an amorphous body in the proceedings of which Tito was participating less and less frequently. Instead of agreements agreed on by people sitting around one table, most of crucial decisions were more and more frequently made in direct communication with Tito.

Expert and political debates on the last set of constitutional amendments began in the late 1970s. While all constitutions that far were putting emphasis on sociopolitical arrangement the pressing problems facing the country now suggested that Yugoslav federalism should be on the agenda too. The view that the federation had to be reformed prevailed despite many different opinions about the character and depth of changes to be made. Following “a patient and toilsome harmonization of views,” as Mika Tripalo put it, and a public debate the Federal Assembly passed another 23 amendments of the 1963 Constitution on June 30, 1971. New amendments for the first time conditioned the country’s sustainability and progress with national question without neglecting the class one. According to Croatia’s renowned legal expert Leon Geršković, the reform was supposed to ensure “constitution of a nation as a socioeconomic community and its statehood expressed by the political system that makes constitution of such community possible.”74 This (new) system implied intervention into the fundamental issue of the federation’s functioning – the issue of sovereignty. Unlike earlier constitutions authorizing the federation to protect sovereignty of republics, new amendments “nationalized their sovereignty,” i.e. conveyed this authority from the federation to republics. So Amendment 20 provides that the SFRY is a federation as a state community of voluntarily united peoples and their socialist republics, and that a republic is “a state based on sovereignty of people.”75 Other amendments also followed this trend: redistribution of federal powers to republics.76 Only political and economic rights that were explicitly quarantined under the Constitution were left to the Federation. Croatian and Slovenian leaderships’ years-long criticism of the so-called alienated centers of power (in Belgrade) and the federal center’s nontransparent investment policies received recognition in Amendment 34 providing that the Federation “shall not establish funds and undertake obligations unless so authorized under the SFRY Constitution or assemblies of republics and autonomous provinces agree with establishment of such funds or obligations to be undertaken.”77 The role of the federal state was also weakened by a new authority (along with the presidential office) whose functioning would be fully manifest only after Josip Broz Tito’s death. The said authority was the SFRY Presidency, “a collective head of state,” chaired by representatives of republics and provinces – by turns.

Although passed in the summer of 1971 it was only in 1972 that the amendments to the SFRY Constitution began to be implemented. Main reason for such “postponement” was a political crisis followed by the dramatic denouement of the situation in Croatia in late 1971. Accused of tolerating and supporting nationalism, the Croatian political leadership -whose longstanding struggle for reform of the federation actually resulted in the amendments and then in a new Yugoslav constitution in 1974 - was discharged.


With consent of all republican assemblies, the Chamber of Nations of the Federal Assembly proclaimed a new SFRY Constitution on February 21, 1974. That was the longest constitution in the whole world: it had more words and articles even than the Constitution of India. However, considering specificities of the Yugoslav sociopolitical system, it was at the same time among the most complex constitutions.78 Although it adopted all the solutions provided in the amendments passed in 1967, 1968 and 1971, federalism remained in its foreground. Sovereignty of republics and provinces was additionally emphasized in the constitutional preamble saying, “Having taken into consideration every nation’s right to self-determination, including secession too, the peoples of Yugoslavia united in a federation…”79 A newly structured federal assembly also ensured more important roles to republics. Five parliamentary chambers were replaced by two only – the Chamber of Republics and Provinces and the Federal Chamber. Though reform of the federation called for further decentralization of the state and society, no progress was made towards (political) democratization; on the contrary, the Constitution explicitly provided and even strengthened the predominant roles to the League of Communist and Josip Broz Tito.80 While the power invested in other institutions was being restricted, Tito’s was growing. That was one of paradoxes of the Yugoslav society undergoing modernization and liberalization while ensuring one man’s authoritarianism. Though already an old man, Tito had no intention to give up any power invested in him since the end of the WWII. Twenty years later he was still a head of state, party president and supreme commander. Besides, against the backdrop of growing disunity of political elites he took upon himself to act as an unavoidable “supranational” arbiter.

The AVNOJ decision (1943) about Yugoslavia as a federation launched a lengthy and occasionally rather turbulent building of a socialist federation. While during the first twenty years the concept of federalism was in the back seat, the role of constitutive members of the federation was a predominant topic of debates throughout the last twenty years (of Yugoslavia’s existence). And yet – and despite all constitutional amendments and compromises made – the question about how genuine federation Yugoslavia actually was remains open. Outstanding international theoreticians of federalism do not think as one about it. “Once it was almost impossible to find a federation in the whole world the views about its fundamental nature were so opposing.”81 Questioning the very possibility of federalism in authoritarian, one-party systems, some theoreticians tend towards seeing the case of Yugoslavia as “façade federalism,” “quasi-federalism” or “a federation of one-party states.” One the other hand, for some experts Yugoslavia was a striking proof that federalism was possible even in communism. And that’s not all. They argued that provisions of the 1974 Constitution made it possible for Yugoslavia to grow into a confederation.82

Criticized from different motives and revised twice (in 1981 and 1988) the 1974 SFRY Constitution remained Yugoslavia’s last socialist constitution. Denied as a whole by some and considered a warrant of national independence by other, the document providing preconditions for and ways of integration became a crucial element of disintegration. Instead of “flexing” the Yugoslav federation entered the phase of dismantlement in the 1980s.









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1 The first Constitution after the end of World War II – the Constitution of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia – was passed in 1946; it was followed by the Constitutional Law on the Principles of Social and Political System of FPR of Yugoslavia in 1953, the Constitution of the SFR of Yugoslavia in 1963 and the Constitution of the SFR of Yugoslavia of 1974. With its amendements adopted in 1981 and 1988 the last one remained the country's fundamental law until its disintegration.

2 Serbian economic expert Ljubomir Madžar sees the number of reformist attempts in economy and politics as a permanent and determining characteristics of socialism. In his view, non-stop reforms were those that „signaled and testified of dysfunctional and inefficient institutional structures of socialist societies.“ Madžar 1990: 10-11

3 Bakarić 1974: 347 (Vladimir Bakarić, Socijalistički samoupravni sistem i društvena reprodukcija, Informator, Zagreb, 1974.)

4 The basic law on management of state-run enterprises and economic associations by workers' coopertives was passed on June 27, 1950 and the Constitutional Law on the Principles of Social and Political System and Federal Institutions on January 13, 1953.

5 See: Constitutional Law, 1953, Article 17 (provides inter alia: „The Federal Social Plan will ensure development of the people's economy as a whole and determine basic distribution of national income of the FPR of Yugoslavia.“)

6 Article 25 of the said law provides: „The Chamber of Producers shall be composed of people's representatives delegated by the producers working in industry, transport and trade, proportionally to participation of economic domains in GPN of the FPR of Yugoslavia.“ The 1963 Constitution provides under Article 165, „...The members of the Federal Council, delegated by republican assemblies and assemblies of autonomous provinces, shall form the Chamber of Peoples, which this Constitution shall invest with certain rights and duties in the protection of equality of the peoples of Yugoslavia and constitutionally guaranteed rights of the republics.“




7 Bilandžić 1999: 400-403.




8 See: Rusinow 1978: 94-104; See: Mujadžević 2011: 208.

9 Mujadžević 2011: 215-216.




10 IBID, 218.

11 The phrase „flexing of the federation“ – in the sense that the federation „should be more flexible“ and „decisions once made are not made forever“ – was first used by Vladimir Bakarić on December 8, 1965, at the meeting of the EC of the CC of the LCC. Mujadžević 2011: 226.




12 Rusinow 1978:110-111.

13 Horvat 1969: 99.

14 Klein u Toma 1970: 220.




15 Zečević 1998: 31-32.

16 Ibid, 32.

17 Ibid.

18 Ibid, 285-298.




19 Rusinow 1978: 123-124.; Horvat 1969: 132-133.




20 Rusinow 1978: 124.




21 Rusinow 1978: 124.

22 O odredbama Ustava SFRJ i odlukama 8. kongresa SKJ vidi: Rusinow 1978: 148-172.




23 See: Milenkovich in Bertsch,Ganschow 1976: 352-362.

24 While the extensive model suggested maximalization of economic growth regardless of profits, the extensive one was more concerned with optimalization of economic growth depending on profits. The first model prioritized production over consumership, while the second the other way round. By the extensive model distribution was in the hands of the state, and by the intensive one in the hands of producers (enterprises). As for the foreign trade, the extensive model promoted autarky, while intensive integration into global division of labor on the basis of comparative advantages, etc.

25 The 1:750 US dollar-dinar exchange rate was replaced by 1:1250. The purpose of devaluation was to stimulate exports. Bakarić 1983: 4.

26 Rusinow 2008: 52.

27 In August 1965 more than 90% of prices of services and commodities were set by the state. Macesich, Vucinich 1969: 222. i 225.

28 Rusinow 1978: 180

29 Šefer 1969: 35. (Table 1)




30 In this paper I do not include in the resistance circles Yugoslav philosophers, sociologists and other scholars but just individuals who occupied different high offices.




31 Rusinow 2008: 54.




32 Dabčević Kučar 1997: 84.




33 AJ, 507, III/132, „Autorizirane stenografske bilješke s Devete zajedničke sjednice Predsjedništva i IK CK SKJ“, June 9, 1968.

34 Ibid.




35 Ibid.

36 Ibid.

37 Ibid.




38 Ibid.

39 Ibid.




40 Dabčević Kučar 1997: 176. (bilj.4)




41 AJ, 507, III/132, „Autorizirane stenografske bilješke s Devete zajedničke sjednice Predsjedništva i IK CK SKJ“, 9.6.1968.

42 Marković 1987: 66.




43 Tripalo quotes several examples of this unequal distribution of „surplus labor“ and, hence upper hand given to those institutions. For instance, in 1967 the Yugoslav Agricultural Bank with barely more than 200 employees earned 12 million dinars only on interests, while in the same period the entire food industry in Slavonia providing jobs to some 42,000 people made a profit of just 8 million. Savjetovanje 1968: 13.

44 Ibid., 19.

45 Tripalo told a seminar for youth activists, „One should also bear in mind tht many people in the ranks of LC are confused and disappointed, they are disoriented, either because they disagree with party course that is still not fine-tuned, do not understand that course or see what it is all about. What we also need to discuss and think about is whetehr the LC such as it is today, capable of meeting the needs we are talking about. I would say it is not unless it changes in some aspects...“ Polet, No. 20, April 1968.

46 Savjetovanje 1968: 19-20.

47 Isto, 25.

48 Obvisouly, the question was prearranged. She herself indirectly confirms it by saying, „I planned to discuss some issues of the implementation of the economic reform in Croatia and future prospect, but since this direct question was posed – I admit I had expected it to be posed – I wouldn't waste your time on the previous matter but try to answer your question.“ Ibid., 40.

49 Accordding to her, disagreements were so big that some claimed that the state's deficit amounted to 250-300 billion dinars, while others (the Croatian leadership) that it was even higher,and the third that is was all about surplus rather than deficit. Ibid., 45.




50 For instance, Savka Dabčević Kučar mentions the proposal to have a portion of collected federal taxes handed over to the Funds for the Underdeveloped, and pass a law providing obligation for banks to invest a percentage of their income in underdeveloped regions – naturally, on economically rational basis. AJ, 507, III/132, „Autorizirane stenografske bilješke s Devete zajedničke sjednice Predsjedništva i IK CK SKJ“, June 9, 1968.

51 In an interview with TV Belgrade on July 28, 1968 Vladimir Bakarić said, „The majority e in our apparat is not convinced that Croatian and Serbian leaderships are at odds but are is convinced in a dispute between the Croatian leadership and the federal government,“ Vuković 1989: 197.

52 HDA, 1220, „Stenografski zapisnik sa sastanka jednog dijela Predsjedništva i Izvršnog komiteta CK SK Hrvatske“, June 6, 1968.

53 Speaking of some high Yugoslav leaders in her memoirs Dabčević-Kučar writes, „We were at odds with Kiro Gligorov because he sided with the Serbs in many aspects of the economic system. We were so 'anry' at him at the time (he had been most influential for long as the Minister of Economy) that when he was seen as the President of SIV we nominated Džemal Bijedić – by far less capable then him for the office,“ Dabčević-Kučar 1997: 112.

54 According to Tripalo, following the Croatian leadership's strong criticism of Mika Špiljak the latter decided to offer his resignation to Tito. What made him give up the idea was the USSR intervention against Czeckoslovakia; otherwise the crisis in the federal administration would have been another aggravating circumstance for Yugoslavia. Tripalo 1990: 91.

55 Adressing the meeting of the Presidency of the CC of EC of LCY of May 20, 1968, Tito said, „The issue of balance sheet, no matter how important, is of secondary character...As for the balance sheet it will be easier to discuss it once we decide the course to be followed, what is to be done, how to solve the problem of unemployment, and tone up or economy rather than let it spin its wheels or even ebb somewhere.“ AJ, 507, III/131, „Stenografske bilješke s 8. Zajedničke sjednice Predsjedništva i IK CK SKJ“, May 20, 1968.




56 Šuvar 1970: 108.




57 When it comes to re-exporters speakers had in mind Generalexport (Genex), Interexport and Progres in Belgrade, Astra in Zagreb, Intertrade in Ljubljana and Interimpex in Skopje. Federal banks were the Yugoslav Investment Banka, Yugoslav Agricultural Bank, Yugoslav Bank for Foreign Trade and Yugoslav Export-Import Bank.

58 Commenting on relations between developed and underdeveloped republics Mijalko Todorović writes, „Were republics independed states, the one that is underdeveloped would have introduced tariffs and so protect itself from more developed economies...Republics with developed economy are privileged because they are given a bigger tariff-free market. For instance, when Belgrade industry transports its products to Montenegro or Macedonia it is better protected from competition than foreign industries and sales its goods at higher prices than Montenegrins of Macedonians would have to pay to such products somewhere abroad.“ Socijalizam, No. 5, 1966., (M.Todorović, „Društveno – ekonomske osnove ravnopravnosti republika i nacija u Jugoslaviji“); Quite open about this problem was Slovenian politician Sergej Kraigher. In his book Nacije i međunacionalni odnosi Stipe Šuvar quotes Kraigher's article published in Borba on October 23, 1969. According to Kraigher, Slovenian export in other Yugoslav republics was by far bigger than in Western markets. Slovenian economy, he say, is incapable of reorienting itself towards foreign markets in foreseeable future or find such profitable souce of raw materials beyond Yugoslav market. Thanks to its position in Yugoslavia, he argues, SR of Slovenia as a whole has made speedier progress than, say, Western European countries. Šuvar 1970: 75-76.

59 Dokumenti 1971: 134, 255.

60 NIN, 17.3.1968.




61 Vice-chairman of the Federal Assembly Edvard Kardelj and President of the SIV Miloš Minić voted against constitutional amendments of April 18, 1967. Minić. Ustav SFRJ, Beograd, 1971.

62 See, amendment 1.
Under Article 165 of the Constitution the Chamber of Peoples was composed of members of the Federal Chamber delegated by republican assemblies and assemblies of autonomous provinces. Ibid.

63 This amendment replaced the constitutional provision providing that federal funds shall also be used to „interventions in the economy meant to harmonize relations between some industries, equalize conditions of work and profit making, ensure economic stability and market supplies, and strenghten foreign trade.“ Ibid. (Article 122).

64 Constitutional amendments 7-19. See, Ustav SFRJ, Beograd, 1971., and Milivoj Bešlin, „Josip Broz Tito i jugoslavenski federalizam (1963-1974.),“ a manuscript.

65 Compare Article 2 of the 1963 Constitution and amendment 7 of 1968; the latter still provides taht SAP of Vojvodina and SAP of Kosovo shall be parts of SR of Serbia. Ustav SFRJ, Beograd, 1971.

66 Amendment 8 provides that the Federal Assembly includes: the Chamber of Peoples, Economic Chamber, Education-Cultural Chamber, Social-Healthcare Chamber and Sociopolitical Chamber. Ibid.

67 Zagorka Jovanović, MP from Belgrade, strongly criticized the amendments by calling them „changes made under the influence of transitory moments in our development and particularistic interests.“ She explained that the stress placed on equality left one under wrong impression that the earlier constitution provided „unequal treatment of peoples and national minorities.“ Vjesnik, December 19, 1968.; Perović 1991: 92-94.




68 See: točka 6. Statuta SKJ i Rezolucija „Idejno-političke osnove daljeg razvoja SKJ“. Deveti kongres SKJ 1969: 283. and 416.

69 One of Congress resolutions quotes among other things, „The League of Communists of Yugoslavia is a very important factor of ideological intervention and political cohesion of our multiethnic socialist community. It could not respond to this task as some supranational organization that turns republican organizations into mere transmissions. Rather than being organized upside down the League of Communists of Yugoslavia creatively sythetizes ideological-political stands, activities and intiatives of LC of socialist republics.“ Ibid., 416.

70 The Sixth Congress of the LC of Serbia was held on November 21-23, 1968, and other republican congresses were convened in December.

71 Presidency of the LCY including six elected members from each republic, three from every province, three from the YPA ranks and all the six presidents of republican leagues replaced the Central Committee.

72 Members of the EB elected at the Ninth Congress were: Vladimir Bakarić, Miko Tripalo (SR of Croatia), Krste Crvenkovski, Kiro Gligorov (SR of Macedonia), Nijaz Dizdarević, Cvijetin Mijatović (SR of Bosnia-Herzegovina), Stane Dolanc, Edvard Kardelj (SR of Slovenia), Miroslav Pečujlić, Mijalko Todorović (SR of Serbia), Budislav Šoškić, Veljko Vlahović (SR of Montenegro), Stevan Doronjski (SAP of Vojvodina), Fadilj Hodža (SAP of Kosovo) and Josip Broz Tito. Deveti kongres SKJ 1969: 443.

73 Perović 1991: 85-87.; Rusinow 1978: 255-260.; Bilandžić 1999: 532-537.; Tripalo 1990: 108-110.




74 Geršković 1976: 57.

75 Ustavni amandman XX, vidi: Mecanović 1986: 391.

76 O ustavnim amandmanima 1971. vidi: Primjena federalnog načela i pouke ustavne reforme 1971. (ur. Branko Smerdel), Zagreb, 2007.

77 Mecanović 1986: 407.




78 Commenting on the complexity of the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution, Rusinow says, „Its complexity and the at least initial perplexity and doubts of most Yugoslav lawyers exceeded its length“. Rusinow 1978: 327.

79 SFRY Constitution, Preamble, Fundamental Principles.

80 Like in the 1963 Constitution, the preamble in its fundamental principles provides that the LCY „is a driving force and pillar of political activity...“. Article 321 also strenthens the rule of the LCY by providing that the SFRY Presidency shall be composed of one representative of each of the republics and provinces, and, ex officio, the President of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. The provision that Josip Broz Tito can be elected a lifelong president was also reaffirmed.




81 Robert Podolnjak, „Federalizam u bivšoj Jugoslaviji i Europskoj uniji“, in: Primjena federalnog načela i pouke ustavne reforme 1971. (ed. Branko Smerdel), Zagreb, 2007.

82 Ibid.











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