Friday • June 13 • 2008
9 ISSN 1820-8339
Issue 1 / Friday, 13, 2008 Weekly Issue No. 23,No. Friday, Feb. 13June - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009
Lure of Tadic Alliance Splits Socialists
While younger Socialists support joining a new, pro-EU government, old Milosevic loyalists threaten revolt over the prospect.
Socialist leader Ivica Dacic remains the Serbian kingmaker
faces extinction unless it changes. to Serbia’s late president, Slobodan However, a strong current also Milosevic, and reformists who want flows in the opposite direction, led the party to become a modern Euroense negotiations on a new govby party veterans enraged by the pean social democrat organisation. ernment have divided the ranks prospect of a deal with Tadic. After eight years of stagnation, of the Socialist Party, which holds Mihajlo Markovic, a founder of the Socialists returned to centre stage the balance of power between the the party, recently warned of a crisis after winning 20 of the 250 seats in main blocs and has yet to announce if Dacic opts for the pro-European parliament in the May 11 elections. which side they will support. bloc, abandoning the Socialists’ “natWith the pro-European and nation“It looks as if the Socialists will ural” ideological partners. alist blocs almost evenly matched, move towards a government led by Markovic, a prominent supporter the Socialists now have the final say the Democrats,” political analyst Miof Milosevic during the 1990s, is on the fate of the country. lan Nikolic, of the independent Censeen as representative of the “oldNikolic believes the Socialists, led tre of Policy Studies, said. “But such timers” in the party who want to stay by Ivica Dacic, will come over to a move might provoke deeper diviAlthough not a traditional festival in Serbia, one or two of the capital’s stores have got into the spirit of Saint Valentine’s Day. true to the former regime’s policies, Tadic, if only out of a pragmatic desions and even split the party.” even though these almost ruined the sire to ensure their political survival. Simultaneous negotiations held Socialists for good. “The group of younger Socialists with the pro-European and nationalSome younger Socialist officials gathered around Dacic seems to be ist blocs have drawn attention to a have voiced frustration over the conin the majority”, Nikolic said, adding deep rift inside the Socialists. tinuing impasse within their own that these reformists believe the party This divides “old-timers” loyal By Rade Maroevic in Belgrade
party over which way to turn. “The situation in the party seems extremely complicated, as we try to convince the few remaining laggards that we need to move out of Milosevic’s shadow,” one Socialist Party official complained. “Dacic will eventually side with Tadic in a bid to guide his party into the European mainstream, but much of the membership and many officials may oppose that move.” Nikolic agreed: “The question is will the party split or will the ‘oldtimers’ back down,” he noted. Fearing they might not cross the 5-per-cent threshold to enter parliament, the Socialists teamed up with the Association of Pensioners and the United Serbia Party, led by businessman Dragan Markovic “Palma”. Pensioners leader, Jovan Krkobabic, Palma and Dacic are all pushing for a deal with the Democrats. The reported price is the post of deputy PM, with a brief in charge of security for the Socialist leader. In addition, the Socialists are bargaining for other ministries, including capital investments, Kosovo and education, Belgrade media reported. Tadic has denied talk of horsetrading with the Socialists, maintaining that ministries would go only to those committed to working for the government’s “strategic goal”. At the same time, Dacic seems reluctant to call off negotiations with the nationalists. “If we don’t reach an agreement Photo by Sophie Cottrell with the DSS and Radicals, the party leadership will decide on future steps”, Dacic announced, following the first session of country’s new parliament on Wednesday.
Belgrader’s Secret Passions
Source: Balkan Insight (www.balkaninsight.com)
As thoughts turn to the romance of St. Valentine’s Day, Belgrade Insight explores the work of some of the city’s longest standing shopkeepers whose daily job is also their passion. THIS ISSUE OF Business Insight Neighbourhood Matters Belgrade Insight tal this Valentine’s Day will less effusiveness of New York, ple and places who keep alive IS SUPPORTED BY: By Ljilja Cvekic notice that Belgrade is not a in this special issue of Belgrade old crafts and traditions, above romantic city. But although it Insight, we have set out to in- all else, for love. are warning that pro- troducehile world watchhose of you who find your- mightconomists not have the salacious youthetofootball Belgrade’s own longed uncertainty over Serbia’s es events unfold at thepeoEuroselves in the Serbian capi- swagger Continued on page 4 of Paris or the effort- secret pockets of passion,
future could scare off investors, lead to higher inflation and jeopardise NEIGHBOURHOOD prosperity for years to come. “This year has been lost, from the Macedonian diva, Sonja Tarculovska, claims to have been cured of toothstandpoint of economic policy,” says ache by the healing hands of war Stojan Stamenkovic of the Economcrimes suspect and bio-energy expert ics Institute in Belgrade. Dr. Radovan Karadzic. page 5
EDITOR’S WORD POLITICS
In Mitrovica, on both sides of the ethnic border, people say the last year brought no positive changes By has Mark R. Pullen to their lives.
Many of us who have experienced numerous Serbian elections rate ourselves as pundits when it comes to predicting election reThe is seeking addisultsgovernment and post-election moves. tional loans from the World Bank feel to in-the-know because and We the EU ensure macroecoour experience nomic stability. of elections in Serbia has shown us that (a.) no single Page 7 party or coalition will ever gain the majority required to form a governABOUT ment, OUT and (b.)&political negotiations will never be quickly concluded. Drvengrad, built on the slopes of Even mountain, when the Democrats the Tara is the concept ofachieved Emir Kusturica - his personal their surprising result at vision of a traditional vil-it last month’s generalSerbian election, lage. quickly became clear that the result was actually more-or-less the same as every other election result in Serbia, i.e. inconclusive. This is likely to continue as long as Serbia’s politicians form new political parties every time they disagree with their current party leader (there are currently 342 registered political parties in Serbia). Drawn-out negotiations are also the norm. One Belgrade-based Page 9 Ambassador recently told me he was also alarmedOUT by the distinct GOING lack of urgency among Serbian This week we offer you a host of politicians. “The country at a options for Valentine’s night.is From standstill and dinners I don’t to understand cosy romantic Croatian crooners and Ifdrum costume their logic. theyand arebass so eager to parties, viatowards spaghetti progress thewestern EU andfilm enscores. courage investors, howPage come12they go home at 5pm sharp and don’t work weekends?” SPORT Surely the situation is urgent Partizan ground a draenoughBelgrade to warrant a littleout overtime. matic Euroleague win over their Spanish rivals, Unicaja Malaga, in front of 7,000 passionate fans in the Pionir Arena.
pean Championships in Austria and Switzerland, Bosnia is experiencing DINING a soccer rebellion, led by fans, players and former stars who are enraged This week, Trencherman pays a return visit to Balzac andcorrupt whilst leaders he has by what they see as one or two pointers for the chef, he of the country’s football association heartily recommends it for your Valleaders. entine’s dinner. page 10
Friday, Feb. 13 - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009
Independence Brings Disappointment to Mitrovica On both sides of the ethnic border, people say the last year has brought no positive changes to their lives.
By Amra Zejneli
Reporting from Mitrovica
hile most Kosovars will soon be celebrating the first anniversary of Kosovo’s independence, some people don’t feel much cause to celebrate. Ramadan Fejza, an Albanian from Mitrovica, drives a blue “Nori” cab for eight hours a day, for which he earns about €90 to 100 a month. In his four-member family, he is the only one to bring any income home, and he finds it hard to list any positive changes in Kosovo’s northern city since the declaration of independence. “There are just a few more new buildings around,” he said. Fejza is downbeat about the average Kosovar’s life. “Think of a dog.” he said. “It has a certain way of living. It is tied to the leash, eats what it’s given, and gets used to that sort of life. That’s how we have become. We just have to accept the reality and try to live.” In ethnically divided Mitrovica, where Serbs live in the north and Albanians in the south, people south of the river Ibar dividing line, did not expect rapid change. But many hoped the Pristina government would at least have more of a plan for them.
In the Serb-run north, it is much the same. As one local cab driver said, there are more new buildings around, especially in Bosnjacka Mahala, one of a few multi-ethnic neighbourhoods in the north. The Albanian mayor, Bajram Rexhepi, said he never expected rapid change. But he had hoped the rule of law would be seen to prevail more in the north than it has done. Unfortunately, he said, things have moved slowly, possibly because of the delayed reconfiguration of Kosovo’s former UN administration, UNMIK. People in Mitrovica, like people throughout Kosovo, are also facing the same old problems of joblessness and poverty that they encountered before independence. Mayor Rexhepi used to meet local citizens in his office every other Monday. He stopped, he said, because 97 per cent of the visitors only came to ask for a job or a place to live. “I saw this being very counterproductive because I wasn’t able to help those people,” Rexhepi said. “I am not the kind of person to try to please people, when I know I can’t.” The Mayor said there was little, if any, cooperation with the northern, Serbian, municipality, which he insists is illegal. Valdete Idrizi, an Albanian from Mitrovica and director of
Community Building Mitrovica, a local NGO, spends a lot of her time talking to both Albanians and Serbians and visiting ethnic enclaves, to find out what these people need. She, too, has seen few signs of change since the declaration of independence. “Albanian people were in a dream,” Idrizi said. “We were brought up with the idea of being independent but since then nothing has changed in our lives and nothing has changed in Mitrovica either. “Everyone is to blame: the international community, [the EU ruleof-law mission] EULEX, which is still not in the north, and our leaders, for not having a plan for Mitrovica. Momcilo Arlov, a Serbian colleague who runs the Center for Civil Society Development, said Mitrovica remained a symbol of division in Kosovo. Changes were unnoticeable and disappointing. Politicians had, for years, mentioned the youth of Kosovo, 50 per cent of whom are under 25, as a potential benefit. But Arlov said the same politicians needed to acknowledge that a land with the youngest population in Europe also had the highest unemployment rate among the young. Nedzad Ugljanin, an inhabitant of Bosnjacka Mahala and a member
of the Bosniak Party of Democratic Action in Kosovo, says seeing how little the town has changed makes him very frustrated. “It’s getting even worse,” he maintained. “We don’t feel the independence, or the constitution. And the Bosnjacka Mahala is just like an Indian reservation.” Maja Ficovic, a Serbian journalist living just outside of Mitrovica, believes both Albanian and Serbians in Kosovo are essentially pawns in the hands of others. “This is all a game for the great leaders and this generation is paying for it,” she said. “The two parts of the city function as two countries,” she added. “And I’m sure this is how it’s going to remain for some time, except when it comes to business. People do work together then.” Fisnik Istrefi, 30, an Albanian working at the Medical Center in Mitrovica, agrees independence has meant little to local people, in concrete terms. “How can we celebrate something we don’t really have?” he asked. Fisnik might have a drink or two on the anniversary of Kosovo independence day, but this wouldn’t necessarily mean he was really celebrating. Though he lives in the south with a family of five, his apartment is in the north, and is being used by a Serbian family. “Everyone hoped for a better life after the war, but nothing happened,” Photo by Petrit Rrahmani for Pristina Insight he said. “Then everyone hoped for a The Mitrovica bridge marks the ethnic divide in better life after independence. Still nothing.” the town.
Friday, Feb. 13 - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009
Tadic Savours Growth of Presidential Power Boris Tadic may come to regret becoming so closely identified with day-to-day government in Serbia, if things start to go wrong.
By Branka Trivic
Reporting from Belgrade
o crisis in Serbia – be it one of the numerous political scandals, or the recent gas cutoff – appears soluble without a deus ex machina intervention in the shape of President Boris Tadic, many point out. As a result, the media regularly dub the Prime Minister, Mirko Cvetkovic, “President Tadic’s Prime Minister”. Some argue that Tadic is often pressed to intervene in Serbia’s daily politics to compensate for the country’s weak and ineffectual institutions, as well as to underline the fact that he is the only Serbian politician directly elected to his position. But others warn that these interventions could backfire in the long run, and that if things take a turn for the worse, these problems will be seen as Tadic’s exclusive responsibility.
Dual Role Last May’s parliamentary and presidential elections brought Tadic a doubleheaded victory, as president and also as head of the Democratic Party, DS, a role he later decided not to give up. A pro-Western coalition government was then formed between Tadic’s Democrats, the Socialists and the centrist and pro-European G17. Serbia is a parliamentary democracy, not a presidential one, and power, in theory, is vested in the hands of parliament and the government. But the current president, is often perceived as a substitute prime minister. A few months ago, for example, Tadic announced that he would start regular evaluations of the performance of government ministers. After later revising this statement, with the explanation that only ministers from his own Democratic Party would face such examinations, the question lingered: shouldn’t Prime Minister Cvetkovic, not President Tadic, be in charge of evaluating members of the cabinet, regardless of their party affiliation? Then, in the recent dispute over the decision to sell Serbia’s NIS oil company to Gazpromneft, the economy minister, Mladjan Dinkic, who walked out of the Serbian negotiating team, said he was ready to place his resignation letter on Tadic’s table, not Cvetkovic’s. When the recent Russian-Ukrainian price dispute resulted in the gas pipelines to a dozen countries, including Serbia, being turned off, it was President Tadic who negotiated a deal for additional gas supplies from Hungary, Germany and Austria, to ease the shortages that had left thousands of households without heating and forced factories to halt production. Bozidar Maljkovic, a basketball expert, recently said he had even asked President Tadic to help out with the Partizan and Red Star teams.
Weak Institutions Some analysts point to Serbia’s weak institutions – parliament being the most notorious – as the main targets for Tadic’s routine interventions in day-to-day politics. Vladimir Goati, head of Transpar-
Still by far the most popular politition in Serbia, Tadic’s involvement in day-to-day government may prove problematic.
ency Serbia, an NGO, describes parliament as more of political circus than a nationally representative body in charge of discussing and adopting laws. Deputies do not control their own mandates, being blackmailed by their parties through the means of “blanco resignations” that they have to sign ahead of becoming parliamentarians. This demotes deputies to the role of changeable party delegates, devoid of any real legitimacy, Goati adds. It also creates a dangerous void in the life of Serbia’s political institutions, more or less “inviting” presidential interventions. In addition, Goati continues, Tadic enjoys great legitimacy among the electorate as the only political figure chosen by direct vote. The government’s internal weakness, meanwhile, creates further space for a strong presidential figure like Tadic. Zoran Stojiljkovic, professor of political sciences at Belgrade University, told Balkan Insight that the cabinet, made up of an uneasy coalition of Socialists and Democrats,
and led by a Prime Minister whose profile is rather “mellow”, as well as being more economic than political, tends to be slower and less effective than the other arm of the executive – the Presidency. Slobodan Vucetic, a former Constitutional Court judge, notes that the current President of Serbia has more powers than the President of Germany, for example. Although Serbia’s constitution does not envisage a strong role for the president, Vucetic says in practice, presidents elected by direct vote automatically have more powers. Vucetic adds that Tadic shares many powers with the government, which is not the case with presidents in “pure” parliamentary democracies where heads of state, elected by parliament, merely represent the country abroad and have a more ceremonial function.
State or Party
view this as politically undesirable. Zijad Becirovic, director of Ljubljana-based Institute for Middle East and Balkan studies, told Balkan Insight that in a democratic political culture, the posts of head of state and head of party should not be concentrated in one person. “Good examples can be found in the region. Croatia’s President, Stjepan Mesic, resigned from his party duties the moment he was elected president; Macedonia’s head of state, Crvenkovski and presidents Kucan and Drnovsek of Slovenia did so, too,” Becirovic said. The state should be above party divisions and so should the head of state, Jovo Bakic, professor of sociology at Belgrade University School of Philosophy, says. Writing recently in the daily newspaper Politika, he said the fact that neither Vojislav Kostunica nor Boris Tadic had been willing to put their party activism aside once they were elected head of state, pointed to a structural deficiency in the political system and in its tradition of habitually favouring political leaders over institutions. Bakic adds, however, that the opposition Democratic Party of Serbia and the Serbian Radical party, lacking any effective solutions to Serbia’s real problems, were using this shortcoming as an excuse to attack Tadic. Despite criticism, meanwhile, President Tadic’s popularity is steadily growing. But Stojiljkovic warns that this situation might have serious drawbacks. While things might be working smoothly for the time being, his overbearing style could have a boomerang-effect as time goes on. “The long-term danger is not only that Tadic’s style of ‘one-man’ rule will undermine Serbia’s fragile institutions, rule of law and division of powers. He may well be running a personal risk, too,” he said. “If matters get worse socially and politically – and the country is yet to hit the depths of this economic crisis, his account, rather than that of premier Cvetkovic – will be charged. He and his party will then have to pay the whole bill,” Stojiljkovic warned.
As to Tadic holding the posts of head of state and head of the ruling party concurrently, most analysts Source: www.BalkanInsight.com
Tadic enjoys great legitimacy among the electorate as the only political figure chosen by direct vote. Vladimir Goati, head of Transparency Serbia
If matters get worse socially and politically – and the country is yet to hit the depths of this economic crisis, his account, rather than that of premier Cvetkovic – will be charged. He and his party will then have to pay the whole bill. Zoran Stojiljkovic, professor of political sciences at Belgrade University
Weekly Press Roundup DANAS - Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria are eager to see Serbia in the European Union, Serb Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said, and they have put Serbia’s EU progress as their foreign policy priority, as they know it would be good news for them and for the region. POLITIKA - No firm word on a coalition between Tomislav Nikolic’s Progress Party and Vojislav Kostunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia – is it necessary for either?
BORBA - Minorities are not interested in joining Serbia’s police forces, mainly because of the bad pay. The numbers of Hungarians, Albanians and Bosniaks are very low, and of Croats and Roma negligible. KURIR - The president of the Serbian Progressive Party, Tomislav Nikolic, tells the paper he is satisfied with the response of Democratic Party of Serbia leader, Vojislav Kostunica, to his offer of cooperation between their parties.
GLAS JAVNOSTI - The 16 suspects arrested by the Defence Ministry as part of a crackdown on illegal veterans’ benefits, allegedly defrauded the state budget of several million dinars. DANAS - Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said Serbia cannot formally get European Union candidate status until the Stabilisation and Association agreement is in full force, and Belgrade must complete its cooperation with the Hague tribunal for that to happen.
Profile of the Week
Emir Kusturica, Self-Proclaimed Outlaw By Slobodan Georgijev A great film director, he constantly provokes the public in the former Yugoslavia with statements of sympathy for those accused of war crimes.
hen Emir Kusturica told the Zagreb weekly Globus recently that “Ante Gotovina is a good guy,” he once again infuriated all those who believe that the film director has marked sympathies for all those accused of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. He has had warm things to say about Radovan Karadzic, too. In tribute to the former Bosnian Serb leader, he wrote the lyrics that he performs in concert with his No Smoking Orchestra (“Who does not like Rasa Dabic, can blow us all”) – lines seen as a sign of his direct support for the policies of the late Slobodan Milosevic. Kusturica, now 55, though born in Sarajevo, has had no communication whatsoever for 15 years with his home city, where he had been the pre-eminent face in the local movie scene. “I erected my own town, Drvengrad, at the Mecavnik hill, because I lost the town of my birth in the war, and the other cities I have lived in are only airports now,” he said in an earlier interview. The director of Underground, a two-time Cannes winner, and winner at the Berlin and Venice film festivals, he likes to present himself as an anti-globalist and opponent of modern Western civilisation as represented by corporations and Hollywood. To him, the real war criminals are not Milosevic or Karadzic, but Western leaders, while contemporary Hollywood is the place where films are made which support those policies. He has sought peace in the utopian town on Mecavnik hill in western Serbia, which he built with aid from the Serbian authorities. Under the government of Vojislav Kostunica, he became a manager of the Mokra Gora nature reserve and chair of the Board of Directors of Politika as well as a member of the board of directors of Radio Television Serbia. Several years back, he was baptised into the Serbian Orthodox Church and changed his name to from Emir to Nemanja. The move startled liberal public opinion in Serbia and caused much anger in Bosnia. But Kusturica said he wished to openly proclaim his return to his family’s Serbian roots. “My father was an atheist and always described himself as a Serb. OK, maybe we were Muslim for 250 years but we were Orthodox before that and deep down we were always Serbs – religion cannot change that,” he said. “We only became Muslims to survive the Turks.” He has had frequent public conflicts with colleagues and is not beyond fisticuffs when he sees no other way to resolve a conflict. Among the most memorable are his skirmishes with Serbian director Purisa Djordjevic and Serbian playwright Biljana Srbljanovic. He sees himself as an outlaw who has invested everything in his dreams and intends to shoot his next film, about Pancho Villa, the famous Mexican outlaw. “My purpose is to make a movie to make you warm,” he says.
Friday, Feb. 13 - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009
Continued from page 1
Belgrader’s Secret Passions By Ljilja Cvekic Photos by Sophie Cottrell
elgrade may not be the city of love but we didn’t have to look too hard to find people with a passion for what they do. Artisans who refuse to let their skills die, who work for the love of their art. We’ll begin our tour with a sweet taste of the past, the last sweet shop in Belgrade to make boiled sweets and pastries, by hand, to hundred-year old recipes. Bombondzija Bosiljcic, (Gavrila Principa 14) is putting out its special selection for Lovers’ Day, heart-shaped lollipops in many colours and ‘Liciderska Srca’ cookies shaped like a heart, glazed in a fiery red colour and decorated with ribbons and small mirrors. “We’ll prepare more of those this week, it’s mostly young people who buy them for Valentine’s Day,” Branislav Bosiljcic, whose family owns the shop, told Belgrade Insight. “Some have even called a few days earlier to order something special.” The little store has changed little since the days of Branko Bosiljcic, Branislav’s grandfather. He started as a baker’s assistant and, being a good worker, became an apprentice to a confectioner. The shop he founded is one of the few still standing, from Belgrade’s 120-odd sweet shops just before the Second World War. “For all the sweets we make today we still use my grandfather’s recipes,
we even use the same machines and tools,” Branislav says. “The only thing that is different is that we don’t stir everything by hand any more.” He points to the window, brimming with boiled sweets, silken toffees filled with cream, caramels, mint chews and Turkish Delight in a rainbow of colours. Back in the 1930s the shop made only two kinds of Turkish Delight, known in Serbian as “ratluk” or “lokum”, after its original Turkish name, and some faithful customers have been coming back regularly for more than a half of century to buy the original versions,which are still made from just sugar and corn starch and flavourings, cooked for eight hours in a kettle, and constantly stirred. Now Bombondzija prepares 12 different flavours, including rose, nuts, raisins, honey, plum, mint, coconut, pistachio and orange. “Our old customers like it that everything is the same as it was 50 years ago,” Bosiljcic says. “They say the unchanged look of our shop and the taste of our sweets take them back to their childhood.”
A Lost Art Sweets in hand, let’s move up the steep cobbles of Balkanska street, one of Belgrade’s rare traditional quarters, where vintage speciality shops vie for space with new stores selling electronics and designer glasses. At “Kapa Bosko”
A love of antique toys led the Stojic’s to open their shop in Dorcol.
Bombodzija has been serving up hand made sweets since 1936.
(Balkanska 45) they believe that far from expensive fineries, all a person needs to boost their natural allure and add a bit of mystery is, naturally, a flat cap. “My grandfather and after him, my father, made caps here, and now my mother, sister and I still make the same type, only flat caps,” Natasa Valdevic told Belgrade Insight. “Times have changed unfortunately. We survive only thanks to our love for this work and our wish to preserve something that is fading away.” Often tourists come in to take pictures of her shop and usually end up buying a cap or two. “We have customers who have bought caps here for the last 20 or more years,” she says. “I know immediately when a person comes in, what model would suit him or her. Someone who is used to hats would rarely decide to change to a cap or vice versa.” With sales slow, the shop will survive, she says, only if the state is more understanding and protects the few artisan hat makers that still exist in the city. “Now they charge us high taxes as a boutique. We even signed a petition requesting a different status, but it didn’t get anywhere,” she says. “It’s a hard life and I wouldn’t like my son to continue with the business - better he studies sports. But, from time to time he too gets interested, and comes up with some new idea. It’s a beautiful, creative and interesting job.”
killer of taste and beauty.” For Valentine’s Day he has rearranged his shop window to display ties featuring hearts and messages of love. “A tie is the best gift to give to a man in a moment of seduction,” he said. “In the woman’s subconscious, the tie represents a leash of love, a way to bind a man. Women are my major customers, and my inspiration.” His hand-made silk ties, reminiscent of oil paintings, have been worn by royalty, heads of state and celebrities. He proudly shows off some of the letters of thanks from leaders such as Francois Mitterrand and Bill Clinton, fashion designers Pierre Cardin and Emanuel Ungaro, and actors Alain Delon and Arnold Schwarzenegger. “A necktie is a totem, it protects our soul from evil, unlike a bow tie that is worn only by those who want to impress someone at a cocktail party,” he said. “A bow tie is just a part of protocol, a necktie is a window to your soul.” Vrgoc has been certified by the Guinness Book of Records three times – for the fastest-knotted tie knot, in just 0.7 seconds, the longest tie at 23 metres, and for the smallest necktie. The 19 mm mini-tie, sown with surgical thread, ended up as a present for Spanish king, Juan Carlos, during his visit to Belgrade in late 80’s.
Tie Maker to the Stars
In Serbia, February 14 is the day of Saint Trifun, originally the patron saint of vineyards. Trifun is believed to protect fields, heal both people and animals, and to banish evil spirits. The myth says that on this day, Trifun stuck a burning branch into the ground and the snow started melting. If there is rain on Feb 14, plum trees will yield a good harvest. The next day, Winter meets Spring and a bear comes out ofits cave to check the weather. If the bear sees a shadow, it goes back tosleep. A similar tradition exists in Slovenia, where St. Valentine is said to make plants and flowers grow. Feb 14 is the day when farmers should start digging up their vineyards for the spring planting, and is also said to be the day when birds propose and marry.
As creative as our next stop, award-winning tie maker extraordinaire, Neven Vrgoc (Cika Ljubina 15), who believes a man should wear his heart not on his sleeve, but on his tie. In his 30 years in the business, the Serbian designer has made thousands of unique ties, always by hand, bemoaning mass production as “the
The Valdevic family have been making caps for three generations.
“My grandfather and after him, my father, made caps here, and now my mother, sister and I still make the same type, only flat caps,” Natasa Valdevic
Last year, he found a new way to mark the 30th anniversary of his store, using a paintbrush made of female pubic hair to spread a burst of colours on his ties. “Artists are allowed to cross the limits sometimes, it was my way to celebrate women and reach the highest level of inspiration,” he says. He concedes that sales have dropped recently, and his tiny shop does not see the bustle it once used to. “But it’s not the sale that counts,” he says. “I’ve turned a tie into a living thing that tells a story about our character.”
A Piece of Childhood Past To explain a passion that ended up taking on a life of its own, there’s no one better than Nenad Stojic, an antique dealer for 35 years who last year decided to leave aside the usual coins, furniture and paintings and indulge his love for more intimate pieces of the past: toys. His Antique Toys store (Brace Jugovica 3) is unique in Serbia and fulfils his dream to share with others the old toys he collected for many years, “for his own soul”. “Twenty years ago, I drove to Zrenjanin ( northern Serbia) to buy antique furniture and bought, as a present, an old toy motorcycle. It revived my love for toys and I started to collect old ones just for myself. When I had 500 of them, I decided to open the shop,” Stojic told Belgrade Insight. “I bought them from people who brought them from different countries, at flea markets, from private owners and collections.” In the tiny shop, shelves are packed with tin plate cars and aeroplanes, mechanical monkeys with drums, dolls with porcelain heads, wooden eagles and music boxes. The oldest toy, the only one that is not for sale, is a steam engine from 1890. The shop looks more like a museum and has very short working hours – from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and his wife Selma works behind the counter. An inscription in the window says: “We buy old letters, greeting cards, coins.” Most people come to browse, and just a few, mainly foreigners, actually to buy. Many older people come to relive their memories of their childhood.
Friday, Feb. 13 - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009 Continued from page 4
Repair and Recycle Our last stop in our passion tour is a tiny workshop of forgotten handicraft, an umbrella shop in the quarter of Dorcol, the only place in Belgrade where broken umbrellas can be repaired and where you can have an umbrella made especially to suit your clothes or personality. “We can make umbrellas with any material a customer brings or with our own material,” owner Ljubinka Boskovic told Belgrade Insight. “It is not like in old times, when we could order Italian or Slovenian textile, metal parts and handles. Now, we save an old skeleton, repair what’s broken and make a new umbrella.”
She started as a girl some fifty years ago, when she got a job in an umbrella factory near Belgrade, and worked with the same company until opening her own shop. Her daughter now works alongside her. “You cannot compare the quality of the old hand-made umbrellas and the ones produced nowadays,” she says, “we used to make umbrellas to last.” The Chinese were the first to use umbrellas as rain protection, waxing and lacquering paper parasols. They became popular in Europe in the 16th century and were at first considered an accessory suitable only for women, before Jonas Hanway, a British writer and adventurer made them ‘de riguer’ among men in England. Three centuries later, umbrellas are cheap and disposable, and only a few people want to order a hand-made one. The best customers for special orders are theatres and film makers, Boskovic said. A parasol made of old lace sat in the corner of her store was left behind after a theatrical production many years ago. “We hardly survive, but we’ll endure despite everything,” she says. “I love to make umbrellas live. The moment you Ljubinka Boskovic has been making and repairing umbrellas all her life. throw it away, it’s a dead thing.”
Serbia - One Of The Best Places To Be During A World Crisis?
Aren’t all the most dynamic relationships in our lives often bitter-sweet, love/hate? How often do we project our own internal struggles and ‘fed-up-ed-ness’ onto the society in which we find ourselves living?
By David Solomon
ell, I could rant about the million and one inadequacies of this particular corner of the planet - the one I heard referred to last night as the ‘New York of the Balkans’! And maybe that’s just why I love this place most of the time: it is so presumptuous, cocky and sure of itself. There seems to be a consensus in the Belgrade ether at present and, I suspect, there will be, for as long as we hear the daily apocalyptic news of the World Economic Crisis: that in today’s ever turbulent world, there is no better place to be, than Serbia. Having just come back from London and Zurich where the words ‘world crisis’ seem to be on everyone’s down-turned lips, I arrived back and was regaled with the stories of Zoran, my taxi driver, who proclaimed, as we left Nikola Tesla Airport, that the Brits and the Swiss wouldn’t know a real crisis if it hit them in the face. And I listened as he described how his mother had lived for much of the ‘90s on a pension of half a deutschmark per month. How he had spent seven years in a daily queue for petrol! Zoran then went on to explain how he had one particular challenge which kept him going throughout those difficult years: he was adamant that the “Majmun”
as Milosevic was often referred in those days, would not turn him into a thief or a criminal of any sort. His colleagues, he said, would often brag about their petty criminal exploits, whether charging their customers 10 deutschmarks for a short ride, or something more adventurous. Zoran and many other Serbian friends I‘ve discussed this with over the last few weeks are adamant that Serbia is the world capital of practical crisis management techniques. In fact, when I jest that perhaps Serbia could establish an Export Institute to train ordinary people around the world how to not allow crises to affect their lives, they take me completely seriously. Without exception the conversation always comes around to 1999 and the NATO bombardment, with all the electrical outages and deprivations that involved and yet, supposedly, everyone kept their nerve and even enjoyed the spirit of camaraderie in the city during those weeks. When even the younger generations still have a vivid memory of having to do without all kinds of consumer items - long taken for granted amongst their contemporaries in Western Europe or the US - and yet still remember having a good time, that certainly bolsters their ‘immunity’ to the relentless fear-laden news output about the worst economic crisis since 1929. What they experienced during the 1990s makes the stories of the Wall Street Crash yet another story of ups and downs and not the end of their way of life as many in the West, seem to be perceiving it currently. For many here, there may even be some sense of relief that not
all on the other side of a Serbian border, is greener. If there ever was local existential angst - that somehow everyone else, everywhere else in Europe is having an easier, more fulfilling life, while here the visa regime and painfully slow economic development are constraining the chance for Serbs to live life to the full – it is surely vanishing fast. However, my hunch as to why the spirits of everyone I meet here seem higher than in London or Zurich these days, is connected to the very characteristic that made me fall in love with this culture (and certain of its people) exactly a quarter of a century ago: a joy for the moment, and time spent with friends as opposed to a preoccupation with what one owns and earns. Yesterday while driving to Fruska Gora to collect my first ever wine production (delicious by the way!) we stopped a few times to see the spectacular views of the sunlit Danube. The kindness, the hospitality and the warmth, despite my obvious ‘NATO’ accent was just as I remembered it here in the good old, golden days, of the mid-1980s. In fact, it never really changed. Milan and Sinisa, two locals from Surduk, in their late 50s, took us on a tour of the new orchard they were planting, showed us the house below on the river, where Kusturica had filmed Black Cat, White Cat and and tried several times to get us to try their domaci rakija. When they bade us farewell, I felt new friends had been made. I also felt very grateful that I had had the good fortune to discover this corner of the planet. Right now I wouldn’t swap it for all the tea in China!
David Solomon Director, Global Initiatives Malik Management Zentrum St. Gallen Zurich
We’d love to hear your thoughts too. Tell us what you like about Belgrade, what really makes you fizz with anger and what you would change if you were in charge. Send us your thoughts, tell us a little bit about yourself, and send a photo too, if you like. Send your contributions to:
Belgrade Through the Eyes of…
Susanne SimonPaunovic Susanne Simon-Paunovic Freelance Writer Nationality: German In Belgrade since: December 1999 The best thing about Belgrade is: There is an anarchic vibe about everything, which makes you feel young. The most annoying thing about Belgrade is: Having to eat too much at Slavas. I feel at home because: I found the best dentist in the world. When friends visit, I always take them to: The Mosque in Dorcol and then to the Halal Restaurant in the cellar. If I was mayor for one day: I would initiate the campaign “love Belgrade - keep it clean”
Friday, Feb. 13 - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009
Serbia Needs More IMF Cash to Avert Crisis By Bojan Preradovic In Belgrade
elgrade will probably need a bigger IMF loan than the €402.5 million envisaged by a deal it signed a month ago, and will need to make tough choices in tightening fiscal policy, the IMF deputy managing director, Murilo Portugal, said on Tuesday. Serbia sought the €402 million loan facility late last year, describing it as a precautionary measure to reassure investors that its economy was stable and insisted spending would be reined in and reforms continue. In only two months since then, the national currency, the dinar, has plummeted to an historic low, despite heavy central bank spending to prop it up, while several attempts to sell off state companies have faltered, cutting into Serbia’s budget projections. Portugal told a news conference in Belgrade that the impact of the global economic crisis would slow Serbia’s GDP growth rate, cutting into budget revenues, including capital inflows, and cause the fiscal deficit to widen. “We think that circumstances are such that [Serbia] will require more financing and more adjustment,” Portugal said. He said he had spoken with Serbian officials about additional IMF funds, “but also on changing the type of the deal”. The IMF official explained that Serbia could go from having a standby deal, SBA, which means having funds available as a reserve, to “an agreement that would mean the additional drawing of funds”. “Tackling Serbia’s significant macroeconomic imbalances requires both additional external financing and stronger overall economic policies”, he added. Cutting wages and pensions is a source of political disagreement in Serbia, however. Forecast levels of foreign direct investment, FDI, are also being questioned due to the global recession, and the privatisation process is unlikely to go as planned. Controlling inflation and the cur-
rent account deficit is no simple task, either. Additionally, foreign debts due for repayment in 2009 must be serviced. Before it applied for a stand-by loan, the Serbian authorities had entertained a much more optimistic view of the economic outlook for 2009. They requested the loan in midNovember, 2008, when Serbia’s foreign currency reserves were a comfortable €8.1 billion. Economist Jurij Bajec was quoted as saying at the time, that Serbia would only draw on the requested funds “if the need arises, because of problems in the current financing of the state’s obligations to foreign sources”. But as the disastrous situation abroad has progressed, the need to lower expectations at home has become more apparent. Serbia’s latest budget slashed GDP growth forecasts from 6 per cent in 2008 to some 3.5 per cent for the current year. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD, meanwhile, foresees a mere 2 per cent growth rate in 2009.
Difficult Choices over Pensions and Wages The most critical reforms requested by the IMF in December include “upfront fiscal restraint”, which implies spending cuts including cuts to wages and pensions to keep down the budget deficit, as well as “containing inflation”. But there is no political consensus on the desirability of wage and pension cuts. While Radovan Jelasic, the Governor of the National Bank, NBS, called not only for a freeze but for a substantial cut to pensions, the finance minister, Diana Dragutinovic, criticised Jelasic’s stance, declaring that such cuts should not be made in the current climate, but at a calmer time. The dispute is a reminder that while some government officials remain cautiously optimistic that Serbia will weather the storm, others, most notably Jelasic, keep warning of a different outcome.
Photo by FoNet
IMF deputy managing director, Murilo Portugal, believes that Serbia may need more funds from the IMF.
Jelasic is also on record as repeatedly stating that a number of unpopular reforms – like the contentious pension cuts – are essential if macroeconomic stability is to be maintained. But pension cuts would be a stumbling block for the Socialists, partners in the ruling coalition with the Democratic Party and G17. A key election promise of the Socialists, to raise pensions, would need to be jettisoned, and this would place a heavy strain on the coalition partnership. Moreover, the authorities have failed to curb inflation and prevent the dinar’s recent slide against the euro and other world currencies despite almost daily interventions by the NBS. This is another major obstacle for officials trying to “contain inflation” within the 8 per cent band, plus or minus 2 per cent, as Jelasic urged on December 12. Despite measures to control inflation, retail prices rose by 8.9 per cent in the year to January. The NBS has been drawing on the country’s foreign currency reserves of €8.1 billion in an attempt to control the currency’s devaluation.
FDI Likely to Miss Targets In addition, due to the global financial crisis, Serbia may face problems in attracting foreign investment of €1.7 billion, as Jelasic has emphasized is necessary. Foreign investment is, at least in part, dependent on the country’s capacity to continue the privatisation
process. But this has suffered a significant blow as foreign companies continue to stay away from buying stakes in key firms like the RTB Bor copper mine and the national airline, JAT. Nikola Krdzic, an economic analyst, says it is hard to predict whether the figure of €1.7 billion will be achieved in “the highly uncertain global economic climate”. He said that “the recent lack of success in securing purchase bids for companies such as JAT and RTB Bor is a clear sign that foreign interest in investing in Serbia is on the decline.” Another major economic indicator with a direct link to FDI, namely, control of the current account deficit, is also a sticking point. The NBS Governor, in his January working paper, highlighted that Serbia’s current account deficit would amount, in 2009, to some €5.6 billion, or 16.1 per cent of GDP. The size of the deficit reflects the great excess of consumption over production in Serbia, and explains why the attraction of the €1.7 billion is so vital. If Serbia fails to attract a significant level of FDI, the government “will have to take swift action to sustain economic growth by cutting expenditure or changing its structure,” Jelasic said. This means the government cutting spending “by reducing costly expenses like pensions and public [sector] salaries”, explains Krdzic. In addition to attracting €1.7 billion in FDI, Jelasic stressed that Serbia would have to borrow €3.9 billion
to finance the current account deficit in addition to the “€3.6 billion in foreign debt” due for repayment in 2009. The Governor added that the only way out of this uncomfortable position would be “essential changes in the structure of budget allocation,” which yet again means those “unpopular reforms”.
Additional Borrowing However, according to a January column by the analyst Branko Milanovic in the daily newspaper Blic, Serbia may find it difficult to borrow money right now, because more developed countries are also borrowing large funds. For Serbia, foreign borrowing could prove “inaccessible or very expensive”, he wrote. This could spell additional troubles for Serbia in trying to finance foreign debt repayments and the current account deficit – putting further strain on the budget. In January, Vladimir Gligorov, a Vienna based economic analyst wrote that that “Serbia will probably need a more ambitious arrangement, which would enable drawing a bigger amount of money [than the requested €402.5 million],” and that the “stand-by arrangement… is now outdated.” Gligorov said this was mainly because “the fiscal and monetary policies of Serbia are no longer sustainable and this is why new negotiations with the IMF should be initiated”. It appears he was right.
Friday, Feb. 13 - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009
Vienna Stock Exchange Eyes Belex The Vienna Stock Exchange is interested in purchasing all of the regional bourses in the former Yugoslavia but is particularly interested in the Belgrade and Zagreb exchanges. Vienna Stock Exchange management says that negotiations will occur soon. Belgrade Stock Exchange management say they are open to negotiations, but have not yet received any concrete proposals. The Vienna Stock Exchange recently took control of the exchanges in Budapest, Prague and Ljubljana.
Genex Tower Sale Postponed In another sign that privatisations are not proceeding as the government would like, the Privatisation Agency has postponed the sale of the Genex Tower in Belgrade. Owned by Generalexport, the building was scheduled for sale on February 20th but the deadline for bids has now been put back to March 19th.
Djelic (centre) expects the government to receive additional funding from international institutions to help secure Serbia’s economy.
Photo by FoNet
Govt. Seeks New EU and World Bank Loans
he government is seeking additional loans to ensure macroeconomic stability. Aside from its IMF stand-by loan, Serbia is trying to secure more funds from international institutions such as the World Bank and European Commission to help it cope with the global financial crisis and ensure economic stability, Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said.
“Serbia currently has an aid package of $600 million (€468 million) from the World Bank, $400 million (€312 million) of which is destined for Corridor 10,” Djelic said. Speaking to an investors’ conference entitled “Possible Responses to the World Economic Crisis”, Djelic said the World Bank was expected to approve an additional $300 million (€234 million) for Serbia at its annual meeting in April. Serbia
would use part of that to cover its budget gap. Djelic said the deal had been discussed with Bank officials at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos and the condition was that Serbia first decides how it will spend the rest of the previously approved $600 million loan. As far as the IMF stand-by loan is concerned, Djelic said “new coordinates” would be agreed with the IMF mission due to visit Belgrade in mid-March.
“We are looking at the macroeconomic situation to determine how much money we need to finance the current account balance,” he said, adding that the €402.5 million loan already approved, could be extended. He also said the government had started the negotiations with the European Commission on getting €400 million in financial support, and could start drawing the funds as early as the last quarter of 2009.
Lasta 95 Takes to the Air
he first domestically designed aircraft produced at the Utva factory of Pancevo since the breakup of Yugoslavia, has been successfully test flown at the Batajnica military airport. The Lasta 95 training plane, will go into full production following the completion of tests. 16 aircraft are to be produced for the Serbian army to replace the Utva 75 trainer. Although
originally conceived as a basic trainer, the Iraqi military has already ordered 20 Lastas equipped for combat training. The one engined, lowwinged aircraft, is designed to be able to take off and land on both concrete and grass landing strips and is fitted with two underwing weapons pods which can be mounted with machine guns, unguided missile launchers or two 100 kilogram bombs
By Tijana Cvetkovic
he market swung between positive and negative territory during the last week but finally closed up, on the back of moderate volumes. Over the period February 6th – 12th, the Belex15 index of the most liquid shares rose
Figures released by the Serbian Statistics Office show that consumer prices rose by 2.4 per cent in January, taking the annual rate to 9.6 per cent. January figures showed a one month increase of nearly 10 per cent in tobacco prices and a hike of more than 4 per cent in services, mainly due to public transport fare increases.
Punto Production to Start on March 15th The first Puntos assembled in Kragujevac should start rolling off the production lines on March 15, Zoran Radojevic, the Director General of “Zastava” Group, confirmed. The plan envisages annual production of 15,000 vehicles with a daily capacity of up to 80 but actual production will depend on demand Radojevic said.
Building Permits in 160 Days
Belex: A Volatile Week on the Exchange 10.85 points or 2.1 per cent, while the composite index Belexline gained 0.8 per cent. Despite more intensive FX bond trading the total turnover on Belgrade Stock Exchange was 621.3 million dinars, which is almost 40 per cent lower than the previous week. Shares represented 77 per cent of turnover, with bonds making up the balance. The most traded FX bond was A2016 at 30 million dinars. Investors attention was focused on Sojaprotein again. Soja posted turnover of 163.3 million dinars realised from199,854 traded shares. Univerzal Bank and Agrobank also saw heavy trading with total turnover amounting to 37.2 mil-
Consumer Prices up 9.6 Per Cent
lion dinars and 30.5 million dinars respectively. The biggest riser over the period was Imlek which gained 41.8 per cent. Others in positive territory were Univerzal Bank and Agrobacka with price increases of 32.6 per cent and 19.6 per cent. Velefarm was the top loser, plummeting 13.2 per cent. Also on the down side were Telefonija and AIK Bank declining 12.3 per cent and 12.1 per cent respectively. Foreign investors’ participation in the market was slightly higher this week at 20.11 per cent with a more intensive presence on the buy side. Tijana Cvetkovic is an analyst with FIMA Fas Ltd. in Belgrade.
Correction: In issue 22 of Belgrade Insight we featured comments and pictures of Milan Culibrk, of the Economist Media Group and Miroslav Prokopijevic, director of the Free Market Centre. We regret to say that we transposed the pictures and comments of these two gentlemen and offer them our apologies.
We fly for your smile.
The Assistant to the Minister of Planning of Serbia, Nebojsa Janjid, said that new laws would shorten the procedure for granting of building permits from current 220 to a maximum of 160 days. Serbia currently ranks 171st out of 181 economies in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ survey for the ease of obtaining construction permits. This represents a decline of 19 places on the survey over the course of just one year.
Macedonia Village Cheers First Birth In 21 Years The central Macedonian village of Rilevo near the town of Prilep has cheered the arrival of the first baby born in the village in 21 years. Two-month old Teodora brought joy in the home of Robert and Anila, and sparked hope of better days in this village of old people and bachelors. After years of trying to persuade a girl from Macedonia to join him, Robert eventually married Anila from neighboring Albania. “Life here is hard, but we would like to stay. We live on three hectares of land planting tobacco. Teodora gives us reason”, Robert says.
Romanians Livid At Murder Of Handball Star The fatal stabbing of a Romanian handball star by what the police say are three Hungarians of Roma ethnicity has caused an outpouring of anger against Roma in Romanian media forums, with hundreds blaming them for a rise in violent crime and asking authorities to punish “the gypsy mafia”. The handball international, 26-year old Marian Cozma, was stabbed in the heart following an altercation at a local night club in Veszprem, 80 kilometres from Budapest. “It is a bit curious that Romanians are blaming Roma and not Hungarians for the killing of Marian Cozma, despite the often problematic past between our countries. Unfortunately, Roma people are seen as scapegoats for most problems related to public order and safety”, an expert on interethnic relations told Balkan Insight on condition of anonymity.
Macedonia Family Buries Stranger In Coffin Switch The Tahiri family from the western Macedonian town of Tetovo were shocked to find out they had mistakenly mourned and buried a Turkish man instead of their mother. Both the Turkish man and the 65-year old woman died in Germany and their remains were supposed to be transported by plane to be buried in their respective countries, writes the local Albanian language daily Koha. The Tahiris found out about the switch only after the funeral, when they got a call from the relatives of the Turkish man, stunned to find an unknown woman in what was supposed to be his coffin.
Imam Sex Abuse Trial Stirs Tensions in Bosnia The trial of an Imam on charges of sexually abusing an underage girl in a Bosnian village has stirred up tensions between local media organisations and the country’s influential Islamic Community. The family of the girl pressed charges last year, accusing the Imam of sexually abusing their daughter during religion classes. The lawsuit is Bosnia’s first public case of alleged sexual abuse by a religious figure. Some TV stations, newspaper and magazines went further and investigated the case, reporting on a further four cases of girls allegedly abused by the same Imam. They carried disturbing testimony from some of these girls and other witnesses.The reports triggered strong criticism from Bosnia’s Islamic Community. Last Friday, a three-person TV crew from one of the most popular local programs, “60 Minutes”, was assaulted by what they said was a group of conservative Muslims. Two days later, a local villager due to testify for the prosecution in the trial, received threats.
Friday, Feb. 13 - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009
Balkan Soccer League Still a Pipe Dream Comment by Zoran Milosavljevic
inamo Zagreb’s planned, and then cancelled, friendly soccer match against a team from Kosovo shows just how difficult it would be to organise a regional league in the Balkans. Officially, the Croatian champions scrapped their visit to Pristina after assessing that playing against Trepca 89, to mark the first anniversary of Kosovo’s independence on Feb 17th ,would not leave them enough time to prepare for a crunch league derby with Hajduk Spit five days later. Coincidentally or not, their decision came after a vehement protest from Serbia’s Football Federation (FSS), which – like the Serbian government – still sees Kosovo as the country’s southern province. Although Kosovo has been recognised by 54, mostly Western, states, its football teams are still ineligible for international competition because, to become a member of UEFA and FIFA, Kosovo has to gain a United Nations seat first. That, in all likelihood, would have been the Serbian FA’s case had the matter spilled into a legal battle and rather than get embroiled in a messy dispute, Dinamo backed off, despite having previously called the friendly a “perfect buildup” for the meeting with Hajduk. A regional soccer league has been advocated for some time by several experts and coaches in countries which emerged from the former Yugoslavia’s bloody break-up, but their sporadic calls for an environment which would be more competitive than each of the six leagues in the region, keeps falling on deaf ears. Such a league would, first and foremost, require a political consensus among the six Football Federations and even then, it would require an official recognition by UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, before teams in the league could qualify for international competition. Would anyone actually benefit from some kind of a revamped former Yugoslav soccer league and does the competition stand a chance of being anything more than a stillborn idea?
Photo courtesy of Partizan’s official web site
Serbian champions Partizan Belgrade played Montenegrin rivals Buducnost Podgorica in a friendly in the Turkish resort of Antalya. Both clubs are on a mid-season winter break and training hard for the resumption of their respective leagues.
Ante Pavlovic, a senior Croatian soccer official who was a key figure in the former Yugoslavia’s football federation, doesn’t think so. “There are absolutely no political, economic or sports reasons for a regional soccer league,” Pavlovic, 75, told Split daily Slobodna Dalmacija. “The wounds of war are still fresh and I don’t see what such a league would accomplish. Finally, UEFA has not granted teams from regional leagues entry into European competition,” he added. His last point is true - a Scandinavian league, bringing together teams from Norway, Sweden and Denmark during their lengthy winter breaks from domestic competition, effectively boils down to a series of friendly matches but some of the other prerequisites for a league seem to be in place. Meagre crowds in each of the former Yugoslavia’s six soccer leagues have depleted the revenues of clubs to the extent that they can only stay afloat if they sell their best players one season after another,
which they do, and because of this, they invariably make annual exits from the Champions League and the UEFA Cup in the preliminary stages. Back in the “good old days,” when matches between top clubs from the former Yugoslavia drew crowds of up to 90,000, teams from this part of Europe were much stronger and they were able to hold on to their best players until they peaked. Red Star Belgrade’s starstudded outfit, featuring players from across the former Yugoslavia, won the European Cup in 1991 and they achieved that historic feat because they came from a more competitive environment. Even if Red Star were to play Dinamo Zagreb in a league with no European prize at stake, their fixtures would surely draw bigger crowds than the few hundred who show up to watch the pair thrash most of their obscure local rivals. The only matches of any great substance are those when Red Star lock horns with eternal city foes Partizan
Dr. Karadzic Cured Me, Says Macedonian Folk Star
hile visiting her husband in the Hague war crimes detention facility, Macedonian folk singer Sonja Tarculovska had her toothache cured with a simple touch from genocide suspect Radovan Karadzic, she told a Macedonian daily. Tarculovska’s husband Johan is a Macedonian police commander sentenced for his role in the brutal killings of civilians during the 2001 ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia. When, during the visit she complained of toothache, Johan suggested she see Karadzic, the former wartime leader of the Bosnian Serbs, telling her he was regularly treating other detainees in the prison. Karadzic spent more than a decade on the run from The Hague,
the last few years in Belgrade, disguised as a faith healer specialising in ‘bio-energy’. “Doctor Karadzic put his hand where I felt pain and held it there for five minutes,” Tarculovska told local Vest newspaper on Tuesday. “It’s not a joke. In five minutes all the pain disappeared”. After healing her, Karadzic allegedly told Tarculovska to put her hand on the same place if the pain reoccurs, and he would send her his energy. The interview did not make clear how she got to meet and interact with Karadzic in the high-security detention unit. As his alter ego, health guru Dragan Dabic, Karadzic sported a long beard, long hair and thick glasses and was able to make a living from his healing until his arrest last July.
and Dinamo take on their traditional foes Hajduk, although at one of the latter pair’s more recent derbies, a mere 5,000 turned up in Zagreb’s Maksimir stadium. Crowd trouble, of course, would be an obvious and enormous risk unless the teams involved were to follow in the footsteps of the highly successful regional NLB basketball league, where away fans don’t turn up when clubs from rival west Balkan nations play each other. Even then, volleys of verbal abuse and nationalist insults, still a common sight in NLB league matches, would be unavoidable. The NLB league rules do not actually ban supporters from making the trip across the border, but common sense apparently prevails. The league initially struggled to pull in crowds, but when Serbian clubs joined, in its second season, it gained momentum and vastly improved the quality of basketball across the region. Partizan Belgrade and Cibona Zagreb, both former Euroleague winners and the two strongest teams in the former Yugoslavia, have been regular contenders in Europe’s premier club competition in the past few years as the regular top level matches have honed their skills. However, crowd trouble often erupts when clubs, national teams and even tennis players from Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia meet abroad and this paints a very clear picture what could happen if Dinamo fans turned up in downtown Belgrade one day or the Red Star faithful headed for Zagreb. After all, the last time the two sets of fans met on Yugoslav soil, in Zagreb in May 1990, they caused a riot which is widely seen as a prelude to the wars that tore the former Yugoslavia to pieces. That political risk is gone with Yugoslavia dead and buried, but soccer officials in the region who support the idea of a regional league are outnumbered by those who don’t. With all the side issues and the reluctance of many to venture into uncharted territory, a regional soccer league remains a far-fetched dream.
out & about
Friday, Feb. 13 - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009
Photo by Slobodan Georgijev
Originally buit as a set for the film ‘Life is a Miracle’ Drvengrad has been added to over the years to create Kusturica’s view of a Serbian agrarian utopia.
Kusturica’s Hollywood Utopia in Serbia By Slobodan Georgijev Reporting from Drvengrad
was highly sceptical about the personal town of Emir Kusturica, built on a beautiful hill at Mecavnik - http://www.kustendorf.com/wsw/index_sr.html - on the slopes of the Tara mountain in western Serbia. My suspicion came from a lack of trust in the man who, though undoubtedly a significant film director, is a personality with ‘problematic’ views, some of which he uses to explain the construction of this unique ethno village. When conceptualising this complex, Kusturica emphasised a wish to build his very own “Eden-like utopian place”, a private place, a kind of a Serbian ranch for him, his family and friends. But then it all turned into a tourist centre, which functions according to market principles. Despite this, I went there to see for myself a place which, just like its maker, is the cause of much controversy. You reach the village by setting off southwest from Belgrade on the Ibar motorway. Some 230 kilometres later, when you pass the town of Uzice and start climbing up Mt. Zlatibor, you turn right towards the village of Sljivovica, to the west. Take the main road leading to Bosnia and Herzegovina and go through splendid forest scenery on the slopes of Mt. Tara. You pass through the villages of Kremna and Sargan, and then through a newly-built tunnel, and arrive in Mokra gora.
As soon as you leave the tunnel, you will see an odd settlement on your right – Kusturica’s Drvengrad. Then you climb a narrow asphalt road from the main road to the parking area in front of the entrance. From Belgrade to the final destination, will take around three and a half hours. Alternatively from Podgorica the trip is 270 kilometres or around 150 from Sarajevo. Entry costs 180 dinars and once across the ramp, you enter the imaginary world of Kusturica – his view of an authentic Serbian village. A utopian view perhaps, for whilst the average Serbian mountain village is made of scattered groups comprised of several houses Kusturica’s village has a main square and smaller squares off to each side, streets named after famous directors, athletes, actors, writers, a church on the main square, several taverns, a pastry shop, library, swimming pool, gym, sports hall and a cinema. This tourist complex, which spreads and grows as it further conquers the hill on which it is placed, offers accommodation for visitors in over 170 apartments and rooms in numerous wooden houses for prices that are about average for Serbia. For example, bed and breakfast for two is around €50 and a whole house can be rented for around €150 per day. The Serbian press and other media have described this place exactly the way its maker wanted, as an oasis of peace and balance, a total contrast to the boiling modern world. To me it’s more of a place to stop over and look around as part of a longer trip to the
Montenegrin coast. From the balconies and windows of Kusturica’s stage set, the panoramic views of the nearby mountains are truly spectacular. You can spend a weekend with family or friends walking the nearby hills, enjoying fresh air, silence and excellent local grilled meat. This anti-globalist corner, as Kusturica presents it, can be an excellent place for a corporate retreat too, with conference and work-
shop facilities, recreation rooms and excellent wireless Internet. The village does have everything a modern tourist needs for a safe stay, but to spend a restful time in Drvengrad, surrender yourself to the wood and stone, the panoramic views and the beautiful mountains and try your hardest to forget the ideas of anti-globalisation, the rejection the modern mainstream and the new kind of human solidarity that its creator tried to imbue it with.
Photo by Slobodan Georgijev
Streets in Drvengrad are named after famous sporting stars and film and television personalities.
Friday, Feb. 13 - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009
Balzac If you’re looking for a place to romance the one you love this Valentine’s day, you couldn’t do much better than Balzac.
few months ago, when famous Istrian chef, Nevio Serotic was in residence at Balzac, I reviewed his full tasting menu and it was without doubt the finest dinner I’ve had in Belgrade. With Serotic long gone, it was about time to see if the chefs in residence had picked up any pointers from the master. All did not, however, go as planned. Clearly, I’d been too detailed in my first review and I knew my cover was blown when the Maitre d’ greeted me with polite thanks. Normally, I’d have been concerned about this, but as the front of house service had been impeccable on my first visit, I could see no need for anyone to be ‘acting up’ purely for Trencherman’s return. It was unseasonably warm so we sat on the restaurant’s enclosed terrace. It is not as formal as the inside
dining room but serves the same menu, which is modern European in outlook but not too extensive. Finding a warm starter was a struggle, until in came the ever-helpful Maitre d’ with a suggestion, not on the menu, of pasta in a cream and black truffle sauce. My dining companion chose a mixed salad, while for main courses we opted for a steak with prosciutto and mozzarella, and salmon in a lemon cream sauce. The garganelli pasta (rolled squares of egg-pasta) was perfectly al-dente and there was enough shaved black truffle in the creamy sauce to deliver a powerful truffle taste, but the sauce lacked just a little seasoning. The salad got great reviews – fresh and crisp, served with toasted pine nuts and a good dressing. The main courses were both served atop some excellent grilled vegetables and potato wedges. The steak was good, and worked well with the prosciutto. The mozzarella was neither here nor there - neither hot, grilled and melted, nor chilled, fresh and salty. The salmon had spent a minute or two too long under the grill and as a consequence had firmed up and dried out just a little. The creamy lemon sauce was good, but the slices of lemon in the sauce just added astringency and the bitter taste of the pith. For desert, we again stuck with the suggestion of the Maitre d - a chocolate souffle with a forest fruit coulis.
On his return visit, Trencherman had one or two pointers for the kitchen, but found the service faultlessly unchanged.
These were intensely chocolaty but, to my mind, not quite gooey enough in the centre. The coulis was a good balance of sharp and sweet and complemented the souffle well. Washing all this down was the star of the evening, an Adega de Pegoes Syrah, full, alcoholic, with smooth tannins and a long, long finish. This Portuguese wine comes from a me-
dium sized producer, and most of their output stays at home, but one or two of the town’s better restaurants have it in stock. It was a little on the pricey side at 3,000 dinars, but worth every lingering mouthful. So, with chef Serotic back in his Istrian kitchen, the results of a dinner at Balzac might not be stellar, but they’re still very good, and the
service was faultlessly unchanged. If you’re stuck for a place to take the one you love this Valentine’s Day you couldn’t do much better. Balzac, Strahinjica Bana 13 Tel: 011 3285906 Price guide: 2500 – 3000 for three courses with a modest wine.
We Recommend Every week we feature a selection of restaurants picked by our team. They give a flavour of what’s out there on the Belgrade restaurant scene and should provide you with a few alternatives to get you out of your dining rut. Our choices may not always have had the full Trencherman treatment but you can be sure that one of us has eaten there and enjoyed it.
Looking just like your granny’s house and serving her kind of food too, Jevrem, in the Dorcol neighbourhood, boasts a very pretty terrace on which to enjoy food on summer days. With live music on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, this spot is a haunt for tourists and local celebs.
If your idea of a nice lunch or dinner includes good beer solid traditional food and a nice setting, head over to Rubin. Set in the hills around Belgrade, when the weather is nice, you can step outside and enjoy the view.
Serving traditional Serbian cuisine, almost everything on the menu has some sort of meat in it, so, vegetarians – watch out. For 30 years, this restaurant, just off Knez Mihailova has kept up a tradition of serving authentic Serbian food that never gets boring.
Gospodar Jevremova 36 011-3284746
Kneza Viseslava 29 011-3510987
Trnska 2 - Beograd - +381 11 344 77 00 - www.pietrodelloro.com
Vuka Karadzica 12 011-2629761
Frans This long established restaurant serves Serbian food with a twist. Prices are on the high side but the dining room is plush and the service excellent. A favourite with the expat community, people just keep coming back for more. Bulevar Oslobodjenja 18a, 011-2641944
Friday, Feb. 13 - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009
We Recommend Friday
Three alternative music DJing teams, Riffs, Go with the Flow, and Brits, hook up for a night in Akademija, geared towards the indie-hipster scene. The three teams will trade off during the course of the night, playing indie rock, brit pop, new rave and contemporary electronica, so lace up your Chuck Taylors and be there. Akademija, Rajiceva 10
A group of local experimental musicians known as the Belgrade Noise Society, have invited neighboring experimentalists from Hungary for a night of knob turning and pedal stomping. Experimental audio and visual artists Rovar17, Ple, Fullogic and Veron will be performing. REX, Jevrejska 16
Hungarian experimental artists
Apparently the 80s have become passé and the 90s are now the cool retro decade. Thankfully, no one is focusing on the Seattle grunge, flannel shirts and depressing Generation X lyricism, but instead, on the remedial eurodance that was big back in the day. Ace of Base were not the only big thing popping out of Sweden at that time, there was also Dr. Alban. The Nigerian national struck it big with his single “It’s My Life” in the early 1990s, mixing dance, reggae and hip-hop. Supporting him will be a who’swho of “where are they nows” from the horrendously trite Serbian dance scene of the 1990s that has recently become very popular in a hip, ironic kind of way among city scenesters. Expo Center, Spanskih Boraca 74a Saturday, Feb. 14
The Impure Blood
Popular Belgrade pop-punk trio Euforia have emerged after a short hiatus with a new album to promote. The new album, simply titled 2, is more sombre and darke than the group’s eponymous debut album and the first single is already getting a significant buzz on the radio. Living Room, Kralja Milana 48
his two act ballet is an original Serbian production. Lidija Pilipenko, responsible for the concept, choreography and direction, decided to create a story based around the eponymous work of famed Serbian author Bora Stankovic. The story stars Stankovic himself, all the time writing about a woman,
Tuesday Violinist Mihail Budinski and violoncello player Ladislav Mezei will be performing classical pieces, focusing on the works of Hayden, Beethoven, Milhaud and Ravel. Both are very accomplished classical musicians with experience gained across Europe. Artget Gallery, Trg Republike 5/I
Antimatter, an acoustic ambient project of British musicians Mick Moss and Duncan Patterson will once again be performing an all acoustic set in Belgrade, after a successful show last year. Duncan Patterson played in the cult doom/gothic metal band Anathema and Moss was in various unsigned bands before Antimatter, and has been writing music for well over a decade. Supporting will be Belgrade’s Rain Delay performing an acoustic set and Amaranth, a side-project of psychedelic doom band Consecration’s frontman Danilo Nikodinokvski. Living Room, Kralja Milana 48
Exhibition: Mosaics of Gamzigrad
and as Pilipenko writes, “revealing the deepest, most inner secrets of a woman living under imposed norms, without freedom of decision.” She adds that the ballet is a journey through the great writer’s mind, and how he experienced liberating the power of his own unconscious mind” through the characters he wrote about. The ballet premiered at the National Theatre in July 2008. National Theatre, Francuska 3 Tuesday, Feb. 17
Exhibition: Portrait of Saint Sava
Gamzigrad, a popular spa resort in Serbia, is also known for the ruins of a huge Roman complex, known as Felix Romuliana, one of the most important late Roman sites in Europe. The mosaics on display were part of the complex, which was built from 289 a.d. Belgrade National Museum, Zmaj Jovina 1
Ballet: Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty is one of the most popular ballets at the Belgrade National Theatre. Set to the music of Tchaikovsky who said himself that “the storyline is so poetic” that he was thrilled writing for it. The fairytale works wonderfully in this production, which keeps the tradition of classical ballet styles whilst offering some exciting visual innovation. National Theatre, Francuska 3
The exhibition of portraits of Saint Sava represents a great opportunity for all those who are interested to get to know early Serbian art and understand the importance of Saint Sava to the nation. The exhibition chronicles the life of Sava through historical scenes in various painting styles. He is shown at the founding of the Serbian church, and is commonly shown as a mediator between the people and Christ.
The exhibition is curated by the Director of the Gallery of Frescos, Bojan Popovic. Along with the exhibition, this much overlooked city gallery has over 1,200 copies of frescoes from the 11th to 15th century, as well as exceptional copies of icons from that period. Gallery of Frescos Cara Urosa 20 Thursday, Feb. 19
Friday, Feb. 13 - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009
A Valentine’s Night Out If secluded lighting, whispered sweet nothings and a steak dinner don’t cut it for you for a Valentine’s Day in Belgrade, there are plenty of events lined up to deliver a pumping night out on the town.
Nordic Film Festival This year’s festival brings together shorts, animated features and documentary films from across Scandinavia.
nice warm-up event for FEST, Serbia’s largest film festival kicking off next week, is this week’s Nordic Film Festival. The festival of short, animated and documentary films from Scandinavia is being held for the sixth consecutive year in Serbia. It opens on Saturday and lasts until Wednesday, with 34 films from some of the best and most highly decorated Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish and Icelandic directors. One of the curators of the film program, Miroljub Vuckovic, writes that films from this region of the world are unique because of the “lack of linguistic or generational barriers, censorship and self-censorship, and the variety of topics, with interests in both urban and rural issues.” For the first time this year, there will also be workshops, at which film students and professionals from the region will network with Serbian colleagues in expert debates, and seminars for screenwriters. The “Nordic Panorama” festival is an international traveling festival now in its 8th year in Serbia and its 19th in total. The festival’s aim is to show often overlooked films from these most northern regions of Europe. After the initial screenings in Belgrade, the films will be shown in more than twenty other cities across Serbia. One of the highlights of the festival is ‘Tommy’, winner of numerous short film awards in Norway, which deals with childhood friends who haven’t seen each other in 20
years and find themselves alone on a mountain reminiscing. There is also the 15-minute long ‘PrePost’, a critique of human aesthetics covering everything from phrenology to plastic surgery, using an experimental combination of live action and animated film techniques. ‘Peace in Our Time’, a political satire gives the writer’s view of life in America under the “holy” Patriot Act, and ‘Lies’, which swept documentary and short awards in Scandinavia, develops three true stories about lying and the situations that transpire as a result of the fibs the people tell. “The Nordic Panorama film festival sets borders which are invisible but there… The borders of humanity, respect for life, meaning that freedom means boundaries,” Vuckovic said.
My Picks Source: www.belfastfestival.com
Ennio Mariconi, composer of some of Hollywood’s most memorable film scores will be performing with a full orchestra at the Belgrade Arena.
By David Galic
Reporting from Belgrade
or those inclined towards grandiose settings or looking to impress a date, composer Ennio Morricone will be performing with a full orchestra in the Belgrade Arena. Morricone is known for composing some of the most instantly recognisable movie themes and soundtracks, including those for Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western classics ‘For a Fistful of Dollars’ and ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’. There is also no shortage of Croatian crooners lining up to serenade the Belgrade public this Valentine’s Day. Whether it is because Serbs are more romantic at heart than the Croats, or there is a little bit of an exotic appeal, Croatian singers enjoy great success each year with Valentine’s Day concerts in the Serbian capital. One of the mainstays of this tradition is Neno Belan, singer of the now defunct group Djavoli, one of the most popular groups in pre-war Yugoslavia. In his press release, Belan said that the shows in Belgrade “always
end up great, with a very romantic atmosphere,” noting that his appeal lies in the fact that he is able to “relate emotion without the accompanying pathos.” Fellow Croatian heart-throb Goran Karan will also hold a concert in Belgrade this Valentine’s Day, just as he did last year, when he had to add a second show due to popular demand. Gentlemen, beware that your significant other could have certain unhealthy reactions to this singer, including but not limited to lust for his angelic voice, effortless machismo, and his very healthy, long locks of hair. If you want to keep the concert experience more Serbo-centric, go for a concert by the Legende, probably the most popular traditional Serbian music group. We recommended them even for people who do not understand the language, because they can enjoy the swirling music without understanding the lyrics, most of which are about heartbreak, inevitably leading either directly to death or to bouts of morbid alcoholism prior to one’s final demise. If you would like to avoid the singing completely and just go for some romantic music with your loved one, the Admiral Club Hotel will hold a Valentines Day concert
in its beautiful winter garden where a string quartet will play Strauss, focusing, of course, on romantic waltzes. If you don’t even want a melody, just a beat to tap your feet to, then check out the Stankovic Percussion Ensemble. Formed in 2007, this is the only marching band of its kind playing in the region, complete with American-style cadences and choreographies, but perhaps you’d need a particular kind of girl for this one! If for you, romance comes with a throbbing beat, there’s a drum’n’bass costume party in club Zica. No theme has been announced for the party, so anything goes as far as costumes are concerned, and the cover charge is a measly €1. There will be three separate DJs spinning, with an hour-long tribal drum session expected sometime during the night. Remember, nothing says “I love you” like taking your partner to a small, stuffy bar where bizarrely dressed people are ritually beating on bongos and puffing down didgeridoos. The old adage that Serbs look for any excuse to throw a party holds true for most festive days of the year, and February 14th is no exception.
Present Sweet Shop Every week, Rian Harris tells us one of her favourite places to shop.
By Rian Harris
Reporting from Belgrade
hether you are celebrating a birthday, wedding, new baby, or some other
special occasion, Present sweet shop is a good choice for cakes, cookies and other goodies. You can place a special order, complete with a homemade cake topper that celebrates your event, or choose one of the many luscious options on offer, such as the “Boem” (layers of walnut, chocolate cream and sweet cream) or the “Egzotik” (chocolate and candied orange pieces.) Cakes are sold whole or by the piece at about 200 dinars a slice. Try the petit fours, which come in different flavours and are frosted and decorated to look like little presents, or the cookies made with chocolate, almonds, and hazelnuts. Present is located at the corner of Njegoseva and Nevesinjska. Monday – Sunday 08:00 - 21:00 Tel: 011 2442487
Friday, Feb. 13 - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009
What’s On CINEMAS
Sunday, February 15
Tuesday, February 17
Roda Cineplex Pozeska 83A , tel: 011 2545260
Barthelemy Vincent and Shwabe, Energija, Nusiceva 8, 23:00 Disco Plastic, Plastic, Djusina 7, 23:00 DJ Stevie, Underworld, Corner of Ruzveltova and 27. Marta, 23:00 Vocal House, Mr. Stefan Braun, Nemanjina 4/9, 23:00 Sweeet Fridays, Ex-Lagoom, Svetozara Radica 5, 23:00 Yu Rock, White, Pariska 1a, 23:00 Les Gigantes, Blue Moon, Kneginje Ljubice 4, 23,00
Don Pasquale (opera), National Theatre, Trg Republike 5, 19:30 Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ilija M. Kolarac Foundation Hall, Studentski Trg 5, 20:00 Makao Band, Mr. Stefan Braun, Nemanjina 4/9, 23:00 Live Bands, Blue Moon, Kneginje Ljubice 4, 23:00 EKV Tribute, Danguba, Cirila I Metodija 2, 23:00 Metal Sound Fest, Danguba, Cirila I Metodija 2, 23:00
Manisent I Mentalnost, Blue Moon, Knegilje Ljubice 4, 23:00 Kinky Acoustic, Miss Moneypenny, Ada Ciganlija (Makiska side 4), 21:30 April O’Neil from Channel 6, Living Room, Kralja Milana 48, 23:00 The Doors tribute band, Danguba, Cirila I Metodija 2, 23:00
Transylvania (play), Belgrade Drama Theatre (BDP), Milesavska 64 20:00 The Blacksmiths (play), National Theatre, Trg Republike 5, 19:30 Exhibition: Gabriela Vasic (installation), Singidunum Gallery, Kneza Mihaila 40, 17:00
Confessions of a Shopaholic 15:45, 18:00, 20:15, 22:30 Madagascar 2 15:50 Bolt 16:00 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 17:45, 21:00 Operation Valkyrie 17:45, 20:00, 22:15 Dom sindikata Trg Nikole Pasica 5 tel. 011 3234849
Sportsman Night, White, Pariska 1a, 23:00 Shaker Party, Mr. Stefan Braun, Vojislava Ilica 86, 23:00 Lazy Sunday Afternoon, Fest, Majke Jevrosime 20, 22:00 Karaoke, Miss Moneypenny, Ada Ciganlija (Makiska side 4), 21:30
Psychodelic Tuesday, Underworld, Corner of Ruzveltova and 27 Marta, 23:00 Riffs, Francuska Sobarica, Francuska 12, 22:00 Diesel Party, Mr Stefan Braun, Nemanjina 4/9, 23:00 Discount Night, Fest, Majke Jevrosime 20, 22:00 Zex Kazanova, Bambo Bar, Strahinjica Bana 71, 22:00
Rigoletto (opera), National Theatre, Trg Republike 5, 19:30 Frankestra Band, Gaucosi, Dunavska 17a, 23:00 No Comment Band, Lava bar, Kneza Milosa 77, 23:00 Jailbreak, Living Room, Kralja Milana 48, 23:00 Love Trigger, Danguba, Cirila I Metodija 2, 23:00
Birdling or Justice for Siegfried (play), National Theatre, Trg Republike 5, 19:30 Eling (play), Belgrade Drama Theatre (BDP), Milesavska 64 20:00 Massacre God (play), Atelje 212, Svetogorska 21, 20:00 Exhibition: Zdravko Velovan (paintings), SKC New Belgrade Gallery, Bulevar Zorana Djindjica 152A, 17:00
One Flew Over the Cukoos Nest (play), Belgrade Drama Theatre (BDP), Milesavska 64 20:00 A Judge (drama), National Theatre, Trg Republike 5, 19:30 Innocence (play), Atelje 212, Svetogorska 21, 20:00 Exhibition: Irena Bijelic Gorenjak (photography), SKC Gallery, Kralja Milana 48, 17:00
Monday, February 16
Peppe & DJ Ura, The Tube, Dobracina 17, 23:00 Gramaphondzije, Energija, Nusiceva 8, 23:00 House Night, Mamolo, Ilije Garasanina 26, 21:00 DJ Ike & Prema, Plastic, Djusina 7 , 23:00 DJ Marko Gangbangers, Underworld, Corner of Ruzveltova and 27. Marta, 23:00 House Fever, Stefan Braun, Nemanjina 4/9, 23:00 Disco House Night, White, Pariska 1a, 23:00 Soul Touch, Blue Moon, Knegilje Ljubice 4, 23,00
Transylvania (play), Belgrade Drama Theatre (BDP), Milesavska 64 20:00 Exhibition: Gamzigrad mosaics, Zmaj Jovina 1, 17:00 Exhibition: Milan Stasevic (drawings), Chaos Gallery, Dositejeva 3, 17:00
Vitamins (play), National Theatre, Trg Republike 5, 19:30 Rabbit Hole (play), Belgrade Drama Theatre (BDP), Milesavska 64 20:00 Exhibition: Radomir Knezevic (painting), Phoenix Gallery, Tadeusa Koscuska 28, 17:00
Australia 15:30 Dawn 16:00 Bolt 16:15 Madagascar 2 16:30 Confessions of a Shopaholic 18:00, 20:00, 22:15 Operation Valkyrie 18:00, 20:15, 22:30 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 18:15, 21:00
Enigma Variations (play), National Theatre, Trg Republike 5, 19:30 Frederik (play), Belgrade Drama Theatre (BDP), Milesavska 64 20:00 Amy’s View ( play), Atelje 212, Svetogorska 21, 20:00 Exhibition: New members of Serbian Fine Arts Association, Cvijete Zuzoric Pavilion, Mali Kalemegdan 1
Ster City Cinema Delta City, Jurija Gagarina 16 (Blok 67), tel: 011 2203400
Saturday, Friday 14
Bolt 11:50, 14:20, 16:40, 18:40 Operation Valkyrie 12:10, 14:40, 17:30, 20:00, 22:30 Australia 12:30, 15:50, 19:00 Confessions of a Shopaholic 12:50, 15:00, 17:10, 19:20, 21:30 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 13:10, 16:20, 19:40, 22:50 Yes Man 20:40, 23:00 Underworld: Rise of the Lycans 22:10 Tuckwood Cineplex Kneza Milosa 7, tel: 011 3236517 Operation Valkyrie 16:00, 18:30, 21:00, 23:20 Underworld: Rise of the Lycans 16:15, 18:15, 21:55 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 16:50, 20:00, 23:05 Dawn 17:15, 19:35 Bride Wars 20:15, 22:15
Friday, February 13 Music: Belgrade Philmarmonic Orchestra, Ilija M. Kolarac Foundation Hall, Studentski Trg 5, 20:00 Extra Orkestar, Lava Bar, Kneza Milosa 77, 23:00 Kraljevski Apartman, Fest, Majke Jevrosime 20, 22:30 Toca and Band, Mr. Stefan Braun, Nemanjina 4/9, 23:00 Prorock, Living Room, Kralja Milana 48, 23:00 Odium, Danguba, Cirila I Metodija 2, 23:00
Woodpeckers, Living Room, Kralja Milana 48, 23:00 Karaoke Night, Danguba, Cirila I Metodija 2, 23:00 Nightlife: Wandered in From a Rave, Francuska Sobarica, Francuska 12, 22:00 Discount Night, Fest, ajke Jevrosime 20, 22:00 House Party (DJ Kobac), Blue Moon, Knegilje Ljubice 4, 23:00 Bla Bla Band, Vanila, Studentski trg 15, 22:30
Wednesday, February 18 Music: Carmen (opera), National Theatre, Trg Republike 5, 19:30 Live Bands, Blue Moon, Kneginje Ljubice 4, 23:00 Antimatter, Living Room, Kralja Milana 48, 23:00 The Istes, Danguba, Cirila I Metodija 2, 23:00 Nightlife: Cocktail Wednesdays, Mamolo, Ilije Garasanina 26, 21:00 DJ Ike & Prema, Plastic, Djusina 7, 23:00 Popular Science, Underworld, Corner of Ruzveltova and 27. Marta, 23:00 Karaoke Challenge, Mr Stefan Braun, Nemanjina 4/9, 23:00 Salsa Night, Havana, Nikole Spasica 1, 22:00 Samba, Bossa, Jazzy, Salvador Dali, Hilandarska 20, 21:00 Fest Cafe, Fest, Majke Jevrosime 20, 22:00
Thursday, February 19 Music: The Resident, Bitefart cafe, Skver Mire Trailovic 1, 22:30 Tropico Band, Lava Bar, Kneza Milosa 77, 23:00 AC/DC tribute band, Living Room, Kralja Milana 48, 23:00 Prorock, Danguba, Cirila I Metodija 2, 23:00 Nightlife: A Little Bit of 90s, Mistique, Aberdareva 1b, 23:00 Booki/Kinetic Vibe, Mamolo, Ilije Garasanina 26, 21:00 Ladies’ Night, Mr Stefan Braun’s Garden, Vojislava Ilica 86, 23:00 Playground Radio Show Live, Tapas Bar, Dositejeva 17, 22:00 Weekend Warm Up, Fest, Majke Jevrosime 20, 22:00 Other: Sleeping Beauty (ballet), National Theatre, Trg Republike 5, 19:30 Half Price (play), Belgrade Drama Theatre (BDP), Milesavska 64 20:00 Exhibition: Milos Ciric (graphics), Graphic Collective Gallery, Obilicev Venac 27, 17:00
Friday, Feb. 13 - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009
Partizan Stay on Course for Elite Eight The Serbian Champions ground out a dramatic Euroleague win over their Spanish rivals in front of 7,000 passionate fans in the Pionir Arena
By Zoran Milosavljevic Reporting from Belgrade
nicaja Malaga lived up to their reputation of being a tough nut to crack and it took a truly monumental effort from Partizan Belgrade and their frenetic home crowd to carve out a 60-59 win, in a pulsating Euroleague clash in the Pionir Arena on Wednesday evening. The result kept Partizan, who now have a 2-1 record in the second group stage, on course to reach the elite eight of Europe’s premier club competition, when it enters the knockout stage. However, the Spaniards are still very much in with a shout and will be looking to turn the tables on Partizan in a fortnight, when the two sides meet again in Malaga. Partizan’s giant centre Slavko Vranjes, the competition’s tallest player at 2.29 metres, finished the game with no points to his name but sent the home team’s supporters into raptures when he blocked Omar Cook’s last-gasp drive, which would have handed Unicaja the win had the ball gone in. It was a tough, defensive battle from the start, with neither side able to find their shooting form. A series of turnovers, coupled with a three-pointer from Czech forward Jiri Welsch, gave Unicaja a 26-18
lead late in the first half, but Partizan then went on a magnificent 16-0 run, on the back of three-pointers from Novica Velickovic and Aleksandar Rasic, to nose ahead 34-26 early in the third period. With the tie swinging one way and then the other, Unicaja came storming back with their own 11-0 rally, but Partizan held on to enter the final period with a 44-41 advantage. Shooting guard Uros Tripkovic, who struggled in the first half, seemed to have put Unicaja to bed when he buried two shots from behind the arc to give Partizan a 56-51 lead with three minutes left, but the hosts almost paid the price for poor free-throw shooting in the closing stages. With four seconds left on the clock and the teams tied 59-59, Velickovic made just one out of two shots from the foul line and gave the visitors a chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. As Cook took the ball down the court and pierced through Partizan’s defence for a lay-up, Vranjes stepped up to deny the former Red Star Belgrade playmaker, much to the relief of the home fans. Once again, the fans were Partizan’s ‘sixth man’ and Unicaja coach, Garcia Aito Renenses, duly acknowledged their role. “Our fans in Malaga are great but Partizan’s faithful are absolutely incredible,” he told a post-match news conference. “When they get behind their team like this, it is difficult for anyone to win here,” he added. Only defending European champions CSKA Moscow won in Belgrade in the preliminary group stage, when
Photo by FoNet
Partizan’s players and fans celebrate a hard-fought win over Unicaja Malaga. It will be an uphill battle for the Serbian team to repeat the success when the two teams meet again in Spain.
they edged Partizan 63-62, but the Serbian champions got their revenge when they came out on top 66-63 in Moscow. Tripkovic and Velickovic led Partizan with 12 points each against Unicaja, Gabonese forward Stephane Lasme added nine and as many rebounds, while Milenko Tepic chipped in eight points. Welsch and Cook had 12 each at the other end, with American forward Marcus Haislip adding 10 and seven rebounds. Elsewhere, CSKA Moscow received a 74-56 drubbing from Ital-
Serbia Given Timely Warning By Zoran Milosavljevic Reporting from Belgrade
osing to Ukraine 1-0 in the final of a four-nation friendly tournament may not seem like a good reason to ring the alarm bells, but Serbia will need to look at their unimpressive 2-0 semi-final win over hosts Cyprus and a tepid performance against the Ukrainians before they resume their World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign next month. Although Serbia showed glimpses of flair in both matches, some of the all too familiar weaknesses were again cruelly exposed in front of a handful of fans in Nicosia. The opening half against the Cypriots promised a better show after Milan Jovanovic and Danko Lazovic scored two superb goals, but it was to be the only spell of good football from Radomir Antic’s men. The second half of that game produced a comedy of defensive errors, which would have been punished ruthlessly by opposition of any quality, while a makeshift side fielded against Ukraine looked stuck in second gear for the full 90 minutes. It didn’t help that the Ukrainians decided to sit back on their slender
Serbia captain Dejan Stankovic had a quiet game against the Ukrainians.
lead after Serhiy Nazarenko fired them ahead in the 16th minute, as the Serbians played at walking pace and were desperately short of guile, creativity and ideas when they came forward. Perhaps they were saving their legs for more important battles for club and country. It is just as likely, however, that complacency has crept back into a team enjoying a second
Photo by FoNet
lease of life under Antic. Either way, one can only hope they will fire all on all cylinders on March 28 in their next World Cup Group Six qualifier, away to Romania in the Black Sea port of Constanta. If they don’t, their good start – in which they collected nine points from four matches to go top of the group – could turn out to be just a drop in the ocean come November.
ians Montepaschi Siena, whose Terrel McIntyre excelled with 21 points to lead all scorers. The defeat leaves CSKA plenty of work to do if they are to progress from a group in which Croatian champions Cibona Zagreb are on an even keel with both them and Siena. Spanish contenders TAU Ceramica strolled to a 108-90 home win over Armani Jeans Milan, thanks to an outstanding performance by Sergi Vidal. The playmaker finished with 26 points and 6-of-7 shooting from three-point range, while Bosnian forward Mirza Tel-
etovic added 19 points and Serbia’s guard Igor Rakocevic 17, in a onesided contest. Greek side Olympiakos Piraeus made light work of their 93-68 away win over Poland’s Asseco Prokom, on the back of a brilliant performance by Croatian centre Nikola Vujcic who had 21 points and seven rebounds, having made 9 of 11 shots from the field. Zoran Milosavljevic is Belgrade Insight’s sports writer and also a regional sports correspondent for Reuters.
Live Sports on TV Friday, Feb 13: Soccer: Argentinean League Match (Sport Klub + 00.15 a.m. Saturday); Alpine Skiing: World Championship – Men’s Giant Slalom (Eurosport 9.45 a.m. first run, 1.00 p.m. second run); NHL Ice Hockey: New Jersey Devils v Boston Bruins (Sport Klub 1.00 a.m. Saturday). Saturday, Feb 14: Basketball: NLB Regional League – Partizan Belgrade v Olimpija Ljubljana (FOX Serbia 4.00 p.m.), Spanish League – Real Madrid v TAU Ceramica (Sport Klub11.00 p.m.); Alpine Skiing: World Championship – Women’s Slalom (Eurosport 10.15 a.m. first run, 1.30 p.m. second run); Handball: Champions League – Zagreb v Chamberry (HRT 2 at 5.40 p.m.); Soccer: FA Cup – Swansea v Fulham (Sport Klub + 1.45 p.m.), Hertha Berlin v Bayern Munich (Sport Klub + 3.30 p.m.), Portsmouth v Manchester City (RTS 2 at 4.00 p.m.), FA Cup fifth round – Various Matches (Sport Klub 4.00 p.m.), Werder Bremen v Borussia M’gladbach (Sport Klub 6.00 p.m.), Olympiacos Piraeus v Aris Salonica (Sport Klub + 6.00 p.m.), PSV Eindhoven v AZ Alkmaar (Sport Klub + 7.45 p.m.), Betis v Barcelona (FOX Serbia 8.00 p.m.), PSG v St. Etienne (Sport Klub 9.00 p.m.), Argentinean League – Banfield v Es-
tudiantes (Sport Klub + 10.20 p.m.), Valencia v Malaga (FOX Serbia 00.30 a.m. Sunday delayed). Sunday, Feb 15: Basketball: Spanish League – Barcelona v Fuenlabrada (Sport Klub 12.30 p.m.), NLB Regional League – Cibona Zagreb v Split (HRT 2 at 6.00 p.m.), NBA All Star Game (OBN at 2.00 a.m. Monday); Alpine Skiing: World Championship – Men’s Slalom (Eurosport 9.45 a.m. first run, 1.15 p.m. second run); Soccer: Ajax v Feyenoord (Sport Klub + 12.30 p.m.), Juventus v Sampdoria (OBN and Avala 3.00 p.m.), FA Cup – Everton v Aston Villa (Sport Klub + 3.30 p.m.), Recreativo Huelva v Atletico Madrid (Kosava 5.00 p.m.), Lyon v Le Havre (Sport Klub + 5.00 p.m.), FA Cup – Derby County v Manchester United (Sport Klub 5.30 p.m.), Charleroi v Anderlecht (Sport Klub + 7.00 p.m.), Porto v Rio Ave (Sport Klub + 8.00 p.m.), Inter Milan v AC Milan (OBN and Avala 8.30 p.m.), Club Brugge v Genk (Sport Klub 8.30 p.m.), Osasuna v Valencia (Kosava 9.00 p.m.), Argentinean League – San Martin v Indipendiente (Sport Klub + 10.20 p.m.) Note: TV channels reserve the right to change their schedules.
Friday, Feb. 13 - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009 Accounting & Auditing
Gifts & Souvenirs
Pharmacies (on duty 24 hours)
BDO BC Excell, Knez Mihailova 10, 011 3281299. ConsulTeam, Prote Mateje 52, 011 3086180. Deloitte, Kralja Milana 16, 011 3612524. Ernst & Young, Bulevar Mihajla Pupina 115d, 011 2095700. KPMG, Studentski trg 4, 011 3282892. Pricewater House Coopers, Omladinskih brigada 88a, 011 3302100. SEECAP, Marsala Birjuzova 22, 011 3283100.
Kneza Milosa 12, 011 2641335, www. kombeg.org.yu. Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra 15, 011 3617583, www.merr. sr.gov.yu. Ministry of Trade and Services, Nemanjina 22-26, 011 3610579. Privatization Agency, Terazije 23, 011 3020800, www.priv.yu. Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Resavska 13-15, 011 3300900, pks.komora.net. SIEPA - Investment and Export Promotion Agency, Vlajkoviceva 3, 011 3398550.
Adore, New Millennium Shopping Centre, entrance from Knez Mihailova 21, Delta City 011 2625056, 10:00 20:00, Sat 10:00 - 15:00, closed Sun. Beoizlog, Trg Republike 5, 011 3281859, 09:00 - 21:00, Sat 09:00 15:00, closed Sun. Singidunum, Terazije 42, 011 2643158, 09:00 - 21:00, closed Sun. Zdravo-Zivo, Nusiceva 3, 063 8785988, 12:00 - 16:00, closed Sun. www.serbiasouvenirs.com
Aqua Pharm 2, Corner of Kneza Milosa and Visegradska Streets, 011 3610171. Bogdan Vujosevic, Goce Delceva 30, 011 2601887. Miroslav Trajkovic, Pozeska 87, 011 3058482. Prvi Maj, Kralja Milana 9, 011 3241349. Sveti Sava, Nemanjina 2, 011 2643170. Zemun, Glavna 34, 011 2618582.
Real Aikido World Centre, Slavujev venac 1, 011 3089199
Extreme Kids, Cvijiceva 1, 011 2764335. Puf-Puf, Bulevar Mihaila Pupina 165a, 011 3111793.
Golf Klub Beograd, Ada Ciganlija, 011 3056837. Belgrade Arena, Bulevar Arsenija Carnojevica 58, 011 220 22 22, www. arenabeograd.com.
Anglo-American School, Velisava Vulovica 47, 011 3675777. Britannica International School, Uzicka 21a, 011 3671557. British International School, Svetozara Radojcica 4, 011 3467000. Chartwell International School, Teodora Drajzera 38, 011 3675340. Ecole Francaise de Belgrade, Kablarska 35, 011 3691762. Deutsche Schule Belgrad, Sanje Zivanovic 10, 011 3693135. International Nursery School, Nake Spasic 4, 011 2667130. International School of Belgrade, Temisvarska 19, 011 2069999.
Ballet classes Orhestra Ballet Studio, Cirila i Metodija 2a, 011 2403443. Majdan Children’s Cultural Centre, Kozjacka 3-5, 011 3692645. Bookshops Apropo, Cara Lazara 10, 011 2625839, 10:00 - 20:00, Sat 10:00 - 16:00, Closed Sun. IPS-Akademija, Knez Mihailova 35, 011 2636514, 09:00 - 23:00. Mamut, corner of Sremska and Knez Mihailova, 011 2639060, 09:00- 22:00, Sun 12:00 - 22:00. Bowling Colosseum, Dobanovacka 56 (Zemun), 011 3165403, 11:00 - 01:00, Sat, Sun 10:00 - 02:00. First bowling, Gradski Park u Zemunu, 011 3771612, 11:00 - 01:00, Sat, Sun 11:00 - 17:00. Kolosej, Jurija Gagarina 16 (Delta City), 0113129944, 09:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 09:00 - 02:00, Sun 09:00 - 24:00. Business connections Belgrade Stock Exchange, Omladinskih brigada 1, 011 3117297, www. belex.co.yu. Business Registration Agency C-2, Trg Nikole Pasica 5, 011 3331400, www.apr.sr.gov.yu. Chamber of Commerce of Belgrade,
Consulting CES Mecon, Danijelova 12-16, 011 3090800, www.cesmecon.com. Dekleva & Partners Ltd., Hilandarska 23, 011 3033649, www.dekleva1.com. EKI Investment, Kralja Milana 16, 011 3613164, www.eki-investment.com. Dentists (on duty 24 hours) Stari Grad, Obilicev Venac 30, 011 2635236. Vracar, Kneginje Zorke 15, 011 2441413.
Sunasce, Admirala Geprata 8a ulaz 5/1, 011 3617013. Marry Poppins, Kursulina 37, 011 2433059.
Anlave CD, Vase Pelagica 68, 011 3175929, www.anlave.co.yu. Bel Medic General Hospital, Koste Jovanovica 87, 011 3091000, www. belmedic.com. Bel Medic Outpatient Clinic, Viktora Igoa 1, 011 3091000, www.belmedic. com. MEDIX, Novopazarska 30, 011 3085805, www.medix.co.yu.
Harrison Solicitors, Terazije 34, 011 3615918. Law Office, Takovska 13, 011 3227133, 063 383116, www.businesslawserbia. com. Tomic-Stevic-Dulic, Carice Milice 3/ II, 011 3285227.
Western Union, Kosovska 1, 011 3300300.
Cleaning Servis, Palmoticeva 10, 011 3233206. Pop’s, Mercator Shopping Centre, Bulevar Umetnosti 4, 011 3130251.
Bajlonijeva Pijaca, Dzordza Vasingtona bb, 011 3223472, 07:00 - 16:00 Blok 44, Jurija Gagarina bb, 011 2158232, 07:00 - 16:00 Kalenic Pijaca, Maksima Gorkog bb, 011 2450350, 07:00 - 16:00 Zeleni venac, Jug Bogdanova bb, 011 2629328, 07:00 - 16:00
Fitness Clubs Extreme Gym, Cvijiceva 1, 011 2764335, 08:00 - 24:00, Sat, Sun 10:00 - 22:00. Power Gym, Steve Todorovica 32, 011 3545935, 09:00 - 22:00. Wellness Centar, Kraljice Natalije 3840, 011 2686268, 07:30 - 23:00, Sat, Sun 09:00 - 21:00. Zvezda City Oaza, Ada Ciganlija, 011 3554652, 07:00 - 22:30, Sat, Sun 09:00 - 22:30.
Opticians Horse riding Aleksa Dundic Riding Club, Belgrade Hippodrome, Pastroviceva 2, 011 3541584.
Diopta, Kralja Milana 4, 011 2687539. La Gatta, Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra 43, 011 3244914. M&M optic, Jurija Gagarina 153/18, Novi Beograd, 011 1760772.
Photo service Color Foto, Svetogorska 4, 011 3245982. Foto Studio 212, Cvijiceva 63, 011 3374015. Models, Svetog Save 16-18, 011 3449608. Real estate Eurodiplomatic, Dravska 18, 011 3086878. Mentor, Milesevska 2, 011 3089080. Slavija rent, Beogradska 33, 011 3341281. Shoe repairS Sasa M, Kosovska 35, 011 3227238. Air Zak, Kralja Aleksandra 254/a, 011 2413283. Spa & Beauty Salons Jai Thai, Vase Pelagica 48, 011 3699193. Spa Centar, Strahinjica Bana 5, 011 3285408. St Angelina, Karnegijeva 3, 011 3232058. Sun Beauty Center, Strahinica Bana 29, 011 2182090. Zorica, Dobracina 33, 011 3285922. TAXI SERVICES Beotaxi, 011 970 Beogradski taxi, 011 9801 Lux taxi, 011 3033123 NBA taxi, 011 3185777 Pink taxi, 011 9803 Translators Association of Technical and Scientific Translators of Serbia, Kicevska 9, 011 2442729. Belgrade Translation Center, Dobracina 50, 011 3287388. Center Lomonosov, Hilandarska 23, 011 3343184.
Friday, Feb. 13 - Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009
Latest news from across the Balkans, in-depth analysis and investigations from our journalists in nine countries.