Friday • June 13 • 2008
9 ISSN 1820-8339
Issue No. 1 / Friday, 13, 2008 Weekly Issue No. 32, Friday, Apr. 17June - Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009
Lure of Tadic AllianceBurn Splits Socialists Belgraders Off
While younger Socialists support joining a new, pro-EU government, old Milosevic loyalists threaten revolt over the prospect.
EDITOR’S WORD SERBIA
The media is facing a torrid future as advertising revenues plummet. By Mark R. Pullen
This weekend is Orthodox Easter. We investigate some of the traditions asparty over which way to turn. sociated with this religious festival. “The situation in the with party seems The city hosts the 22nd Belgrade Marathon this Saturday and over 20,000 people will end the day aching muscles and sore feet, but, perhaps, just a little fitter.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 Many of us who have experiTadic in a bid to guide his party into enced numerous Serbian elections the European mainstream, but much rate ourselves as pundits when it of the membership and many officomes to predicting election recials may oppose that move.” sults and post-election moves. Nikolic agreed: “The question is We feel in-the-know because Page 4 will the party split or will the ‘oldour experience of elections in Ser&usABOUT timers’ back down,” he noted. bia hasOUT shown that (a.) no single Fearing they might not cross the party or coalition will ever gain the correspondent on a 5-per-cent threshold to enter parlia- Our majority required to takes form ausgoverntrek through the spring flowers in ment, the Socialists teamed up with Fruska ment, Gora. and (b.) political negotiations the Association of Pensioners and the will never be quickly concluded. United Serbia Party, led by businessEven when the Democrats man Dragan Markovic “Palma”. achieved their surprising result at Pensioners leader, Jovan Krkobalast month’s general election, it bic, Palma and Dacic are all pushing quickly became clear that the refor a deal with the Democrats. sult was actually more-or-less the The reported price is the post of same as every other election result Socialist leader Ivica Dacic remains the Serbian kingmaker deputy PM, with a brief in charge of in Serbia, i.e. inconclusive. security for the Socialist leader. faces extinction unless it changes. This is likely to continue as long to Serbia’s late president, Slobodan By Rade Maroevic in Belgrade In addition, the Socialists are barHowever, a strong current also as Serbia’s politicians form new Milosevic, and reformists who want gaining for other ministries, includflows in the opposite direction, led political parties every time they the party to become a modern Euroense negotiations on a new govPage 9 ing capital investments, Kosovo and by party veterans enraged by the disagree with their current party pean social democrat organisation. ernment have divided the ranks education, Belgrade media reported. prospect of a deal with Tadic. leader (thereARTS are currently 342 regAfter eight years of stagnation, of the Socialist Party, which holds Tadic has denied talk of horseMihajlo Markovic, a founder of istered political parties in Serbia). the Socialists returned to centre stage the balance of power between the Seminal Serbian rockers, Block Out, trading with the Socialists, maintainthe party, recently warned of a crisis Drawn-out negotiations are also after winning 20 of the 250 seats in main blocs and has yet to announce play the SKC on Good Friday. ing that ministries would go only to if Dacic opts for the pro-European the norm. One Belgrade-based parliament in the May 11 elections. which side they will support. those committed to working for the bloc, abandoning the Socialists’ “natAmbassador recently told me he With the pro-European and nation“It looks as if the Socialists will 11 government’s “strategic goal”. ural” ideological partners. was also alarmed by Page the distinct alist blocs almost evenly matched, move towards a government led by At the same time, Dacic seems reMarkovic, a prominent supporter lack of urgency among Serbian the Socialists now have the final say the Democrats,” political analyst MiGOING OUT is at a courtesy of Belgrade Marathon Ltd.with luctant to call off negotiations of Milosevic during the 1990s, is Photo politicians. “The country on the fate of the country. lan Nikolic, of the independent Centhe nationalists. seen This as year, representative of the “oldstandstill andgoI to don’t Nikolic the Socialists, led winner. tre year’s of Policy Studies, said. such This week we Brat understand Fidel for a Last Belgrade Marathon was“But a hotly-contested event withbelieves Kipchumba Kwambai the eventual more than 1,000 elite athletes will compete for the honours. and alternative out. to “If we don’t reach an agreement relaxed timers” in the party who want to stay their logic. If they arenight so eager by Ivica Dacic, will come over to a move might provoke deeper diviwith the DSS and Radicals, the partrue to the former regime’s policies, progress towards the EU and enTadic, if only out of a pragmatic desions and even split the party.” The organisers told Belgrade In addition to the men’s and ladies’ Brankov Bridge into New Belgrade. ty leadership will decide on future even though these almost ruined the courage investors, how come they sire to ensure their political survival. Simultaneous negotiations held races, runners from the armed forces Two exhausting 15km circuits later, Insight that we should look out for steps”, Dacic announced, following Socialists for good. go home at 5pm sharp and don’t group of younger Socialists with the pro-European By Simon Cottrell and national- of 26“The countries from as far afield as the runners cross the bridge again another strong performance from the first session of country’s Some Socialist work weekends?” gathered around Dacic seems ist blocs have drawn attention to a South athletes again this year,new butparfinishyounger in Terazije. Theofficials elite Kenyan Korea and Columbia willtobebe for the were not enough to offer are expected to come competing in theirNikolic own private bat- runners on brave Wednesday. have voiced frustration over stridthe con- theyliament Surely the situation is urgent in the majority”, said, adding deep rift inside the Socialists. betterBalkan prediction! towardsimpasse the finishwithin line just after forthese the World Military Marathon their own us aSource: enough to warrant a little overtime. reformists believe the party ingtinuing This divides “old-timers” loyal tlethat Insight (www.balkaninsight.com) As in previous years, Belgraders hen you’re struggling Championship, whilst young people twelve, with the fun runners anyare certain to turn out in huge numbers to rouse yourself from from all over Serbia will be getting thing up to four hours behind. With a forecast high of 18ºC and for the event and the entire route is exbed on Saturday morn- involved in the Unicef 5km fun run. OF spare overcast skies, the weather pected to be lined with people cheerThe 22nd Insight Belgrade Marathon partly ing after THIS a hard ISSUE week’s work, Business Neighbourhood Matters a thought for the more than 20,000 starts on Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra conditions look set to be perfect for ing on the participants. With so many Belgrade Insight Page 12 peopleISsweating and puffing SUPPORTED BY:their at 10 a.m. and winds its way first out the athletes, so we can expect the streets closed off for the race, and so way through this year’s Belgrade of town, before turning over Branka elite runners to come close to the many people expected to attend, trafMarathon. Or better still, set the Krsmanovica, and then back along 2 hours 10 minutes and 54 seconds fic is certain to be heavy so you’ll need conomists Slavia, are warning that pro- record sethile football world watch- to set off early to be absolutely certain by the Kenyan runner Japhet Nemanjina alarm clock and head into town to 14. Decembra, longed uncertainty over Serbia’s events unfold at the Euro- of catching all the action. 2006. and Gavrila Principa, crossing the Kosgei ines cheer them on. future could scare off investors, lead pean Championships in Austria and to higher inflation and jeopardise Switzerland, Bosnia is experiencing DINING prosperity OUT for years to come. a soccer rebellion, led by fans, SPORT play“This year has been lost, from the ers and former stars who are enraged standpoint of economic policy,” says Our by what theycorrespondent see as corrupt reports leaders Zaplet has long been regarded as sports Stojan Stamenkovic of the Econom- onofthe the Champion’s country’s football association one of the best restaurants in town. League quarterTrencherman sees what all the fuss finals. ics Institute in Belgrade. leaders. is about. page 5 page 10
Friday, Apr. 17 - Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009
Serbia ‘Has Nothing to Lose’ in World Court Case
ibor Varadi, the head of Serbia’s legal team compiling the challenge to Kosovo’s independence at the International Court of Justice, ICJ, says Belgrade has nothing to lose in the case. This is because, he says, Kosovo has effectively been out of Serbian control since 1999. Varadi, who will head the legal team representing Serbia before the ICJ, told Belgrade daily Politika that it was not outside the realms of possibility that the court could give an opinion on Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence that could be interpreted in several different ways, allowing both sides to claim victory. He said that this, however, would be a missed opportunity to properly settle the legal issue. “An advisory opinion is not binding, but it carries a lot of political weight. There will certainly be arguments that it is not a legal question
and that the court should not be dealing with this issue. But I’d be very unpleasantly surprised if the court was to accept those arguments,” Varadi said. The lawyer added that there was even a possibility of the court stating that it did not have jurisdiction, notwithstanding the fact that the United Nations General Assembly had sought its opinion. “I believe that there will be an initiative in that direction, primarily from Pristina, and some other countries that recognise Kosovo’s independence. However, this is a legal question par excellence, which is how it was qualified by the UN Security Council,” he said. “Our side’s arguments, which I have been able to see, are very well put together and have significant weight,” he said. Asked what would happen if the ICJ ruled that Kosovo’s independence was declared in accordance with
Profile of the Week
Patron Saint of Serbian Journalism By Slobodan Georgijev
Tibor Veradi believes that Serbia’s case at the International Court of Justice is strong.
international law, Varadi said that he did not see any great risk. “If the court is of that opinion, Kosovo would not be taken from us again, in effect, as it has not been under Serbian rule since 1999. The actual situation would not change, but it would be stronger than it is now.”
Varadi said that if the court ruled that the independence declaration had violated international law, it could lead to new negotiations. He said that negotiations were a way for everyone to save face, especially those countries that had recognised Kosovo’s independence.
Parties ‘Reluctant’ to Give Up Ministries
isagreements between members of Serbia’s ruling coalition continue to delay efforts to cut the number of government ministries, Belgrade daily Blic reported this week. The plan to decrease the number of ministries and Deputy Prime Ministers was first reported in late March, but has seen no progress, with Socialist Party of Serbia leader, Ivica Dacic, refusing to recommend that any of the three ministers from his party leave their post because of relations within that political party. Blic’s source claimed that the actual problem is that Dacic is not
willing to give up any three of the ministries belonging to his party infrastructure, education and mining and energy - as they are in the hands of Socialist hard-liners who are necessary for party unity. Government officials recently announced two possible options for cutting of the number of ministries. Under the first, the Democratic Party would give up six ministries; the G17 Plus party, two and the SPS, two. The second option envisages the Democrats losing three ministries; G17 Plus, one and the Socialists, one. “Nobody can expect to have a
government consisting of a hundred political parties and 12 ministers,” Dacic said, contending that “it is not true that the Socialists are obstructing the agreement over reducing the number of ministries.” However, he also claimed that “the real effect can be achieved by a cut in administration that would include several tens of thousands of jobs.” Serbia’s President, and leader of the Democratic Party, Boris Tadic told Belgrade’s B92 network that the number of ministries in Serbia’s government should be cut, but that it is not possible at the moment.
“Costs would be decreased by several ministerial salaries only. Also, the number of ministries reflects the electoral will of the citizens. We need a change in the election law that would allow the number of deputies in the Parliament to be cut first and then the number of ministries, too,” Tadic said. The State Secretary from the Ministry of Finance, Slobodan Ilic, has previously admitted that cutting the number of ministries would not have a major financial impact, but would be a sign that the government is serious in reducing its costs.
Weekly Press Roundup BLIC - Most universities in Serbia have raised their tuition fees for the next school year by between 5,000 and 10,000 dinars. One or two universities have decided to buck the trend and keep their tuition fees unchanged and the Faculty of Technical Science in Novi Sad has decreased its fees.
VECERNJE NOVOSTI - Radovan Jelasic, the Goverenor of the National Bank of Serbia, has refused to cut the salaries of its employees, even though the government has decided to implement cuts for all employees in state institutions.
GLAS JAVNOSTI - Bruno Vekaric, a spokesman for the War Crimes Prosecutor in Serbia, said the time has come to seriously investigate the ‘Yellow House’ case, concerning the removal and sale of organs taken from kidnapped Serbs. BLIC - Policeman Vladimir Grandic, 31, died on Sunday from injuries received in a shoot-out with armed robbers at a jewellery shop in Zrenjanin. BORBA - Serbian President Boris Tadic will go to China in May to try to arrange a commercial loan of €2 billion. The government has been trying to start negotiations with China regarding this loan but so far, there have been no answers from officials in Beijing. VECERNJE NOVOSTI - The worldfamous ballet dancer, Mikhail Baryshnikov will visit Serbia in May. Together with Ana Laguna, he will be performing in Novi Sad.
GLAS JAVNOSTI - Teachers from 30 high schools in Belgrade went on strike on Monday claiming that the Government has not paid their bonuses for the last year. POLITIKA - The Serbian budget deficit will be made up by money from privatisation, the €300 million loan from the World Bank, another €100 million from the European Union’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance and IPA funds. BORBA - A group of non-governmental organisations pressed for charges to be brought against writer and former Yugoslav President, Dobrica Cosic, over alleged hate speech and discrimination against Albanians, in his latest book ‘Time of Snakes’. The NGOs announced that they believe Cosic is under the protection of President Boris Tadic and consequently he will not be prosecuted.
Although she works with a small team and limited resources, Brankica Stankovic has managed in her ‘Insider’ series to save a little credibility for Serbian journalism.
rom the moment a few years ago when TV B92 started airing, ‘Insider’, the investigative TV programme, has been causing tumultuous reactions across the nation. Its creator, Brankica Stankovic, is at the centre of constant media attention, whether she is vilified in tabloid newspapers or praised in professional circles. Stankovic, 34, became famous by investigating the hottest topics: the background to the assassination of Zoran Djindjic, the search for Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, the so-called football mafia in Serbia and the current programmes on corruption which, after the very first episode, provoked a reaction from the president. ‘Insider’ investigated the city’s decision to sell four hectares of prime land to a developer for the construction of a shopping mall without arranging an auction, and the changes to the city’s urban plan that made the development possible. The city management denied some of the programme’s key claims. President Tadic, commenting on the programme, said “as the country’s president, I am not content with that building,” and announced that he would initiate a probe into the case within his party, which has been in power in the city for the last eight years. Brankica began her career at local Studio B, honing her skills in the field of investigative journalism in England. She says that as a little girl she wanted first to be an actress, then a detective. She has won every possible award for investigative journalism in Serbia and the region. Over the years, she has been no stranger to threats and intimidation from slighted parties. “Threatening phone calls are almost a part of everyday life. There are crazies who even threaten to drop a bomb on us. As far as I am concerned, I am not scared. My motives for doing this are pure. Those who are threatening us are mere cowards,” she said.
Friday, Apr. 17 - Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009
Advertising Fall Threatens Serbian Media’s Future Private TV, radio and newspapers face such a severe threat from falling revenue that some outlets will inevitably go under.
Photo by Belgrade Insight
Serbia’s vibrant media sector is in trouble. Falling advertising revenues are driving some well-known titles to the edge of the abyss.
By Uros Urosevic in Pozarevac and Slobodan Georgijev in Belgrade
dvertising income in the privately-owned media dropped sharply in the first quarter of 2009, forcing media companies to make radical cuts in staffing and reduce programming. The bleakest predictions suggest that many media companies will not survive in the current conditions, even if they make big cuts. The Belgrade-based Press publishing group, a privately-owned company that publishes the high-circulation daily Press and several other magazines, recently stopped printing its monthly magazine Fame and reduced the daily newspaper Business to a weekly supplement included with the main Press daily. Subotica’s Super Television has stopped broadcasting under orders from the Republic’s Radio Broadcasting Agency, after running up unpaid debts for the rent of its frequency. Ibarske novosti, a local newspaper, has not paid its employees for eight months and Kragujevacke vesti, another local newspaper, serving the central Serbian town of Kragujevac, has moved from print to online publishing. While some media firms in Serbia are laying off staff, others are coming up with different ways of making savings, such as cutting production costs and news programmes. All are looking to the state for some kind of aid or intervention. But while government measures have been announced, it is not clear how far the government will go to prevent privately-owned firms from going bust. The degree to which the media, even in western European countries,
is being threatened by the world economic crisis is illustrated by the urgent tone of the appeal sent by the European Federation of Journalists, EFJ, in late March to the European Parliament. The EFJ warned that the sector risked devastation if the EU did not take action. Some countries, including France, have approved concrete measures, offering €1.5 million in aid for struggling print media. According to the Independent Association of Journalists in Serbia, more than 400 radio and television stations have permits to broadcast in Serbia, and most are privately owned. There is no data on the precise number of print media houses but what is known is that there are 17 daily newspapers and several dozen larger periodicals, concentrated in Belgrade and Novi Sad. As the world economic crisis slowly spills over into Serbia, its effects are being felt by the private media as much as any other business sector. Data from ABC Serbia, which audits the circulation figures of the print media, shows that in late 2008, circulation dropped by an average of nearly 10 per cent, a trend that has continued into 2009. ABC predicts that over 2009, advertising income will fall by an average of 20 per cent. Veran Matic, chair of Belgrade’s B92 radio and television station, told Balkan Insight that their firm started cutting costs at the end of 2008. They reduced production; no new programmes are being launched without guaranteed profit margins and they have stopped buying new films and serials. “We reduced the number of freelancers, and their work is being taken
on by existing full time staff,” Matic added. “We also halted additional pension insurance payments for all employees, including management,” he continued. The electronic media in Serbia’s smaller towns are not being spared, either. The owner of the Pozarevac’s Radio Boom 93, Milorad Tadic, says falling income has forced him to choose between a range of unpopular options, starting with cuts in the number of employees. Tadic complains that even advertisements that have been sold are often not paid for. Companies who bought the slots are getting into financial trouble. He plans to cut programmes and make three or four staff redundant. Dragan Kuzmanovic, director of Sat TV, from Pozarevac, says survival depends on reducing expenses to a minimum, which includes cutting news programmes. “It means reductions in the making and producing of shows and it will eventually lead to a certain number of people being left without a job,” he said. “But I think every media house will have to do this, because there is no other way to survive in these difficult times.” Kuzmanovic says news programmes cost the company 1.5 to 2.5 million dinars per month, equivalent to around €15-25,000. While Serbia’s private media hope for help from the government, it is not clear how far Belgrade can go with its limited funds to create a better business climate for the media. At a round table, ‘Crisis and the Media’, organised by the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia in March, an initiative was made to launch a fund to aid hard-pressed media outlets and journalists.
However, only when the fund’s statute and other necessary documents are drafted in early May will it become clearer who might benefit from the fund and under what conditions. According to the Association, the money would be given to media houses in the form of loans. The initiative has the support of government representatives. The Minister of Culture, Nebojsa Bradic, said the state budget would contribute some money, though he has not said how much, because the plan is only in its early stages. Bradic has complained that the media have not yet formulated a united approach or a clear, joint request to the government. “So far we’ve received several individual requests, which didn’t offer comprehensive solutions but dealt only with individual problems,” he told the daily newspaper Vecernje Novosti two weeks ago. “The only correct path is for professional associations to come up with defined proposals to solve the problems for everybody.” Along these lines, the Ministry of Culture released a statement on March 30th, saying it would launch an initiative to formulate a package of measures of temporary aid for the print and broadcast media. The assistant to the minister for the media, Natasa Vuckovic-Lesendric, said two working groups comprised of members of the various journalists’ associations would be set up to establish the temporary aid measures and that the plans would be announced within four weeks. However, little is known about how much money the authorities intend to allot for the aid package. Veran Matic hopes the government will help those media that are most interested in investigative journalism and quality reporting. Dragana Nikolic-Solomon, from the OSCE office in Serbia, said the state might be able to offer significant aid through measures such as tax reduction. “The broadcast media are facing their own problems, paying horribly high copyright fees, which exceed the means of many television stations, which is why many are not able to cover their debts,” she said. “But I believe that those [companies] that are professional… and who use their experience and quality to get through will survive,” she added. “The public in Serbia is tired of propaganda and preaching and will turn to those newspapers and broadcast media that can offer variety, from news to entertainment,” Nikolic-Solomon concluded. Not everybody is so optimistic. Slobodan Reljic, editor of the weekly NIN, told Vecernje Novosti recently: “We’re facing a dramatic fall in advertising revenue. The media industry, which is too big, will sustain a major blow.”
This article is produced through training on Economic Reporting made possible by International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) and the United States Agency for International Development USAID and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
“So far we’ve received several individual requests, which didn’t offer comprehensive solutions” Nebojsa Bradic, Minister of Culture
“We reduced the number of freelancers, and their work is being taken on by existing full-time staff” Veran Matic, Director, B92
“We’re facing a dramatic fall in advertising revenue. The media industry, which is too big, will sustain a major blow” Slobodan Reljic, Editor, NIN
Friday, Apr. 17 - Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009
Holy Week in the Orthodox Church This weekend the Orthodox Church celebrates Easter. We investigate some of the traditions that surround this religious festival. By Duska Stefanovic
rior to getting married and giving birth to her two daughters, Dragana Vidovic didn’t celebrate Easter with her family, as her parents were not religious. It was her grandparents who used to gather the family on those occasions and keep the tradition going. Later on in life, family troubles made her turn to faith. Whilst her daughter was lying ill in hospital, Patriarch Pavle came to visit the children. He blessed her daughter and gave Dragana hope of a full recovery. Her daughter is a healthy 15-year-old today, and the family stands strong in faith. “I enjoy fasting - it is not only about abstaining from certain foods; it is more about giving love and comprehension to those around me,” explains Dragana. The Vidovic family starts preparing for Easter at the beginning of Lent, which last for seven weeks. As this period comes to an end this weekend, they will go to church and after dine together at home in Zemun. During the communist era, Easter was mainly an opportunity for eating and resting. Over the last 15 years, however, Serbs like Dragana
Vidovic have begun thinking more about the spiritual meaning of the feast day as well. Her family began the last week of Lent at Sunday Mass at Sv. Troika (Holy Trinity) Church. The day is called ‘Cveti’, or Flower Sunday. The week ends on Saturday, when they eat nothing after 5 p.m. and attend Midnight Mass. “All great holidays are deeply rooted in public life, and in the church and family,” says Vladimir Vukcevic, a priest and a professor at the Faculty of Theology. “These are not competitive ways of celebrating. By visiting the church, we participate in the event of the triumph of life over death, but it is not enough to only be present in church unless we personally dedicate ourselves to prayer. It is not a question of either/ or, [it should be] both home and church! To exclude either one of those is to impoverish the holiday.” The Mass features a candlelighting ceremony, when the priest lights a single candle from the eternal flame on the altar and passes it from person to person throughout the church. Eggs, a symbol of new life, figure at least as prominently in Orthodox Easter tradition as in Western Christianity. Each person brings an egg. After the liturgy, children often play
a game of Tucanje (egg smashing). Each person takes their egg and taps it against another’s, until one of them is broken. The winner, whose egg survives unscathed, keeps all the eggs. Vidovic decorates her Easter eggs during the last week of fasting. She begins by drawing designs on them with wax, and then on Good Friday she gets up early to dye them. She dyes red eggs first. One is called the ‘Cuvarkuca’ (Housekeeper) and is placed next to the icon of the family’s saint. Other eggs are decorated with different colours and designs. Finally, there’s the Easter feast: eggs, cheese, and smoked ham as appetisers, lamb soup and then pork as a main course, followed by Easter buns and a special holiday cake, all washed down with wine and rakia. After lunch, people traditionally visit their relatives with decorated eggs and gifts. Vukcevic said, “we shouldn’t talk about the mere numbers celebrating Easter, but we should talk about the difference in outlook. In earlier days, motives were often of a political nature, but today they are spiritual, so the type of people visiting today has changed as well. Those who used to treat the church as kind of a political arena are not interested in coming anymore.”
Athough not actually forbidden in communist times, practising religion was very much frowned upon. Since tho
Working hours during the Easter holidays Government Officies: Easter is a national holiday, so government offices will be closed, except for hospitals, pharmacies and some post office branches. Schools will be closed all week. Post Offices will be open in Savska St. 2 (8 – 3 pm) and at Merkator in New Belgrade (during the shopping centre’s working hours).
Shops: Most shops in Belgrade will have reduced operating hours and will be closed on Sunday. Markets: All open markets will work normal hours over the holiday except for Sunday, when they will be closed. Church Services: All Belgrade churches will hold a midnight service on Easter morning. The second Easter liturgy is at 9 am.
“I will celebrate Easter with my boyfriend. We will use this opportunity to see each other’s families, as we plan on getting married in May. We traditionally decorate eggs and put the Housekeeper egg aside. We will not make it to church this time as my parents live quite a distance away, so we will spend the whole day travelling.” Danijela Dragicevic, children’s entertainer from Belgrade
“I help out whenever my mum decorates eggs. We play Tucanje [the egg smashing game] at breakfast, and then call our friends and relatives to wish them a happy Easter. We have lunch and then visit friends. We regularly visit church on Sunday and during holidays.”
Stojanovic Nikola, student from Belgrade
“We celebrate Easter together at church during the liturgy, but the celebration doesn’t end with the church service. It lasts until the fiftieth day, when [we celebrate] the Holy Spirit’s descent to the apostles.”
Dragana Simic, theology teacher from Kragujevac
“We decorate Easter eggs as a family. On Sunday morning we go to our relative in Umka, a small village some 70 km away from Belgrade, where I was born. We ... light candles, take out the Easter eggs and eat some of the food we bring with us, to honour the souls of the deceased. After that we have a family holiday lunch.” Milorad Marinkovic, trader from Vinca
Friday, Apr. 17 - Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009
Belgrade Through the Eyes of… Liz Kuebler Student
Decoration of Eggs There are many ways to decorate an Easter egg, but one of the main traditions in Orthodox homes is to use a great deal of red dye to make the “Housekeeper” egg. Eggs boiled in water with onions become brown and designs are often drawn on the eggs with wax before boiling so that as the wax melts the design appears on the surface of the egg in a lighter colour. Others are painstakingly painted with Easter themes.
Nationality: USA In Belgrade since: 2009 The best thing about Belgrade is: Everything is open late, like 24hour grocery stores. The taxis are cheap and the nightlife is good. Everything is conducive to nightlife, especially for foreigners. The most annoying thing about Belgrade is: The lack of ethnic food. If you do not want anything from Serbia, well you should leave. Also, the traffic is annoying and everything that comes with it, especially the pollution. And also the lack of a good public transport map is annoying. If I was mayor for one day: I would build more bridges because of the traffic. I would also help the plight of the Roma. I would condemn the bulldozing of Roma settlements in Belgrade.
Photo by Duska Stefanovic
I feel at home because:
ose times there has been a revival in the Serbian Orthodox Church and many Belgraders will attend the liturgy this weekend.
By Gabrielle Guilmart
o me, life in Belgrade has proven to be a paradox, with the familiar contrasting with the alien. Some aspects of life here feel surprisingly familiar - the buses, the crowded streets, the abundance of cafes and restaurants. This, however, is where the familiarity ends. I can get lost in town and realise I cannot even tell what street I am on because I cannot read Cyrillic. Meanwhile, old ladies have yelled at me for walking around with wet hair - apparently I I might catch meningitis. Those are the times when I remember how far away from home I am. I see Belgrade as a city standing at a crossroads. As I walk by Trg Republike almost daily, a couple of things have struck and confused me. Everyday at five o’clock, a small group
Belgrade, Neither Here nor There.
of protestors organise right in front of the statue of the horse to protest against NATO and the EU, hanging a banner saying, ‘stop NATO fascism’. Yet I was under the impression that Belgrade wanted to be a more ‘European’ city. Many natives here have expressed to me a great deal of frustration at being “stuck” in Serbia, unable to travel abroad because of restrictive foreign visa regimes. Before arriving here, I read in a guidebook that families are really hospitable and friendly. Living with a host family here I learned that “really hospitable and friendly” involves force-feeding you huge amounts of food and constant worrying about your welfare! A foreign tourist who has not had the wonderful experience of staying with a Serbian family would find Belgrade a difficult city. The infrastructure is terrible, the sidewalks are dirty and, for me, the people seem forceful and abrupt. Where are the maps? Where are the bus numbers? Where are the streets signs? I have gotten lost so many times here. When I complain about it, people just tell me that having no maps and getting lost adds to Belgrade’s charm. I have to admit that Belgrade does have plenty of charm, though of a
completely disorganised and chaotic sort. In fact, it has been by accidentally straying from Belgrade’s usual routes and gathering places that I have found some nice, quieter places. On Saturdays and Sundays especially, Knez Mihailova, as pretty as it is, can seem like it is the only street in Belgrade and every Belgrader is there. But my favourite place is my new home. Stepping out of my door onto the cobbled street of Skardarska, especially on recent sunny days, I have felt like I am in a movie. It’s become my own little street, where I have found my routine. I wake up, make myself a strong coffee and shop at the nearby market every morning. Nevertheless, life outside of my Skadarlija oasis is turbulent. Yet, to live in the midst of the disorder of the city, you have to learn to have patience. I have noticed that time is not a very big concern here. In fact, time feels like a looser concept here, which is convenient for someone like me, who always feels like she is in a rush.
Belgrade has made me relax, something that has been hard to achieve in any other city. And as disorganised and chaotic as it may feel, this place has made me realise the importance of enjoying life. As the economic crisis is spiraling around us, and even though Belgrade is also caught up in it, it is great to be able to look around at the city’s people sitting around and relaxing, enjoying some of the best coffee I have ever tasted.
We fly for your smile.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
I feel at home because I have my own pace and routine. I feel at home when I go shopping at the Green Market. When friends visit I always take them: I’m only here for a few months but, if I had friends visit, I would take them to Kalemegdan and the party boats, like Povetarac, on the river Sava. I would also take them to Skardarlia and the Saint Sava Cathedral.
Jelavic Evades Kidnappers Sarajevo_A former Croat member of the Bosnian presidency, who fled to Croatia after being arrested on corruption charges, was kidnapped last week, but managed to escape within 24 hours. Ante Jelavic told journalists that he was taken near the southern town of Rama in Bosnia, where he managed to escape. “I managed to escape, probably because of their [kidnappers’] recklessness,” Ante Jelavic told journalists as he arrived at his home in the Croatian capital of Zagreb in the early hours on Friday. “They left me alone for a half an hour…It wasn’t my bravery, it just happened that way.” Jelavic was kidnapped near his house on Wednesday evening. According to the media, the kidnappers had demanded a ransom of €1 million.
Bulgarian Baby Trade Exposed Sofia_ In 2008, seven cases of trafficking of children were discovered, with most of the babies destined for Greece, according to the chief secretary of the National Anti-Trafficking Commission.“Because of demographic problems, there is high demand for children in Greece,” Antoaneta Vassileva told a forum on fighting human trafficking, organised by the National Investigative Service and the Risk Monitor foundation on Tuesday. The price for a boy was €18,000 and that for a girl between €13,000 and €14,000, Vassileva said. Usually the money was paid in two transactions, she said, but in most cases the mother - usually of Roma origin - got no more than €3,000. If the buyers did not like the baby, the price could go down, she said.
EULEX Assembles Spying Arsenal in Kosovo Pristina_An arsenal of surveillance equipment – including bugging and tracking devices and nightvision telescopes for sniper operations – is being assembled by the EU rule of law mission in Kosovo, EULEX. EULEX has issued a 162page tender for the high-tech tools, to be used in undercover policing operations, specifically “for covert surveillance purposes, in particular the positioning of vehicles and eavesdropping inside vehicles or buildings” according to official documents. Devices using satellite positioning, or GPS, will be attached to people or vehicles to track movements, EULEX said. Karin Limdal, EULEX’s police spokeswoman, said “EULEX has been mandated with limited executive functions in areas of sensitive crimes where the Kosovo Police has not yet reached a sufficient level of competence.”
Kosovo’s President Remains Best Paid in Region Pristina_Kosovo’s President, Fatmir Sejdiu, remains the best paid president in the region. Sejdiu earns €2,873 a month, beating Romanian President Trajan Basescu, who earns €2,500; Albanian President Bamir Topi, who earns €2,100 and Serbian President Boris Tadic, who earns €1,900. The news emerged as Kosovo civil servants’ wages were increased by 10 percent.
Friday, Apr. 17 - Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009
Unlocking the Dark Secrets of the KLA’s Camps Michael Montgomery retraces the journey that led him to discover KLA detention camps in Albania and discusses the ICTY’s destruction of crucial evidence of possible organ trafficking in Burrel.
ichael Montgomery is a special correspondent for the Center for Investigative Journalism. Over a 20-year career, he’s worked in television, radio and newspapers. As Balkans correspondent for the London based Daily Telegraph, he covered the conflicts in Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia, returning to Kosovo in 1999 to coproduce a major radio documentary, ‘Massacre at Cuska/Qyshk’, which documented the mass killings of Kosovo Albanian villagers by Serbian paramilitaries and won a DupontColumbia gold baton, the top award in U.S. broadcast journalism. He recently produced a documentary for the BBC Radio 4 ‘Crossing Continents’ programme and contributed to BIRN’s investigation into the network of KLA run camps in Albania and Kosovo. Why did you take up this current project? It happened in a roundabout way. I spent a lot of time after the war in 1999 in western Kosovo with my colleague Stephen Smith. While conducting interviews for our documentary about Cuska/Qyshk, we began picking up information that the bodies of some Kosovo Albanians had disappeared. Most people believed they were taken away by Serbian police to hide evidence of atrocities. Those clues led Stephen and I on a new investigation. Eventually, we produced stories on how Serbian forces destroyed, or hid in mass graves, hundreds of Albanian victims. That information was later confirmed with the discovery of mass graves in Batajnica and other locations in Serbia. During this period we spoke with a lot of men who had served in the KLA and other Albanian sources. Those people began telling us about some of the things they had seen, or heard, about killings and abductions carried out by KLA operatives or people they associated with the KLA. Who were these sources?
Obviously we’re being very careful to protect these people’s identities for their own safety. But these were all men who consider themselves Kosovo patriots… and who are still
proud about what they fought for. Some were drivers and logistics officers. But they were uncomfortable with some of the things that were done to people – Serbs but also fellow Albanians – under the cover of the war and under the banner of the KLA. Some sources also saw a connection between those crimes and ongoing corruption in Kosovo today. They believe that some of the people who were involved in these abuses… are continuing to abuse the system, though perhaps in different ways. One of the major allegations is that the KLA, or elements of the KLA, ran secret jails or camps. This is the heart of our findings. There’s strong evidence that the KLA, or elements of the KLA, detained and abused people at their bases and in makeshift jails in private homes. This was during and after the war. This occurred in the locations we mentioned in the documentary, in and around Prizren, near Junik and elsewhere in Kosovo, in Tropoje, in Kukes, in Burrel and even in Durres. It seems that different people were held in these places for different reasons. One of the major mistakes in the way this story has been reported in the Belgrade media is the claim that only Serbs were held in these places. In the KLA camp in Kukes, it seems that most civilians held there, at least for a time, were Kosovo Albanians. That was a really important point for many of our sources, the fact that fellow Albanians were abused by KLA soldiers and officers. So, these sources started telling you about a network of camps, human rights abuses and organ trafficking? Initially, we only heard stories of civilian killings in Kosovo, mainly Serbs murdered after the war. But as we developed more sources, we started to get more information on people who disappeared without trace. That’s when we started hearing about people secretly taken over the border with Albania. The thing that confused us was this: If these acts were simply revenge killings, why bother taking people over the
Michael Montgomery has spent many years investigating both Serbian and KLA atrocities commited during a
mountains into Albania? Why not just kill them in Kosovo, as had been done with others? What was even more confusing were stories we heard in which the men transporting these people were ordered not to mistreat the captives. And, according to the stories, the captives were checked by doctors after they were delivered to various locations in Albania. The most sensational allegations coming from your research was that prisoners were killed and their organs harvested. When did you first hear this?
In 2003, we starting building up more details about camps where people were held during and after the war. Most of our sources didn’t know why people were taken to Albania, especially after the war. They knew that some were killed in the border areas and their bodies dumped in hidden graves. But several sources said they believed some of the captives, probably a small number, were kept alive for many months after the war. This would only make sense if they were being held for ransom. But I am not aware of many cases of abductees being exchanged for ransom, especially Serbs.
Friday, Apr. 17 - Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009 tions. They didn’t see any of this, but they heard it and it seemed to conform with what they had seen at the house.
Skopje Protest Break-up Condemned Skopje_The violent break-up of a student protest was strongly condemned by Macedonia’s Parliamentary Commission for Human Rights last week. The protest by architecture students against government plans to build a church in Macedonia Square in central Skopje was violently disrupted on March 28th by a crowd of church supporters carrying flags and crosses, who attacked the other group while police watched on. The incident took on political dimensions, coming amid presidential and local elections, after PM Nikola Gruevski, of the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, failed to condemn the attackers and the opposition in turn accused his party of orchestrating the counter protests.
So what did you make of these stories? Initially they seemed preposterous. It was hard to imagine anyone doing such a thing. But the sources we spoke to gave a lot of specific details that matched with information we developed in the field. We went back to our original question – why bother bringing dozens, maybe hundreds, of people across an international frontier and then holding them in camps or makeshift jails for months? It didn’t seem to make sense unless there was some kind of financial or political benefit. One other possibility we imagined was that the civilians were being held to exchange for the hundreds of Kosovo Albanians being held at the time in Milosevic’s jails. But, again, these exchanges never happened. Eventually, I went to the house to confirm its location.
Bulgaria PM Launches Emergency Rubbish Headquarters
What did you do with your information? We took our information to UNMIK’s office of missing persons in 2003. We figured it was their job to find the missing and we had information about where some of these missing might be. Although we didn’t have reliable information about where the bodies of the victims might be buried, the UN decided to send a team to the house to investigate. Did you go back to Burrel to the now famous “Yellow House” with a UN team? Yes. And, the UN team did make some unusual discoveries – used medical supplies in a trash dump and evidence of blood stains on the living room floor. The family had explanations for these things, but these tended to shift over time. I think that when the team left the house, they believed the family wasn’t telling the whole story. But they didn’t know what was being left out. So what happened next? The evidence collected by the UNMIK team was sent to the ICTY in The Hague for analysis. The story was intriguing but we felt we didn’t have enough information especially about the camps. We waited for the UN to analyse the evidence from the house and, possibly, investigate new leads. But, again, that never happened.
and after the Kosovo conflict.
We had heard mention of Burrel and of people being taken and held there. We also heard that the International Committee of the Red Cross had investigated Kosovo citizens being held in Burrel after the war. Eventually, we met two reliable sources who told us about driving a small number of captives to a house near Burrel and possibly some other locations. They said it was very strange because doctors were present and one source said the inside of the house smelled like a hospital. They were later told that the captives, or their organs, were shipped abroad for transplant opera-
The next time you heard about this was in Carla Del Ponte’s book? Right. What did you think about the fact that no investigation was launched while she was ICTY chief prosecutor but after leaving office, she raised the issue in her book? My assumption is that she published the information out of frustration and hoping to generate interest in the case. I don’t know for sure. And what happened to the evidence collected on the scene?
A page from the UNMIK report detailing evidence collected from the ‘Yellow House’.
I’m quite sure the evidence was destroyed at the Tribunal. Not only has the Serbian war crimes prosecutor, Vladimir Vukcevic, stated this, but it’s also been confirmed by Jose Pablo Baraybar, the former head of UNMIK’s missing persons office. Del Ponte is now an ambassador and the Swiss Foreign Ministry has forbidden her to speak with the media. However, her co-author, Chuck Sudetic, told me this about the reports of the destruction of the Burrel evidence: “Carla Del Ponte did not know that these physical artefacts, which included spent medicine vials, and other medical materials, were destroyed by the ICTY. The decision-making on their destruction was made below Madame Del Ponte’s level, and she was not consulted about it. If Madame Del Ponte had been consulted, she would have refused to approve the destruction of this and any other evidence.” I’m not aware of any followup investigation by UNMIK or the ICTY on this matter. But you launched a new investigation recently. What did you discover this time? Our new investigation has provided powerful evidence of a loose network of camps in Kosovo and Albania where people were abused and in some cases killed. Our new research has also revealed that some of the victims were ethnic Albanians. How would you characterize the UN’s handling of these allegations? The UN encompasses such a broad range of organisations and people. I’ve spoke to many former UNMIK officials who described all the challenges of working in the Kosovo justice system – from witness intimidation to simple lack of resources. So I think there were many factors that hampered UNMIK’s ability to investigate and prosecute war
and ethnic crimes. Another factor was certainly political. Several former UNMIK officials told me there was no political support for major war-crimes prosecutions, especially after the March 2004 riots targeting the Serbian minority. That doesn’t mean individual prosecutors weren’t able to pursue some cases. They were. But overall, these former UNMIK officials say they’re very disappointed with the number of cases, especially for crimes committed against minority groups. What are the chances that EULEX will take on some of these cases? My understanding is that EULEX has already stated publicly that it is looking into the allegations. The question will be whether they give prosecutors strong political backing to take the investigation wherever it leads and whether there are adequate sources to make effective cases. I think the jury is out on whether EULEX has allocated sufficient resources for its war crimes team. Are you sorry that you didn’t publish a story back then? This story has been distorted over time. I have always seen the central frame being the people who were kidnapped and taken to northern Albania. I strongly believe that dozens if not hundreds of people were forcibly moved from Kosovo to Albania and killed there. There is a continuing mystery over the small fraction of those captives who were not immediately killed. And I believe that some of those victims were taken to Burrel. But we simply don’t have enough information to know with certainty what happened to those people. There are many things we know today that we didn’t know five years ago. So I think we made the right decision not to go with the story back then.
Sofia_Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, Sergei Stanishev, has established a crisis headquarters to organise the collection of rubbish in the capital Sofia. The decision was reached when the capital’s wastebins had been overflowing for several weeks in March after the city, controlled by the rightwing mayor Boyko Borisov, the prime minister’s chief political foe, cancelled an agreement with the company charged with rubbish collection. Since the start of this month, the situation has begun to return to normal with other companies picking up rubbish. But collections remain sporadic and according to the government, the present state of affairs “creates a problem for people’s health” now that temperatures are frequently above 20ºC. “It is not a question of cleaning up the city for a week or a month,” said Stanishev. “The crisis headquarters must find an overall and sustainable solution.”
Bulgarian Kidnappers ‘Seize Ransom Money’ Sofia_Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Mihail Mikov is refusing to comment on the reports that the son of kidnapped businessman Kiro Kirov paid a ransom of €620,000, Bulgarian news agency Focus reports. Kirov, 73, has been missing since March 27th, with neither the police nor his family admitting that he was kidnapped and held for ransom. Speculation in the Bulgarian media was that the kidnappers had asked for at least €1 million in ransom. On April 13th, Bulgarian-language daily Standart said that in the late hours of April 11th, Kirov’s son left a bag containing €620,000 under a bridge on the Trakiya highway near Sofia. The kidnappers reportedly lifted the money with a hook and disappeared into the night. The police have so far failed to make any arrests in the case. Kirov is still missing, reports Standart, quoting unnamed sources at the Interior Ministry.
Friday, Apr. 17 - Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009
Property Prices Defy Recession in Serbia’s Southwest
Mixed Response to Stimulus Package Comment by Ian Mihajlovic
Developers are confident they can sit out the current downturn in sales as they feel the demand for real estate is still there. of the land and construction costs,” she added. The situation is similar in other towns in the Sandzak region as well as other parts of southwest Serbia. Prices have not fallen in the western town of Uzice over the last year either, although there has been little activity in the market. “Demand for apartments is dropping by the day, due to the global crisis and falling salaries, but owners do not lower their prices,” the owner of one real estate agency in Uzice said. Investors remain aware that there are simply not enough apartments in the town. Both Novi Pazar and Uzice are limited by their geography. Situated in valleys, good quality building land is scarce. New buildings in both towns are mainly built on brown-field sites and Uzice is seeing a number of skyscrapers sprouting on its skyline. Novi Pazar has the same dilemma. “We have a problem where to construct buildings because, in the downtown area, there is almost no room anymore,” says Hodzic. She knows there is declining demand in the property market because people have few savings and banks only offer mortgages with conditions that are too onerous for many borrowers. However, Hodzic says, developers cannot afford to cut prices, as that would eat deeply into profit margins. “Sales of apartments have fallen drastically in the last six months but we’re ready to wait for a change in market conditions,” she says. Selling apartments is not the only source of income for most property investors in Uzice, in any case. Besides construction, they tend to deal in other businesses such as restaurants and transport. They too, are willing to sit out the recession.
By Azra Music from Novi Pazar and Biljana Pavlovic from Uzice
ith banks hiking the cost of borrowing, and low wages across the region, demand for new properties is low. The people of southwest Serbia will continue to face problems buying their own homes until the global economic crisis recedes. Property developers, however, have decided not to reduce prices to meet these requirements. Worries about the current economic situation mean that people have given up on the idea of taking out loans to buy apartments for the time being, choosing instead to continue paying often expensive rents. Hazna Dazdarevic, a young mother renting an apartment in Novi Pazar with her partner, Aladin, said “mortgage payments might be lower than our rent, but we don’t dare try right now. The banks often raise their interest rates, and the company we both work for has announced redundancies.” Many other young couples in the city are in a similar position. The need for apartments is great, but people are sitting back, waiting to see what happens. “People are scared by the economic crisis and are opting to wait and see whether it will deteriorate, or if things will get better,” Ramiz Etemovic, a local journalist in Novi Pazar, says. But although few are prepared to commit to the purchase of an apartment, prices are not dropping at all. “The average price per square metre in a newly erected building in Novi Pazar is around €900,” Aida Hodzic, director of the Novi Pazar development company Edvin, told Balkan Insight. “But it can be well over €1,000, depending on the price
“We’re prepared to wait. We don’t want to reduce prices, because we are talking about high-quality construction here,” one real estate investor from Uzice explained. Local bank officials in both towns confirm the sharp drop in demand for mortgages. Saban Gracanin, manager of the EFG Eurobank office in Novi Pazar, says interest rates are twice as high as last year, and the number of approved loans has halved. “Banks are offering high interest rates for deposits. Everyone who does not absolutely have to take a loan has given up on the idea,” he said. Dragica Simovic, director of Erste bank’s office in Uzice, says his bank has approved only three loans for apartments in the last month. They were for sums between €20,000 and €25,000. “People in Uzice are interested in housing loans but their suitability as borrowers is often affected by their small
Investors Pessimistic Despite Modest Gains
By Tijana Cvetkovic
Developers in Uzice are prepared to wait for the market to pick up.
espite some modest gains, the mood on the exchange has been generally pessimistic this week. Over the period
April 13th-16th the indices nudged ahead , rising 3.2 per cent (Belex15) and 1.9 per cent (Belexline). The turnover on the exchange was again low at 186.2 million dinars, 40 per cent down compared to the previous week. Foreign investors` accounted for just 13 per cent of total turnover and, as has been common recently, with a more intensive presence on the sell side. The most liquid issue was AIK Bank with total turnover of 23.6 million dinars and 14,094 traded shares. Instutut za ispitivanje materijala and construction company Napred were also comparatively heavily traded with volumes of 13.9 million dinars and 11.7 million dinars.
The top gainer of the week was Metals Bank, rising 16.6 per cent. Pharmaceuticals producer Velefarm and Komercijalna Bank followed, gaining 12.2 per cent and 11.1 per cent, respectively. Topping the list of losers was another bank - Credy banka, which plunged 12 per cent. Cacanska Bank and Globos insurance company also saw a price decline losing 12 per cent and 8.1 per cent over the period. Government FX bonds realised over €734,000 and the most traded bond series was, once again A2016, with turnover of €432,000. Tijana Cvetkovic Head of corporate services department FIMA International a.d. Belgrade
salaries,” Simovic said, noting that mortgage repayments typically consume up to 50 per cent of people’s salaries. A client wanting a mortgage of only €10,000 euros, with a standard 30-year deadline for payment, would be paying a monthly instalment of €76.89. “It means his or her salary cannot be below €170,” Simovic explained. In Uzice, meanwhile, construction goes on in spite of the fall in sales. Around a hundred apartments are currently being built and, according to unofficial data, around 200 are being built in Novi Pazar. But when they will be sold is anybody’s guess. While Edvin finishes its latest complex, the local people remain undecided on when – or whether – to risk taking out a mortgage. This article is produced through training on Economic Reporting made possible by International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) and the United States Agency for International Development USAID and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
Austrian Celebrates 50 years
t a reception, held at the World Travellers Club, Austrian Airlines celebrated 50 years of flights to the Serbian capital. Lukas Negedly, Country Manager for Austrian, presented awards to some of the longestserving employees.
B23 Office Park Opens
he shortage of good quality office space in Belgrade has long been a problem for international businesses looking to operate in the capital. Verano Group’s new 53,000m2 B23 Office Park opened on April 15th and, pitched firmly at the luxury end of the market, even has its own helipad.
his week, the government Development Fund approved its first investment loan at a time when the level of stalled foreign investment has reached almost €700 million, reflecting concern among foreign investors about how far the economic crisis will deepen. The government kicked off its economic stimulus programme in February and has already disbursed 2,467 consumer loans and 1,424 loans to businesses. Under the stimulus programme, investment loans are 30 per cent funded by the government Development Fund, which additionally provides guarantees for the remaining 70 per cent, financed by commercial banks. Kosa trade, a wholesaler, was the recipient of the first such loan, valued at €150,000. Kosa Trade will create 10 new jobs and will redevelop a distribution centre in Nis to handle higher volumes of goods. Serbia has received praise for the speed of implementation of its stimulus programme, although some pundits expressed concern that an importer should be the recipient of such aid, given that such an investment will not help cure Serbia’s huge trade deficit. The stimulus programme amounts to some €1.3 billion, of which 42 per cent has been allocated to boost liquidity in commercial lending, with the remainder allocated to consumer lending for the purchase of Serbianmade goods at an interest rate of Eurobor plus 4 per cent. As Serbia’s stimulus programme for investment begins, however, international investors that have spent months, and in some cases years, on due diligence are putting projects on hold. Holcim, the Swiss cement giant, has put on ice an €83 million investment that was aimed at nearly doubling its production capacity. Sliver Lake Investment, a local investment vehicle, has frozen a €40 million investment that will stall the further development of a major tourist development close to Belgrade. A number of other projects may have seen their timelines slow, but some investors remain confident ,particularly in sectors that are less hit by the crisis. Embassy Group, an Indian IT venture, had intended to invest €60 million in an IT offshoring park in Northern Serbia, creating 2,500 new jobs. The investment is still expected to go ahead, and is planned to reach €600 million by 2015 and create 25,000 new jobs. According to the government agency for investment and export promotion, SIEPA, the Slovenian retailer Mercator, is going ahead with a €25 million shopping centre investment in Belgrade, and other investments are still on course, led by international companies such as Grundfos (Denmark), Maksim (Slovenia), ThyssenKrupp (Germany), Farmina (Italy) and others. Serbia’s government, meanwhile, has pledged to continue working hard to improve transparency and to remove barriers to investment for foreign companies, an area that could offer the best hope of attracting foreign investment in the region.
out & about
Friday, Apr. 17 - Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009
At this time of year, woodland flowers are out in force in Fruska Gora. Underneath the canopy, bluebells, hyacinths, white daisies, yellow buttercups, thistles and dandelions carpet the forest floor.
Spring Flora in Fruska Gora Just an hour or so outside Belgrade, the low hills of Fruska Gora are particularly beautiful at this time of year. By Prabha Chandran
dmit it: there are few things more uplifting after a grey winter than countryside carpeted with spring flowers. Revelling in this annual bursting forth of blooms, we journeyed to Holland last spring to soak in the tulip fields. But this year, I found the Goddess Flora, in all her abundant natural beauty, blooming right here in the National Park in Fruska Gora. It’s a picture worth a thousand words - but I’ll be economical. A modest range of mountains - the highest peak, Crveni Cot, is 539m above sea level Fruska Gora National Park is well-marked on the road to Novi Sad. Apart from the dazzling spring flower show on right now, Fruska Gora is famous for its 16 monasteries - you can locate them on Google Earth - and several family-owned wineries in the foothills of the mountains. Our favourite watering hole is the Vinerija Kovacevic in Irig village near the exit of the Park. Their mellow Merlot blend, Aurelius, is quite acceptable, as are their Chardonnays. But I digress… Arriving at the National Park on a brilliant spring morning, we decided to trek through the flowering forests to Lake Ledinci, a stunning artificial lake in Fruska Gora that was created by a mining accident. It’s a two-hour hike down and then back up through a valley that is fecund with all sorts of life these days. We chose the path leading off from the top of the hill at the crossroads where the bus stops, following the red and
Once a popular swimming site, the health and safety team will now only let you admire the clear azure waters.
white markings of the hiking trail into the woods. As you leave the cars and picnickers behind, free your senses and let the magic of the woods envelop you. The sun dapples through the foliage of oak, hornbeam, beech and linden trees and your nose begins to twitch with the pervasive scent of hyacinths. There are top notes of lime blossom, nuts and vanilla - as if a master perfumier had created a heady fragrance. You can’t miss the source – it’s a tapestry of blue and white hyacinths, white daisies, yellow buttercups, thistles, dandelions and golden rods that stretch along the sloping woods as far as the eye can see. Later, I learnt that there are about 1,500 plant
species registered in Fruska Gora, of which more than 1,000 grow in the park, including decorative plants like spurge laurel, European dwarf cherry, black hawthorn and yellow bird’s nest. Some 50 species are protected on the List of Natural Rarities of Serbia, including 30 orchids. We saw a few wild orchids and resisted the temptation to pick them. My guidebook tells me there are also 600 types of medicinal herbs growing in the Park and, indeed, you can try some dried ones sold at roadside stalls. We climbed downhill steadily for an hour, crossing a stream at the bottom of the valley. As we walked, we saw woodpeckers, woodcocks, pigeons, little green and yellow birds but not the
increasingly rare species of eagles that are known to nest here. There are 200 varieties of birds and bats in the park but for the most part, they remain cleverly concealed in the foliage, despite the coaxing sun. What we did see were some beautiful butterflies and plenty of busy bees. The 22,640 hectare National Park nurtures some 500 species of butterflies and is a naturalists’ delight all year round. An hour later we arrived at the precipitous top of Lake Lednici, that looks like it’s been blasted out of the mountainside, settling into a crater a hundred meters or so below. The lake was created during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, when pumps in the abandoned quarry of Srebro were damaged and stopped pumping the water out of the quarry. The subterranean waters, as well as the waters from two creeks, Lukin svetac and Srebrni potok, began filling the quarry. Today, the lake is no longer open for swimming, but we sunbathed and had a memorable picnic on an overhanging ledge. I’ve seen some stunning lakes in volcanic craters in Indonesia, and lake Lednici, with its azure waters fed by the two springs running down the sides of the rock face, can hold its own. As we gazed into its crystal waters, some wild geese swooped down to fish, followed by a stork. Picnic over, it was time to trek back through the other side of the valley, past the meteorological tower to the road that took us back to our starting point. The uphill trek is like an hour’s cardio, so take it in stages if you don’t exercise regularly. This side of the mountain seemed to have fewer flowers but I didn’t complain – I’d had a surfeit of flora, fauna, forest and fantasy.
Friday, Apr. 17 - Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009
Zaplet With its thoughtfully-constructed menu, Zaplet has long been regarded as one of the best restaurants in town, and should have something to please everybody.
he unexpectedly good weather we’ve been having lately meant that Zaplet, usually full at the weekends, had a table free outside. It was clearly the last available table because it backed straight onto the street and only the parrot (it was a highly colourful bird, but I’m not an ornithologist) dangling from a cage just behind us kept the pedestrians at a comfortable distance. The terrace was also a little dark and the menu was best read when illuminated with the sparse light from a mobile phone. But these criticisms aside, Zaplet was comfortable, smart and welcoming. The menu is wide-ranging and well put together – there should be something for just about everybody on it. Even, although please don’t think I approve, the few vegetarians in town should be happy. The staff are attentive, professional and were even patient with me whilst I murdered the Serbian language plac-
ing my order. Don’t get me wrong, they’re more than happy to deal with you in English, but I’m stubborn and I need the practice. From the list, I asked the waiter which of the three Malvazija wines I should select and was recommended a fourth, more expensive version, not on the list. As it was just a little more expensive than the others, I went with his choice, a Malvazija Kabola Reserve. This grape variety is planted around the Adriatic and in southern Spain but is perhaps best known internationally as the raw material for Madeira, a fortified wine from the island of the same name. As expected, it was packed with bags of fruit, had a slight sweetness, which was well balanced by the high alcohol content, and the 12 months it spends in oak barriques was prominent, but not overpowering. Altogether, a professional and polished product from this Croatian producer. To start, we’d ordered two risottos alongside a salad and soup, so we were surprised when they arrived quite so promptly. Risotto rice really needs around 20 minutes of languid stirring, and no amount of kitchen trickery or pre-preparation can shrink that to less than, say, 10 minutes. The results was, unfortunately, two otherwise splendid dishes with rice that was just a little too firm. The first was a well-flavoured
puree of pumpkin with mascarpone and parmesan, completed with some grilled proscuitto crumbled on top. Really flavoursome and creamy, with a subtle cheesy note. The second had crumbled goat’s cheese and wilted spinach. These two ingredients are a combination made in heaven and any dish containing them, in my view, is almost certain to be a winner and the creaminess of the risotto complemented them well. It was just a shame about the rice. A rocket and goat’s cheese salad came with an interesting raspberry dressing which was pronounced a success. There were questions about why it was necessary for the excellently fresh-tasting tomato soup to contain so much rice – particularly when this wasn’t one of the listed ingredients – but it too was, on balance, a winner. To follow, a rare fillet of beef was served with some grilled vegetables and pan-fried polenta, which was let down only by the rather coarse pepper sauce, which used whole dried peppercorns as a base and was consequently a little crunchy! Venison medallions were also accompanied by polenta and vegetables but, this time, with a more accomplished sauce. Venison is a lean meat and benefits from being served very rare and this had perhaps had just a little long in the pan. Excellently grilled lamb kebabs were served over equally excellent cous cous, and our fourth dish was a goulash with gnocci, which really could have used more paprika and tomato to thicken and spice up the sauce. To dessert. A lemon sorbet was served almost as a drink. In a tall glass with a straw, it was cold but not set. The flavour was good, but it was certainly not as expected. The chocolate terrine, served as a thick slice, was rich, perhaps a little too rich, with a flavour and texture similar to
With good food and great value, it’s easy to see why bookings are essential at Zaplet.
the filling from a quality chocolate truffle. A raspberry brownie, served warm with ice cream was splendidly gooey in the middle, and a plum crumble was crunchy on the top and underneath had fruit which had been stewed, we thought, in some rakia to bring out the flavour. I was expecting to do some serious damage to the card at Zaplet, but even with a bottle of wine costing 3,200 dinars, the end result was
a bill of around 2,500 per head and this, to my mind, represented excellent value for money for food of this quality. Zaplet Kajmakcalanska 2 Tel: 011 2404142 Price guide: 2,250 – 2,750 per head, 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.
Li Guo Bin
The staff here are quite cool, which suits the relaxed surroundings. The only thing that would suggest that you’re not in a laid-back Mexican diner is that the food is mostly Serbian, albeit with the occasional Central American twist.
This very small Chinese restaurant has incredibly fast, yet friendly, service. Maybe it’s because you can count the number of tables on one hand. From the cheap but tasty selection, we’d recommend the crispy chicken and the spring rolls.
An unusually-named Italian, Vladimir mostly serves up accomplished pizza and pasta. The huge selection of sandwiches make the menu (physically) huge. The eponymous gnocchi comes with three cheeses, and is definitely worth a go.
M. Stojanovica 21 Tel: 011 2663366
Bulevar Mihaila Pupina 20 Tel: 011 2603094
Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra 46 Tel: 011 3230413
Gurman High-quality Serbian food is the order of the day here, although there are some pretty good fishy alternatives on offer. Gurman also has a garden – you just have to get through a dingy passageway to reach the restaurant in the first place! Dr Jovana Subotica 6 Tel: 011 2109538
Friday, Apr. 17 - Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009
Rock Out to Block Out
Block Out have spent nearly twenty years on the circuit. Their music is as popular today as ever.
By David Galic
t is rare in Serbia for a band to both have an identity of its own, and be able to be stand up to foreign bands of their ilk. Block Out is one of those rare outfits. Starting out in the early 1990s, taking their name from a popular game of that time, Block Out have been crafting dark, brooding alternative rock for almost two decades. The main creative force in the band is guitarist Nikola Vranjkovic, who is also a highly-regarded producer and sound engineer in his own right. His melancholic soundscapes and poetic lyrics have caught the ears and captured the hearts of many fans in Serbia. As far as their music is concerned, Block Out have a distinctive style, based on swirling guitar textures and delays, reverb-ridden keyboards, slow tempos and the stoic, deep, resonant voice of singer and founder Milutin “Mita” Jovancic. Their sound can, perhaps, be likened to an unexpectedly pleasing mix of their varied
influences, including Soundgarden, Radiohead, and Tool. Despite being one of the most established bands in the country, Block Out usually keep their live shows to a minimum, focusing on quality over quantity. They usually perform one large concert sometime before the New Year in Belgrade, normally lasting over three hours - accompanied by fantastic visuals and lighting akin to grandiose bands like Pink Floyd. But even though they are capable of filling theatres and larger venues for thousands of people, Block Out tend to play intimate shows sporadically throughout the year. Tickets can be hard to get hold of, with most eagerly snapped up by members of their religiously devoted fan base. Such a scaled-down show will take place on Friday 17th April in the Student Cultural Centre. Since it is Good Friday according to the Serbian Orthodox Church calendar, Block Out has promised that the show will begin at around half-past midnight, so that people planning to attend midnight Mass and see the show can do both. The club will stay open until
Block Out will play the Student Cultural Centre on Friday 17th. In such a small venue, tickets are certain to be hard to come by.
five in the morning, so that people do not have to wait on the street for their buses home. The show – as with every Block Out gig in Belgrade – is guaranteed
to be full to capacity with their disciples, in to immerse themselves in a long and emotional set. For connoisseurs of ominous and atmospheric rock, Block Out
are one of the best bands in this region, and they shine most brilliantly in a live setting. Be warned, performances are rarely known to last less than two hours.
Norwegian Film Festival T
Kristoffer Joner in ‘Music for Weddings and Funerals’, one of the featured movies.
he Belgrade Cultural Centre has set itself the mission of introducing Serbian moviegoers to foreign films of all nationalities. Coming under the spotlight next week is Norway, with the ‘Cool & Crazy’ Week of Contemporary Norwegian Film. The week of events will showcase 17 films, 15 of which are full-length features. While some of these have already been shown at various festivals over the last few years, organisers have stated that their intention is to show Serbia a “selection that will point to the key moments in Norwegian cinematography over the last decade.” One seminal work to be shown is ‘Insomnia’, which was highly touted at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival and later remade by Hollywood. The movie was central to the recent development of cinema in Norway, leading the way for a new wave of filmmakers in the country. If ‘Insomnia’ ushered in the first wave, then the second was to be seen five years later. At that time, the number of films coming out of Norway doubled, with more than 20 releases in 2002. One of those movies was the comedy ‘Most People Live in China’, and another was ‘Music for Weddings and Funerals’ starring Goran Bregovic, of enormously
popular Yugoslav rock group Bijelo Dugme, who also wrote most of the film’s music as well. According to organisers, the festival’s name - ‘Cool & Crazy’ - is designed to counter the negative preconception many people have about Scandinavia as depressing and dark. Contrary to this idea, Norwegian films tend to be laid-back, open, communicative and fun, festival spokespeople claim. Not to be outdone by similar events that feature guests and workshops, the Contemporary Norwegian
Film Festival will include an appearance by Jan Erik Holst, director of the International Sector of the Norwegian Film Institute. Several Norwegian film directors will also be in attendance, which guarantees to offer interesting works that most people in Serbia, not to mention the rest of the world, have not yet had the opportunity to see. The ‘Cool & Crazy’ Week of Contemporary Norwegian Film runs from April 22nd to April 29th at the Belgrade Cultural Centre.
Friday, Apr. 17 - Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009
Brat Fidel Brat Fidel (Brother Fidel) is a very popular Dorcol cafe, especially with students and ‘alternative’ youth, with an interesting tongue-in-cheek Leftist approach to the way they do business. By David Galic
So Sabi This band will be celebrating its tenth year as one of Belgrade’s top club attractions this week. So expect exactly what So Sabi was been famous for for the last decade: authentic, highly infectious and danceable Afro-CubanReggae music led by Raul Alberto Dias, originally from Guinea Bissau. Akademija, Rajiceva 10
Reporting from Belgrade
irstly, hardly anyone calls the cafe by its current name. It is known to everyone as the Radionica (Workshop). Its original location was in Rige od Fere street, in the basement of a children’s centre, which is probably how it got its name, since the children often drew and painted pictures there. That location closed several years ago and the cafe moved a block down to Strahinica Bana, and initially had two locations right across the street from each other, Radionica and Brat Fidel, but in the end, Fidel was the one that endured. Fidel is at the far end of Strahinica Bana, close to the Kalemegdan fortress, and opposite the entrance to the Belgrade Zoo. Unlike the snooty and expensive bar you can find at the other end of Strahinica Bana, the atmosphere in Brat Fidel, I think, is more relaxed than anywhere else in Photo by Gaby Guilmart town. The great revolutionary might not approve of the use of his name, but our correspondent It’s a small cafe, with perhaps approves of Brat Fidel. eight tables total and stools around As the name might suggest, the cards is not allowed in their estabthe bar. Typical of small Serbian cafes, there is also a gallery, where there cafe has a somewhat Leftist ideology, lishment. Ever the rebel, Brat Fidel are more tables and more room to sit, which in cafe terms translate to one offers you Monopoly, Risk, checkers, but it can get very hot and smoky main policy - it does not serve Coca- a variety of card games, and encourup there, especially in the summer. Cola. Instead of the fizzy, western ages groups of friends to get together There is one comfortable sofa in the beverage of globalization and death, to have drinks and hoot and holler corner of the gallery, but other than Brat Fidel serves its Balkan coun- over a game of Sorry! Wifi internet access has attracted that, the decor is utilitarian, with very terpart, Cockta, a legendary Yugolittle decoration other than a few pic- slav concoction that is significantly more people during the day to catch tures of old Belgrade and other cities sweeter, more syrupy and less car- up on some work or random surfing, bonated than its monopolist Ameri- with a cold or hot drink in hand. on the walls. The music in Brat Fidel usually foIn the summer, there are wooden can oppressor. There are also funny quips on the cuses on indie rock, pop punk, synth picnic tables and benches outside, where most will crowd, and where it drink menu that further punctuate the pop, or Yugoslav 80s hits. Most of the is difficult to find a seat after 9 p.m. ideology of the club, such as that it cafe’s patrons are urban, alternative supports individuality, the dinar not twenty- and thirty-somethings and especially in July and August. students, though there are often people The cafe is known for its very the dollar, and things of that nature. Brat Fidel offers a variety of card who wander in from the other end of reasonable prices, and the bartenders also serve a variety of cocktails, and board games that its patrons can Strahinica Bana or accidentally take a which are also incredibly cheap at play, in stark contrast to most others seat in Brat Fidel on their way through in town, that will tell you that playing town. less than €2.
The Toasters Still one of the most respected and influential American ska bands, the Toasters were founded in 1981, and were one of the instigators of the ska craze of that decade. Still touring hard today, they have been to Serbia on several occasions and have never failed to get the crowd shaking. Don’t miss these innovators at work. Akademija, Rajiceva 10
Operation Triumph Concert Dubbed ‘the concert of students of the Operation Triumph Academy’, this event will feature some of the stars of Serbia’s version of the reality show involving wanna-be singer contestants living in a house together and working at their craft. Come and cheer on your favorites or, if you haven’t followed the show, just check out some of the country’s best up-and-coming pop singers. Sava Centar, Milentija Popovica 9
Stephan Mathieu The veteran German experimental musician will be presenting his new project, ‘Stephan Mathieu plays the Virginals’. This is the first performance of the Dis-patch Festival team’s ‘Post-Piano’ series, which aims to explore “new sonic horizons” using a variety of keyboard instruments. Mathieu is considered one of the most innovative experimental musicians for his interest in combinations of acoustic, analog and digital sounds. REX, Jevrejska 16
Iron Maiden: Flight 666 This is the premier showing at the brand new cinemas of the recently opened Usce Shopping Center. The movie, strictly for metal die-hards and documentary buffs, follows the legendary British band on their ‘Somewhere Back in Time’ tour last year, in which the band visited 45 countries in a custom-built Boeing 757 piloted by lead singer, Bruce Dickinson. Usce Shopping Center
Dis Hobby This week, Kristina Gacaric takes us to one of her favourite places to shop.
By Kristina Gacaric
wardrobe, you’ll be very pleased to know that there’s a place where you can find just about everything you need in your needlework basket. Dis Hobby also caters for the more adventurous seamstress and has a huge range of needlework kit, buttons, poppers, fasteners, zips, cottons and other accessories.
Dis Hobby Mlatisumina 4 f, like me, you find that buttons Tel: 011 3442377 pop and zips break even on the very best quality items in your Rian Harris is taking a week off
The Canadian rock duo played Belgrade just six months ago, but they’re sure to be welcomed back with open arms, judging by their reception last time. This husband and wife team have just released their second album, which has received great reviews from critics and fans alike. For those less familiar with this band, leader Dan Boeckner is also a member of the indie rock all-stars Wolf Parade. Student Cultural Centre, Kralja Milana 38
Memorandum An interesting new theatre performance in which the actors play characters in a video game, going from level to level. The ‘main character’ is an artist-cum-explorer, looking for a passage to a new dimension. This unusual concept is worth a look if you’re up for something new, different and exciting out of your drama. Theater 78, Resavska 78
Friday, Apr. 17 - Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009
What’s On CINEMAS Roda Cineplex Pozeska 83A, tel: 011 2545260 Bolt: 16:15 Monsters vs. Aliens: 15:30, 17:15 Race to Witch Mountain: 15:40, 17:30 Slumdog Millionaire: 18:00, 20:15, 22:30 Watchmen: 19:15, 22:00 Dom sindikata Trg Nikole Pasica 5, tel: 011 3234849 Marley and Me: 15:30 Slumdog Millionaire: 15:30, 17:45, 20:00, 22:15 Monsters vs. Aliens: 16:00 Race to Witch Mountain: 18:00 Gran Torino: 17:30 Watchmen: 19:30, 22:30 Ster City Cinema Delta City, Jurija Gagarina 16 (Blok 67), tel: 011 2203400 Race to Witch Mountain: 18:50, 20:50 Slumdog Millionaire: 13:20, 15:20, 17:10, 19:10, 21:10 Monsters vs. Aliens: 12:40, 14:40, 16:40 Burn After Reading: 13:00, 15:10, 17:30, 19:30, 21:30, 23:30 Marley and Me: 23:00 The Reader: 12:00, 14:30, 17:20, 19:50, 22:20 Watchmen: 13:50, 17:00, 20:10, 23:20 Tuckwood Cineplex Kneza Milosa 7, tel: 011 3236517 He’s Just Not That Into You: 19:45 Race to Witch Mountain: 15:30 Dusk: 15:50 Marley and Me: 17:30 Slumdog Millionaire: 18:10, 20:40, 23:10 Gran Torino: 16:00, 18:15, 20:30 Watchmen: 17:00, 20:10, 23:15 7 Lives: 22:15
Zmajevic, Disco Bar Energija, Nusiceva 8, 23:00 Misjah, xLagoom, Svetozara Radic 5, 23:00
Reggae by Ras, Underworld, TC Metro, 23:00 HardGlamHeavyRock, la Lune Rouge, Dositejeva 19, 22:00
Exhibition: Serbia as a brand, Radmilo Petrovic, Feniks Gallery, Tadeusa Koscuska 28
High Class Lover (play), Zvezdara Theatre, Milana Rakica 38, 19:00 and 21:30 Exhibition: The influence and the Poetics of the Codes, Graphics Centre, Pariska 16, 19:00 Exhibition: Snezana Bozovic, paintings, Caffe and Night Club Bordel, Gospodar Jevremova 6
Saturday, April 18 Music: The Best Man and the First Lady, Akademija 28, Nemanjina 28, 22:00 Evergrey, Students Cultural Centre, Kralja Milana 48, 21:00 The Toasters, Akademija, Radijeva 10, 22:00 Nada Pavlovic Band, Grand Casino, Bulevar Nikole Tesle 3, 21:00
Nightlife: Wadada Sound System, Akademija, Rajiceva 10, 23:00 DJ Marko Gangbanger, TC Metro, 23:00 Gramophondzije, Energija, Nusiceva 8, 23:00 Disco House Night, White, Pariska 1a, 23:00 Nineties, KST, Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra 76, 23:00 Progressology, Namaste, Budimska 16, 23:30 DJ Flip, Batler, Francuska 12, 23:00
Other Belgrade Marathon, Terazije Don’t bet on the English (play), Belgrade Drama Theatre, 20:30 The Seducer (play), Slavija Theatre, Svetog Save 16, 20:00 On a day like this (video works), Marija Djordjevic, Cultural Centre Studentski grad, Boulevard of Zoran Djindjic 179, 19:00
Monday, April 20 Music: Operation Triumph, Part 2, Sava Centar, Milentija Popovica 9, 20:00 Marko Djordjevic Trio, Bitef Art Cafe, Mira Trailovic Square 1, 21:00 Unison, The Schtrebers, Kuglas, Djusina 5 Post Piano vol 1: Stephan Mathieu plays Virginals, Rex, Jevrejska 16, 20:00 Misa Miceski Group, Living Room, Kralja Milana 48, 22:00
Nightlife: DJ David V, Underworld, TC Metro, 23:00 Zlo & Naopako, Student Cultural Centre, Kralja Milana 48, 23:00 Video concerts, Fest, Gradski Park 2, 22:00 House Party (DJ Kobac), Blue Moon, Kneginje Ljubice 4, 23:00 Bla Bla Band, Vanila, Studentski trg 15, 22:30
Friday, April 17
Sunday, April 19
The Disease of Family M (play), Yugoslav Drama Theatre, Kralja Milana 50, 20:30 The American in Belgrade (play), Slavija Theatre, Svetog Save 16, 20:00 Exhibition: Mladen Tusup, Collages, Akademija, Rajiceva 10, 19:00
Tuesday, April 21
Operation Triumph, Part 1, Sava Centar, Milentija Popovica 9, 20:00 Crowfish, Tea break, Living Room, Kralja Milana 48, 23:00 Easter Banging, Danguba, Cirila i Metodija 2, 22:00
So Sabi, Akademija, Rajiceva 10, 22:00 Loco Power Cover, Bitef Art Cafe, Mira Trailovic Square 1, 22:00 Block Out, Living Room, Kralja Milana 48, 22:00 Odium, Danguba, Cirila i Metodija 2, 22:00
Nightlife: Indie-Go! season closing, Siprazje, Golsvortijeva 13, 22:00 DJ Stevie, Underworld, TC Metro, 23:00 Vocal House, Mr. Stefan Braun, Nemanjina 4/9, 23:00 Yu Rock, White, Pariska 1a, 23:00 Can’t Stop the Rock, KST, Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra 76, 23:00 Nemanja Jehlicka, Tijana T i Nikola
Nightlife: Barbecue Gangsta Style, Francuska sobarica, Francuska 12, 23:00 Sportsman Night, White, Pariska 1a, 23:00 Karaoke, Miss Moneypenny, Ada Ciganlija (Makiska side 4), 21:30 Leftovers, Blue Moon, Kneginje Ljubice 4, 23:00 Lazy Sunday Afternoon, Fest, Gradski Park 2, 22:00
Discount Night, Fest, Majke Jevrosime 20, 22:00 Pertipikulator, Blue Moon, Kneginje Ljubice 4, 23:00 Riffs, Francuska Sobarica, Francuska 12, 23:00 Zex Kazanova, Bambo Bar, Strahinjica Bana 71, 22:00
Straight Jackin, Batler, Francuska 12, 22:00 Zoomie, Danguba, Cirila i Metodija 2, 22:00 Nada Pavlovic and Dule Jovanovic, Grand Casino, Nikola Tesla Boulevard, 3, 21:00 Concrete Worms+Novembar, Living Room, Kralja Milana 48, 22:00
Flight 666 (movie premiere), Kolosej Multiplex, Usce Shopping Mall, 20:00 Exhibition: Fuck Art, Let’s Dance, Marta Jovanovic, photography, SULUJ Gallery, Terazije 26/II, 19:00 Welcome to Serbia (play), Zvezdara Theatre, Milana Rakica 38, 20:00 Painkillers (play), Bojan Stupica Theatre, Kralja Milana 50, 20:30
All That Bass, Plastic, Takovska 34, 23:00 Gothic and Electro, KST, Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra 76, 23:00 Trashcoteque, Energija, Nusiceva 8, 23:00 A Little Bit of 90s, Mistique, Aberdareva 1b, 23:00 DJ Rahmanee, Francuska sobarica, Francuska 12, 23:00 Mile Dinamika ft. S. Bezdinarovic, Gajba, Knjeginje Zorke 71, 23:00 Karaoke Night, Gaucosi, Dunavska 17a, 23:00 Radio Utopia, Underworld, TC Metro, 23:00
Wednesday, April 22 Music: Handsome Furs, Students Cultural Centre, Kralja Milana 48, 21:00 Piano Trio: Berezovsky, Mahtin, Knyazev, Ilija M. Kolarac Endowment Studentski Trg 5, 20:00 Russian Music, Cultural Centre Studentski Grad, Boulevard of Zoran Djindjic 179, 20:00 Direct In, Sunset Cafe, Ada Ciganlija, 22:00 S.A.R.S, Povetarac, Brodarska bb, 22:00
Nightlife: Play Loud, KST, Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra 76, 23:00 Marko Gangbanger, Francuska Sobarica, Francuska 12, 23:00 Department of Forgotten Songs, Pub Brod, Despota Stefana 36, 21:00 Cocktail Wednesdays, Mamolo, Ilije Garasanina 26, 21:00 Dark Industry, Underworld, Corner of Ruzveltova and 27. Marta, 23:00 Salsa Night, Havana, Nikole Spasica 1, 22:00 Samba, Bossa, Jazzy, Salvador Dali, Hilandarska 20, 22:00
Kolo Ensemble, Ilija M. Kolarac Endowment, 20:00 Pozdravi kevu, Zvucni Zid, Mehanizam… Living Room, Kralja Milana 48, 22:00 Lilly Band, Red Shoes, Ada Ciganlija, 22:00 Explicit Music: Alessandro Bosetti, Rex, Jevrejska 16, 20:00 Flauto Dolce, Students Cultural Centre, Kralja Milana 48, 20:00
Thursday, April 23
Psychodelic Tuesday, Underworld, Corner of Ruzveltova and 27 Marta, 23:00 Diesel Party, Mr. Stefan Braun, Nemanjina 4/9, 23:00
Aida (opera), featuring Cvetelina Vasilevska, Sava Centar, Milentija Popovica 9, 19:00 Bli (play), Atelje 212, Svetogorska 21, 20:00 Exhibition: Shining, termographic prints, Goran Dragas, FLU Gallery, Knez Mihajlova 53, 19:00\
Nina Badric, Sava Centar, Milentija Popovica 9, 20:00
Other: Winter Gardens (play), Bitef, Mira Trailovic Square 1, 20:00 Exhibition: 20th Century, Paintings, Bogdan Pavlovic, Belgrade Cultural Centre, Knez Mihajlova 6/1 Memorandum (theatre project), Students Cultural Centre, Kralja Milana 48, 20:00 Francophone High School Theatre Festival, Dusko Radovic Theatre, Aberdareva 1, 20:00
Friday, Apr. 17 - Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009
Premier League Dominates Europe Once More The continent’s elite club competition has offered more of the same, with three of last season’s semi-finalists reaching the Champions’ League last four. Likewise, three English clubs have made it into the latter stages to reaffirm the Premier League’s unchallenged position in Europe.
By Zoran Milosavljevic Reporting from Belgrade
ome, here we come. Is this a Premier League chant or my own, personal rant? A bit of both really. Being an avid Manchester United fan, I am brimming with confidence that United can repeat last season’s feat and become the first team to win back-to-back Champions League titles, since the former European Cup competition changed its format. Arsenal, looking for their first trophy in Europe’s elite club competition, may have something to say about that of course. An all-English final, perhaps a repeat of last season’s showdown between United and Chelsea, may well be on the cards, but it will remain a distant dream if Barcelona can keep up the ruthless efficiency they demonstrated against Bayern Munich. Chelsea showed remarkable resolve and determination against Liverpool, but even their best performance against Barcelona may not be enough if the Catalan side, boasting unprecedented natural talent and flair, remain in top gear for the crunch encounter with the West End boys. Whatever happens though, the Premier League deserves all the accolades for producing three semi-finalists again. Arsenal disposed of Villarreal with some ease and, although Arsene Wenger’s outfit will enter the semi-finals as the dark horses of the last four, their recent form suggests they will be anything but a pushover for Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Army. Manchester United, on the other hand, battled injuries, suspensions and fatigue to pull off an admirable feat in Porto, after being held to a 2-2 draw in the first leg of their quarter-final tie with the Portuguese champions. A Cristiano Ronaldo rocket from 35 metres settled the return leg in front of the vociferous home crowd at the Dragao stadium and United became the first English side to beat Porto on their own turf. Ironically, it was the 13th outing by English clubs at Porto but if you are a fellow Red Devil, you should have had every reason to believe 13 would be a lucky number for the club. The quintuple is still on, but there is no time for United to rest on their laurels as they face Everton in the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday (live on Sport Klub, 5.00 p.m.). Arsenal and Chelsea, who could produce a delicately balanced London final in the Champions League, meet in the other FA Cup semi-final on Saturday (live on Sport Klub + 6.15 p.m.) and their clash may offer a taste of things to come in the Italian capital.
Photo by FoNet
Cristiano Ronaldo forces his way past two Porto defenders during Manchester United’s 1-0 win, which sealed a 3-2 aggregate victory over the Portuguese champions. Ronaldo’s superb goal propelled United into the last four, where success-hungry Arsenal await Sir Alex Ferguson’s men, while Barcelona take on Chelsea in the other semi-final.
Written off by pundits and most of their own fans after an unfortunate spell with Luiz Felipe Scolari in charge, Chelsea sprung back to life under Guus Hiddink. Their impressive comeback against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, in one of the most dramatic Champions League games in recent history, showed in no uncertain terms that you can never write them off. However, they will have to produce two exceptional performances against the mighty Barcelona if they are to compete on an even keel with Pep Guardiola’s awesome unit. Barcelona made Bayern Munich look ridiculous in their demolition of the German giants and struck primal fear into their opponents’ hearts. Most experts seem to believe the Champions League is now theirs to lose, with Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o and Theirry Henry scoring more goals between them than most top-level teams this season. Is the magnificent trophy, the most coveted club football prize, Barcelona’s to lose and are the three English contenders at the mercy of the venomous, three-pronged strike force epitomizing the awe of the Spanish
conquerors? Hell no. It’s United’s to lose, they are the reigning European club champions and I will start scrambling for an elusive Champions League final ticket before the ball is kicked against Arsenal. Driven by last season’s memorable experience in Moscow, capped by raucous celebrations in the local Manchester United pub until early afternoon on the day after United brought Chelsea and John Terry to tears, I hope to embark on a pilgrimage to Rome and a classic against either the victims of our 2008 success or Barcelona, the ultimate hurdle on the road to the Italian capital. We’ve still got the blues for Chelsea and surely, Ronaldo still has a few tricks up his sleeve for Barca, before his seemingly imminent departure to Real Madrid during the summer break. United is my religion, Old Trafford is my church. Zoran Milosavljevic is Belgrade Insight’s sports reporter, a regional sports correspondent for Reuters and a die-hard Manchester United fan. His normally balanced and objective commentary will return next week.
Semi-Finals: Manchester United v Arsenal (April 29th at Old Trafford in Manchester and May 5th at the Emirates Stadium in London) Barcelona v Chelsea (April 28th at the Nou Camp in Barcelona and May 6th at Stamford Bridge in London)
Final: Olympic Stadium in Rome (May 27th)
Friday, Apr. 17 - Thursday, Apr. 23, 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.
Health 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.
Sunasce, Admirala Geprata 8a ulaz 5/1, 011 3617013. Marry Poppins, Kursulina 37, 011 2433059. Lawyers Baklaja Igric Mujezinovic in Association with Clyde & Co, Gospodar Jevremova 47, 011 303 8822 Harrison Solicitors, Terazije 34, 011 3615918. Law Office, Takovska 13, 011 3227133, 063 383116, www.businesslawserbia.com. Money transfer 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, Apr. 17 - Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009