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Borisav Jović (Serbian Cyrillic: Борисав Јовић, pronounced [jǒːʋit͡ɕ]; born 19 October 1928)[1] is an economist, former Serbian and Yugoslav diplomat and politician, who was Yugoslavia's ambassador to Italy from the mid to late 1970s, was the Serbian representative of the collective presidency of Yugoslavia during the late 1980s and early 1990s, was the President of Yugoslavia from 1990–91, and was a leading figure in the Socialist Party of Serbia in the 1990s.[2] He received his PhD in economics from the University of Belgrade in 1965. He is a fluent speaker of Russian and Italian.

Borisav Jović
Borisav Jović.jpg
Jović in 2009
13th President of the Presidency of Yugoslavia
In office
15 May 1990 – 15 May 1991
Prime MinisterAnte Marković
Preceded byJanez Drnovšek
Succeeded bySejdo Bajramović (Acting)
12th Secretary General of Non-Aligned Movement
In office
15 May 1990 – 15 May 1991
Preceded byJanez Drnovšek
Succeeded byStjepan Mesić
3rd Serbian Representative in the Yugoslav Presidency
In office
15 May 1989 – 27 April 1992
Preceded byNikola Ljubičić
Succeeded byPost abolished
Personal details
Born (1928-10-19) 19 October 1928 (age 90)
Nikšić, Batočina, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes
Political partySocialist Party of Serbia


Jović was a close ally and advisor of Serbian official Slobodan Milošević and helped Milošević attain power during the anti-bureaucratic revolution.[3] He served as chairman of the presidency of Yugoslavia from May 1990 to May 1991. In his book, Poslednji dani SFRJ (Belgrade, 1995), Joviċ describes how in late June 1990, following the electoral victory in Slovenia and Croatia of pro-independence forces, he proposed to Milošević and federal defense minister Veljko Kadijević that they "throw Slovenia and Croatia out of Yugoslavia" through the use of force, while retaining hold of Serb-populated sections of Croatia, to which Milošević agreed.[4] Shortly after that meeting Jović began implementing the strategy that led to the end of the federal Yugoslav state.[5] Jović is known for helping to negotiate the Brioni Accord in early July 1991, which gave Slovenia its independence after the Ten-Day War.

Near the end of his mandate in the rotating presidency, his successor, Stjepan Mesić, a Croat, was blocked from taking the presidency by four out of eight members of the presidency who thus violated the constitutional arrangement for rotation. In mid-1991, with the tensions leading to the Croatian War of Independence rising in Croatia, Jovic attempted to enact emergency powers which would effectively enable the army to take control of the country and reverse the effects of the first free democratic elections which had elected independence-advocating governments in the republics of Croatia and Slovenia. A vote of 5 out of 8 members of the Presidency was required, and Serbia had under its political control votes of Serbia, Montenegro, Vojvodina and Kosovo, and presumed that the Serb delegate representing Bosnia and Herzegovina would vote for the plan. The plan backfired when the Bosnian Serb delegate, Bogić Bogičević, refused to vote for the plan.[6]

In the 1995 BBC documentary The Death of Yugoslavia, Jović described to interviewers his perception of the events that took place that eventually resulted in the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the subsequent Yugoslav Wars.[7] During this interview (Part 4, "The Gates of Hell–"), as well as in his testimony before the ICTY,[8] Jović described the actions of the Yugoslav leadership that led up to the formation of the Bosnian Serb Army. Jović claims these actions were decided in a private discussion he held with Serbian President Milošević. According to Jović, he realized that Bosnia and Herzegovina was about to be recognized by the international community, and since Yugoslav People's Army troops were still located there at that point, their presence on Bosnian territory could have led to the FRY being accused of aggression.[citation needed]

To avoid this, he and Milošević decided to move all JNA soldiers originating from Serbia and Montenegro back into Serbia and Montenegro, and to move all JNA soldiers originating from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this way, every Bosnian Serb was transferred from the Yugoslav army to what became the newly created Bosnian Serb Army. In the film, Jović revealed that Yugoslavia promised to pay all the costs, as the Bosnian Serb government could not afford the costs on its own.[citation needed]

Jović viewed the reformist former Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Marković, a Bosnian Croat, as responsible for destroying the country and of being a puppet of the capitalist west. Jović, while President of Yugoslavia, commented:

The general conclusion is that Ante Marković is no longer acceptable or reliable to us. No one has any doubts in their mind any longer that he's the extended arm of the United States in terms of overthrowing anyone who ever thinks of socialism, and it is through our votes that we appointed him Prime Minister in the Assembly. He is playing the most dangerous game of treason.[9]

Jović's conclusion on Marković's role:

He was no doubt the most active creator of the destruction of our economy, and to a large extent a significant participant in the break-up of Yugoslavia. Others, when boasted of having broken up Yugoslavia wanted to take this infamous role upon themselves but in all these respects they never came close to what Marković did, who had declared himself as the protagonist of Yugoslavia's survival.[9]


  1. ^ Cencich, John. "The Devil's Garden: A War Crimes Investigator's Story.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Video on YouTube
  4. ^ V. P. Gagnon, Jr. (2013). The Myth of Ethnic War: Serbia and Croatia in the 1990s. Cornell University Press. p. 142. ISBN 9780801468889.
  5. ^ Borisav Jović, Poslednji dani SFRJ: Izvodi iz dnevnika (Belgrade: Politika, 1995), pp. 159-61.
  6. ^ BINDER, DAVID (1991). "Head of Yugoslavia's Government Resigns in Dispute on Army Role". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Arjen Molen, The Death Of Yugoslavia 1/6 Enter Nationalism - BBC Documentary, retrieved 2018-12-15
  8. ^ ICTY transcript of Slobodan Milošević's trial, November 18,; accessed 11 May 2018.
  9. ^ a b Testimony,; accessed 21 May 2015.
Political offices
Preceded by
Janez Drnovšek
President of the Presidency of SFR Yugoslavia
15 May 1990 – 15 May 1991
Succeeded by
Stjepan Mesić
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Janez Drnovšek
Secretary General of Non-Aligned Movement
15 May 1990 – 15 May 1991
Succeeded by
Stjepan Mesić