Rašković in Chicago in 1990
|1st President of the Serb Democratic Party|
17 February 1990 – December 1990
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Milan Babić|
|Born||5 July 1929|
Knin, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
|Died||28 July 1992 (aged 63)|
Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia
|Political party||Serb Democratic Party in Croatia|
|Children||Sanda Rašković Ivić|
|Alma mater||University of Zagreb|
Rašković was born in Knin in 1929. During World War II, after an Ustaše pogrom which resulted in the deaths of his relatives, he was exiled to Kistanje in Italian-occupied Dalmatia. He passed his secondary school exams in Šibenik, and graduated in Zagreb. He then studied electrical engineering and medicine at the University of Zagreb, where he obtained his diploma and a PhD from the university's medical school.
In the 1960s, he served as director of Šibenik city hospital and later director of the medical center. He was one of the founders of the Medical Research Institute of Neurophysiology in Ljubljana. Rašković was a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Academy of Medical Sciences of Croatia and a number of psychiatry associations in the United States, Czechoslovakia and Italy. He was a university professor in Zagreb and Ljubljana and a visiting professor at the Universities of Pavia, Rome, Houston and London.
In early 1990, Rašković went into politics and founded the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), which took part in the first democratic elections. He noticed that there was no equivalent party in Bosnia and Herzegovina so he contacted Radovan Karadžić, a colleague, to suggest for him to establish one.
Although the SDS won relatively few seats in the 1990 elections, it quickly began to increase its power, and Rašković was soon perceived as a leader of Serbs by Franjo Tuđman and his new government. That led to direct negotiations between the two about the future of Serbs in Croatia. During one meeting, Rašković remarked, "Serbs were crazy people". Tuđman's chief political advisor, Slaven Letica, had the words secretly taped and leaked the transcript to Croatian media to discredit Rašković among his people and then replace him with someone more acceptable to Croatian government. That backfired, as instead of rejecting Rašković, many Serbs lost any trust in Croatian government and embraced extremism and then armed conflict.
Later in 1990, Rašković was removed from power by "more radical, hard-line Serb nationalists", who went on to create the Republic of Serbian Krajina. Rašković retired from politics in 1991, after the Plitvice Lakes incident.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jovan Rašković.|
- Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts biography (in Serbian)