Rehabilitation of Draza Mihailovic Revises History
20 September, 2010
The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia
warns that a judicial rehabilitation of Draza Mihailovic would equal a
revision of the World War II and Serbia's attitude towards anti-fascism.
It would not only politically revaluate collaborationism of the Tchetnik
movement but also further promote the Greater Serbia project this
movement had staunchly advocated. Besides, Mihailovic's rehabilitation
needs to be seen in a larger context, notably against the developments
from 1990s till present time. The crimes committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina
and Croatia in 1990s were committed in the name of the Greater Serbia
project propagated by Draza Mihailovic. His rehabilitation may
complicate the relations in the region as it would testify that the
Greater Serbia project is still alive. And in Serbia proper, it may
further aggravate the situation in Sandzak where Thetniks have committed
mass crimes against Bosniaks during World War II.
Rehabilitation of the Tchetnik leader would be yet
another proof of Serbia's failure to establish a value system that
indisputably defines it as an anti-fascist country. Serbia has excluded
itself from the anti-fascist coalition at the time of Vojislav
Kostunica's premiership. The role of partisans in WWII has been
deliberately marginalized, whereas the one played by Tchetniks
glorified. In Serbian textbooks the Tchetnik movement is interpreted as
a "right-wing" anti-fascist movement. Such an interpretation is a
historical forgery. The tepid public response to this forgery testifies
of the society's prevalent mindset and notably the one of its elites.
When Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited Serbia
in 2009, October 20 was reaffirmed as the Liberation Day of Belgrade and
only so under the pressure from the Russian side. It is more than
humiliating for a society when someone "from the outside" has to restore
the dignity to ex-Yugoslavia's anti-fascist movement.
At the same time, glorification of the Tchetnik
movement follows in the footsteps of the anti-communist hysteria in
Serbia, under the auspices of which the Greater Serbia project is
affirmed as the only idea and the sole ideology of the Serb political
thought. In Serbia, anti-communism equals anti-Titoism, which nothing
but negates Yugoslavia's federalism. By denying Titoism and AVNOJ
borders between republics of ex-Yugoslavia, Serb nationalists are
actually after recomposition of the Balkans: an idea resulting in war
crimes and eventually taking almost the entire Serb political, military
and police leadership to the tribunal in The Hague.
Now that the sabotage of Kosovo's independence failed,
Serb nationalists are once again directing their energy towards
Bosnia-Herzegovina. The judicial rehabilitation of Draza Mihailovic
would only prove that Serbia had not abandoned its aspirations towards
Bosnia-Herzegovina. The systematic endeavor to have the past revised
leads to general confusion, notably among younger generations that are
insufficiently capacitated to differentiate facts from forgeries.
The international community - EU and Council of Europe
above all - needs to pay due attention to such trends in the Serbian
society. Rehabilitation of Draza Mihailovic would only take Serbia
further away from European values and membership of EU.