Najnovije vesti

Where are the faces of the protests and what are they doing?
Foto: EPA/Saša Stanković, Profimedia, BETA, Zorana Jevtić


Where are the faces of the protests and what are they doing?


Political retirement, getting by in the political arena, but also collaborating with incumbent administrations sums up neatly the roads that the leaders of 5 October have taken. The man who everyone expected the most from – Zoran Đinđić – had the most tragic fate.

More than 20 years have passed since 5 October – the day Serbia rose and said no to Slobodan Milošević’s regime..

There is no doubt that the heroes of these changes were the people themselves, but some of the then leaders of DOS could also be seen amid the mayhem in the streets. In the years that followed, stories were told of Velimir Ilić, the then leader of New Serbia, taking the citizens of Čačak to Belgrade and breaking through a police cordon on the way there (some say there were multiple cordons).

Some of the politicians accompanied the protesters and called on the police to take sides with the people, while Vojislav Koštunica only joined the crowds a little before his announced address. Since then, Serbia has taken to the polls many times, governments have fallen and followed one after another. This is where some of the leaders of the changes are today.

Vojislav Koštunica

From being able to look you in the eye to the retirement in Belanovica

foto: EPA/Saša Stanković

- He was the DOS nominee for President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - Head of state between 2000 and 2003. - Prime minister from 2004 to 2007, and then from 2007 to July 2008. - In 2014, he stepped down as the president of the DSS and retired from politics. - He mostly spends his retirement days in his country house in Belanovica.

Zoran Đinđić

A man of change, assassinated in the Government front yard

foto: Profimedia

Koštunica was the DOS presidential nominee, but Đinđić led the broad coalition.

- Prime minister from 2001 to 2003. - An advocate of reforms and Serbia’s accession to the EU. - On 12 March 2003, he was killed by shots from a rifle on the Government building stairs. - The leaders of the disbanded Special Operations Unit, Milorad Ulemek Legija and Zvezdan Jovanović, were brought to trial (which lasted four years) for the murder, as members of the Zemun mafia clan.

Velimir Ilić

From breaking through cordons to supporting nickin‘

foto: Beta/Branislav Božić

- The leader of New Serbia, member party of the DOS. - On 5 October, he led the citizens of Čačak to Belgrade. - After the 2000 election, he became an MP. - Minister of Capital Investments (2004-2007), Infrastructure (2007-2008), Construction and Urban Development (2012-2014), and Emergency Management (2014-2016). - Better-known for his problematic statements, such as the one that ‘it’s alrigh‘ to be nickin‘ a bit’, than for his efforts in the ministries that he headed. - He is in the opposition today.

Dragoljub Mićunović

An MP for 15 years


- The Democratic Centre, which he led, was one of the DOS member parties. - After the 2000 election, he became President of the Chamber of Citizens of the FRY Assembly. - In 2003 he was elected President of the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro.

- Re-joined the Democratic Party. - He has been an MP in successive parliaments for 15 years.

Vladan Batić

From a protester to justice minister​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

foto: Zorana Jevtić

- The DHSS, a party that he led (and founded in 1997), was part of the DOS. - Actively involved in the 2000 protests. - Minister of Justice in two terms/governments – from 2001 until 2004. - Died from throat cancer in 2010.

Nenad Čanak

The most vocal opposition politician​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

foto: Beta Dragan Gojić

- The LSV, a party that he led, was part of the DOS. - Between 2000 and 2004, he was President of the Assembly of the AP Vojvodina - Elected MP in 2007. - Accused of beating up Pavle Lešanović in 2012, after which he stepped down as MP. - The LSV is in the opposition at the state level, but it is in power in Novi Sad, together with the Serbian Progressive Party.

Srđa Popović

An Otpor man in the big wide world​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

foto: Zorana Jevtić

- The LSV, a party that he led, was part of the DOS. - Between 2000 and 2004, he was President of the Assembly of the AP Vojvodina - Elected MP in 2007. - Accused of beating up Pavle Lešanović in 2012, after which he stepped down as MP. - The LSV is in the opposition at the state level, but it is in power in Novi Sad, together with the Serbian Progressive Party.

Ljubisav Đokić - Džo Bagerista

Broke through cordons with his digger, died in poverty​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

foto: Beta/Emil Vaš

- On 5 October, he came to Belgrade on his digger, broke through police cordons, and reached the RTS entrance. - Over time, because of financial difficulties, he had his digger melted down and sold it as scrap metal. - The media report that he owed as much as 20,000 dinars for electricity, which is why court enforcement officers blocked a portion of his retirement money years later. - Took part in recent protests in front of the Serbian Parliament. - Passed away on 11 July 2020, aged 77.


Slobodan Milošević

From the residence to a Hague prison cell​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

foto: Profimedia

- He was President of the FRY at the start of 2000. - On 6 October he acknowledged defeat and congratulated Koštunica on his victory. - Arrested on 1 April 2001 over suspected malfeasance in office. - Extradited to the Hague Tribunal on 28 June. - At the Tribunal, he was indicted (in multiple indictments) for crimes against humanity in Kosovo and Croatia, and for genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina. - Died on 11 March 2006 in the Hague.

Mira Marković

From an indictment to a political refugee​​​​​​​

foto: EPA/Saša Stanković

- Married to the president of the FRY and leader of the Yugoslav Left party. - Escaped to Russia in 2003. - Charges were brought against her in 2005 for undue influence on a member of the Serbian Government housing committee, exerted to ensure an apartment was allocated to Marković’s grandson’s nanny.

- The Serbian Interpol issued a Red Notice in 2005. - Representatives of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Russia said in 2010 that Marković has the status of political refugee in that country. - Mentioned a number of times as a possible instigator of the murders of Ivan Stambolić and Slavko Ćuruvija. - Died in Moscow on 14 April 2019

Marija Milošević

Opened fire during arrest​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

foto: Printscreen

- Many years later, asked about 5 October, Marija Milošević said: ’Well, it was unusual, to say the least, that the Parliament building was on fire. And the election results in it. As for the protests, they were just that. There have been so many. But that was a coup d'état. States must learn how to defend themselves against coups. Some know it really well. That one didn’t.’ - During the arrest of her father at villa Mir in 2001, she fired shots into the air. - She left for Montenegro as soon as her father was extradited to the Hague. - Court enforcement officers impounded her four-room, 253 square-meter apartment and a portion of a land lot in Dedinje in 2019, due to an unpaid bank loan. The bank debt was incurred by a friend of hers, Nikola Antić, who lived in the apartment next door.

Marko Milošević

Opened fire during arrest​​​​​​​

foto: Profimedia

- On the eve of 5 October, he was a rich daddy’s boy and owner of the disco club Madonna, the Bambiland complex, multiple bakeries, and a perfume store chain. - His involvement in cigarette smuggling was uncovered later. - He was the first in the Milošević family to leave Serbia, leaving soon after his father acknowledged defeat in the election. - Interpol issued a Red Notice for him in 2007. - He has been living in Russia for years. - His first wife Milica and son Marko live in Požarevac. - According to family friends, Marko got married again, to a woman from Russia, and they have a daughter together.

Ivica Dačić o 5. oktobru

I got out just before the protesters stormed in​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

foto: Zorana Jevtić

The protesters wrote “Victory” in yellow paint on my office wall. Today, 20 years on, it’s clear who had won,’ the leader of the Socialists said for Kurir.

Dačić: ‘5 October helped us clean and reform the party. Only the strongest survive.’ On 5 October 2000, Minister of Foreign Affairs and leader of the Socialist Party of Serbia Ivica Dačić was the party spokesperson and president of the City Committee.

That day, he said in a conversation with our newspaper, he had gone to work as usual, but at one point told his staff to go home. He himself left the party premises, which were stormed by the protesters moments later. They tore and carried everything out, he said, and wrote ‘Victory’ on his office wall.

A secret location ‘On 5 October I was at work as usual. Back then I was the president of the SPS City Committee, and my office was on Studentski Trg. Incidentally, those days were extraordinarily turbulent. I kept warning the party and state leadership that the situation was serious, and they were assuring me that everything was going to be fine. I wasn’t a high-ranking official then, I only had party duties, and couldn’t affect the decision-making process,’ Dačić said for Kurir, adding:

’We were all at work. When the situation got more complicated, I told my staff to leave the building and go home. I did the same.’ When we asked him if he had been afraid of being attacked in the street, on his way back home, he said he had not: ’Later on, the protesters broke into the building, tearing down, burning, and stealing everything, even the toilet bowls and coat hangers. They didn’t break into the Central Party Committee because they didn’t know where it was – it used to be in the Jubmes Bank building. The next day I went into the building again. You couldn’t work there anymore, so I went to the Voždovac Committee building and worked from there in the next few months,‘ the head of the Socialists recounted.

Reforms Dačić said that he had left nothing to chance and immediately called a meeting. About 15 people showed up, and that is when the party reforms started:

’The Central Party Committee practically didn’t work, most people ran away and left the party. Personally, I didn’t have any problems. I even had appearances on TV programmes when the times were at their roughest. Those of us who hung on saved the party. The protesters wrote “Victory“ in yellow paint on my office wall. Today, 20 years on, it’s clear who had won. But, 5 October helped us clean and reform the party because, as the saying goes, only the strongest survive,’ the head of the Socialists said.

Kurir / Katarina Blagović

Foto: Profimedia, EPA/Saša Stanković, Beta, Zorana Jevtić

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