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Dobrica Ćosić

Dobrica Ćosić
Добрица Ћосић
Dobrica Ćosić in 1961
1st President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
In office
15 June 1992 – 1 June 1993
Prime Minister Aleksandar Mitrović (acting)
Milan Panić
Radoje Kontić
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Zoran Lilić
15th Secretary General of Non-Aligned Movement
In office
15 June 1992 – 7 September 1992
Preceded by Branko Kostić
Succeeded by Suharto
Personal details
Born (1921-12-29)29 December 1921
Velika Drenova, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
Died 18 May 2014(2014-05-18) (aged 92)
Belgrade, Serbia
Nationality Serb

Dobrosav "Dobrica" Ćosić (Serbian Cyrillic: Добросав Добрица Ћосић, Serbian pronunciation: ; 29 December 1921 – 18 May 2014) was a Serbian writer, as well as a political and Serb nationalist theorist. He was the first president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1992 to 1993. Admirers often refer to him as the "Father of the Nation", due to his influence on modern Serbian politics and national revival movement in the late 1980s;[1] opponents often use that term in an ironic manner.[2]


  • Early life and career 1
  • In opposition 2
  • During and after the Yugoslav wars 3
  • Ćosić and Chomsky 4
  • Death 5
  • Literary works 6
    • On Ćosić 6.1
  • References 7

Early life and career

Ćosić was born as Dobrosav Ćosić[3] in 1921 in the village of Velika Drenova near Trstenik, Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Some sources have incorrectly stated his birthdate as January 4, 1922.[4]

Before the Negotin in 1939. When the Second World War reached Yugoslavia in 1941, he joined the communist partisans. After the liberation of Belgrade in October 1944, he remained active in communist leadership positions, including work in the Serbian republican Agitation and Propaganda commission and then as a people's representative from his home region. In the early 1950s, he visited the Goli otok concentration camp, where the Yugoslav authorities imprisoned political opponents of the Communist Party. Ćosić maintains that he did so in order to better understand the Stalinist mind. In 1956 he found himself in Budapest during the Hungarian revolt. He came for the meeting of the editors of literary magazines in socialist countries on the day when the revolution started and remained there until October 31 when he was transported back to Belgrade on a plane that brought in Yugoslav Red Cross help. It remains unclear whether this was purely a coincidence or he was sent there as a Yugoslav agent. Nevertheless, he even held political speeches in favor of a revolution in Budapest and upon his return he wrote a detailed report on the matter which, by some opinions, greatly affected and shaped firm official Yugoslav view on the whole situation. Parts of his memories and thoughts on the circumstances later will be published under the name Seven days in Budapest. In 1961, he joined Marshal Tito on a 72-day tour by presidential yacht (the Galeb) to visit eight African non-aligned countries. The trip aboard the Galeb highlighted the close, affirmative relationship that Ćosić had with the administration until the early 1960s.

In opposition

Until the early 1960s, Ćosić was devoted to Tito and Tito's vision of a harmonious Yugoslavia. Between 1961 and 1962, Ćosić got involved in a lengthy polemic with the Slovenian intellectual Dušan Pirjevec regarding the relationship between autonomy, nationalism and centralism in Yugoslavia.[5] Pirjevec voiced the opinions of the Communist Party of Slovenia which supported a more de-centralized development of Yugoslavia with respect for local autonomies, while Ćosić argued for a stronger role of the Federal authorities, warning against the rise of peripheral nationalisms. The polemic, which was the first public and open confrontation of different visions within the Yugoslav Communist Party after World War II, ended with Tito's support of Ćosić's arguments. Nevertheless, actual political measures undertaken after 1962 actually followed the positions voiced by Pirjevec and the Slovenian Communist leadership.

As the government gradually decentralised administration of Yugoslavia after 1963, Ćosić grew convinced that the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and is considered by many to have been its most influential member. While Ćosić has been credited with writing the Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, which appeared in unfinished fashion in the Serbian public in 1986, he in fact was not responsible for its writing. In 1989 he endorsed the leadership of Slobodan Milošević, and two years later he helped raise Radovan Karadžić to the leadership of the Bosnian Serbs. When war broke out in 1991, he supported the Serbian effort.

During and after the Yugoslav wars

In 1992, he became the president of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which consisted of Serbia and Montenegro.

On Eastern Orthodox Christmas Eve of January 1993, Dobrica Ćosić appeared on Serbian television to warn of demands for “national capitulation” from western governments. “If we don't accept, we are going to be put in a concentration camp and face an attack by the most powerful armies of the world.” These outside forces, he said, are determined to subordinate “the Serbian people to Muslim hegemony.”[6]

Later that year Ćosić turned against Milošević, and was removed from his position for that reason. In 2000, Ćosić publicly joined Otpor!, an underground anti-Milošević organization.

In 2010, Ćosić expressed his continuous support of the actions of the Bosnian Serb Army under the command of Ratko Mladić during the Bosnian War.[7]

In 2011, an internet hoax led to state-run Serbian television announcing wrongly that Ćosić had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. That honour had in fact gone to Tomas Tranströmer.[8]

Ćosić and Chomsky

In 2006, Ćosić received support in the press for his proposal for a partition of Kosovo from American essayist and linguist Noam Chomsky. In a [2] Serbian television interview, Chomsky was asked what the best solution for Kosovo's final status is. He responded:

My feeling has been for a long time that the only realistic solution is one that in fact was offered by the President of Serbia [i.e. Dobrica Cosic, then President of Yugoslavia] I think back round 1993, namely some kind of partition, with the Serbian, by now very few Serbs left but the, what were the Serbian areas being part of Serbia and the rest be what they called "independent" which means it'll join Albania. I just don't see…I didn't see any other feasible solution ten years ago.

This interview sparked a correspondence between the two dissident intellectuals, parts of which were published in the Belgrade magazine NIN.


Dobrica Ćosić died on 18 May 2014 in his home near Belgrade. He was 92 years old.

Literary works

Ćosić was a prolific writer who twice won the prestigious NIN award for literature.

  • Dаleko je sunce (1951)
  • Koreni (1954)
  • Deobe 1-3 (1961)
  • Akcija (1964)
  • Bаjkа (1965)
  • Moć i strepnje (1971)
  • Vreme smrti 1-4 (1972–1979)
  • Stvarno i moguće (1982)
  • Vreme zlа: Grešnik (1985)
  • Vreme zlа: Otpаdnik (1986)
  • Vreme zlа: Vernik (1990)
  • Promene (1992)
  • Vreme vlаsti 1 (1996)
  • Piščevi zаpisi 1951—1968.(2000)
  • Piščevi zаpisi 1969—1980. (2001)
  • Piščevi zаpisi 1981—1991. (2002)
  • Piščevi zаpisi 1992—1993. (2004)
  • Srpsko pitаnje 1-2 (2002–2003)
  • Pisci mogа vekа (2002)
  • Kosovo (2004)
  • Prijаtelji (2005)
  • Vreme vlаsti 2 (2007)
  • Piščevi zаpisi 1993—1999. (2008)
  • Piščevi zаpisi 1999—2000: Vreme zmijа(2009)
  • Srpsko pitanje u XX veku (2009)
  • U tuđem veku (2011)
  • Rat u Bosni (2012)
  • Kosovo 1966-2013 (2013)

On Ćosić

  • Pesnik revolucije nа predsedničkom brodu, (1986) - Dаnilo Kiš
  • Čovek u svom vremenu: rаzgovori sа Dobricom Ćosićem, (1989) - Slаboljub Đukić
  • Authoritet bez vlаsti, (1993) - prof. dr Svetozаr Stojаnović
  • Dobricа Ćosić ili predsednik bez vlаsti, (1993) - Drаgoslаv Rаnčić
  • Štа je stvаrno rekаo Dobricа Ćosić, (1995) - Milаn Nikolić
  • Vreme piscа: životopis Dobrice Ćosićа, (2000) - Rаdovаn Popović
  • Lovljenje vetrа, političkа ispovest Dobrice Ćosićа, (2001) - Slаvoljub Đukić
  • Zаvičаj i Prerovo Dobrice Ćosićа, (2002) - Boško Ruđinčаnin
  • Gang of four, (2005) - Zorаn Ćirić
  • Knjigа o Ćosiću, (2005) - Drаgoljub Todorović
  • Moj beogradski dnevnik: Susreti i razgovori s Dobricom Ćosićem, 2006.-2011, (2013) - Darko Hudelist


  1. ^ Zorica Vulić (2000-05-11). "Ko je ovaj čovek?: Dobrica Ćosić" (in Serbian).  
  2. ^ Svetlana Lukić, Svetlana Vuković (2007-03-16). "Injekcija za Srbe".  
  3. ^ Zorica Vulić (2000-05-11). "Ko je ovaj čovek?: Dobrica Ćosić" (in Serbian).  
  4. ^ Zorica Vulić (2000-05-11). "Ko je ovaj čovek?: Dobrica Ćosić" (in Serbian).  
  5. ^ Lenard J. Cohen, Jasna Dragovic-Soso (2007-10-01). "State Collapse in South-Eastern Europe: New Perspectives on Yugoslavia's Disintegration". Purdue University Press. 
  6. ^ Serbia's Spite, Time Magazine, 25 January 1993
  7. ^ Facebook Row Exposes Fragility Of Balkans 'Cease-Fire', Radio Free Europe, December 16, 2008
  8. ^ Internet Hoax Has Serb Writer as Nobel Winner, ABC News, October 6th 2011.
  • Slavoljub Đukić, Čovek u svom vremenu: Razgovori sa Dobricom Ćosićem (Belgrade: Filip Višnjić, 1989)
  • Jasna Dragović Soso, Saviours of the Nation (McGill-Queens University Press, 2001)
  • Nick Miller, The Nonconformists: Culture, Politics, and Nationalism in a Serbian Intellectual Circle, 1944-1991 (Budapest and New York: Central European University Press, 2007)
Political offices
Preceded by
New title
President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Succeeded by
Zoran Lilić
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Branko Kostić
Secretary General of Non-Aligned Movement
Succeeded by
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