Stories written by Vesna Peric Zimonjic
Vesna Peric Zimonjic is a freelance journalist working from the Balkan region with more than three decades of experience. She has contributed to IPS since the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia in 1991. Vesna also conducts political analyses of the region and contributes to the London-based daily The Independent, BBC World Service and German Deutsche Welle radio and television.

Serbs travel up to 100 kilometres to the Bulgarian open-air market Ilijanci to buy cheap clothes and shoes.  Credit:  Vesna Peric Zimonjic/IPS

‘Shopping Tourism’ Promotes Regional Unity in the Balkans

The region of former Yugoslavia has developed a new phenomenon in response to economic hardships that continue to linger in Europe years after the climax of the global financial crash in 2008.

Greece Takes the Shine Off Serbian EU Candidacy

Serbia has reached its historic goal of becoming a European Union (EU) member candidate after being a pariah state for years. But analysts warn that the undisputed political success may not bring immediate results.

Greece Takes the Shine Off Serbian EU Candidacy

Serbia has reached its historic goal of becoming a European Union (EU) member candidate after being a pariah state for years. But analysts warn that the undisputed political success may not bring immediate results.

BALKANS-ECONOMY: One-Dollar Steel Mill Exposes Cracks in Privatisation

For the first time in its history, Serbia has bought back a company sold to a foreign investor almost ten years ago, for the symbolic price of a single dollar. But while the purchase has stirred a sense of national pride, it is hardly a success story for the Balkan economy; rather, it has exposed the failure of a decade-long effort to privatise the national economy.

BALKANS-SOCIETY: First Abused, Then Imprisoned

The women languishing in Serbia’s Pozarevac Penal Correctional Institution are victims twice over: survivors of decades of domestic violence, they have been imprisoned for killing their partners and often spend up to 15 years in jail.

BALKANS: The Dark Side of Serbia’s Oil Shale Fairy Tale

According to an old Serbian fairy tale, God tells a poor man who enters a gold mine that no matter what he chooses to do inside, he'll be sorry when he leaves. If he takes some gold, he'll be sorry for not taking more; if he doesn't, he'll be sorry for not taking any at all.

SERBIA: Royalty Rehabilitated in Retrospect

Serbia saw the first rehabilitation of a member of its royal family earlier this month, in a move by the supreme court described by historians as "deeply moral" and necessary - for generations who remember the Karadjordjevics as well as those who have learned about them from the history books.

BALKANS: Kosovo Serbs Turn to Russia for Protection

On Dec. 1, the government in Moscow turned down a petition for Russian statehood by some 22,000 Kosovo Serbs who argue that their lives as ethnic minorities in Kosovo have become "unbearable".

BALKANS: Fearing the ‘White al-Qaeda’

Mevludin Jasarevic (23) is in police custody in Sarajevo, scarcely revealing how he came to the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina and went on a shooting spree in front of the United States embassy last month.

 Credit:  Astroturfer/CC BY 2.0

BALKANS: Who’s Afraid of Serbian Violins

The path of reconciliation in former Yugoslavia has taken a musical turn, as the philharmonic orchestras of Ljubljana, Zagreb and Belgrade team up for their first joint season since 1991.

BALKANS: Serbs Turn From the State Towards Themselves

Dismayed by the lack of beer and chips at a football game three years ago, Dragan Stancic and Uros Petrovic, two young Belgradians, hatched a plan to take matters into their own hands.

SERBIA: Mixed Feelings on Restitution Law for WWII Property

The Serbian parliament has adopted one of the most long awaited – and most controversial – laws in its recent history: the law on restitution of property confiscated by the communist regime after World War II.

BALKANS: Prison Literature Blossoms

A new literary trend is gaining momentum in Serbia. It revolves around a phenomenon sociologists are describing as "prison literature".

Once, There Was Yugoslavia

For decades, the former Yugoslavia was a communist country with a human face, whose nations enjoyed high standards of living compared to other Eastern Europeans, visa-free travel abroad, and participatory government. Twenty years ago, on Jun. 25, all that ended.

BALKANS: Serbia Promoting Partition of Kosovo

For most of the world the issue of Kosovo is long over. The nation declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has gained recognition from 76 out of 192 U.N. member states.

Arrest Takes Serbia Towards Reconciliation, and the EU

"Nothing can bring back our husbands or children, but this means so much for us; the man who ordered them killed is finally going to face justice," says Hajra Catic, head of the Women of Srebrenica Association, following the arrest in Serbia of the former head of the Bosnian Serb army Ratko Mladic.

BALKANS: Justice For All?

Serbia has been reforming and transforming its justice system to more closely emulate international and European models, but the concept of plea-bargaining for more lenient sentences has led to unprecedented protest in the country.

BALKANS: Cornered Hopelessly at Work

Katka Ceh has been selling vegetables at Pancevo’s open-air market since losing her job as a pre-school teacher in the nearby village of Kovacica more than a year ago.

BALKANS: Anger Over Sentencing Could Lead to Calm

Sentencing of two former generals ignited protests across Croatia over the weekend. Thousands of angry people protested in the streets of Zagreb and other major cities, claiming injustice had been done to heroes of the homeland war for independence that ended 16 years ago.

ECONOMY: Serbs, Croats and Slovenes Revive Old ‘Kingdom’

Two decades after former Yugoslavia fell apart, leaders of the newly created nations of Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia met earlier this month to agree on joint economic strategy, putting some of the effects of wars of the 1990s finally behind them.

Libya Not Quite the Same as Serbia

The month of March, named after the Roman god of war, Mars, appears to be the favourite among war planners in modern times.

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