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.

‘God Bless Montevideo’ Inspires Serbs

Only months ago, most of the Serbs would probably not know that Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay, as there is hardly anything that connects the two nations.

BALKANS: Rising Anti-EU Sentiment

Anti-European Union (EU) sentiment is growing across the Balkan countries that have proclaimed membership in the European family of nations as their highest political goal during the past decade. It is caused by prolonged economic hardships that still bite hard, failure of authorities to fight widespread corruption and political deadlock in creating stable governments.

Serbs Turn Back to Arms for Money

A long-running joke in Serbia goes that the country’s most successful export products are berries, grains, maize, and world-renowned tennis players like Novak Djokovic and Jelena Jankovic.

Mila Credit:

BALKANS: Political Pieces Assemble a Teenager

Mila looks like the thousands of teenage girls who visit the newly-opened, glamorous shopping mall in downtown Sarajevo. She’s discreetly dressed in black trousers and jacket, with carefully manicured fingernails. The 19-year- old’s name means "sweet" or "kind". The name is in harmony with her enchanting smile.

BALKANS: Rape Victims Fight a Mostly Losing Battle

It takes little to bring out the scars that many women who were raped in Bosnia still carry. Rumours, later shown to be unfounded, that Angelina Jolie would star in a film to be shot in Sarajevo on the war-time love between a Serb man and a Bosniak Muslim girl he raped, had women's groups lodging strong protests.

EUROPE: Yugoslavia Back on Track

For a while it looked like the start of a ride in a time machine. Serbian engineers, their caps bearing the emblems of the defunct Yugoslav Railways, cheered on the first train of the new Slovenian-Croatian-Serbian railway.

BALKANS: Kosovo Talks Bring Hope

Serbia has lost all its military and legal battles over Kosovo, but there is hope that the internationally sponsored talks between Belgrade and Pristina in October may bring some normalisation in relations between Serbia and its breakaway province.

BALKANS: Serbia Prepares a New Case Over Kosovo

Serbia is preparing to go before the United Nations next month to renew negotiations over the future of Kosovo, its southern breakaway province that has declared independence and been recognised by a number of countries.

BALKANS: The Turks Return

It's not often that the leading Belgrade daily Politika devotes two of its four foreign pages to the praise of one nation, but it did so for the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month.

BALKANS: Economic Crisis Takes Harsh Toll

It's been quite a while since Mevliha Cebo enjoyed the job she was educated for: a pre-school teacher in her native Sarajevo.

Mirsad Tokaca  Credit: Vesna Peric Zimonjic/IPS

Q&A: Laying to Rest the Ghosts of the Past – With Truth

This year marks 15 years since the bloody war in Bosnia - Herzegovina (BH) ended. Apart from the 44-month siege of the capital of Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb forces there was the massacre of some 8,000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys after the United Nations-protected enclave of Srebrenica fell into their hands.

BALKANS: Serb Mercenaries See Prospects in Latin America

For most Serbs, Latin America is a distant continent held in regard by the older generation as a part of the non-aligned movement.

ECONOMY-BALKANS: ‘How Did We Become So Poor?’

Almost two decades after Yugoslavia fell apart, the majority of the defunct socialist country’s people are insecure and uncertain for their future with the booming economy and rapid development that capitalism promised remaining a pipe dream.

BALKANS: ‘Tito-nostalgia’ Reigns 30 Years After His Death

For many former Yugoslavs, May 4 will be a day to reflect on the 30 years since their charismatic but controversial leader, Josip Broz Tito, died.

BALKANS: Freedom Fighters or Freeloaders?

When one of Croatia’s best kept secrets, the list of independence fighters enjoying lifelong benefits, appeared on the Internet earlier this month it sparked off a huge scandal in this nation that became a sovereign state after the bloody 1991-95 war with Serbia.

BALKANS: Farming Prospers as Farmers Suffer

Official statistics put Serbian agriculture as the single most productive branch of the economy and one that not only survived the financial meltdown but chalked up a record trade surplus of almost a billion US dollars in 2009.

BALKANS: Arrest of Wahhabis Highlights Extremist Threat

The arrest of seven Wahhabis, following a police crackdown on the remote Bosnian village of Gornja Maoca, has raised concerns over the continued presence of Islamist fundamentalists who first arrived in the country during the bloody 1992-1995 Balkans war.

BALKANS: Moderate Patriarch Sets New Course for Serb Church

The enthronement of a moderate as patriarch of the influential Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) has raised hopes for the planned integration of the country with the European Union (EU) and for Serbs coming to terms with the bloody Balkans wars of the 1990s.

BALKANS: Seized Cars, Property Say Crime Does Not Pay

A rare fleet of 20 luxury cars and snazzy jeeps has remained parked in front of the heavily guarded special court in the capital for days now.

BALKANS: ‘Econoslavia’ Makes Sense If Yugoslavia Does Not

Politicians from the former Yugoslavia often speak about integration with the European Union (EU) as their major goal in this decade and possible salvation from the economic hardships the region faces.

BALKANS: Serbs Bank on EU Laws to Regain Seized Property

Prominent theatre actor Tanasije Uzunovic loves to take long walks in the large Kalemegdan Fortress Park but generally avoids the Dedinje neighbourhood, a more popular green zone in the Serbian capital.

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