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    SUN, 11 JUN 1995 19:56:45 GMT

    SOROS Foundation Deleted from Court Register

    ALONE IN "PARADISE": THE DREAM OF SERB AUTHORITIES

    Yugoslav branch office of the SOROS Foundation officially does not exist any more, because the state cannot control it and because - as the Minister of Culture of Serbia put it - they want to do what we should do.

    AIM, Belgrade, June 10, 1995

    While the agile lady minister of culture, Nada Popovic-Perisic, was in Cannes celebrating the "Golden Palm" with Emir Kusturica, a statement that the SOROS Foundation of Yugoslavia was deleted from the court register of foundations arrived from her Belgrade salon (decorated with antique furniture and paintings borrowed from the museum). And since the Foundation was not registered in any other registers, it means that it does not exist, and since it does not exist, it cannot work. Therefore, it cannot finance projects which help in creating what the extremely rich Hungarian Jew, George Soros, likes to call "open society".

    Deletion of the Foundation occurred in the absence of the minister of culture (which does not mean without her knowledge and approval), but in the presence of Robert Frasure who had been trying for days to convince the President of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic, to recognize Bosnia & Herzegovina and in this way deserve a certain level of lifting of the sanctions. "Leniency" in the external political sphere, Milosevic, therefore, compensated immediately by adding strength to his already firm internal policy.

    But, whether the authorities here really intend to abolish the existence of the SOROS Foundation in Yugoslavia altogether, or they wish to extort certain concessions from it (control of a part of projects or taking a part of the money for activities supported by the state, or cancelling of the assistance to certain media which are a thorn in the flesh of the state...) remains to be seen after the complaint of the Foundation is considered by the Supreme Court of Serbia (the date has not been set yet).

    Announced by the President's wife

    When Mirjana Markovic, wife of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, wrote with melancholy about the times when the state had been the only and infallible sponsor and patron, observing with horror that nowadays it was replaced in this job by all kinds of characters of low culture, bad manners and even worse intentions, just a few people recognized the SOROS Foundation in this description. Some time later, when state journal "Borba" started a campaign against the Foundation, comrade Mirjana Markovic clearly said that it was impermissible that someone from abroad, without any knowledge and approval of the state should give money for what he chooses and to whom he chooses.

    People from the SOROS Foundation should have understood this statement as a forecast of a hot summer. Perhaps that was the reason why, in the beginning of the year, they instigated court proceedings because of the attacks against them that came via a journal with small circulation "Revija 92" and from the Novi Sad studio of the state television of Serbia. Both before and after that, people from the SOROS Foundation thought that the most powerful trump card of their defence would be if they said and showed how many drugs they had imported into Yugoslavia, to prove that, for instance, in 1993, there would have been 20 thousand more dead people if it had not been for their assistance, that many hospitals and outdoor-patient clinics had worked solely thanks to them.

    They applied the same method when the lawyer Milenko Radic (who used to be involved in all activities of the opposition and later President of the Fund for Development of Democracy) in April 1994, demanded abolition of the Foundation. The people from SOROS tried to explain the "point of view" of Mr Soros. This time, people from the Foundation, however, chose silence, probably hoping that they would manage to "arrange things" by secret diplomacy (in spring 1994, after Radic's demand, Sonja Liht, President of the Foundation, asked to be received by Slobodan Milosevic).

    Paving the way for the only "ministry of truth"

    Critics of the SOROS Foundation kept proving that it had not given 10 million dollars for drugs used in Yugoslavia, but only 400 thousand marks, that half of the funds of the Foundation was actually the money of domestic enterprises and benefactors.

    The other direction of the attack was aimed at George Soros himself. It was repeated incessantly that he had demanded bombing of Belgrade (and it is still repeated despite denials), that he had placed President Milosevic on the same level as Hitler, that he assisted intensively all those who were against the Serbs and Serbia (primarily the Muslims and the Albanians).

    The people from the Foundation did not hide that the "bomber Soros", "an awkward and excentric player who has no patience in relations with the Government" made problems for them with his statements, but their explanations about the issues concerning which they disagree with their chief did not reach the average Yugoslav whose "point of view" is formed by information programs of state television of Montenegro and Serbia.

    And yet, the key for the dispute between the Foundation and the state can be found in the statement of the minister of education of Serbia, Dragoslav Mladenovic, who says briefly: "They wish to do what we should do". This means that the state should be the one to assist young and talented pupils, to stimulate specialization of young scientists abroad, to enable the largest possible number of contacts of domestic and foreign scientists and people engaged in culture... Since the state is not doing it because it has not enough money (but sometimes also no will to finance certain projects) the Foundation steps in in its place and in this way, the regime accuses it, "it buys the intellectual elite for itself", which will some day form the shock troops in overtaking power. Opponents of the Foundation claim that it finances a "parallel world of opponents of the regime", verifying this primarily by assistance received by non-state media or some opposition parties (whose humanitarian actions and party journals are financed). The next accusation listed is that Soros is supported by the CIA and that they work together on the project of enslavevement, or colonization of Eastern Europe. This is verified most frequently by asking rhetoric questions why Soros does not help American Indians, or why there is no Foundation in Israel, or why despite the embargo he still works in Yugoslavia, while some other foundations cannot, such as Humboldt or Fulbright...

    Opponents of Soros call Soros himself to assist them in their attacks, "the Robin Hood among banking magnates" who says about himself: "I am a man who is trying to fight for open society, and what is that but politics".

    And this is where the problem is: the local regime wishes a "closed society", its dream is to have a multiparty sysem without parties, to have thousands of media which will publicize statements issued by one and only ministry of the truth... The SOROS Foundation of Yugoslavia, by helping those who do not share the points of view of the party in power threatens its desired paradise.

    Dragan Bujosevic