According to APARENTINGBLOG, Serbia experienced a cultural boom during the heyday of the Serbian kingdom in the 13th-13th centuries. During the long Turkish occupation thereafter, the culture was mainly maintained as songs and stories of Serbian heroes in the fight against the Turks. The Serbian theater was founded in Vojvodina, where many people escaped from the Turks.
In the 19th century, Vuk Karadžić became important for Serbian culture and national feeling with his linguistic, historical and folkloric works. Great spread got Mountains Rosary, the Serbian national epic that Montenegrin prince bishop Petar II Petrović Njegoš wrote in the mid-1800s.
Nobel laureate Ivo Andrić, who portrays Ottoman Bosnia, among others in the novel Bron over Drina, lived in Belgrade for the latter part of his life. Andrić’s home became a museum after his death in 1975.
Other well-known twentieth-century writers are Danilo Kiš, Mirko Kovač and Dobrica Ćosić, who was the president of Yugoslavia from 1992 to 1993 and active in the democratization process in the early 1980s, when the authors raised previously banned topics for discussion. In the only one of his novels so far translated into Swedish, On the Lower Deck (1995), Vladimir Arsenijević depicts life during the 1990s war. The well-known Roman poet Rajko Đurić became politically involved for a period and later founded a Roman Academy of Arts and Sciences in Belgrade. His texts can be read in Swedish in the anthology Without House, without grave (2002).
The Eurovision Song Contest is very popular in Serbia, not least since the country won the competition in 2007 by singer Marija Serifović.
According to NATUREGNOSIS.COM, Serbia is a country located in Europe. Serbian film’s most well-known interpreter is Emir Kusturica (Gypsy’s Time, Black Cat, White Cat). With Underground, about the war in ex-Yugoslavia, he won the Gold Palm at the Cannes film festival in 1995. At the Balkan festival, which was organized in several parts of Sweden in early 2013, you could see, among other things, the Serbian film Professor Kosta Vujić’s hat from 2012. It is made by Zdravko Šotra, one of the most successful Serbian film and TV directors, and is based on a bestseller by Milovan Vitezović about an eccentric teacher in the 19th century.
Russian gas project is shut down
On a visit to Turkey, Russian President Putin announces that the major gas pipeline project South Stream will be scrapped. The project would transport Russian natural gas in pipelines in the Black Sea, via the Balkans (including Serbia) and Hungary to connect to the gas network in Western Europe. Gas deliveries would have started at the end of 2015. For Serbia, the stoppage means losing about two billion euros in investment, a large number of jobs for people and domestic companies, as well as income from tax on gas transit through the country. Serbia began work on its part of the gas pipeline at the end of 2013 and has so far invested around EUR 30 million on the project.
Agreement with the IMF
An agreement is entered into with the International Monetary Fund IMF on a three-year credit program. This will ease the pressure on the Serbian economy but at the same time place tough demands on Serbia to take measures to reduce the budget deficit (from 8 to 4.25 percent in three years) and the € 22 billion government debt. One part of this is the cuts in salaries for government employees, but also in pensions and contributions to debt-burdened government companies.
Historic Albanian visit to Belgrade
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama comes on a historically official visit to Serbia. The hope is that the countries’ relations will improve through the visit, which has come at the invitation of the EU, where both Serbia and Albania want to become members. However, Rama manages to tease his Serbian host, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, by referring to Kosovo as an irrevocably independent state.
A war criminal may travel home for health reasons
The War Criminal Tribunal in The Hague allows Vojislav Šešelj to travel to Serbia for health reasons: he has cancer that has spread. Šešelj, who voluntarily surrendered to the court as early as 2003 after allegations of war crimes during the 1990s Balkan war, is still formally the leader of the ultranationalist party SRS. The verdict against him has dragged on since one of the judges in the case turned out to be disastrous and is not expected until 2015. Upon his arrival in Belgrade, Šešelj is met by hundreds of followers and he seizes the opportunity to hold an ethnically upbeat speech.
Reduced salaries for government employees
The 10 percent pay cuts for government employees come into force, which the government has decided as part of cuts to deal with the poor economy. The teachers’ union starts a “strike” in protest: they shorten all lessons by 15 minutes. One teacher in Serbia earns an average of € 342 a month, while the state average salary is € 585.
Russian state visit
Russian President Vladimir Putin is received with military honors when he arrives in Belgrade to take part in the 70th anniversary of the capital’s liberation from the Nazis, in which the Soviet Red Army played a large part. Putin also has talks with President Tomislav Nikolić and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić on, among other things, increased Serbian exports to Russia. Several agreements are also signed concerning such things as military and technical cooperation, railways and energy issues. Despite the fact that Serbia has been negotiating with the EU for membership since the beginning of the year, it has refused to participate in the sanctions against Russia due to the Ukraine crisis introduced by the Union.
Riot at a football match against Albania
An EM qualifier match between Serbia and Albania, the first football match between the two countries since 1976, is interrupted after a riot erupted after a drone with a flag depicting a Great Banana (Albania + Kosovo and parts of Macedonia and Montenegro) was sent over the football field. As a Serbian player pulls down the flag, Albanian players try to stop him, after which Serbian fans storm into the pitch and surrender to the Albanians. In the Albanian capital Tirana, as well as in Kosovo and several Albanian-dominated places in Macedonia and Montenegro, a week later the Albanian football players are hailed as heroes. In July 2015, the Geneva Special Court for Arbitration in Sports Albania granted the victory in the match.
Pride parade in Belgrade
For the first time since 2010, a Pride Parade is being held in Belgrade. Unlike 2010, there are no major incidents, but the approximately 1,000 participants are protected by several thousand riot police. The main reason why the parade, which includes Belgrade’s mayor and a number of foreign ambassadors, is held, is to show that Serbia is a modern country that stands for human rights. Serbia is also praised by the EU, with which it negotiates membership. In conservative Serbia, however, many are against the gay movement and the day before the parade, right-wing extremists and supporters of the Orthodox Church are protesting.
New information and media law
The government adopts a new information and media law, which means that all state media should be privatized until 15 July 2015 (later extended to 31 October 2015). Media that is not privatized until then should be offered to employees.
Serbia, together with Bosnia-Herzegovina, is hit by the most difficult floods in a century, since several months of rain fall in only a few days and the water rises over all banks of rivers such as Sava. The worst hit in Serbia is the city of Obrenovac southwest of the capital Belgrade, where large sections of the population are forced to leave their water-soaked homes. Tens of thousands of people are evacuated and relief comes from the EU (one billion euros to Serbia), neighboring countries and Russia, among others. In Serbia, around 50 people are killed as a result of the disaster.
Nationalist leaders form government
President Tomislav Nikolić formally assigns the leader of SNS Aleksandar Vučić to form new Serbian government. The government consists of the SNS, the Socialist Party and the Vojvodina Hungarian Alliance (SVM).
Nationalist success in the recent election
In the recent election, the SNS is moving forward strongly and receiving almost half of the votes, giving the party 158 of the 250 seats in Parliament. The Socialist Party (SPS), which together with the SNS is part of the outgoing government, gets 13 percent and receives 44 seats. Only two opposition parties can pass the five-percent block to Parliament: the Democratic Party (DS) gets 19 seats and the New Democratic Party (NDS) 18 seats. The NDS was formed before the election of the former president and party leader of the DS, Boris Tadić. In addition, eleven places go to three parties among the country’s minorities. The turnout is just over 53 percent.
New elections are announced
President Tomislav Nikolić dissolves Parliament and announces new elections. The initiative, which has long been rumored, comes from the largest government party, the moderately conservative and nationalist Serbian Progress Party (SNS). Party leader Aleksandar Vučić, who is also Deputy Prime Minister (and by many considered the government’s strong man), believes that a new mandate from the Serbs is needed for the government to speed up reforms.
Membership negotiations start with the EU
Official negotiations between Serbia and the EU on Serbian EU membership start in Brussels. Important demands on Serbia in the negotiations, which are expected to last for several years, are reforms in the judiciary and public administration, the fight against corruption and organized crime and, not least, the establishment of normal relations with Kosovo.