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29 November, Yugoslavia: Day of the Republic

This red-letter day entered the realm of history with the violent break-up of “the second” Yugoslavia in the early nineties.

Originally, Dan Republike was the celebration of the re-establishment of Yugoslavia on the second conference of the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia (AVNOJ) in Jajce in 1943, as well as the proclamation of the socialist Yugoslavia on the same date in 1945.

It long preserved the enthusiasm and heroism which surrounded the partisan victory, not only over the axis invaders, but also over the internal enemies of Yugoslavia’s parallel civil war. Unfortunately, the enthusiasm never quite did curb the grievances of the losers, and for them 29 November had a bitter taste to it.

One might say that the essence of this red-letter day in some respects lives on, as the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina has selected 25 November as their Day of Statehood. On this day, in 1945, Bosnia and Herzegovina was for the first time recognized by Tito’s communists as a federal republic within the Yugoslav framework, thereby aspiring to counter the claims of Serb and Croat nationalists that Bosnia was really “theirs”.

The notion of Bosnia and Herzegovina as one of six equal republics was cemented in the January constitution of 1946.

Today, the Day of Statehood of the Bosnian Federation is a controversial day, as the Serbs of Republika Srpska as well as many Croats of the Federation do not acknowledge it. However, for the Bosnians, this day has been highly important for the construction of a distinct Bosnian identity.

 

Published Aug 24, 2008 12:00 PM - Last modified Aug 24, 2010 02:45 PM