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Behind the original neoliberal ‘color revolution’: How Serbians provoked violence to push regime change

Left-wing Serbian activist Ivan Zlatić explains how his country was ground zero for US-backed neoliberal “color revolutions,” and how operatives intentionally provoke violence from the government to push regime change.

Serbia Otpor color revolution
An Otpor protest in Serbia

When Serbia’s government was overthrown in 2000, it was the first example of a successful US-backed neoliberal color revolution.

The tactics used in this regime-change operation were subsequently repeated in countries around the world.

Journalist Brian Mier spoke with Serbian activist Ivan Zlatić, a member of the presidency of the Party of the Radical Left, about this foundational experience.

Zlatić explained how regime-change operatives intentionally “provoke violence” and then capitalize on the response of the government to discredit it and demand that it be toppled.

“Serbia was the color revolution zero,” Zlatić said.

“It was the first time that this format was utilized to provoke the reaction from the regime, or from the governing party, to go violently on young people. And then it provoked the reaction of a larger public, that, ‘We don’t want our kids to be beaten down by the police.'”

“It was very successful. I mean, this campaign was very successful to support the opposition parties, because all the people were enraged by how police is dealing with students and with these fine, nice young people who only want democracy and human rights, and la la la la la.”

“That actually enraged even those people who were supporting the regime politically, but were enraged with this police violence against students.”

Serbia Ivan Zlatic color revolution

Ivan Zlatić, a leader of Serbia’s Party of the Radical Left

Zlatić noted that Serbian regime-change operatives cashed in and “made a corporation, actually, out of that expertise, on how to provoke a violent reaction.”

“It was called, within the opposition circles, it was called, ‘Let’s make the regime show its real face.'”

“It’s not the real face. You are provoking them to violence. It’s not the real face,” Zlatić added.

“But all this expertise in provocation, to make the regime look like you want it to look like, to make the regime look like you want it to look like, was from that period.”

“But also before that, what is also important, because the movement that, the Otpor organization, the movement was actually hijacked. Otpor was originally a left-wing organization.”



  1. JamesGoblin

    2022-06-17 at 02:46

    Exactly, I was studying and so many of my colleagues were filled with “righteous fury” against “dictator” (actually a real socialist whose wife was leading communist party) Milošević and his “brutal regime” (democratically elected, on and on, in series of elections).

    I kept on supporting him and speaking against the western propaganda – but I was in extreme minority among students – or at least others were afraid to speak – and I was even publicly humiliated once for that; as usual others just “wisely” kept silent and the inevitable happened.

    • Marko K

      2022-06-22 at 07:32

      Milošević, along with the rest of the former Yugoslav crooks, abandoned socialism in 1990.

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