Serbia, officially the Republic of Serbia, is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, covering the southern lowlands of the Carpathian basin and central part of the Balkans. Serbia borders the remnants of Hungary to the north; Transylvania and Rhodope to the east; Kingdom of Macedonia to the south; and then Croatia and Bosnia to the west.
Serbia's strategic location between two continents has subjected it to invasions by many peoples. Greeks colonized its south in the 11th century B.C., and the Romans conquered parts of Serbia from the 2nd century B.C. into the 1st century A.D. The earliest rudimentary Serb state arose in the mid 11th century. Official adoption of Christianity soon followed. During the 1200s and 1300s, Serbia states began to expand eastward, southward into Kosovo and northern Macedonia and northward. The first Serbian Kingdom was proclaimed in 1217, with the Serbian Empire later being proclaimed in 1346. Shortly thereafter, Serbia reached its territorial, political and economical peak. This was a period marked by the rise of a new threat: the Ottoman Turk Sultanate.
The Turks soon conquered Byzantium and the other states in the Balkans. While the Serbs did manage to win the Battle of Plocnik against them in 1386, they had lost the battle of Maritisa in 1371 and won the battle of Kosovo in 1389 with enough casualties that the Ottomans were able to conquer most of the region by 1496. The Austrian emperors would later spend much of the next couple of centuries fighting over the region with the Turks. Serbia gained its autonomy from the Ottoman Empire with two uprisings in 1804 and 1815, and was granted international recognition after the Russo-Turkish War in 1878, later gaining full statehood as the Kingdom of Serbia. The Balkan Wars from 1912-1913 finally terminated Turkish domination in the Balkans. The 1914 assassination of Franz Ferdinand served as a pretext for an Austrian declaration of war on Serbia, marking the beginning of World War I. The Serbian Army defended the country and won several victories, but was finally overpowered by the Central Powers. Having recuperated on Corfu, the Serbian Army later returned to combat on the Thessaloniki front together with other Entente forces.
A successful Allied offensive in September 1918 liberated Serbia, and brought the surrender of their enemies. With the end of the war and the collapse of both nearby empires the king was finally able to proclaim a united Slav kingdom. However in 1928 a representative opened fire in Parliament. Taking advantage of the resulting crisis, the king assumed executive power, as well as renaming the country Yugoslavia. In the run up to World War II, a treaty was signed with Hitler - however, a popular uprising amongst the people rejected this agreement. After a brief war, Yugoslavia surrendered unconditionally to the Axis. Jews and Serbs were slaughtered on a large scale over the next few years. Active resistance continued by royalists, various national groups, and especially the communists, under Josip Tito, who would take control of the country after it was liberated in 1944-1945. Tito would become the president of the newly-socialist nation, ruling with an iron hand until his death in 1980. He had managed by that time to industrialize several areas of the country, and to keep the various nationalities in check. After his death, the various autonomous republics that he had established under the federal structure began to move apart, which the weak federal government did little to prevent.
While not a member of either side on Doomsday, the capital of Yugoslavia, Belgrade, was hit by a nuclear missile anyway. It is now believed that this was done by the Soviets with the same principles and reasons as their strike on Vienna. However, unlike that strike, the effects were far, far, worse. Small attacks also occurred in the north from Soviet and Hungarian forces, though they were defeated by the Yugoslavian Army fairly easily.
Refugees then began to swarm its borders from nearby countries that had been hit much harder, as well as internally displaced refugees from the strike on Belgrade. Surviving members of the federal government fled southwards, to the city of Kragujevac, where they re-established the government, under what was almost completely the control of the Serbs and their allies - even more so than had been the case previously. However, their attempts to hold the country together would fail spectacularly and result in the dissolution of the nation, and massive ethnic casualties, in the Yugoslav wars.
In 1985, the end of Yugoslavia finally came. On October 6th, Slovenia declared independence from the nation, followed two days later by Croatia - and the central government, now dominated by Serbs and Montenegrins, could not tolerate this, so the declaration were opposed militarily. Fighting in Slovenia between the two sides only lasted eight days before the central government pulled its forces out, being unable to continue fighting so far into enemy territory. This was essentially a recognition of their independence, for the government refused to declare a "war" against the new Slovenian government. Slovenia would remain neutral for the rest of the war.
While the Bosnian republic had not declared independence, there was a good reason for it - the government there, within days of the Croatian declaration and the Serbian moves to counter it, had effectively lost any control it had, having been locked up by Serbian forces in Kragujevac. The area then became a warzone, between the Serbian-controlled Yugoslav Army on one side, and Croats and the Bosnian Muslims on the other. Other rebel groups, nowhere near as organized, soon appeared as well.
Government forces, largely on the eastern borders of the nation or finishing putting down rebels elsewhere, took time to get to the front, leaving the Croats some time to organize defenses, though it would not be enough. Soon, however, government forces attacked the Croat defenses in the area of Eastern Slavonia, especially around the city of Vukovar, which the Serbian forces spent months besieging while the Croats strengthened defenses elsewhere. fighting here would continue through much of 1986. Serb forces would launch another offensive, this time into Dalmatia, which at their furthest point they would almost reach the coast between the Dalmatian cities of Split and Zadar, in order to cut the Croat lines into two separate areas. They would eventually be forced backwards, however.
In the meanwhile, unbeknown to the Serbs, another small force had landed in Montenegro, with the intention of reclaiming the country for Alexander, son of the last king of Yugoslavia and the last crown prince. He had survived the events of Doomsday in Spain, and had organized a small force of survivors in order to reclaim what he thought was rightfully his. They marched northwards, gaining a small number of supporters, until they ran into a detachment of Serbian troops, who defeated them, though only thought them to be more Croat "rebels." Alexander and his little army retreated southwards into Macedonia, where they encountered elements of the South-Eastern Theater, who took them to their commander in Skopje. Disturbed by the actions being undertaken by the government, which he viewed as being horrific - especially in light of reports of ethnic cleansing that he had begun to hear - the commander of the Theater, a believer in the ideals of Tito for a ethnic-neutral Yugoslavia, joined forces with the like-minded Alexander, though his now-diminished forces were still fairly small in number. They did advance northwards somewhat, in an effort to undertake the original goals of Alexander, at first successfully due to the weakness of the Serbian troops in the region, but the government eventually caught on to what has happening and moved forces to block their advance. Portions of southern Serbia and Kosovo, as well as a small area of Montenegro, were taken in this action. It can be said that this movement greatly aided the Croat forces in expelling the Serbs from their territory.
Slowly, Serb forces were expelled from Croat and Bosnian areas by a combination of the Croatian Army and Bosnian guerrillas. While at first they had been at a major disadvantage in equipment, Switzerland and Austria had been arming the Croats and Bosnians. After two years of heavy fighting, these forces managed to finally push out the Serbian Army during 1988, forcing them back into Bosnia. By the end of the year, the forces had also managed to secure much of Herzegovina as well, though Serbian troops continued to occupy the Serbians areas of Bosnia.
Seeing that the two sides were effectively at a stalemate, the Alpine nations and Slovenia intervened, and brokered a peace treaty in early 1989, in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. This peace, later known as the Ljubljana Accords, put an end to the fighting. By its terms, the Serbs had to withdraw from Muslim-dominated areas of Bosnia, as was Croatia. The country of Bosnia would be set up in this territory by the Alpine countries. Most of Herzegovina was ceded to Croatia, and significant areas of the region, occupied by the Serbs still, were kept by them.
With the loss of much of its territory, and, in the eyes of many, their failure, keeping the nation-state in its current form made no sense. As a result, the national assembly approved a new constitution, which centralized authority in a new government, under the name of the "Republic of Serbia." In order to satisfy the Montenegrins and the minorities, a federal structure remained, however, which divided it into five provinces with a degree of autonomy, but with power definitely centralized in the national capital at Kragujevac. The capital of the new Serbian province was also moved to Nis, in an effort to prevent that province from dominating the government quite as badly. Elections for the assembly, starting in the fall of 1989, would be held every five years, barring the defeat of the Prime Minister prior to the election date. Elections that fall would bring the Socialists to power, shunting aside the nationalists and xenophobes for the time being.
After 1989 and the reformation of the government, attention had to be turned to rebuilding areas devastated by both rebels and the war. Yet, rebels still remained in some areas, and the devastated economy was soon found to be unable to support so many soldiers, and many were let go. Criminals and rebels set up shop in many areas of the country - several of these crime syndicates remain powerful even in the present. Obviously, something had to be done.
In 1992, a new act of legislation, the Military Reform Act, was passed by the Assembly. This legislation reformed the military from one branch into three, lowered the pay-scale slightly, thinned out a truly massive number of unneeded officers, and introduced conscription, which would be for eighteen months, with a possibility of staying in the military afterwards if they so chose. Each branch was also given a monopoly over a certain industry related to their equipment so that they could help pay for their own upkeep. While the monopoly is no longer in force, these companies owned by the service branches remain intact today.
Arms and ammunition factories inside Serbia, barely operating due to a lack of funds after the war, were in early 1993 completely brought back on-line as part of the reforms. Military design boards were soon re-established, and begun work on new designs, especially an upgrade to the long-used AK-47.
Envoys from King Alexander in Macedonia arrived in Kragujevac during the fall of 1991. Being in no shape to argue with the envoys, Serbia grudgingly accepted the loss of territory. This did not sit well with a large portion of the population.
The Macedonian Civil War
In the fall of 1994, the second election of the republic was held. It was a bad loss for the Socialists and their ethnic allies, who lost control of the assembly to the nationalists, still riding a wave of anger from the acceptance of the Macedonian conquests in 1991.
In the Kingdom of Macedonia, Serbian nationalists in the northeast had long been trouble for the government. With the 1994 election of the nationalists to power in the republic, these Macedonian dissidents soon received outside support for their activities and extreme, Pro-Serbia, views. With Serbian backing, these racist dissidents and their "Unity Party" almost won the 1995 Macedonian elections, but narrowly lost to the Conservatives. Support for the party dropped dramatically in the aftermath of the election.
However, their support quickly rebounded. By the fall of 1996, Milan Milutinović, the Unity Party leader, was being listen to by large crowds again, and claimed that he had been cheated out of winning the election. Worse still, some of the people began to actually believed him - and the government dismissed him entirely.
This dismissal was proven horribly wrong when Milutinovic, on January 27, 1997, declared independence as the "Serbian Republic," despite the existence of the actual Republic of Serbia to its north. Serbia supported this move, but could not intervene itself due to the strategic situation for its forces overall, so they promptly began to ship what arms they could spare to the rebels. Milan was then to, if he won, rejoin Serbia proper. However, despite its early successes, the rebels were eventually defeated at the Battle of Skopje in 1999, after which, with Turkish support, the Macedonians were able to defeat Milutinovic and his allies. They would all be captured by the end of the year, and executed, or forced to surrender.
Unfortunately, the arming of the rebels by Serbia was found out by Macedonia, almost sparking war between the two. Luckily, however, claims made by the Serbian president that it was the illegal actions of a few generals who had been selling the arms for profit to the rebels were semi-believed by the Macedonian government. While they could hae argued, they were too busy dealing with Greeks that had moved into their territory while they had been fighting the war and rebuilding to deal with a war with Serbia. Many in Macedonia today believe - correctly, though they do not know this - that the Serbian government itself was responsible.
That the Serbian government had changed back into the hands of the Serbian Socialist Party in 1999 greatly helped matters should not be overlooked either, of course.
Since 1999, the Socialists have managed to maintain a hold, though barely, on the Assembly - in both the 2004 and 2009 elections they failed to have an outright majority, losing more seats each time and they have since needed to rely on the Montenegrin and Albanian parties to maintain power. The Presidency has varied between the two parties during that same time period.
In 2000, the Serbian government received an interesting request from the nearby city-state based out of the city of Vidin. Relations between the two had been non-existent since 1986, to to great mutual dislike. However, Serbia was now the only nation that they could turn to as a source of weaponry. Using loot from many previous expeditions into ruined areas and the like, along with stocks of wine, the Vidinites were able to get ammunition and a few pieces of more modern weaponry from Serbian Army ammunition and gun factories. Thinking ahead, the Army also made the weapons in the style of those made in Macedonia, hoping to gain some sort of advantage with the move - this would almost work when the phony paperwork was read, but eventually failed when Vidinite officers were interrogated and the true source was discovered.
The Serbian military has begun to expand its forces as of late, with efforts being put into the manufacture of a new tank design, code-named Vihor, as well as a new howitzer model and a upgrade to a plan for a line of frigates, code-name Kotor, which was never begun due to other needs in the 1980s.
There was also a short-lived attempt by the Hungarian minority to colonize parts of former Hungary in the early naughties, but pressure from the Transylvanian and Partiumi governments soon defeated the notion.
In early 2011, various intelligence services received word that forces in the opposition may have been planning something. However, the government seemed to be unaware of it, and believed the radicals when they said that nothing was up. However, this was not the case.
On June 15th, the six hundred and twenty-second anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, these intelligence services were proven correct. Božidar Delić, a general in the Serbian Army, and his soldiers, stormed the National Assembly. Declaring himself the President, he had his men arrest the socialist and moderate members of the assembly, and shoot the minority representatives. A representative from Serbian Bosnia, and a leader of the radicals, Milomir Stakić, was named his Prime Minister. Ivica Dačić, the elected Prime Minister, was shot as well.
Similar actions occurred across the Republic. All of the provincial governments were stormed in a similar manner, all under colonels loyal to Božidar. Not even the President, Filip Vujanović, escaped from the rebels - he was shot while "trying to escape" from his residence in the capital, though how one can be shot as such while lying in bed asleep will forever be a mystery.
The military, except for units where the majority were from minority groups - few, far between, and under lock-down - either aided the general, or did nothing.
Rebellions erupted in the north, east, and south of the Republic, though given the tacit support of the military to the coup, it was likely that these would be crushed. The LoN officially condemned the coup on the 16th, referring to it as "another spark for the Balkan Powder-keg."
Members of the Vidinite Armed Forces in exile on Serbian territory are also now being equipped with supplies taken from the rebels, in a move that will surely end in violence. They have also aided the Serbian forces in putting down the uprisings. Their leaders met with the general on July 18th, in closed quarters. On July 29th, it was announced in Kragujevac that the new Serbian government was recognizing the Vidinites as the legitimate government of Bulgaria. They are now the only nation to do so.
Reports out of Serbia on July 18th, 2011, indicated that the last of the uprisings had been crushed, with the survivors fleeing northwards. These survivors would arrive intermittently in Partium, having traveled the empty tracts between Serbia and Partium, starting on the 25th. No more were reported after the 30th.
Macedonian Army observers in the Dinaric Alps northeast of Bajram Curri reported on September 22nd that they had observed large amounts of smoke rising from the town of Decan in the Kosovo region of Serbia. It is suspected that Serbian militias have burned all or part of the town, for unknown reasons.
Claiming that the burning the previous Thursday was done by rebels, President Delić declared a state of emergency on September 27th, and ordered both the mobilization of the Armed Forces, and the conscription of every eligible citizen, in order to, in his own words, "combat the increasingly violent ethnic rebellion." This is in all likelihood not a positive development.
As agreed with Macedonia last December, prior to the coup, plans for a line of frigates were handed over to Macedonian representatives in Skopje on October 13th, 2011. The agreed funds were handed over, and taken northwards. The following morning, however, the Macedonian government announced that during the night, their naval experts had looked over the plans and determined that they were not what had been promised, in the least, being a decades-old plan purposely modified to make them barely seaworthy. Furthermore, they revealed that the given funds went to the port of Bar, and then, they believed, into the hands of arms dealers. President Delić has denied all of this, referring to the Macedonian government as being full of "lying dogs," among other more offensive things.
Reports emerged on October 21st that the Serbian government was forcibly conscripting ethnic Romanians at Vrsac, near the Transylvanian border, and probably elsewhere as well. It is unknown at this time to what the goal is, but in all probability, it is not a good one.
Elements of the Serbian military reportedly violated the Bosnian border near the city of Tuzla on November 7th, 2011.
With the end of the Yugoslav War in 1989, as brokered by the Alpine Federation, a new Constitution was passed by the government using an increase in Serbian nationalism, reforming the nation into the Republic of Serbia, a much more democratic and capitalist nation, though one with much more Serbian nationalism being present.
In a concession to the Montenegrins, Hungarians, and Albanians, a federal structure had to be maintained, however. As such, the republic was divided into five separate provinces, which are themselves divided into smaller units referred to as okrugs. These provinces are:
|Province||Capital||Number of Okrugs||Notes|
|Kosovo||Pristina||4||Albanian majority and the largest city|
|Serbia||Nis||18||Also contains a substantial Romanian minority|
|Srpska Bosna||Banja Luka||8||Serbian majority with small amounts of Bosnians and Croats.|
|Vojvodina||Novi Sad||7||Serbian majority with a large Hungarian minority|
Following the coup of June 15th, these were suspended, and their functions taken over by supporters of the coup.
Each province, and indeed, the nation itself, has a unicameral legislature. The legislature, known as the National Assembly, is headed by a Prime Minister, who leads the party, or coalition of parties, who hold a majority of seats. Currently the Prime Minister is Ivica Dačić of the Serbian Socialist Party, who governs in a coalition with the Montenegrin and Albanian parties in the chamber. The opposition is composed mostly of the extreme nationalists, who demand war against several other nations over what they consider to be "Serbian territory" - woe be the day that they manage this. Elections are held every five years, barring some sort of major loss by the government in the assembly, with the next one scheduled for 2014.
The President is chosen from a pool of six candidates, who are chosen by each of the five provincial governments, as well as the outgoing president. There is a limitation however - the candidates cannot in any way be from the province that nominates them, or the home province of the President. These candidates are then voted on by the assembly, and after several elimination votes, the winner of the last round, or the first to get a two-thirds majority, is elected the president. In practice, the provinces and the outgoing president do nominate one candidate from each province, however. Currently, the president is Božidar Delić, who overthrew the elected government in a coup on June 15th, 2011.
The Armed Forces of Serbia are divided into three branches:
- Serbian Land Forces
- Serbian Air Defense Forces
- Serbian Naval Forces
The Serbian Armed Forces were originally a large portion of the armed forces of Former Yugoslavia during and soon after the Yugoslav War. However, after the war the Serbian government and economy could only support a small army, far the opposite of what was needed to settle the country's problems, mainly remaining Bosnian rebels
in Serbia and other rebels inside its borders, leaving much of the nation-state a haven for criminals.
However, in 1992 the Military Reform Act was passed by the Assembly which reformed the Serbian Armed Forces into an army, navy, and air force, all of which where supplied with troops by conscription.
In early 1993 the arms factories across the country, in a minimal state of production since the end of the wars, resumed a more full level of production, and new weapons resumed coming out of the factories. Soon, military design boards were developing ways to improve the current weapons and design new ones, at which they were mildly successful.
As 1993 closed and a new year dawned, the army was set aside and defense of the seas was given prime importance in the Assembly and the War Department. Among the ships put into the Serbian Navy were the two Koni class frigates, the Split and the Koper, the two Sava class submarines, Sava and Drava, among other smaller assault craft. A River Fleet was also constructed as many river attack and patrol boats were gathered from their ports and placed all along the Danube River.
Since the 90's the Serbian military has been expanded and played many roles in the country, mainly recently playing border patrol around the country's borders. The Serbian manufacturing industry has played a pivatol role in Serbia's ability to develop and expand its military. They have been able to develop their own assault rifles and machines, as the remnants of Zastava Arms were nationalized by the Socialist Party regime and has been made into the Zastava Design Bureau. The Serbian military also has the ability to develop a multitude of other weapons pivotal in the military, such as tanks, IFV's, and Artillery. Currently the Air Force employs a multitude of fighters and attack aircraft, and helicopters are mostly part of the army. The Navy is currently in the process of building new cruisers for the Sea Fleet and gunboats for the River Fleet. The current size of the Serbian military is 400,000 men altogether, with 250,000 in the Army, 100,000 in the Navy, and 50,000 in the Air Force, this size makes it a force to be reckoned with and a prime military power in the Balkans.
As a partial result of the horrid reputation that they hold with much of the known world, Serbia has been forced to be fairly independent economically. And despite the destruction of Belgrade and the damage taken during the Yugoslav wars, they have largely been able to manage this, except for a prolonged slump in the period after the wars.
After the restructure of the military in 1992-1993, their now-increased demand for arms and weapons meant that the military factories in central Serbia became fully operational again, as did Montenegrin shipyards. The materials needed by these factories meant that other aspects of industry, such as the mining sector, experienced a general revival as well.
Today, the biggest export of Serbia is both weapons and raw materials - one of their biggest customers, due to their international standing, is the PRMDS mercenary corporation. Various rebel groups in the region, however, are also customers.
The Serbians have established full relations with their neighbors in Croatia and Macedonia. They also have ambassadors in the Alpine Confederation, Rhodope, Transylvania, Greece, Slovenia, and Partium. Bosnia avoids dealing with them as much as possible, but even there things are improving.
Relations with the majority of these countries remain very frosty. Despite past issues, relations with the Alpine Confederation, Croatia, and Slovenia have been improving, though are still very poor.
With Macedonia, and now Rhodope as well, things could definitely be better, as neither has forgiven the Serbians for arming their enemies. Remnants of the Vidinite Armed Forces have also taken refuge inside Serbia, from which they are planning actions against Rhodope.
Territorial claims held by the Transylvanians and Hungarian nationalists in Partium on parts of the republic ensure that things remain frosty there as well.
The Serbian government has attempted to join the League of Nations, but their application has been vetoed on a couple of occasions - many member governments simply cannot tolerate their actions in Bosnia, no matter how long ago they were.