Milosevic’s widow dies in Russian exile

Milosevic’s widow dies in Russian exile

The widow of late Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, Mira Markovic, has died in self-imposed exile in Russia aged 76.

In 2003, Markovic, who was known to have a huge influence on her strongman husband, fled Serbia to avoid abuse of power charges and allegations of political assassination and cigarette smuggling.

Milosevic’s brother Borislav, who was once ambassador to Moscow, reportedly organised the move to Russia, as well as asylum for Markovic and her son Marko.

After the popular revolt that toppled her husband as president, Markovic was sought for questioning in the killings of political opponents under Milosevic’s autocratic rule.

In 2008, Russia granted Markovic and Marko political asylum after Serbia issued an arrest warrant for alleged cigarette smuggling.

Before meeting her husband, Markovic had a difficult childhood. Her mother was a partisan who was captured by the Nazi occupiers in 1942.

She purportedly talked under torture and her father, Markovic’s grandfather, was rumoured to have ordered his daughter’s execution for treachery after her release.

Markovic was known for the diaries she published in Serb newspapers that were widely read because they often predicted the political moves by Milosevic.

Her husband died in prison in March 2006 while on trial for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity before the UN war crimes court for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague for his role in the 1990s wars.

Although she was never charged, Markovic was widely suspected of playing a role in the 1999 assassination of well-known Belgrade newspaper editor Slavko Curuvija, who was shot dead during the Nato bombing of Serbia.

Markovic had publicly accused him of “calling for Nato bombs”.

A Serbian court recently convicted four former state security members for Curuvija’s murder but did not name whoever ordered the assassination.

Markovic, whose trademark was a plastic flower she often wore in her hair, was also accused of involvement in the disappearance in 2000 of Milosevic’s former mentor and friend, Ivan

Stambolic, whose body was found buried in northern Serbia in 2003.
Marko allegedly made a fortune in shady business and smuggling when his father was president and Serbia faced heavy sanctions.

In Moscow, Markovic wrote an autobiography defending Milosevic, calling him “the leading political figure” of the 1990s, “whose name was mentioned more often than those of the Russian, American and Chinese presidents put together”.

She is survived by her son and her daughter, Marija.

Mira Markovic. Picture credit: YouTube 

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