“Many in the Balkans” think that the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has brought more harm than benefit, according to a new survey.
The Gallup poll, based on face-to-face interviews with at least 1,000 respondent from across the region, found that “Yugo-nostalgia” was still widespread, particularly in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
“People living in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina are the most likely say the breakup harmed their country, with more than three in four residents characterizing it this way. Similar to Russian attitudes toward the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, Serbians may feel an acute sense of loss as the core nation of a former multinational state,” Gallup said on its website.
Asked whether the disintegration of Yugoslavia “harmed or benefited their country,” 81 percent of Serbians said it was harmful, while four percent think of it as beneficial. Eight percent didn’t know the answer, or refused to provide one.
In Bosnia, 77 percent of respondents saw “harm” in Yugoslavia’s demise, six percent said “benefit,” while seven percent “did not know.”
According to the pollster, the negative attitudes in Bosnia-Herzegovina “may be linked to frustration with persistently poor government performance.”
Montenegro, which will soon join NATO, “is less nostalgic” – 65 percent think the breakup was harmful and 15 percent see it as beneficial, while nine percent did not answer.
In Macedonia, these figures are 61 percent negative, 12 positive, while almost a quarter provided no answer.
The US agency treated Kosovo separately, to report that the survey found the mood there distinctly different: as many as 75 percent of respondents see the breakup of Yugoslavia as beneficial, against ten percent who said “harmful” and another ten percent who did not know.
In Croatia, 55 percent said the country’s disintegration was beneficial, while 23 percent said it was harmful. In Slovenia, 41 percent see befit, while 45 percent said “harm.”
According to the survey, ethnic minorities are most likely to see harm in the outcome, with Serbians being “the partial exception” – they “largely believe their country was harmed by the breakup regardless of where they reside.”
“Adults older than age 55 are more likely than those between the ages of 15 and 35 – many of whom were not even born at the time of the breakup – to say the collapse harmed their countries,” according to Gallup.