In spite of the new political climate in Belgrade, nationalism has not disappeared—it's just well disguised. And the new authorities are ill-prepared to deal with the situation, which is growing increasingly out of control.
The change of regimes in Belgrade has brought on, among other things, a new policy towards national minorities. With an eye towards EU membership, the new leadership has taken a markedly different approach and is pushing to bring minority laws in line with European standards. On the other hand, the policies of Milošević's regime that gripped the country for ten years have proven difficult to get rid of.
The rock, the hard place and the Roma
Stuck in the middle of this dichotomy is the Roma community. In the last few months, several nationalist-motivated attacks have been carried out against Roma citizens.
For example, several such incidents were reported during the week of Romani culture, "Vareso aver," which was organized by the Federal Ministry of national minorities. A radical nationalist group sprayed anti-Roma graffiti around Belgrade. A few days later, skinheads attacked artists from one Romani theater in Belgrade. Another Rom was attacked in Vojvodina, because he had a Serbian girlfriend.
The main issue facing the Roma in Yugoslavia is the recognition of their national status. Officially, there are approximately 150,000 Roma in Yugoslavia; however, unofficial estimates put the number closer to 500,000. Until now, the Roma were an ethnic group, and not a national