Ivan Stambolić

Ivan Stambolić
Иван Стамболић
President of the Presidency of Serbia
In office
5 May 1986  14 December 1987
Preceded by Dušan Čkrebić
Succeeded by Petar Gračanin
President of the Executive Council of Serbia
In office
6 May 1978  5 May 1982
Preceded by Dušan Čkrebić
Succeeded by Branislav Ikonić
Personal details
Born (1936-11-05)5 November 1936
Brezova, Ivanjica, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Died 25 August 2000(2000-08-25) (aged 63)
Fruška Gora, FR Yugoslavia
Nationality Serb
Political party SKJ
Spouse(s) Kaća Stambolić

Ivan Stambolić (Serbian: Иван Стамболић; 5 November 1936 25 August 2000) was a Communist Party of Yugoslavia official and the President of the Presidency of Serbia in the 1980s who was later victim of an assassination.

His uncle was the politician Petar Stambolić.[1]


Stambolić graduated from the University of Belgrade's Law School. In spring 1986, he became the President of the Presidency of Serbia. He was a mentor and a close personal friend to Slobodan Milošević, and supported him in the elections for the new leader of the League of Communists of Serbia, to the dismay of the other leaders in the party. Stambolić spent three days advocating Milošević's election and finally managed to secure him a tight victory, the tightest ever in the history of Serbian Communist Party internal elections.

Stambolic and Milošević held similar views on the autonomous provinces of Serbia, Kosovo and Vojvodina, both feeling that constitutional changes were necessary to sort out their relationship with the centre. Stambolic managed to win over the League of Communists of Yugoslavia to his position on this matter at the Thirteenth Congress of the LCY, held in 1986, and then set up a commission to work out the details of the constitutional reforms that were eventually passed in 1989. He also wanted to protect the rights of Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo, insisting as early as 1982 that he would speak up for those rights even if his opponents labelled him a Greater Serbian nationalist. Where Milošević and he differed on these matters was Milošević's demand for greater rapidity and his stronger sympathy for Serb demonstrators. It was the issue of speed that was to bring the two into conflict.

Stambolić and the Serbian government joined the federal Yugoslav government in harshly condemning the controversial Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts of 1986 for inciting nationalism.[2] Stambolic said:

"we [communist party leaders] do not accept the Memorandum’s call for Serbia to turn its back on its own future and the future of Yugoslavia, for it to arbitrarily accuse the proven leaders of the revolution and of socialist development, for Serbian Communists to be seen as the illegitimate leaders of the working class and people of Serbia."[3]

Dragiša Pavlović, Milošević's fairly liberal successor at the head of the Belgrade Committee of the party, opposed his policy towards the solving of the issues of the Kosovo Serbs, calling it "hastily promised speed". Milošević denounced Pavlović as being soft on Albanian radicals, contrary to advice from Stambolić. On 23/24 September 1987, at the subsequent eighth session of the Central Committee, one that lasted around 30 hours, and was broadcast live on the state television, Milošević had Pavlović deposed, to the utter embarrassment of Ivan Stambolić, who resigned under pressure from Milošević's supporters a few days later.

In December 1987, Stambolić was officially voted off the position and replaced by Petar Gračanin, who was in turn succeeded the following year by Milošević himself.

Stambolić mysteriously disappeared on 25 August 2000, still during the rule of Slobodan Milošević. On 28 March 2003 the police revealed that he was murdered on Fruška Gora by eight Special Operations Unit officers. On 18 July 2005, these men and their co-conspirators were found guilty of the murder of Stambolić and were sentenced to between 15 and 40 years in prison. The court found that the order for Stambolić's murder came from Slobodan Milošević.[4]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ivan Stambolić.


  1. Ian Traynor (1 April 2003). "Obituary Ivan Stambolic". The Guardian.
  2. Ramet, Sabrina P. The three Yugoslavias: state-building and legitimation, 1918-2005. Bloomington, Indiana, USA: Indiana University Press, 2006. Pp. 321.
  3. Melissa Katherine Bokovoy, Jill A. Irvine, Carol S. Lilly. State-society relations in Yugoslavia, 1945-1992. Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA: Palgrave Macmillan, 1997. Pp. 307.
  4. "Ulemeku 40 godina, Markoviću 15" (in Serbian). B92. 18 July 2005.

Political offices
Preceded by
Dušan Čkrebić
President of the Executive Council of the Socialist Republic of Serbia
6 May 19785 May 1982
Succeeded by
Branislav Ikonić
Preceded by
Dušan Čkrebić
Chairman of the League of Communists of Serbia
1984May 1986
Succeeded by
Slobodan Milošević
Preceded by
Dušan Čkrebić
President of the Presidency of the Socialist Republic of Serbia
5 May 198614 December 1987
Succeeded by
Petar Gračanin
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