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Mirjana Markovic, Milosevic’s Partner in Life and Power, Dies at 76

Slobodan Milosevic’s widow wielded great influence in her own right and faced allegations of complicity in liquidating his critics.

16 April 2019

Mirjana Markovic, the widow of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, died Sunday at the age of 76 in Russia, where she had lived since 2003.


A family friend said Markovic died of complications from pneumonia in Moscow, Reuters reports.


Dubbed by some the “the Lady Macbeth” of the Balkans, Markovic was sometimes seen as the power behind her husband’s throne.


She set up her own power base in 1994 through her party, the Yugoslav United Left, which governed in coalition with Milosevic’s Socialist Party of Serbia, Balkan Insight writes.


As a politician and academic, Markovic was Milosevic’s political confidante, standing by him during the violent breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s and the NATO bombing campaign of 1999 that forced Serbian forces to end the crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo, Reuters writes.



Milosevic was ousted from power in 2000 and was extradited to The Hague a year later to face war crimes charges including genocide for his role in the 1990 Balkan wars. He died in his cell in 2006.


When Serbian authorities charged her with corruption, Markovic left Serbia for Russia in 2003 and was granted asylum there.


Markovic was also suspected of complicity in the killing of Slavko Curuvija, a Belgrade newspaper editor and owner, in 1999 and the disappearance of former Yugoslav President Ivan Stambolic, Milosevic’s onetime mentor, in 2000, The New York Times writes.


Stambolic’s body was found in 2003. “Milosevic has never had any political ideas of his own,” the Guardian quotes Stambolic as saying in an interview not long before he was kidnapped. “They’ve all been hers.”


While there was no official statement from the Serbian government on Markovic’s death, Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin, a former member of Markovic’s party, said, “I hope she will find the peace that people took away from her,” Reuters quotes Vulin as telling state TV.


“We may not have had the same opinions at all times,” Balkan Insight quotes Foreign Minister and Socialist Party leader Ivica Dacic as saying, “but I always respected her, as Slobodan Milosevic’s wife.”



  • Markovic, her son Marko, and daughter Marija were all wanted in Serbia for corruption, abuse of office and other crimes, Balkan Insight says. Russia refused to extradite her to Serbia.


  • Two high-ranking former Serbian intelligence chiefs and two former intelligence officers were jailed earlier this month for Curuvija’s murder, the BBC reported
Compiled by Rose Joy Smith
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