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Milovan Djilas

Born: 12-Jun-1911
Birthplace: Podbisce, Montenegro
Died: 20-Apr-1995
Location of death: Belgrade, Serbia
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Podbisce Groblje Family Cemetery, Podbisce, Montenegro

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Government, Activist, Author

Nationality: Yugoslavia
Executive summary: Yugoslavian revolutionary

Milovan Djilas was a writer and revolutionary who became a high-ranking official in Yugoslavia's communist government, then became a dissident again by critiquing the government he had been part of. Djilas joined the Communist Party in 1932, only a few years after King Alexander renamed the nation Yugoslavia. Djilas was imprisoned for three years, and upon his release he resumed his subversive activities. During World War II he was deeply involved with Josip Broz Tito in the resistance to the Nazis, and when Tito took power Djilas rose high in the party hierarchy, serving in the Politburo and acting as the nation's chief political censor. He became Vice President of the Yugoslavian Republic under Tito in 1953.

By 1954, however, he had grown disenchanted with Tito and the harsh realities of communism, and published several articles critical of the Tito regime, for which he was promptly stripped of all official power. Two years later, after openly supporting the Hungarian revolution, Djilas was imprisoned, but he had already sent the manuscript for his book The New Class to western publishers. Published in 1957, the book asserted that instead of "withering away" the state, in practice communism made the state more and more powerful. The book drew international attention and earned an additional seven year prison sentence for Djilas. He was released in 1961 on condition that he refrain from all political activity, but re-arrested and imprisoned the following year. Released again in 1966 but still persona non grata, he lived quietly in Belgrade for the next few decades, writing history, biographies, and fiction, and occasionally meeting with foreign activists. After the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989, Djilas was declared officially rehabilitated, and in his last years he worked in opposition to Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic.

Father: Nikola (policeman)
Wife: Mitra (div., one daughter)
Daughter: Vukica
Wife: Stefanija (d. 1993, one son)
Son: Aleksa

    University: Literature, University of Belgrade

    Yugoslavian Vice President (1953-54)
    Yugoslavian Minister without Portfolio (1948-53)
    Yugoslavian Minister for Montenegro (1945-48)
    Yugoslavian Politburo (1940-45)

Author of books:
The New Class: An Analysis of the Communist System (1957)
Land without Justice (1958)
Conversations with Stalin (1962)
The Leper and Other Stories (1964)
The Unperfect Society (1969)
Memoir of a Revolutionary (1972, memoir)
Under the Colors (1971, novel)
Wartime (1977)
Tito: The Story from Inside (1980)
Rise and Fall (1984)
Of Prisons and Ideas (1986)

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