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Milosevic The Musical: New Play About Serbian Strongman Opens In Kosovo

Slobodan Milosevic

Twelve years after he died during his trial for war crimes, Slobodan Milosevic, the one-time Serbian strongman, was back, this time as a character in a musical that made its debut in Kosovo on March 6.

Nationalist Milosevic rose to power in Belgrade in 1989 as communism was collapsing across Eastern Europe. He led Serbia through a decade of wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Kosovo.

"The Lift -- The Slobodan Show," written by Belgrade-based writer Jelena Bogavac, focuses more on Milosevic's personal relationship with his powerful wife Mirjana, his daughter Marija, and his son Marko than on the politics that made him infamous.

Around 200 people attended the show at a theater in Gracanica, an ethnic Serb enclave just outside Kosovo's capital Pristina.

Milosevic lost power after a NATO bombing campaign in 1999 and popular unrest in October 2000.

The play ends with his war crimes trial in The Hague, where he died of a heart attack in 2006.

The play has raised hackles among ethnic Albanians who form the majority in Kosovo, which declared independence from Belgrade in 2008.

Kosovo's independence is not recognized by Serbia and Kosovo Serbs.

An estimated 800,000 ethnic Albanians were displaced and about 10,000 killed by Milosevic's forces in the brutal 1998-99 war in Kosovo.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa