Behind The Curtain: Private Photos Of Yugoslavia's Tito
Fascinating photographs from a Belgrade archive, some published here for the first time, show the authoritarian ruler of Yugoslavia relaxing between official engagements on the hunting grounds and dance floors of the Balkans.
These are some of the thousands of images in the Archives Of Yugoslavia capturing moments between formal engagements of Josep Broz Tito, the ethnic Slovene-Croat who ruled over Yugoslavia from the final days of World War II until his death in 1980.
The photos were released to RFE/RL by the Archives Of Yugoslavia. Some of the images come without dates or a location but most were shot in the 1960s and 1970s in today's Serbia.
Many of Tito's informal contacts with diplomatic missions took place during hunting trips to Karadjordjevo, a picturesque village known for its hunting and equestrian traditions. Photos from the expeditions show diplomats who were usually only seen in stiffly formal portraits wandering the hunting grounds with shotguns and rubber boots.
The Karadjordjevo hunting expeditions were massive affairs involving the senior diplomatic corps stationed in Belgrade boarding a special train for the countryside before being taken to the hunting grounds in horse-drawn carriages.
The Yugoslavian delegation instructed participants to hunt mostly "pheasants and rabbits, while the hunting of deer, does, and roebucks is prohibited." The hosts also requested that everyone bring their own rifles and ammunition.
As well as images of Tito's hunting trips, the Belgrade archive also contains thousands of pictures of the Yugoslavian ruler throwing spectacular parties.
Tito died on May 4, 1980, of complications from gangrene and was interred in a mausoleum in Belgrade dubbed the "House of Flowers." Jovanka Broz died in 2013 and was lain to rest alongside her husband in the Belgrade mausoleum.