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Beginning crisis signs
Economic liberalization also had political consequences.
With greater financial freedom for the republics, there was
also a better opportunity to express the ethnic
contradictions that were still great. During the first 10
years after the economic reform, both Croatian, Slovenian
and Serbian groups within the party went further in their
assertion than the party would allow. It created extensive
contradictions between larger groups in the party.
Theoretical criticism of political everyday life - on a
Marxist basis - was expressed in journals such as Praxis,
Gledista and Knizevne Novine. Yugoslavia received
continuous, if not officially vaunted, criticism of its own
system. But any attempt to create an independent political
grouping outside the party was turned down.
In the various republics, strong demands for greater
national independence were raised. For the Serbs, the
situation was different. A greater part of the Serbs lived
outside "their" republic, and therefore did not want to give
greater independence to the republics at the expense of the
federation. In 1968 and 1969, there were severe unrest in
Kosova. The Kosova Albanians wanted the province and western
Macedonia portrayed as an independent republic.
In 1968, some hitherto purely federal affairs became the
subject of decentralization: the republics were given their
own foreign committees, 20% of conscripts were allowed to
serve in their own region, and in the federal administration
all positions were occupied by an ethnic "key". The rising
self-government ambitions in the republics were
simultaneously exploited by anti-communist emigrant groups
of different ethnic backgrounds.
When the Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia on
August 21, 1968, Yugoslavia felt threatened. Yugoslavia had
supported the reform movement under Dubcek. Tito condemned
the inmate as an attack on socialism. The defense was
strengthened and special attention was paid to the local
defense. The country developed its own defense industry,
reaching 80% of its own weapons.
Economic growth rates gradually declined in the late
1960's, but even in the late 70's, annual growth exceeded
5%. President Tito was aware of the tensions between the
ethnic groups and the strong economic inequality between the
industrialized north and the underdeveloped south of ancient
Yugoslavia. In 1971-72, the ethnic conflicts worsened -
especially between Serbs and Croats. Croatia brought the
case before the federation. At the same time, the separatist
efforts in Kosovo began in 1974. Against this background,
Tito declared in 1970 that when he resigned, the country
should be headed by a body representing both the federal
republics and the autonomous provinces.