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Thursday, 14 February, 2002, 15:51 GMT
Disunity in the house of Milosevic
Slobodan Milosevic with daughter Marija and son Marko
Milosevic family fortunes have dramatically waned
Mira Markovic once told a friend that she was looking forward to holidays in luxurious Swiss resorts when her husband, Slobodan Milosevic, retired from public life.


I cannot believe they are trying him for some women who burned and for houses burned down in Bosnia and Croatia

Marija Milosevic
The former Yugoslav president's political career may be over, but his wife and childhood sweetheart is further than ever from the ski slopes of the Alps.

The family lawyer says she has been spending her time in the state-owned presidential residence in Belgrade, where the family is allowed to stay for free, watching her husband face indictments of war crimes and genocide on the television.

The 59-year-old Mira Markovic, dubbed the Lady Macbeth of Belgrade, cannot even take comfort in the presence of her children.

Belgrade's former first family is now dispersed. Her husband is on trial in the Netherlands, son Marko is in exile, while her daughter Marija is believed to have sought refuge in the tiny republic of Montenegro.

'Coward'

Marija, who is 36, had reportedly tried to persuade her father to kill himself rather than surrender himself to the Yugoslav authorities, and fired several bullets at the government official who had come to negotiate his surrender last year.

Mira Markovic
Contrary to her daughter, Mira believes her husband to be a hero
She reportedly suffered a nervous breakdown after his arrest, shooting dead her lover's dog and smashing the windows of her luxury Belgrade villa.

Having branded her father a coward, she has declared she has "no intention" of travelling to The Hague to attend the proceedings against him.

But in an interview this week with Belgrade's daily Nacional, she nonetheless defended her father against what she described as the "nebulous" charges being levelled against him.

"I cannot believe they are trying him for some women who (were) burned and for houses burned down in Bosnia and Croatia, it does not make sense."

"If he had been able to, my father would certainly have prevented that," she told the newspaper from an undisclosed location.

Beverly Hills in Belgrade

While Marija has spoken out, nothing has been heard from her 27-year-old brother, Marko, whose whereabouts remain a mystery.

Marko Milosevic
Marko Milosevic: Accused of illegal business deals
Following his father's fall from power he wasted no time in leaving the country with his wife Daniela and son Marko junior, heading first for Moscow where his uncle Borislav was ambassador.

Various reports have placed him in China, Cuba, Russia and several former Soviet republics, but his wife and their two-year-old son have since returned to Belgrade to live in the state mansion with Mira.

It is the current Yugoslav president, Vojislav Kostunica, who allows the Milosevic family to continue to use the presidential residence, under a deal worked out before the arrest.

But should Mr Kostunica change his mind, the family, united or not, is unlikely to end up homeless.

Workmen are said to be putting the final touches to a private mansion in Dedinje, an exclusive Belgrade suburb.

See also:

09 Oct 00 | Europe
Profile: Marko Milosevic
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