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Slobodan Milosevic rose to power by manipulating Serb national sentiment over Kosovo.
In a famous speech in April 1987, he told a crowd of angry Serbs outside Pristina - who were protesting against alleged harassment by the majority Albanian community - that no-one would ever be allowed to beat them. His speech attracted huge public support, and became a rallying cry for Serbs in all parts of Yugoslavia.
He also used it as a springboard to change his image from a colourless Communist apparatchik into a firebrand of Serbian nationalism. By lifting the lid on the long-standing taboo of national and ethnic rivalries, he reinvented himself as a charismatic leader of the Serbs.
He soon wrested control of Serbia's Communist Party from his erstwhile ally and friend, Ivan Stambolic. In 1989, he became President of Serbia.