Why did Milosevic have such an easy time rising to power and breaking up Yugoslavia?


Most of my background is from the BBC ‘Death of Yugoslavia’ documentary so if the premise of my question is wrong I’m happy to be corrected.

But in the documentary, Milosevic appears as an initially minor figure who accidentally finds the strategy of Serb nationalism and uses it to rapidly rise to power in Serbia, then quickly destabilizes and ends Yugoslavia by asserting Serbia’s dominance.

Why did Milosevic seem to have such an easy time ousting Stambolic and becoming Serbia’s president?

Was previously-suppressed nationalism so potent, and Yugoslavia in those years so unprepared to deal with it, that it was a weapon available to anyone who seized it?

Why does it seem like it took so little to unravel Yugoslavia at the 14th Party Congress?

To what degree was the rise in nationalism already a powerful force, vs. how likely was it that it could have been managed according to the usual Yugoslavian anti-nationalist policy if a figure like Milosevic hadn’t attained power?

Bonus question: Was Milosevic aware that he was likely to cause Yugoslavia’s breakup, or does it seem like he really thought he could turn the whole thing into greater Serbia?

submitted by /u/lobobricord to r/AskHistorians
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Source: Reddit: TGIOKDI Upvoted

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