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Widow of former Serbia ruler Milosevic dies in Russia

Mirjana Markovic was the leader of a neo-Communist party during Milosevic’s rule in Serbia in the 1990s.

Mirjana Markovic has died in Russia, aged 76 (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Mirjana Markovic has died in Russia, aged 76 (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Serbia’s state television has announced that Mirjana Markovic, the widow of former leader Slobodan Milosevic, has died in Russia. She was 76.

The RTS report said Markovic died Sunday in a hospital. Milosevic’s SPS party sent condolences to the family.

There were no officials details about the cause of death, but Serbian media said she died of pneumonia after several recent surgeries.

Markovic was the leader of a neo-Communist party during Milosevic’s rule in Serbia in the 1990s, a coalition partner with a major influence on her husband.

She fled Serbia in 2003 after Milosevic was ousted from power in a popular revolt and handed over to the UN court in The Hague, Netherlands, where he faced a genocide trial for his role in the Balkan wars of the 1990s. He died in jail there in 2006 before a verdict.

After Milosevic was ousted from power in a popular revolt in 2000, Markovic was sought for questioning over the killing of Milosevic’s political opponents during his autocratic rule in the 1990s.

In 2005, Serbian authorities asked for her extradition, but Moscow refused, saying she had been granted political asylum.

Though she was never formally charged, it was widely suspected that Markovic played a role in the assassination in 1999 of prominent Belgrade newspaper editor Slavko Curuvija, who was gunned down during the NATO bombing of Serbia.

Markovic had publicly accused him of supporting the military alliance attacks.

A Serbian court recently convicted four ex-state security members of the murder but without saying who ordered it.

She was known for her “diaries” published in local newspapers that often predicted future political moves and events.

The former Serbian first lady’s notes were written in a poetic, flowery style that contrasted with her ruthless behaviour toward her husband’s political opponents.

A Serbian appeals court recently overturned a one-year prison sentence for Markovic and ordered a retrial for abuse of position in 2000 for helping allocate a state-owned apartment to her grandson’s nanny.

Markovic had worked a professor of sociology at the University of Belgrade. She is survived by her son and a daughter.

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