Category Archives: Analysis

jugoremedija chronology 2012

On the 27th April 2012, Jugoremedija has submitted to the State Public Attorney a proposal for a peaceful settlement of dispute, seeking damages for the unlawful actions of government bodies in selling shares of the company (privatization) in 2002, and for the lack of supervision over the execution of the privatization contract. These actions allowed Jovica Stefanovic (the new “owner-investor”) in 2004 to dismissed 150 workers and continuously rob the factory until March 2007 when he lost control of Jugoremedija in a lawsuit initiated against him by the factory’s small shareholders. The damage Jugoremedija, its workers and shareholders for failure to State organs was estimated at 111 million euro. The submission of the proposal for a peaceful settlement of dispute, was followed by amplified attacks by the Authorities, which lasts to this day.

Chronology 2012

29th of June – Shareholders’ assembly

The Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of Jugoremedija needed to take the necessary decisions that would allow the company to comply with the new Companies Act that has set deadline for all companies in Serbia to harmonize their regulations and structure with its provisions by 15th of July 2012, otherwise they would be liquidated.

However, one group of shareholders did not certify their powers of attorney for the assembly (a new provision by law) and could not officially participate in the voting; the second group i.e. the State which has 30% vote, was sent to abstain, but their power of attorney was submitted after the statutory deadline and so could not take part in the voting, as well. The Assembly was postponed for two weeks for lack of quorum which put the company at risk of missing the legal deadline and being liquidated.

15th of July – Postponed Shareholders’ assembly

For a postponed assembly, the law allows for a lower quorum, and decisions on aligning Jugoremedija with new Company Law were adopted. The state is once again sent their representatives to abstain. However, the vote is by power of attorney and since the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development did not want to take the political responsibility for the liquidation of Jugoremedija (especially during the election campaign!), this power of attorney was signed by a lower official of the Agency for Privatization instead of the Minister himself. Therefore, the verification Commission did not allow the representatives of the State to vote in this postponed assembly as well. Jugoremedija liquidation is avoided or rather the intention of the State to avoid a decision on the claim for damages by liquidating the legal person who has filed it failed.


28th of July

Unknown persons set fire to the company car that is used by Jugoremedija’s CEO Zdravko Deurić, in the parking lot outside the building where he lives. Till now, the perpetrators have not been caught although they were documented by security cameras set on the neighboring building. Mainstream media in Serbia reported this news with the commentary that workers of Jugoremedija have not been paid for months.

1st of August

Police arrested Zdravko Deurić, Ankica Malušić – the financial director Jugoremedija, Milana Zlokas – the director of Penfarme (a new factory for the production of penicillin) and Stevan Gregovic – an appraiser and court expert, on suspicion of wrong estimation of Jugoremedija’s investment and therefore its respective part in ownership in the new company and factory Penfarm by which, it was assumed, Jugoremedija was damaged for 600 thousand Euro. They were ordered a two-day detention. After two days Ankica Malušić and Stevan Gregović were released whereas the detention of Zdravko Deurić and Milana Zlokas was extended for a month on account that they might influence witnesses while the investigative judge is on his annual summer vacation. A few days later the Police began bringing in Jugoremedija’s workers and shareholders for “informal” interrogation, which itself is illegal since once and investigation is officially opened citizens connected to the case can be questioned only as witnesses. they were pressured to testify against Deurić and Zlokas, or to be accused themselves (e.g., a police inspector told Jelena Lukic Jugoremedija’s deputy director, during her questioning that he is not yet sure whether she was brought in as the defendant, a witness or as a citizen).

2nd of August

First protest rally of more than a hundred of Jugoremedija’s workers and shareholders in front of Zrenjanin’s Central Police Station (Zrenjaninskog MUP-a), demanding the termination of the detention on account of its irregular procedures.

3rd of August

At 10 o’clock Jugoremedija’s workers and shareholders occupy Zrenjanin City Hall, seeking to speak with Goran Knezevic, Zrenjanin’s Mayor and Minister of Agriculture. Knezevic only appears around midnight and promises concrete information about the release of the detained and help for Jugoremedija in several days. Protesters are breaking.

6th of August

Jugoremedija files a lawsuit against Republic of Serbia for damages of privatization in the amount of 111 million Euro, following the expiration of the legal period given by law for the Attorney General to respond to the proposal for peaceful settlement of the dispute.

8th of August

Finance (tax) and crime police enter the factory to conduct a two-month long investigative search. Workers are questioned daily in the premises of the factory, and the police declares the drugs found in a warehouse evidence and bans their sale.

14th of August

“State violence against JUGOREMEDIJA” a round table organized by Center for Cultural Decontamination and CA Ravnopravnost. Speakers: Nebojsa Popov, sociologist, Zagorka Golubovic, anthropologist, Dr. Ivan Jankovic, lawyer, Sasa Jankovic, Ombudsman, Gordana Spasojevic, lawyer; Branislav Markus, president of Ravnopravnost; Zlokas Vera, the mother detained Milane Zlokas, Jasenka Golic, lawyer of Jugoremedija; Ljubica Stjepanovic – Muhić, President of Shareholders Association Prosveta, Belgrade, Zoran Gočević, leader of the former employees and shareholders Srbolek.

15th of August

Forty workers of Jugoremedija gather outside Zrenjanin’s Central Police Station (Zrenjaninskog MUP-a), and demand to be informed as to the progress in the investigation of Deurić’s torched car. The head of the investigation informs them, the next day, in written form that the investigation is ongoing.

17th of August

Forty employees and shareholders Jugoremedija gathers in front of the jail with a request to be allowed to visit the detainees, but the visits were permitted only to members of the immediate families.

20th of August

Another protest held in front of Zrenjanin’s High Court for breach of the presumption of innocence of the detainees. The presumption of innocence was violated because Deurić and Zlokas were detained while the police did not yet qualify the crime with which they were charged, but continued to investigate even after detention. The representatives of the protest Branislav Markus (Ravnopravnost) and Vladimir Pecikoza (Union Jugoremedija) were met by the Secretary of the High Court Branislav Golijanin who promised them a written response as soon as possible to the allegations that the detention of Zdravko Deurić and Milana Zlokas violated their presumption of innocence. To this day the answer has not arrived.

22th of August

While in custody, Zdravko Deurić resigns from the position of CEO of Jugoremedija, at the insistence of the two defense lawyers hired by him on recommendation of the Minister of Agriculture and former Mayor of Zrenjanin Goran Knezevic. As visits were limited solely to Deurić’s family members and lawyers and Deurić has no direct contact with leading factory management or those of the anti-corruption struggle. Therefore, attorneys could convince him that for now, his resignation is the best solution for Jugoremedija and that it is also the position of the Board of Directors of the factory, which was untrue. Jugoremedija’s Board of Directors accepts, the next day, Deurić resignation in the belief that is his wish.

27th of August

The European Parliament Liaison for European Integration in South East Europe Jelko Kacin, visits the workers and shareholders of Jugoremedija. Kacin said on that occasion that the resolution of the European Parliament to investigate 24 cases of controversial privatization, among which is the privatization of Jugoremedija was understood by anyone who knows the Serbian language, and the European Parliament in its resolution clearly stated that it expects to investigate suspected corruption in privatization, not to arrest shareholders.


28th of August

Zrenjanin’s power company tries to turn the power off in Jugoremedija, but is disrupted by the workers.


4th and 5th of September

The investigating judge hears all ten witnesses and nevertheless orders another month of detention for Deurić and Zlokas, on the State Prosecutors “word” that the investigation will be expended.


7th of September

Another protest in front of the prison to demand the release of Zdravko and Milana


19th of September

Association Ravnopravnost in cooperation with the Center for Cultural Decontamination organized another protest in front of the prison where in addition to Jugoremedija’s workers and shareholders participate dozens of workers from several Belgrade companies in the process of privatization (Srbolek, Rekord, Trudbenik …), non-governmental organizations and individuals from other towns in Serbia.


20th of September

Milana Zlokas and Zdravko Deurić are released from custody. No evidence was found for the embezzlement of 600 thousand Euros.


11th of October

The High Public Prosecutor expands investigation against Zdravko Deurić and Ankice Malušić for alleged tax evasion and to initiate proceedings to seize his assets in order to secure payment if a court determines that the State was damaged due to the unpaid taxes.

In-Between Castles and Barracks…

Dear Readers, today is Sunday and Sunday’s in Serbia are usually very relaxed days. Too much for my taste, so I want to use this occasion to share some impressions with you. Our workshop now lasts for more than 2 weeks and that days have been very dense in terms of content. We have been introduced to the City of Pozarevac by few individuals and local active people, and have been well received here. After the first week, where we met local industrials, politicians, activists, people from various local cultural or social intitiatives, I face difficulties to find a way to relate with our workshop subject. What is somehow a burning subject here, is the disappearance of the middle class, so I walk around between castles and barracks. If you press the gallery in this post, you will find few images, from the seminar, from the first steps around the town, from our close encounter with the International Roma Union of Serbia, but also images from our visit to a local illegal settlement, inhabited IDP’s (inner displaced people) from Kosovo.

My initial motivation, to participate in that Workshop “the Return of the Gastarbajter” was to have a broader overview of that phenomena, that is also part of my own story. My parents were migrants from Yugoslavia, and I was born and raised in Austria. People in Serbia, often claim that the reasons for migration were always only economical, and that only non-educated, almost illiterate people moved towards Western Europe and further. In my case, my parents had an decent education, and they managed to somehow focus to live, where they are, and not to build castles for a imagined future, for an uncertain return to the places, where they moved from.

Here we have here loads of houses, I call them castles, built by the gastarbajters, that seem more a monument of their absence, than to serve for living. People started moving from this region, called Branicevski Okrug, from the 70ties, and their main destinations, were Austria, Germany and France. In the reagion Branicevo live about 250.000 people, and they believe that 70.000 live in Austria. Another peak of the migration was also during the violent disintegration of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ), and during that time, that phenomena of building huge representational houses appeared. During the period of the hyperinflation, were people in Serbia used to work for an average loan of 10 DM (german marks, 5 Euros today), for the Gastarbajter, earning money abroad, it was quite easy to build huge houses. They believed that one day, after 20 and more years working abroad, that they will return with their families and live in that huge houses. Also, under socialist law it was impossible to invest in a kind of business, as business was part of the public affairs, and in a society which functions under a communist premise, private property in a public field was impossible. Than happened, that a kind of competition between, or about status symbols started, so everyone tried to build a house, which is bigger than the neighbors one. Although my fellow Serbs, believe that they are special with that attitude, I used to say that greediness is international.

You can for sure imagine, that building such huge houses, during a period, where people worked for almost nothing, in an hard struggle to survive, feed a lot of hate, between that different layers of societies. On one side, almost everyone in Serbia, survived or survives due to that money, sent back by people from abroad, but still resentments were fed, somehow understandable if you have to cue for hours for bread, flour, oil and sugar, while others are building palaces. On the other side, gastarbajter complained that they had to pay high bribes for the legalization of their buildings, and that they are only seen and recognized as the one who bring or have to bring expensive presents and money, when they return once a year from abroad, usually in very fancy new and big cars. A very complex situation.

To add, or to illustrate our complex situation, you will detect, that I switch sometimes from I to we, and from we to I, as I want to provide you with a subjective perspective, but as there are more people in our workshop, some of my sentences match also common perspectives… so an additional complexity was provided by the Open Forum, during the Seminar, which was open for the local community to present their perspectives on the phenomena around Gastarbajter. Their impact on the local culture, economical situation, political situation etc… This was very well attended, and the local Roma Association, the International Roma Union of Serbia responded most to our invite. Many Roma people have been or are Gastarbajters, and the phenomena of the big representative houses is widespread between them. Also the Association IRU Srbija is run by a guy, who was himself Guestworker in Austria, till he lost his residency permit, due to an change of law. That what he percieved as being kicked out from Austria, was also his initial point and entrance to the field of Activism. IRU has now around 70 members. They have an office and they organize different programs, like they remove old furniture from different household, mainly inhabited by old people, who don’t need them anymore, or can’t effort to pay these items being removed, and IRU redistributes that different stuff, to the needs of different people.

Thanks to IRU, some of us also came in close contact to people living in shanties, and tragically one baby died today in such a temporary shanty, of meningitis. Reality intrudes in a tough way. In a way, if you try to focus on migration, you can’t ignore that fact, that many people here live in such conditions, and that by disappearance of the middle-class, solidarity faded away. Next Sunday there will be the opening of our show, or the presentation of our interdisciplinary artistic workshop. It will happen in public space, so all of you near, are invited to come.

Alexander Nikolic

Permanent Temporary Situation

The Life and Perspective of the returning Gastarbeiters in the Municipality of


I never live here

My home is where I am not

But I am always in it

In my thoughts of return

My only home are distances

(Ana Čugurović)

These lines sound like the chorus of every story we heard from the gastarbeiters we talked to in mid July 2007 during the two week field research in Kučevo as a part of the project named Art Interventions-The Return of the Gastarbeiters.

When we left Belgrade we brought with ourselves a certain amount of prejudices and stereotyped beliefs about the people we would question about their dreams, their lives, work abroad, the return… At one point of our journey many of the stereotypes started being confirmed…

Notable absence

….since the houses were larger, more luxurious, having more and more windows with shutters, and the front yards were getting emptier as our bus drove further from Belgrade. Where did all those rich people live? Why weren’t they in their houses? Did every gastarbeiter dream of putting their hard earned money into grandiose mansions of stone or was it something else?

The next few days we tried to find out more about the people who built these houses and confirm or prove wrong the stereotypes that followed them through conversation.

When they would receive us in their large houses, we would get the feeling that something was missing, as if the light was shining too short in the rooms. Their personal things weren’t giving the impression than anyone was living there, they were set for return. Everything but them was covered with dust. These people always return somewhere and stay nowhere.

They told us that only few old people were left in their home villages, which were far away from the main roads and almost deserted, their land was in weed, that their children didn’t want to accept them as inheritance, than nobody wanted to plough them and that everybody searched for the way to go away.

Confirmed stereotypes

Mid July 2007, under the project Art Interventions-The Return of the Gastarbeiters, we have conducted a field research among gastarbeiters in Kučevo, under the guidance of Prof Saša Nedeljković. The problem of people returning to Serbia hasn’t been a prominent subject of our anthropologists’ works, although they were familiar with it. Therefore, we have made an effort to extract some general problems and raise new questions, as to say the least, on the example of the gastarbeiters from Kučevo.

We talked with a great number of local gastarbeiters, who were willing to cooperate by talking about their lives, working abroad, thinking to come back…. Taking into consideration that they were a part of the economic and social structure of the greatly undeveloped municipality of Kučevo, we wanted to find out how much were they contributing to their community and whether they interact with their environment actively. The answers to these and many other questions we were able to get only from the story about their entire life: before they left, during the time they lived there and after they came back. Although the people we spoke to weren’t all the same sex and age, the stories they told revealed a standard pattern. The countries they went to were different (Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Sweden, France, the Netherlands), but the problems they all came across when they left were mostly similar.

The years of crisis and the increase in the unemployment rate at the beginning of the 1960’s influenced the mass migration of the population of the former Yugoslavia in search for “temporary” work in the countries of West Europe. They would usually go “into the unknown”; looking for a job they couldn’t get here because the number of people looking for a job was a lot bigger than the number of jobs available.

After they left, they faced a new culture they knew very little about. They were not well informed of the conditions of working and living and the rights and obligations they would have. The problem of not understanding and accepting the new culture was mostly caused by the fact the workers did not know the language of the country they came to. They set off thinking “they could earn more there” (or, even simpler, that they would find a job there), and that they would return “when they have earned enough”. One of the people we spoke to, who had spent forty years in Germany, shared his original pans with us: I thought at the time that I was going to work for some time and then buy a car and make a small house and then come back. I thought it would last for 5-6 years, or 10 years, but then, the children came, I married there..“

Through the conversation we concluded they willingly accepted the fact that they would work harder there, but the reality was often more difficult and demanding than what they had hoped for. However, they accepted all of those terms thinking that their staying was only temporary. That was also one of the reasons of their slow adapting to the environment.

The confusion and the environment’s rejection of their behaviour were caused by the fact that the gastarbeiters lived according to two set of rules in two different environments. Their life abroad meant overtime and saving money, and rejection of the Western spending pattern, but their life here reflected the thinking of the typical “Western consumers”, who spent their hard earned money in the way it was often difficult to understand. These problems were concerned with personal integrity and the social and cultural identity of the guest worker of the first generation.

Part of these workers, who left for temporary employment abroad which usually lasts longer than they had previously thought, started their families in those countries. Their children weren’t so easily accepted into the society. Recalling one unpleasant situation, one of the people who returned, described us the schooldays of his son: „He attended the German school for a year. Once I went to the school and saw him standing alone in the corner, poor boy. Little German kids were running around and playing. The poor boy was standing alone in the corner. He was a foreigner at the time, that happened in ’72 or ’75-’76. He started school but didn’t know the language. He was born there and I was sorry to say to my wife: Look, Imma gonna take him immediately to Yugoslavia to go to Tito’s school, ya hear! “.. Today’s situation changed because there are programs developed to help the children of foreign workers adjust better. Many of the Western countries were aware of the difficulties the foreign citizens were facing so they developed the appropriate psychological and social programmes that included both parents and children. One of the people still living and working in Switzerland approved of the people involved who helped when his daughter was about to start going to the kindergarten „giving him advice that the child should learn to speak Serbian well at home before she started learning foreign languages…“ “She goes to the Swiss kindergarten, there are no Serbian kindergartens. There are additional schools in Serbian. It was interesting to us that we spoke to the teachers before she started going to school. I spoke only Serbian to my daughter. Before she started preschool, she went to the kindergarten… Three times a week per three hours she would learn German. She also started learning the language with the help of TV. The way to communicate is easy and children learn German very easily, and they learn it on the basis of the Serbian language. When me and my wife went to the kindergarten she was going they told us to speak only Serbian with her in the house, because learning more languages required one basis. Our mother tongue was Serbian, and she had to speak Serbian in order to overcome the learning of other languages easier. I speak only Serbian to her…“

The life and way of thinking of the second generation was drastically changed compared to their parents’ life. The practice of the first generation was to form a marriage with other people from Yugoslavia, while their children refused to follow that rule – forming a mixed marriage was perfectly natural to them. Many of the people we interviewed, members of the first generation, proudly emphasized the fact that they didn’t accept the citizenship of the country they went to believing they were preserving their national identity in this way, which wasn’t the case of their children.

On the other hand, part of these workers started their families in the home country, and most of those families remained there. No matter whether they followed the first or the second pattern, the member of the first generation of migrants invested all their money into houses (spacious, having high fences, massive gates, ornamented with concrete sculptures…), and invested all their hope in returning.

They came to Serbia on regular basis, whenever they would be on vacation. Today, their children rarely come because they believe this kind of vacation would cost them a lot comparing what would they gain from it, so they rather go to a third country. Thus, the houses remained empty, and all the effort made to build them was made in vain.

No matter how long they stayed in the country of temporary employment, our gastarbeiters, migrants of the first generation, rarely found friends among the citizens of that country (they mostly socialized with the workers from the former republics of Yugoslavia). The level of communication with the country’s home population was rather low. However, the need for knowing each other better was reduced to minimum. The workers of the first generation counted on coming back from the beginning, at first it would be temporary (vacations) and then permanently (retirement). Their social status changed after the return, and they were given the opportunity to actively influence their environment, which usually doesn’t happen; their money only influenced a specific form of architecture in Eastern Serbia, but this kind of influence could be described as rather passive.

From the conversation with the members of the local authorities and with the people that had returned we have concluded that there was (ill) will for cooperation on both sides. The representatives of the local authorities claimed that the gastarbeiters weren’t willing to invest their money in any of the projects of the municipality, while, on the other hand, most of the gastarbeiters claimed that nobody ever asked them to invest in any kind of particular project. Many of them were owners of private businesses, and stated that they were not willing to cooperate with the local authorities because they believed their money wouldn’t end up in the right place. In their statements we could detect subconscious opinion that the authorities were corrupted and taking bribe, and that they wouldn’t be able to deal with these situations in a legal way in this country… This kind of atmosphere is inappropriate for any kind of constructive dialog so their lives continue in mutual misunderstanding. What should be possibly further investigated is whether this was a typical problem of the transitional society or was it the lack of will, knowledge and capability to create a better living environment.

What seems to be the issue here is that both those who have the power (members of the local authorities) and those who have money (people who returned from abroad) are unwilling to share the power. Both sides complain about the other side and believe they are entitled to do so. „If I would live here, I would have run for the president of the municipality. This very moment“, says one of the people who believes that he has adopted a pattern of organized state system and bureaucracy while living and working in the West and who was willing to apply them in this country.

It seems like the gastarbeiters, by being temporary in both countries, lose the ability to identify themselves as members of any of the two societies they temporary live in, so they are identified as The Others in both places. They don’t see themselves in those ways, of course, they think they are the people who want to repeat the experiences of one society into the other, but since that is impossible (or, in rare cases very difficult or slow), they remain to wander, behaving in the right way in wrong places, or observing from a different perspective, doing wrong in the right places.

It is possible to notice that the problem of the gastarbeiters has many layers and many perspectives. The fact that they were not adapted and not willing to actively participate in every new environment, and the fact that they could not adapt themselves even to the old environment, influences others to classify them always as the “gastarbeiters” which explains their constant marginal status. After they left abroad, they separated themselves from the old environment, at the same time they rarely or never became accepted. Them being marginalised could last for a very long time (sometimes more than 40 years). For us, their marginal status doesn’t cease, because the end of one marginal status can easily mean the beginning of another one. During that period the population of both countries shows misunderstanding towards them, or “tolerates” them, while both sides accept the existing and create new stereotypes.

In their free time

For most of the people we interviewed, free time is unnecessary, useless, even harmful. Many of them use their free time to find another job on the black market, where they can earn more in one sitting. Even if they have free time they usually spend it with their families, or go to church (if there is an orthodox church), where they can meet other people from their country. They usually don’t become friends with people from the host country, even if they are co-workers (which mostly refers to the people of the first wave of migration). There are various cultural barriers when going on house calls between the foreigners, which are impossible to overcome for the people we talked to. Those who want to save money cannot even afford to go out from time to time, because that would cost a lot, so they wouldn’t save enough money to spend when they come back to Serbia. They spend their vacations in their own houses, which always need to be repaired and require some additional building. Even when they come after retiring they continue with some kind of work: some start a private business, and some return to cultivate their deserted land.

When you fulfil your expectations, and your wishes don’t come true

By their statements, what motivated them to leave was difficult life. They weren’t motivated only by lack of work; they also wanted to provide better life conditions for their children than the ones they lived in. Some of them lived in the remotest small villages and went to school on foot. When they earned enough to build large houses in the urban area for their children (some of them opened private businesses for their children), what their children wished for didn’t match their desires. Their children wanted more and they chose an already crossed road seeking for their wishes to come true, just as their parents did once.

Between here and there

Many of those people admired the laws and the efficiency of the legal system in the countries they worked in. They also claimed the corruption wasn’t so developed and all the problems could be solved with a dialog. Still, living was the best and the most pleasant in Serbia. Despite all the remarks they had against the local and state authorities, despite everything dysfunctional they noticed in the home economy, despite all the problems they perceived in the society, they felt their own masters here.. And what is more important they can always feel empathy for each other which makes them want to come back even more.

The Return

Although the most common reason for returning is retirement that is not the only reason. People who were more willing to fight the difficulties of life at home than abroad returned as soon as they earned the first sum of many they were pleased with. Their wish to be ’’their own masters“was stronger than the desire to be rich. They were less willing to adjust to the new environment, and wanted to use this new environment as a pattern to change their own country. They started small private firms that specialized in services, similar to the ones they saw abroad. Beside the vision about how would their firm look like, they worked to bring new ways to run a firm and treat your employees. They have been complaining that those ways were still not successful enough and that they were having a lot of difficulties.

Some people did not return because they wanted so. One of them returned with his family because his parents were ill. After that he couldn’t go back abroad. Now he feel nostalgic about the days he spent there and cannot adapt to the life here; he said it was much worse. However, depending on the country they had worked in, many of them admit that they would live pretty difficult with their pensions in the West. That is why they returned to their home towns where they can enjoy the status of a landholder.

Exceptions (that confirm the rule)

Nobody’s life can fit into only one pattern. All the people we questioned were different comparing to each other, and some of them fit the pattern more, and the others fit less. However, some of them were notably different.

It can be concluded that the life of our people in Sweden is much more different than the life of people living in other countries. The state encourages and forces them to integrate into the society. On the other hand, their return is brought in question. Their return is limited by the Swedish law, and allows them to come to short visits, because if they fail to be in Sweden for six months a year they lose the right to their pension.

One man went to work abroad and despite doing well he soon quit. He said ’’he had no time to work“. He did various jobs, travelled the European countries, and the he came home and continued with his previous work.

Searching for the better

We didn’t just do a research on the gastarbeiters; we talked to the people like us. They left once, like any of us who ever went to get something, always ready to return. But every trip alters us a little, so that we cannot realize that there is no come back, so we keep thinking about it.

In the end of the road there stands a dilemma whether it was all worth it? Did it pay off to work so hard in another country? That is the question these people ask themselves daily. The right answer is nowhere to find. If you judge by the large and massive fences, enormous houses, swimming pools and expensive cars, than it did pay off. But if we judge by the emptiness and hollowness that lies behind the fences of stone, than it didn’t pay off! The satisfaction almost everybody we spoke to felt at taking a look at their “empire of stone” (in which they invested almost everything they earned), became replaced quickly by the sad but true fact – everything was slowly decaying while their children and grandchildren were living somewhere else, in a foreign country that they wanted to return from as soon as possible to provide their family with the conditions they never had. And when they succeeded in giving their children that the rather wanted “to go to the Azure coast than to bore themselves to death here”, as we heard from the conclusion of one of the gastarbeiters we spoke to.

Biljana Anđelković
Koviljka Babić
Ana Čugurović
Marija Stevuljević
Jelena Tirnanić
Jovana Todorović

Život i perspektive gastarbajtera povratnika u opštini Kučevo

Ne živim nikada ovde
Moja je kuća tamo gde nisam sada
Ali uvek sam u njoj
U mislima na povratak
Moj jedini dom su daljine
(Ana Čugurović)

Navedeni stihovi zvuče kao refren svake priče koju smo čuli od gastarbajtera sa kojima smo razgovarali sredinom jula 2007. godine tokom dvonedeljnog terenskog istraživanja u Kučevu u okviru projekta Intervencije umetnošću-povratak gastarbajtera.
Polazeći iz Beograda poneli smo i izvesnu dozu predrasuda i stereotipnih shvatanja o ljudima koje je trebalo da ispitujemo o njihovim snovima, životu, radu u inostranstvu, povratku.. Na jednom delu puta mnogi od stereotipa su počeli da se potvrđuju…

Vidljiva odsutnost
….jer što se autobus udaljavao istočnije od Beograda, to su kuće bivale veće, raskošnije, sa više prozora sa zatvorenim kapcima, a dvorišta praznija. Gde li su živeli svi ti bogati ljudi? Zašto nisu bili u svojim kućama? Da li je san svakog gastarbajtera da teško zarađeni novac u inostranstvu uloži u velelepna kamena zdanja ili u osnovi leži želja za nečim drugim?
Narednih dana pokušali smo da kroz razgovor saznamo više o ljudima koji su ih pravili i da potvrdimo ili opovrgnemo stereotipe koji su ih obično pratili.
Kada bi nas primali u svoje velike kuće imali smo osećaj da u njima nešto nedostaje, kao da je svetlost u sobama bila prekratko. Stvari nisu bile nameštene za život, one su bile spremne za povratak. Sve osim njih prekrivala je prašina. Ovi se ljudi uvek vraćaju, a nigde se ne zadržavaju.
Pričali su nam o tome da je u njihovim rodnim selima, koja su bila udaljenija od važnijih puteva i skoro potpuno opustela, ostalo još po nekoliko staraca, da su im njive zakorovljene, da njihova deca ne žele da ih dobiju u nasledstvo, da niko ne želi da ih obrađuje, da svi samo traže načina da odu odavde.

Potvrđeni stereotipi
Sredinom jula 2007.godine, u okviru projekta Intervencije umetnošću-povratak gastarbajtera, sproveli smo dvonedeljno terensko istraživanje među gastarbajterima u Kučevu, pod rukovodstvom doc.dr Saše Nedeljkovića.. Problem povratnika u Srbiju, iako poznat našim antropolozima, poslednjih godina nije zauzimao značajnije mesto u njihovim radovima. Stoga smo se potrudili da, na primeru kučevskih gastarbajtera, ako ništa drugo, makar uočimo neke osnovne probleme i otvorimo nova pitanja.
Razgovarali smo sa mnogim tamnošnjim gastarbajterima, koji su bili spremni da nam izađu u susret pričajući nam o svom životu, boravku i radu u inostranstvu, razmišljanju o povratku…. Uzimajući u obzir da su oni sastavni deo ekonomske i društvene strukture, u velikoj meri nerazvijene kučevske opštine, želeli smo da otkrijemo koliko i na koji način doprinose svojoj zajednici i da li aktivno stupaju u interakciju sa svojom okolinom. Odgovore na ova, ali i mnoga druga pitanja mogli smo dobiti samo iz priče o njihovom celokupnom životu: pre odlaska, tokom boravka i nakon povratka sa rada u inostranstvu. Iako su se ispitanici razlikovali po polu i godištu, u njihovim pričama se može uočiti jedan standardni obrazac. Zemlje odlaska su bile različite (Nemačka, Švajcarska, Austrija, Italija, Švedska, Francuska, Holandija), ali problemi sa kojima su se gastarbajteri susretali po odlasku su uglavnom slični.
Godine krize i porast nezaposlenosti početkom šezdesetih godina prošlog veka uticali su na masovni odlazak jugoslovenskih državljana na „privremeni“ rad u zapadno-evropske zemlje.  Odlazili su, najčešće, u “potpuno nepoznato”, tražeći posao koji ovde nisu mogli da dobiju, usled nesrazmernog odnosa broja radnih mesta i broja ljudi koji za njih konkurišu.
Po odlasku, oni su se suočavali sa novom kulturom o kojoj najčešće nisu znali dovoljno. Takođe su bili loše informisani o uslovima rada i stanovanja, kao i pravima i dužnostima koje će imati. Problem nerazumevanja i neprihvatanja nove kulture najvećim delom je uzrokovan činjenicom da radnici nisu znali jezik zemlje u koju odlaze. Oni su polazili sa uverenjem da se “tamo bolje zarađuje” (ili, prosto, da se tamo može naći posao), odnosno da će se vratiti “kad zarade dovoljno”. Jedan od naših ispitanika koji je u Nemačkoj proveo četrdeset godina podelio je sa nama svoje prvobitne planove: “Ja sam mislio da idem malo da radim i da kupim autić, i da kućicu jednu napravim pa da dođem. Ja sam mislio 5-6 godina, 10 godina, kad ono, deca se rode tamo, oženio sam se tamo..“
Kroz razgovor sa ispitanicima zaključili smo da su oni spremno prihvatali činjenicu da će se tamo više raditi, ali često je njihova stvarnost bivala teža i mučnija od onoga čemu su se nadali. Oni su ipak, pristajali na sve to smatrajući svoj boravak tamo privremenim. To je često bio jedan od razloga njihove spore adaptacije.
Zabuna i nerazumevanje njihovih postupaka prouzrokovani su i činjenicom da gastarbajteri, u dve sredine, žive u skladu sa dva potpuno različita modela. Dok je njihov život tamo opterećen prekovremenim radom i štednjom i evidentnim neprihvatanjem zapadnog potrošačkog modela, po povratku u otadžbinu postaju i više nego tipični “zapadni potrošači”, trošeći teško stečeni novac na način koji je, često, teško razumeti. Navedeni problemi se tiču ličnog integriteta, kao i društvenog i kulturnog identiteta stranog radnika prve generacije.
Deo radnika, koji odu na privremeni rad u inostranstvo, a koji obično potraje duže nego što se očekuje, zasniva porodicu u zemlji u koju su otišli. Nijihova deca nisu bivala lako integrisana u društvo. Prisećajući se nimalo prijatne situacije, jedan od povratnika je opisao školske dane svoga sina: „Tamo je išao godinu dana u švapsku školu. Jednom sam otišao u školu i video ga kako stoji sam siroma u ćošku. Švapčići okolo trče i igraju se. On stoji siroma’ u ćošku. Bio je stranac u to vreme, to je bilo ’72 ili ’75-’76. Pošo u školu, ne zna jezik. On se jeste tamo rodio i men’ bilo žao i kažem ženi: Slušaj, ja ću odma’ da ga odvedem u Jugoslaviju da uči Titinu školu, bre!“.. Danas situacija više nije takva pošto postoje razvijeni programi za što bolje prilagođavanje dece stranih radnika. Mnoge zapadne zemlje svesne poteškoća sa kojima se suočavaju strani državljani razvili su adekvatne psihološke i socijalne programe u koje su uključeni i roditelji i deca. Jedan od ispitanika koji još uvek živi i radi u Švajcarskoj pohvalno je govorio o tome (polasku svoje ćerke u vrtić) kako su ga „savetovali da dete kod kuće dobro savlada srpski jezik pre nego što krene na program učenja stranih jezika…“  “Ona ide tamo u švajcarski vrtić, naši ne postoje. Postoje naše dopunske škole. Interesantna stvar da pre nego što je ona krenula u školu mi smo imali razgovor sa prosvetnim radnicima. Ja sam isključivo sa njom razgovarao srpski. Pre nego što je krenula u predškolsko, pre toga je išla u vrtić.. Tri puta nedeljno po tri sata i tamo  je počela da uči nemački. Učila je i preko TVa. Tamo je način komunikacije jednostavan i deca lako uče taj nemački jezik, a uče ga samo na osnovi srpskog jezika. Kad sam otišao tamo na razgovor sa suprugom u tom pretškolskom gde ona sada ide su nam napomenuli da sa detetom govorimo isključivo srpski u kući jer je za jedan, dva i više jezika potrebna jedna osnova. Naš maternji jezik je srpski jezik i ona mora da govori srpski jezik dobro da bi mogla da sve ostale jezike lakše savlada. Ja sa njom govorim isključivo srpski.“
Život i način razmišljanja druge generacije se drastično razlikuje od života njihovih roditelja. Praksa ispitanika, pripadnika prve generacije je bila da sklapaju brak sa partnerima sa jugoslovenskog prostora, dok njihova deca nisu sledila to pravilo – za njih je stupanje u mešovite brakove bilo potpuno prirodno. Mnogi naši ispitanici, pripadnici prve generacije su s ponosom isticali činjenicu da nisu prihvatili državljanstvo zemlje u koju su otišli, smatrajući da time čuvaju svoj nacionalni identitet, što nije bio slučaj i sa njihovom decom.
S druge strane, deo radnika zasnivao je porodice u zemlji porekla, u kojoj su one najčešće ostajale. Bez obzira na to da li su sledili prvo ili drugo pravilo, pripadnici prve generacije iseljenika su sav stečeni novac ulagali u kuće (prostrane, ograđene visokim ogradama, sa masivnim kapijama, ukrašene betonskim figurama…), a sve svoje nade u povratak.
Oni su u Srbiju dolazili redovno, kad god su bili na odmoru. Njihova deca danas retko dolaze jer smatraju da bi ih takav odmor skupo koštao u odnosu na to šta bi njime dobili, pa se radije “odmaraju” u nekoj trećoj državi. Stoga kuće ostaju prazne, a sav napor da bi se one zaradile uzaludan.
Bez obzira na to koliko vremena provedu u zemlji privremenog rada, naši gastarbajteri, iseljenici prve generacije, retko nalaze prijatelje među strancima (uglavnom se druže sa radnicima iz bivših jugoslovenskih republika). Nivo komunikacije sa domaćim stanovništvom im je obično veoma nizak. Međutim, i potreba za boljim upoznavanjem svedena je na minimum. Radnici prve generacije još od početka računaju na povratak kući, najpre privremen (dolazak na odmore), a kasnije za stalno (odlazak u penziju). Njihov društveni status po povratku se menja i oni dobijaju mogućnost da aktivno utiču na svoju okolinu, ali to se najčešće ne dešava; njihov novac jeste uticao na razvoj specifičnog vida građevinarstva u Istočnoj Srbiji, ali mi bismo takav uticaj radije okarakterisali kao pasivan..
Iz razgovora sa predstavnicima opštine i povratnicima zaključili smo da postoji obostrana (ne)zainteresovanost za saradnju. Predstavnici opštine tvrde da gastarbajteri nisu spremni da svoj kapital ulože u neki od programa opštine, dok, s druge strane, većina gastarbajtera tvrdi da niko od njih nikada nije tražio da ulože u neki konkretan projekat. Mnogi od njih imaju sopstvenu privrednu delatnost, a, kako kažu, sa opštinom nisu spremni da sarađuju jer misle da uloženi novac ne bi završio na pravom mestu. Kroz njihove izjave se latentno provlači mišljenje da u opštini ima mita i korupcije i da strahuju da sa tim ne bi mogli da se izbore na legalan način u našoj zemlji.. U takvoj atmosferi nije moguć bilo kakav konstruktivan dijalog pa se njihovi životi nastavljaju u međusobnom nerazumevanju. Ono što bi eventualno trebalo dalje ispitati jeste da li je ovde reč o tipičnom problemu društva u tranziciji ili o odsustvu želje, znanja i sposobnosti da se stvori bolja i uspešnija životna sredina.
Izgleda da je posredi nespremnost za podelu moći između onih koji imaju vlast (predstavnici opštine) i onih koji imaju novac (povratnici iz inostranstva). Obe strane žele i jedno i drugo i smatraju da imaju potpuno pravo na to. „Kad bih živeo ovde ja bih se kandidovao za predsednika opštine. Istog momenta“, kaže jedan od ispitanika koji veruje da je živeći i radeći na Zapadu usvojio model organizovanog državnog sistema i birokratije koji je rad da primeni i ovde.
Čini se da gastarbajteri svojim privremenim boravcima ovde i tamo gube mogućnost da se identifikuju kao pripadnici bilo kog od dva društava u kojima povremeno žive, pa ih i tamo i ovde prihvataju samo kao Druge.. Oni sebe, naravno, ne vide tako, oni su ljudi koji svoja iskustva iz jednog društva žele da ponove i u drugom, ali pošto je to nemoguće (ili, u retkim slučajevima, veoma teško ili veoma sporo ostvarivo), oni ostaju da lutaju, ponašajući se ispravno na pogrešnim mestima ili, iz drugog ugla, pogrešno na pravim mestima.
Kao što se može primetiti, problem gastarbajtera je višeslojan i višeznačan. Njihova neprilagođenost i nespremnost za aktivno učešće u svakoj novoj sredini, kao i nespremnost, odnosno nemogućnost prilagođavanja u staroj, utiče na to da oni uvek budu klasifikovani kao “gastarbajteri” što svedoči o njihovom neprekidnom liminalnom statusu. Po odlasku na rad u inostranstvo, oni se odvajaju od stare sredine, dok u novoj sredini retko ili gotovo nikad ne bivaju prihvaćeni. Ta njihova liminalnost često može potrajati i veoma dugo (i po više od 40 godina). Za nas njihov liminalni status ne prestaje jer njegov kraj može biti jedino prelazak u drugi. Tokom tog perioda, oni su izloženi nerazumevanju ili “trpljenju” od strane stanovnika zemlje u koju su otišli i zemlje u koju žele da se vrate, dok i jedni i drugi prihvataju postojeće i konstruišu nove stereotipe.

U slobodnom vremenu
Za većinu naših ispitainika slobodno vreme je nepotrebno, beskorisno ili čak štetno. Mnogi od njih u slobodno vreme rade neki drugi posao „na crno“, gde im je trenutna zarada veća. Ako slobodnog vremena i imaju, najčešće ga provode sa svojom porodicom ili odlaze na službu u crkvu (ukoliko postoji pravoslavna crkva), gde mogu da se vide sa svojim sunarodnicima. Sa stanovništvom država u kojima rade najčešće ne stvaraju prijateljstva, čak ni kad su u pitanju kolege sa posla (ovo uglavnom važi za one koji su otišli u prvom talasu). Za kućne posete između stranaca postoje razne kulturne barijere, koje su naši ispitanici doživeli kao nepremostive. Oni koji žele da uštede ne mogu sebi priuštiti čak ni povremene izlaske, jer bi ih oni tamo koštali mnogo, pa im ne bi ostalo ništa da uštede za povratak. Za odmore dolaze u svoje kuće, a njima uvek trebaju neke popravke i dorade. Čak i kada dođu u penziju nastavljaju sa nekim poslom: jedni imaju privatne firme, a drugi se vraćaju obrađivanju svojih napuštenih imanja.

Kada se očekivanja ispune, a želje ne ostvare
U pričama povratnika, glavna motivacija za njihov odlazak bio je težak život. Nije ih motivisao samo nedostatak  posla već i želja da svojoj deci obezbede bolje uslove za život od onih koje su imali oni sami. Neki su bili đaci pešaci iz udaljenih sela. I kada su zaradili dovoljno da svojoj deci sagrade ogromne kuće u gradu (neki su im čak otvorili i privatne firme), želje njihove dece nisu se poklopile sa ostvarenjem njihovih želja. Njihova deca su tada želela više i krenula su, sada već utabanim putem, da bi ostvarila svoje želje, baš kao što su to nekada radili njihovi roditelji.

Između ovde i tamo
Mnogi naši ispitanici divili su se zakonima i efikasnosti njihovog sprovođenja u zemljama u kojima su radili. Takođe su isticali i to da je tamo manja korumpiranost i da se svi problemi mogu rešiti dijalogom. Ipak, nigde im nije bilo tako lepo i prijatno za život kao u Srbiji. Uprkos svim zamerkama koje su upućivali državnom i opštinskom rukovodstvu, uprkos svim disfunkcionalnostima koje su uočavali u ovdašnjoj privredi, uprkos svim problemima koje su primećivali u društvu, ovde su se više osećali kao svoji na svome.. I što je mnogo važnije ovde su uvek mogli da saosećaju kao svoji sa svojima i to je u njima najviše razbuktavalo tinjajuću želju za  povratkom.

Mada je najčešći razlog za povratak odlazak u penziju, to ipak nije jedini razlog. Oni koji su bili spremniji da se sa životnim nedaćama bore u svom rodnom kraju nego u inostranstvu vraćali su se kada bi zaradili prvu željenu sumu. Kod njih je želja da budu „svoji na svome“ bila veća od želje za bogatstvom. Oni su manje bili spremni da se prilagode novoj sredini, a više su nastojali da ugledajući se na nju menjaju svoj zavičaj. Otvorili su male privatne firme koje pripadaju domenu uslužnih delatnosti, po uzoru na slične koje su videli u inostranstvu. Osim vizije o tome kako će im firma sama izgledati, oni su doneli i nove načine u rukovođenju firmom i u ophođenju prema zaposlenima. Žale se da u tome još uvek nisu potpuno uspeli i da imaju mnogo teškoća.
Bilo je i onih koji se nisu vratili svojom voljom. Jedan ispitanik se sa porodicom vratio jer su mu roditelji bili bolesni. Nakon toga nije mogao ponovo u inostranstvo. Sada žali za danima kada je bio tamo i nikako ne može da se privikne na život ovde; kaže da je mnogo lošiji. Međutim, u zavisnosti od toga u kojoj zemlji su radili, mnogi naši ispitanici priznaju da bi na zapadu sa svojom penzijom jako teško živeli. Zato se ipak odlučuju za povratak u svoja mesta u kojima mogu da uživaju u statusu gazde.

Izuzeci (koji potvrđuju pravilo)
Ničiji život ne može se uklopiti u jedan obrazac. Svi naši ispitanici su bili međusobno različiti, a zamišljenom modelu neki su bili više, a neki manje slični. Ipak neki su više odudarali od ostalih.
Primećuje se da se život iseljenika u Švedskoj mnogo razlikuje od života ostalih ispitanika. Oni su ohrabreni i primorani da se bolje integrišu u društvo zemlje u koju su otišli. S druge strane, to je njihov povratak dovelo u pitanje. Njihov povratak je ograničen švedskim zakonom na kraće izdeljene posete svom zavičaju jer, ukoliko nisu u Švedskoj šest meseci u toku godine, gube pravo na penziju.
Jedan ispitanik je otišao na rad u inostranstvo, ali je, bez obzira na to što mu je dobro išlo, ubrzo odustao od toga. Kako kaže „nije imao vremena da radi“. Dovijao se na razne načine i putovao evropskim zemljama, a onda se vratio kući i nastavio da se bavi svojim ranijim poslom.

U potrazi za boljim
Mi nismo samo pročavali gastarbajtere, razgovarali smo sa ljudima poput nas. Oni su nekada otišli, kao što i svako od nas  negde krene po nešto, već spreman na  povratak. Ali svaki put nas malo izmeni da i ne shvatimo da povratka nema, pa sve vreme mislimo o njemu.
Na kraju puta ostane dilema i pitanje da li je išta od toga vredelo? Da li se taj dugi niz godina napornog rada u tuđini isplatio? To je pitanje koje gotovo svakodnevno sebi postavljaju naši ispitanici. Pravog odgovora nema. Ako je suditi po velikim i masivnim ogradama, ogromnim kućama sa skupim nameštajem, bazenima i skupim automobilima, onda jeste. Ali ako prosuđujemo na osnovu praznine i pustoši koja se nalazi s one strane kamenih ograda, onda nije!  Zadovoljstvo koje gotovo svaki naš ispitanik oseti kad pogleda u svoje “kameno carstvo” (u šta uloži obično sve što je zaradio), vrlo brzo smeni gorka ali na žalost tačna činjenica da to propada dok im deca i unuci žive negde daleko, u tuđini iz koje je on želeo što pre da se vrati ne bi li svojima pružio sve ono što sam nije imao.  A kad im je to pružio oni su želeli “radije Azurnu obalu nego da se ovde ubijaju od dosade”, kako je zaključio jedan naš ispitanik.

The (Im)Possibilities of the Return of the Gastarbeiters

This text is the result of anthropological research conducted in the villages that surround Kučevo: Turija, Duboka, Rakova Bara, Popovac and Ševica. The aim of this activity is to recognize and map basic problems connected to the return of these people, understand socio-cultural background of this issue and give directions for further research through focusing on life stories of the gastarbeiters.

 Eastern Serbia is a region where migrations are manifested in a specific way, and what we can clearly conclude from our field research, is that it is still an on-going process, especially in the minds of people who have helped us unselfishly in our scientific research.1
Gastarbeiter (gastarbeiter, a word which denotes singular and plural in German) is a concept with different connotations, positive and negative, within an ethnic, social, cultural and economic context. First of all, it refers to the guest workers, people who came to Germany in search for work during the 60s and 70s.  The formal status of temporary workers was determined by bilateral agreements between the German government and Italy (1955), Greece (1960), Turkey (1961), Portugal (1964) and Yugoslavia (1968)  which made possible for the gastarbeiters to get a qualified job in the industrial sector of the economy.2 The migrants, mostly men in the beginning, were allowed to stay in the host country for a year or two and then return home. However, most of them decided to remain in Germany with their families who joined them. The children of the gastarbeiters got the right to stay in Germany but they got no guaranties that they will be given citizenship. They became ethnic minority discriminated in an educational, religious and social way, which was the result of the state not being interested in their integration into the German society due to the German law.
By analyzing personal stories about life and working experience of the gastarbeiters,3  we have identified two main periods or waves of migration. The first wave took place in the 60’s and the 70’s, the people migrating being mostly uneducated with and without a degree in primary education, which happened because the state reduced the amount of the agricultural land and because the people wanted to enlarge their material possessions. Most of the workers of this first wave went to work individually, without their families, while the children remained at home to be taken care of by their grandparents, which was typical of this first wave. When the children grew up the parents took them abroad. Children born abroad became citizens of the country they were born in.  The wave which happened in the 90’s, during the civil war in former Yugoslavia was the result of a ruined economy which caused poverty and made everyone feel insecure. People who went abroad during this second wave were the ones who finished elementary school, or secondary school, or some kind of trade.  The third generation of gastarbeiters was born during this wave, i.e. the grandchildren of the first generation. These children were either born abroad or they went there soon after they were born in Serbia. They went to school abroad, some got their citizenships, learned to speak the language, so the possibility of returning to Serbia got smaller. The children born and remained in Serbia, whose parents work abroad, are the target audience that requires finding ways and possibilities to stay.
In addition to that, we have learned of various kinds of strategies to overcome the differences that occur due to the assimilation. Most people gave us the impression it was something that occurred consciously and in accord to the life circumstances, but it wasn’t a consequence that would go away painlessly. The strategies they used were concerned with developing consciousness, knowledge and notions of one’s origin. The aim is for the children to spend the holidays in home towns of their parents and grandparents, who then try to attract them to their roots.4

Migrants usually go to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, and their choice depends on the dynamics of the global social movability, relatives or other kinds of relationships in the host country, laws that relate to this issue and the country’s social policies. Having that in mind, we cannot see the gastarbeiters as a homogeneous group, because different life conditions, differences in the ways they make profit, cause different perceptions on life and possible return to Serbia. The experiences of one living in Austria and one living in Serbia are very different. Unlike the gastarbeiters from Austria, the ones from Sweden have more free time which they spend in a creative way and they travel more. „In Austria, people socialize less and earn more. Here, people just live. They socialize“. (M. Š., village of Duboka, Sweden). When they come to Serbia from Sweden, they live modestly, because they don’t want to splash their money around. The Swedish law does not allow them to live in Serbia more than six months when they retire (although they would like that), so they plan to live half a year in one country and half in another. In short, they spend their money in Serbia but they don’t invest it anything that would show their material status. One of the difficulties of the gastarbeiter’s life is the status of not belonging to any country. „Yes, we are strangers here and strangers there, too“ (M. L., village of Brodica. Austria). According to M.Š., a woman from the village of Duboka, people in Sweden have an insulting expression for strangers – „the blackheads“ (although she had never heard anyone calling her like that). „When I go to Sweden I am a Serb, and when I come here people say – That Swedish woman is here.“ (M.Š. village of Duboka, Sweden).

 At first sight, the economy of Eastern Serbia cannot be justified from the point of view of classical economy. Building of unnecessary large houses,5 luxurious wedding receptions, and general spending of large amounts of money without investing it6  is a cultural characteristic in, on the one hand, the process of relocating goods,  and on the other hand according to the people we spoke with, a strategy of providing homes in case of forceful return from abroad. The first generations of migrants cherished the ideal of joint life of an extended family, believing that their children would live with them.7 The gastarbeiter houses in Serbia are being used only for two to three months a year. They represent the status symbol and their purpose is to provide comfortable life during the vacations and after retiring. Houses abroad are not marked for the owner’s material status. The main frame for seeing the set parameters through is the notion of investing the capital. This area has potential for developing rural tourism, but it would take investing a lot of money and work. The surroundings are fit for it. There are natural resorts like Homolje Mountains, the cave of Duboka and so on. The possibility of establishing a suite accommodation is the most promising one, considering that all villages have modern large houses that could be used with this purpose. We made an inquiry about the possibility of developing such practice and came to the conclusion it was in nobody’s interest. Such way of making profit is not the most desirable one, because those houses were mainly built for families to live in them, although they are quite large. What can be concluded is that from the standpoint of the people who work abroad, this part of Serbia has no potential for developing rural tourism. However, we mustn’t forget some isolated cases which inform us of laws and regulations of some countries (Switzerland and Sweden). These regulations state that one must live in the country which provided him with the pension for a specific amount of time during one year. If not, one’s pension would be reduced. Thus, if not generally, this fact makes a lot of difference in isolated cases (Turija, Duboka). This is one of the reasons why people cannot run businesses at home. According to the gastarbeiters from Sweden, the business in that country was running well, because the state was fair, and the community was aiming to develop private businesses. They convinced us that here everything was running with difficulties, because ”the state requires taxes and other fees to be paid, and gives no guaranties in return”. For doing business.

The life of the gastarbeiters abroad is often very different from the image people living in the home country have of them. The image of a well-off landholder in luxurious exterior and interior, often conceals a hard life abroad in the background. Hard physical labour done overtime, and austere life conditions reflect the impossibility of assimilating into the new environment. These characteristics, as well as limited knowledge of the language, customs and culture of the host country are mostly typical of the first generation of the gastarbeiters. The second and the third generation show a larger scale of fitting in the society, occupy better job positions, have more liberal and modern views on life, accept new schemes in economy of manipulating one’s income. Beside the change in economic patterns of behaviour, one occurred in the relations between a family. The patriarchal family prototype, the concept of marriage and parenthood were replaced by pragmatic solutions dictated by their staying and survival in the host countries and the legal system. The examples of mothers leaving their small children to be taken care of by their grandparents (which the children later recognize as their guardians they are more devoted to than parents) or marriages established with the citizens of the host countries they work in because of money clearly depict the collision of the patriarchal and traditional system of the agricultural societies with the West system based on the market. Thus, the first generations of the gastarbeiters live their life between wanting to provide their children with material wealth and not having the opportunity to really be parents. „My daughter and I aren’t a mother and a daughter. We don’t know each other.“ (M.R., village of Turija. Sweden). People we spoke to emphasized that the children would prefer being next to their mothers than having money. „The children don’t them.“ (J. V., and old woman, village: Rakova Bara. Her Children are in Austria.)

Most of the gastarbeiters come home after they retire but without their children. „You die where you were born“ (V. I., village: Rakova Bara. Austria). Most of them don’t have the citizenship of the host country while their children do. The children stay there to start their own lives.

Family relations and mutual help are very important in a gastarbeiter’s life.   Namely, the people we spoke to, emphasized that they had had someone abroad who welcomed them and helped them manage in the beginning (usually a cousin or a close friend). What is also known is the phenomenon of marrying “for documents”. Some people went abroad following this practice. They would formally divorce their spouses in Serbia, and then through some channels find a person abroad to establish a formal marriage and arrange a sum of money to be paid to this person, who was the citizen of the host country. M. G. From the village of Duboka first got a divorce in Serbia, and then married an old lady from Stockholm to get the documents of citizenship and paid her for that, and later he divorced again to marry his first wife. There is also the practice of „cross marriage“. A couple would divorce and then marry another couple from Serbia to help them obtain citizenship.

The possibility of the return of the gastarbeiters surely depends on current global economic conditions. The millennium wave of migration is slowly decreasing due to the employment crisis thus forcing the third and the fourth generation of the gastarbeiters to remain in their own country.

The socio-cultural transformations we isolated speak of the problem of collision of cultural patterns and the change of systems of values. A more detailed analysis of this problem would reveal the ways political, generation and cultural differences among the gastarbeiters, influence their decision to come back, invest money, and forming new residential culture. For the return of the gastarbeiters to be possible at all, there has to exist a strategy to keep the ones who stayed from going and return the ones who left.

The causes which make the return of the gastarbeiters less possible are:

  • -.the undeveloped municipalities

  • -.state administration’s lack of strategy and will to invest in developing infrastructure in the municipality

  • -.inadequate tax policy which enhances the risk for the possible investment

  • -.political transparency in the process of making decisions by local administration

–        assimilation problem

  the possibility of social tensions, i.e., the problem of change in socio-economic climate in the villages, characteristics for its hierarchal and relations of symbolic power between the gastarbeiters and the locals.

Empty houses, the decrease in demographic level, unmotivated and small young population, is an image that can be easily changed with the help of a good developing strategy. The gastarbeiters themselves see their life as gloomy sometimes. „I am one sad story. We all are.“ (M.Š. village Duboka, Sweden). All these interviews from Kučevo are just bits and pieces of individual stories, which are not just family stories. They are a part of a large complex system of understanding of the life of working abroad. „Wasted life“. (M. P., village of Turija. Switzerland). However, these stories also reflect a lust for life.These and many other problems should be dealt with through state policy of positive affirmation of the gastarbeiters as a new market subject.

Further anthropological research would clarify this image and find structural similarities in changes of cultural patterns of life, and they would also find ways for their use in practice in the process of reintegration of the gastarbeiters into the Serbian society.


The material for this paper was gathered in July 2007 on the territory of the municipality of Kučevo. The students of the department of ethnology and anthropology of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade who collected it under the guidance of Prof Dragana Antonijević were: Tanja Višić, Nađa Živanović, Dušan Kocić, Marija Krstić, and Aleksandar Repedžić i Čedomir Savković.

1 We thank all the people who spoke with us as well as our guides, president of the local community Duboka, Ljubomir Rajić and president of the local community Turija, Danijel Milenković.


3 The opinion about gastarbeiters is mostly negative in Serbia. „People who went were džabalebaroši, vucibatineand the uneducated ones“ (LJ. R. Village of Duboka).

4 ”When you spend at least one month during the year being your own master” (Popovac, Duboka).

5 They have houses so large that it takes half a day for one to tour them and nobody lives there. “ ( S. M. village of  Popovac).

6 In this case we can talk about “the logic of potlača“ which is a part of the life cycle rituals of everyday life (wedding receptions, funerals, slavas i zavetinas) and about similarities with the cultural practice of the Native Americans which reflected in gaining prestigepower and humiliate the one who is receiving a gift from us, so they won’t be able to respond in the same way

7 This ideal collapsed when the second generation left. A fine example of this is a house in the village of Turija which occupies almost 300 m2. It became a solitary tombstone erected during the owners life, guarded by lions and eagles made aout of plaster placed at the entrance gates. Today, the owner of these mansions, consider this practice “a waste of money”, well aware of the fact that their decendants will never live there, and that the house itself cannot be sold by the real market price.

Tanja Višić
Čedomir Savković
Marija Krstić

Tekst je rezultat antropoloških istraživanja koja su izvedena u selima u okolini Kučeva: Turija, Duboka, Rakova bara, Popovac i Ševica. Cilj rada je da se kroz fokusiranje na životne priče gastarbajtera uoče i mapiraju osnovni problemi vezani za njihov povratak, razume socio-kulturna konfiguracija ovog problema  i pruže smernice za buduća proučavanja.


 Istočna Srbija je područje gde su migracije na poseban način izražene, a svodeći zaključke sa terena, postalo nam je jasno da je to još uvek dosta zastupljeno, prvenstveno u svesti ljudi, koji su nam nesebično pomagali u naučno-istraživačkom radu.1


Gastarbajter (gastarbeiter, reč koja u nemačkom jeziku označava i jedninu i množinu) je pojam koji se različito konotira, i pozitivno i negativno,  u etničkom, socijalnom, kulturnom i ekonomskom kontekstu. Prvenstveno, on označava gostujuće radnike, ljude koji su  60-ih i 70-ih godina prošlog veka  došli u Nemačku u potrazi za poslom. Formalni status privremenih radnika proističe iz bilateralnih ugovora između nemačke vlade i Italije (1955), Grčke (1960), Turske (1961), Portugala (1964) i Jugoslavije (1968) koje je  omogućavao gastarbajterima da dobiju kvalifikovan posao u  industrijskom sektoru.2  Migranti, koji su u početku bili uglavnom muškarci mogli su da ostanu godinu ili dve dana nakon čega bi se vraćali u domovinu. Međutim, većina njih se odlučila da ostane u Nemačkoj sa porodicama koje bi im se pridružile.  Deca gastarbajtera, dobila su pravo ostanka u Nemačkoj, ali bez garancija za dobijanje državljanstva.  Oni postaju etnička manjinska zajednica obrazovno, religijski i društveno diskriminisana, kao posledica nezainteresovanosti države za nijhovu integraciju u nemačko društvo što je posledica nemačkog zakonodavstva.
Analizom ličnih kazivanja o iskustvu života i rada gastarbajtera,3  identifikovana su dva glavna perioda ili talasa odseljavanja. Prvi talas se dogodio 60-ih i 70-ih godina, zbog smanjenja poljoprivrednog zemljišta od strane države i želje za sticanjem većeg imetka, koji je uglavnom pokrenuo najneobrazovanije stanovništvo, sa ili bez završene osnovne škole. Većina radnika prvog talasa na rad je odlazila individualno, bez porodice, dok su deca, što je uglavnom karakteristično za ove talase, ostajala kod kuće da se o njima staraju babe i dede. Kad bi deca odrasla roditelji bi ih odveli u inostranstvo. Deca koja su rođena u inostranstvu postajala su ”domaća” u zemlji rođenja. Talas devedestih, tj. perioda građanskog rata u bivšoj Jugoslaviji uzrokovan propadanjem industrije čija je posledica nemaština i nesigurnost. On je pokrenuo  one koji su završili osnovnu,  srednju školu ili neki zanat. U okviru ovog talasa stvara se treća generacija gastarbajtera, tj. unuci prve generacije, koji su tamo rođeni ili su otišli ubrzo nakon rođenja u Srbiji. Tamo završavaju  školu, neki stiču državljanstvo, govore jezik i mala je verovatnoća da će se vratiti u Srbiju. Deca gastarbajtera koja su rođena i ostala u Srbiji, a čiji su roditelji u inostranstvu, jesu ciljna grupa zbog kojih treba pronaći način i mogućnosti ostanka.
S tim u vezi, došli smo do saznanja o različitim vrstama strategija za prevazilaženje razlika koje asimilacijom nastaju. Većina informanata nam je odala utisak da se radi o nečemu što je nastupilo svesno i shodno životnim situacijama očekivano, ali da nije reč o posledici koja će proći bezbolno. Strategije kojima pribegavaju odnose se na razvijanje svesti, znanja i predstava o svome poreklu.  Nastoji se da deca školske raspuste provode u rodnom mestu svojih roditelja, baba i deda, koji se trude da ih privuku svojim korenima.4

Destinacije iseljenika su uglavnom Nemačka, Austrija, Švajcarska, Švedska, a izbor zavisi od dinamike globalne društvene pokretljivosti, srodničkih ili nekih drugih veza u zemlji iseljenja,  odgovarajućih zakonskih propisa i socijalne politike zemlje.  Zbog toga, gastarbajtere ne možemo sagledati kao homogenu grupu jer različiti uslovi života, razlike u načinu sticanja prihoda i emigracionih zakona uzrokuju različite percepcije života i pogleda na eventualni povratak u Srbiju. Iskustva osoba iz Austrije i Švedske su veoma različita. Za razliku od gastarbajtera iz Austrije, gastarbajteri iz Švedske kuće imaju više slobodnog vremena koje kreativno ispunjavaju i više putuju. „U Austriji se manje druže, a više zarađuju. Narod ovde živi. Druži se“. (M. Š., selo Duboka, Švedska). Kada dođu iz Švedske u Srbiju žive skromno, jer im nije stalo da se razbacuju. Zbog švedskog zakona, po odlasku u penziju ne mogu da žive u Srbiji (iako bi to voleli) duže od 6 meseci zbog poreza, ali planiraju da žive po pola godine na oba mesta. Ukratko, troše svoj novac a ne ulažu ga u Srbiji u materijalne pokazivače statusa. Jedna od nedaća gastarbajterskog života je i liminalni status, odnosno nepripadanje nijednoj državi.Da  smo i ovde stranci, a i tamo“ (M. L., selo Brodica. Austrija). Prema sagovornici M.Š. iz sela Duboka, u Švedskoj strance pogrdno i uvredljivo zovu „crnoglavci“ (ali kazivačica nikada nije čula da je nju neko tako zvao). „Kad odeš u Švedsku, ja sam Srbin, kad dođeš ovde-Došla Šveđanka.“ (M.Š. selo Duboka, Švedska).


 Istočnu Srbiju odlikuje ekonomija, naizgled, logički neopravdiva sa stanovišta klasične ekonomije. Izgradnja nepotrebno velikih kuća,5 raskošne svadbe i uopšte trošenje velikih suma novca bez ulaganja6  jeste kulturna specifičnost u preraspodeli dobara s jedne strane, a sa druge prema kazivanju ispitanika, strategija obezbeđivanja kuća u slučaju prinudnog povratka iz inostranstva.  Ideal o zadružnom životu proširene porodice gajile su prve generacije migranata verujući da će u njima živeti oni i njihova deca.7 U Srbiji gastarbajterske kuće se koriste tokom godine uglavnom dva do tri meseca. One predstavljaju statusni simbol i namenjene su udobnom životu tokom godišnjeg odmora i penzije. U inostranstvu one nemaju značaj simbola koji odražava materijalno stanje vlasnika. Glavni orijentir kroz koji se mogu posmatrati izneti parametri jeste pojam investicije kapitala. Ovo područje ima predispozicije za razvoj seoskog turizma, ali za njega je potrebno odvojiti dosta sredstava i rada. Okolina za to je pogodna. Tu su prirodne atrakcije kao što su Homoljske planine, Dubočka pećina i sl. Mogućnost razvoja apartmanskog smeštaja najviše obećava, jer su u gotovo svim selima izgrađene moderne velike kuće koje bi dobro došle za takvu priliku. Raspitivali smo se o takvim mogućnostima i došli do zaključka da to nikome nije u interesu. Takav način privređivanja nije najpoželjniji jer su kuće građene prvenstveno za porodični život iako su dosta velike. Može se zaključiti da ovaj deo Srbije nema perspektivu razvoja seoskog turizma, barem što se tiče stavova ljudi koji rade u inostranstvu. Međutim, ne treba zaboraviti i pojedine slučajeve koji nam govore o zakonskim propisima u nekim zemljama (Švajcarska i Švedska). Ti zakonski propisuju ističu da se određeni period godine mora živeti u državi koja je radniku dala penziju. U suprotnom, penzija bi bila dosta manja, tako da je ova činjenica, ako ne generalno, onda u pojedinačnim slučajevima značajna (Turija, Duboka). To je jedan od razloga nemogućnosti poslovanja ”kod kuće”. Prema kazivanjima gastarbajtera iz Švedske, tamo je posao išao dobro jer je država bila korektna, a i sama sredina je orijentisana ka razvoju privatnog biznisa. Ubedljivo su nam odgovorili da ovde to teško ide, budući da ”država traži poreze i ostale nadoknade, a da za uzvrat ne obezbeđuje nikakve garancije”. Većina ostaje u uverenju da je lepo doći kući na odmor i videti se sa rodbinom i priljateljima, a za mesto poslovanja će uvek biti najpogodnija zemlja u koju se otišlo u potragu za boljim životom i boljom zaradom.

Život gastarbajtera u inostranstvu se često ne poklapa sa slikom koju članovi zajednice imaju o njima u matici.  Slika gazde-domaćina u raskošnim eksterijerima i enterijerima, često u pozadini krije težak život u inostranstvu.  Naporan fizički prekovremeni rad i oskudni životni uslovi jesu odraz nemogućnosti za asimilaciju u novu sredinu.  Navedene karakteristike, kao i slabo poznavanje jezika i običaja kulture u kojoj gostuju, pre svega, važe za prvu generaciju gastarbajtera. Druga i treća generacija, pokazuju veći stepen uklapanja, imaju bolja radna mesta, liberalnije i modernije poglede na život, prihvataju nove ekonomske modele raspolaganja zaradom. Osim promene u ekonomskim obrascima ponašanja, došlo je i do promene  u porodičnim odnosima. Patrijarhalni porodični model, koncept braka i roditeljstva zamenjeni su pragmatičnim rešenjima koje diktira ostanak i opstanak gastarbajtera u zemljama odlaska, kao i njihov pravno-regulacioni sistem. Primeri majki koje  ostavljaju malu decu na čuvanje babi i dedi (koje deca kasnije često prepoznaju kao staraoce kojima su više privrženi nego roditeljima) ili brakova iz interesa sa državljanima zemalja u kojima rade, jesu jasan pokazatelj sudara patrijarhalnog tradicionalnog sistema svojstvenog agrikulturnim sredinama i zapadnog, tržišnog. Tako da prva generacija gastarbajtera   život provodi, u stvari, u procepu između želje da omoguće materijalno blagostanje deci i nemogućnosti da zaista budu roditelji.  „Ja i moja ćerkica kao da nismo majka i ćerka. Ne poznajemo se“ (M.R., selo Turija. Švedska). Sagovornici ističu da bi deca više volela da su bila pored majke nego novac. „Njih deca ne poznaju.“ (J. V., baba, selo: Rakova Bara. Deca su joj u Austriji).

Većina gastarbajtera se vraća kući po penzionisanju ali bez dece. „Gde se rodi, tu umire“ (V. I., selo: Rakova Bara. Austrija). Većina njih nema državljanstvo, dok deca imaju. Deca ostaju tamo i tamo započinju sopstveni život.

Važnost u gastarbajterskom životu čine porodični odnosi i veze uzajamne pomoći. Naime, naši sagovornici su isticali da su već imali nekoga (obično je u pitanju rođak ili blizak prijatelj) ko ih je primio u inostranstvu i pomogao im da se u početku snađu. Poznat je i fenomen venčavanja „zbog papira“. Pojedini ljudi odlazili su tako što bi se razvodili od svojih supružnika samo formalno, preko neke veze u inostranstvu bi našli osobu sa kojom bi sklopili formalni brak uz ugovorenu sumu novca koja bi se isplaćivala onom ”supružniku” koji je domaći u zemlji u koju se odlazi, odnosno koji poseduje državljanstvo te zemlje. M. G. iz sela Duboka se prvo razveo u Srbiji, a zatim se venčao sa babom u Stokholmu zbog papira koje je platio da bi se kasnije ponovo razveo i oženio svojom prvom ženom. Takođe postoji i praksa „unakrsnog venčavanja“. Bračni par se razvede  i venča sa drugim parom iz Srbije da bi im pomogli da dobiju papire.

Mogućnost povratka gastarbajtera svakako zavisi od ekonomskih uslova u sadašnjem trenutku na globalnom nivou. Milenijumski talas iseljavanja počinje polako da jenjava usled krize zapošljavanja i time primorava treću i četvrtu generaciju gastarbajtera na ostanak u svojoj zemlji.

Socio-kulturne transformacije koje smo izolovali upućuju na problem sudara kulturnih  modela i promene sistema vrednosti. Detaljnija analiza ovog problema bi otkrila kako političke, generacijske i kulturološke razlike koje postoje unutar grupe gastarbajtera, utiču na njihovu odluku na povratak, ulaganje kapitala i formiranje nove rezidencijalne kulture. Da bi povratak gastarbajtera bio uopšte moguć, mora se pronaći strategija kako zadržati one koji su ostali i vratiti one koji su otišli.

Uzroci koji smanjuju verovatnoću povratka gastarbajtera većinom su:

  • -.nerazvijenost opštine  

  • -.nedostatak strategije i volje za ulaganje u razvoj infrastrukture opštine od strane državne samouprave 

  • -.neadekvatna poreska politika koja povećava rizik od eventualnog ulaganja 

  • -.politička transparentnost u donošenju odluka lokalne samouprave 

–        problem asimilacije

  mogućnost pojave socijalnih tenzija, odnosno problem promene socio-ekonomske atmosfere u selima, koju karakterišu hijerarhijski i odnosi simboličke moći između gastarbajtera  i pripadnika lokalne zajednice.

Prazne kuće, pad demografskog nivoa, nemotivisano malobrojno mlado stanovištvo,  jeste slika koja vrlo lako može da se promeni uz dobru razvojnu strategiju. Gastarbajterski život se ponekad i od strane samih gastarbajtera percipira sumorno. „Ja sam žalosna priča. Svi mi“ (M.Š. selo duboka. Švedska). Svi ovi intervjui iz Kučeva su samo delići individualnih priča, koje nisu samo porodične. One su deo jedne šire mreže shvatanja i razumevanja radničkog života u inostranstvu. „Promašen život tamo“. (M. P., selo Turija. Švajcarska), ali istovremeno oslikavaju i žudnju za životom. Ovi i mnogi drugi problemi, jesu pre svega,  domen intervencije države i državne politike pozitivne afirmacije gastarbajtera kao novog ekonomskog aktera.

Dalja antropološka istraživanja bi išla ka izoštravanju ove slike i pronalaženju strukturalnih sličnosti, u promenama kulturnih modela života, i njihove praktične primene u procesu reintegracije gastarbajtera u srpsko društvo.


Materijal za izradu ovog rada su  tokom jula 2007. godine na teritoriji opštine Kučevo prikupljali  pod rukovodstvom doc. dr Dragane Antonijević studenti Odeljenja za etnologiju i antropologiju Filozofskog fakulteta u Beogradu: Tanja Višić, Nađa Živanović, Dušan Kocić, Marija Krstić, Aleksandar Repedžić i Čedomir Savković.

1 Zahvaljujemo se svim našim sagovornicima kao i našim  vodičima, predsedniku mesne zajednice Duboka, Ljubomiru Rajiću i predsedniku mesne zajednice Turija, Danijelu Milenkoviću..


3 Mišljenje o samim gastarbajterima u Srbiji je uglavnom negativno. „Odlazili su džabalebaroši, vucibatine i oni bez škole“ (LJ. R. selo Duboka).


4 ”Kad barem i mesec dana godišnje provedeš kao svoj na svome” (Popovac, Duboka).

5 Imaju kuće, pola dana da ih obiđeš a niko u njih ne živi.“ ( S. M. selo Popovac).

6 U ovom slučaju se može govoriti o “logici potlača“ utkanog u svakodnevni život rituala životnog ciklusa (svadbe, sahrane, slave i zavetine) odnosno o sličnosti sa kulturnom praksom severno-američkih Indijanaca koja se sastojala u sticanju slave i prestiža deobom i uništavnjem što većeg imetka sa ciljem da se stekne nadmoć i ponizi onaj kome dajemo poklon, tako da neće moći da ga uzvrati

7 Ovaj ideal se urušio sa bespovratnim odlaskom druge generacije. Primer je kuća u selu Turija od skoro 300 kvadrata. Kuća postaje usamljeni spomenik podignut za života koju na ulaznim kapijama čuvaju gipsani lavovi i orlovi. Danas vlasnici ovih zdanja smatraju  to “uludo protraćenim kapitalom”, svesni činjenice da njihovi potomci tu nikada neće živeti, a da se više ne može ni prodati po realnoj tržišnoj ceni.

Tanja Višić
Čedomir Savković
Marija Krstić