No. XXXVI (2005)

The Serbian Radical Movement 1881–1903 A Historical Aspect

Milan St. Protić
Institute for Balkan Studies, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Published 01.12.2005


  • Serbian Radical Movement,
  • radicalism,
  • Serbian politics 1881–1903,
  • Serbia,
  • Balkans

How to Cite

Protić, M. S. (2005). The Serbian Radical Movement 1881–1903 A Historical Aspect. Balcanica - Annual of the Institute for Balkan Studies, (XXXVI), 129–149.


Focusing on the initial stage (until 1903) of the Serbian Radical movement, the paper attempts to delineate and explicate the main phases of its political maturation. In its initial stage Serbian Radicalism passed through several significant phases. The earliest phase (1869–80) may be named the period of rudimentary Radicalism. The movement was unorganized and oscillated between the ideas of socialism, anarchism and peasant democracy. The year 1881 saw the founding of the Radical Party as the first organized political party in Serbia with its own internal structure and programme. It opened the second phase, known as a period of militant Radicalism (1881–86), marked by its organized and uncompromising opposition to the existing system and the personal regime of king Milan Obrenović, culminating in the Timok rebellion in 1883. The period of pragmatic Radicalism (1886–94) saw a recuperation and reorganization of the movement, its inclusion as a legitimate political force into the existing order, the passing in 1888 of a new constitution predominantly influenced by Radical political views and the Party’s first compromises with other factors on the domestic political scene. Finally, there was a period of overpowered Radicalism (1894–1903). Without abandoning their fundamental ideological tenets, the Radicals were forced to make some serious political compromises and moderate their political programme in order to remain in the race for power.


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