Dragoslav Bokan was born in 1961 in Belgrade.
After completing the Eleventh High School in Belgrade, he graduated from the Department of Film and Television Directing at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts and completed postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Philosophy.
“In his youth, he directed a music video for the rock group ‘Riblja čorba’, acted in the film ‘Telefomania’ and was an assistant director of the film ‘Srce i njena deca’ (Heart and her children). Together with his brother Aleksandar, he published Thomas Carlyle’s book ‘On Heroes’ in the mid-1980s in the private publishing house ‘Hitrost’. Thanks to that edition, he became friends with Dragoš Kalajić, who wrote the afterword for the book. He was also the director of the cultural-historical documentary series ‘Witnesses of the Centuries’ about medieval monasteries and churches in Kosovo and Metohija,” he states in his biography.
At the end of the eighties, he moved to the United States, but returned in 1990.
“After returning from the USA to Belgrade, with the support of Dragoš Kalajić, he got a job at the Belgrade Publishing and Graphic Institution (BIGZ) as an editor of special editions of exclusive books of the esoteric tradition of European culture. His assistant was the 2012 NIN award laureate, Aleksandar Gatalica.”
He points out that when he returned from the USA, Kalajić took him to the Serbian National Renewal (SNO), headed by Mirko Jović. Kalajić agreed with Jović that Bokan would become the general secretary of the SNO, the president of the youth of the SNO, which was called ‘White Eagles’, as well as to be “the head of SNO’s liaison with similar organisations in Europe”.
“When I came back from America, I found myself at the centre of something that appertains to politics, events during the breakup of the great Yugoslavia, and of course everything that will follow that 1991, the year of the breakup of that country, among other things, going to the battlefield. When the kids who were in that youth organisation ‘White Eagles’ started mainly following the path of their ancestors, as they were mostly children from families originating from those regions, Kordun, Banija, Lika and Bosnia, then they started dying and as they died, I went to those funerals as the president of that youth organisation and had the horrible opportunity to meet their mothers, sisters, girlfriends, brothers, friends there and to give speeches by their tombs, and suddenly I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. And since I wasn’t too afraid of death, it was even more creepy for me that I was playing some mouthpiece who said something in front of them, before whom one remains speechless. When those mothers began to hug me, to congratulate me as I was willing to die, I knew at that moment that I could not die, it was the very beginning of 1991, I decided to go to the battlefield, despite my absolute ignorance of military skills.” (TV Happy, July 22nd, 2019).
He says that he was on the battlefield with people from the SNO who were closer to him than to Mirko Jović, because the two were about to split up very soon. He points out that “in his entire life he’s the proudest” of that period he spent on the battlefield.
“I went there led by a strange idea to be present and help as much as I can, in uniform.” Those kids who gather around you like chickens around a hen, they suddenly come, and I defend their interests incomparably better on their behalf, I talk to local territorial defence commanders, local Yugoslav People Army officers and other people. With my authority, charisma, know-how, knowledge of the English language, I suddenly became someone who cares about them and who is pushed to the forefront.” (TV Happy, July 22nd, 2019).
Radio Free Europe and the Institute for War and Peacetime Reporting (IWPR) in the programme “Before the Face of Justice” wrote about paramilitary formations in Serbia, among others, and about the ‘White Eagles’.
“Cases related to members of the White Eagles, Dragoslav Bokan, who, according to some sources, formed the militant wing of the Serbian National Renewal, remain uninvestigated. Bokan, a film director, is today the head of the magazine “Russia Today”, which is published in Belgrade. He refused to talk about his ‘White Eagles’ days. In the BBC series ‘Death of Yugoslavia’, he spoke about the accusations that are most often made against the ‘White Eagles’. Those about the alleged responsibility for the massacre of around 50 civilians in the Croatian village of Voćin: ‘There, of course, I tried first to be a political leader or some kind of ideological advisor, but that very quickly turned into direct leadership because any choice would be cowardice, and that, I reckon, is the most terrible trait in the time of war from someone who is considered a nationalist. It is important to know whether you lost or won, whether you are a hero or on the side of the defeated, whether you are someone who is celebrated by your people, or someone who pushed people to run away from their country’. About the ‘White Eagles’, Filip Švarm says: ‘Dragoslav Bokan is a kind of self-promoter. He is the kind of a film director who liked to brag a lot. And then he creates some kind of ‘White Eagles’ in Serbia as a paramilitary formation, because I don’t know what white eagles symbolises in that Chetnik story. Basically, it’s a huge conglomeration of various people, various types who pretend to be dukes, paramilitary commanders, whatever you want.” (Free Europe, October 1st, 2007)
As he points out, in 1992 in the republican elections for the president of Serbia, Bokan ran as the president of the Serbian Patriotic alliance, under the slogan “Eternal Serbia is always modern”. His statement from 1992 is often quoted in the media: “There is a justified fear that in the near or distant future, after we finish the war with the external enemy, we will open an internal front… My faithful dog Tigar recognises all Serbian traitors in Belgrade and Bosnia by his sense of smell.” (Duga, August 30th, 1992).
In the text published in “Beton” (Concrete), the literary insert of the daily newspaper “Danas”, it is stated:
“His Eagles first act playfully when they demolish the Yutel TV offices with baseball bats. The next action was an intrusion into the Foreign Mission Property Directorate, from whose terrace, à la Mussolini, Bokan animated the passers-by for the Serbian cause by playing them patriotic songs. In 1992, the White Eagles left across the Drina, where they participated in operations aiming to cleanse Muslim life in the territory of the municipality of Zvornik. They are also present in operations around Sarajevo, Bijeljina, Bratunac, Brčko, Prijedor and Višegrad. At the beginning of 1993, Bokan took off his uniform and devoted himself to advisory and propaganda work in Bosnia. At that time, he maintained intensive contacts with Karadžić, Mladić, and Biljana Plavšić. In 1993, together with Sonja Karadžić, he launched the luxuriously equipped magazine Naše ideje (Our ideas), in which he tried to restore the Serbian “grail and Kosovo” tradition through the themes of messianism, chivalry, racism, and Slavic imperialism. Interestingly, this magazine singles out the poet D. J. Danilov from contemporary Serbian literature. Madonna Oriflamma (1932) appears on the cover of the first issue, and on the second a photo of a determined girl in the uniform of the Serbian Patriotic Alliance. Bokan himself writes texts in which he glorifies chivalry (waving a katana over burning Sarajevo) or deals with traitors (Letter to a Serbian emigrant).” (Beton, October 3rd, 2007))
He highlights the fact that he was one of those who came up with the name of the Republic of Srpska.
“According to the idea of the then Minister of Information, Velibor Ostojić, Sonja Karadžić, Goran Marić and I were given the task of coming up with the name of the Serbian part of Bosnia and Herzegovina separated by the war. And then came the idea of keeping the name Serbia in its second [adjective suffix] (‘ska’) form. And that’s how ‘Srpska’ was born, which then just got the ‘Republic’. It’s a nice feeling to be the godfather of a country, especially one like our heroic Republika Srpska.” (Voice of Srpska, January 11th, 2020)
He claims that he was in “mortal danger” during the regime of Slobodan Milošević.
“Going to the battlefield, participating at a time when the state constantly said that it did not participate, and my dealings with all forms of communism and socialism, and those hints of what is far from our homeland, from our fatherland and Orthodox caused my absolute ban during the Milošević era. (…) During Milošević’s times, there was also a mortal danger for me as I was a man who did not want to cooperate with the State Security Service, which can often be deadly if you are engaged in war and are not under control. When it comes to paramilitary formations, what is the idea of a paramilitary formation? It is a formation that does not want to be at the service of the State Security and the regime, that tries to be at the service of the people on the other side of the Drina and to cooperate with them, and not to be an extended hand of Belgrade. And in that sense, the paramilitary formation sounds negative, but in fact it carries the idea of freedom and patriotism.” (TV Happy, July 22nd, 2019)
He was arrested in 1996 for robbery in the house of Tomislav Đorđević in Bukovac, the owner of the company “Juko”, in November 1992, when 250,000 German marks were taken. He was convicted for the first time in 1997, then in 2009, only to be acquitted, as he points out.
“Dragoslav Bokan, director from Belgrade and former commander of the paramilitary organisation ‘White Eagles’, after 17 years, at a repeated trial in the District Court in Novi Sad, was sentenced to one year in prison. (…) The group accused of robbery was first convicted by the same Court in March 1997. At the time, Aleksandar Momić got six years in prison, and Aleksandar Šarac and Dragoslav Bokan four and a half years each. Aleksandar Cvijetić was sentenced to three and a half years, and Ljubiša Radosavljević was sentenced to three years in prison. The Supreme Court of Serbia annulled those verdicts and ordered a retrial, which ended on Friday with the pronouncement of these verdicts. Legal councils of the defendants announced their appeals, considering it was an extortion. The president of the criminal panel, judge Zlata Rodić-Knežević, when reasoning the verdict, said that it had been established that [the crime in question] was a robbery, not an extortion, and had been proven that they had committed the crimes they were charged with. The robbery in the house of Đorđević in Bukovac took place on November 27th, 1992. According to the indictment, Bokan gave instructions to his comrades, acquired weapons, and Momić and Šarac broke into the house and stole money. Radosavljević and Cvijetić ensured their return to Belgrade, after which they shared the money among themselves. Dragoslav Bokan claimed at the repeated trial that he had nothing to do with the case and that the State Security and the police staged the whole story, and that his confession was forced by psychological and physical torture. He emphasised that there was no evidence that he participated in the robbery, apart from the testimony of these four.” (Večernje Novosti, May 17th, 2009)
Bokan notes that first the Supreme Court annulled the verdict, and then the Appellate Court, but that the media failed to convey it later.
“And when none other than the state (or ‘the state’, whatever) puts you on the dock, when you unexpectedly reject the proposals and blackmail of its officials and executors, when the state media then put you on its projected ‘pillar of shame’, when suddenly everyone around you begin to judge you for things they know nothing about (except what they read in the newspaper or watched on television) and when you definitely become a ‘controversial personality’ with some kind of suspicious biography and skilfully designed affairs and ‘sins’, when the Belgrade journalists become more bloodthirsty and incomparably worse towards you than the notorious investigators from The Hague, and then you realise how powerless you really are. And it’s not even the worst thing when they beat you over your bulletproof vest (to leave no traces) or keep you naked all night tied to a radiator and on the way call your wife a whore, and you a degenerate and an idiot who should be ‘swiftly dealt with. It’s not the worst either when they keep you without the possibility of any defence in a pre-judged process or when you rot in detention for months without even letting you hug your two-year-old daughter who came to visit you. The most terrible thing is the absolute feeling of powerlessness in front of that destructive force against which there is no defence. In front of the same anonymous officers of someone’s misjudgement or arbitrariness, who practically abducted me countless times before my Kafkaesque process in the middle of the day (someone would just jump out of the car, show their ID and take me to ‘questioning’, of course without witnesses). In front of a well-organised horde of dark characters from the Service, with state permission to do whatever comes to their mind, who can turn everyone into a ‘criminal’ and a ‘suspicious person’ and destroy your chance for a normal life in an instant. And what’s worst, those same dark characters with a ‘miraculous’ ID card and a gun under their jacket are entirely to blame for our great national and historical defeat.” (Press, August 14th, 2011)
He says that after everything he came out with a “torn resume “.
“You know there are those heated situations where they’re either going to kill you or tear up your resume.” In hindsight, it is much better to have your resume torn up than to be put six feet under.” (TV Happy, July 22, 2019)
He says that he remained banned even after the changes in 2000.
“After October 5th, that physical danger decreased, which means that there was no risk that someone would meet you around the corner and arrest and harass you.” (…) There was a kind of very strict ‘soft’ censorship in the sense that they did not directly attack you as in the time of Milošević, where the attacks were concrete, and could even end in your disappearance.” (TV Happy, July 22nd, 2019)
In 2004, he was a teacher at the “Girl of Style” school.
“The owner of the company that produces Next juices, Živojin Đorđević, gave his money to make this idea come true, and hence the full name – The Next Girl of Style School. There is also a list of other sponsors. When 35 of them celebrated the end of the first and second semester last week at the Aero Club in Belgrade, those girls aged from ten to eighteen were in a very good mood and in a special way satisfied. There was no competition there, neither in beauty, nor in gait, nor in the knowledge required in the quiz. Their hunger for meaning is far greater than their desire for success. One by one, they talked about self-awareness and individuality that they possess more than yesterday. They were satisfied with everything they heard from the lecturers Dr. Dragan Nedeljković, director Dragoslav Bokan, fashion designer Dragana Ognjenović, stylist Ashok Murti, professor of the Faculty of Applied Arts Aleksandar Mijatović…” (B92, June 27th, 2004)
In the 2004 presidential elections, he was in the team of presidential candidate Jelisaveta Karađorđević.
“He designed the presidential campaign of Princess Jelisaveta Karađorđević called ‘Initiative for a more beautiful Serbia’, in which she won 62,737 votes.”
He states that he wrote for the magazine “Pogledi” (Views), was the editor-in-chief of the magazine “Nove ideje” (New Ideas), a permanent contributor to the magazine “Eko kuća” (Eco House) and is one of the founders of the “Centre for Strategic Projects” in Belgrade. He founded the magazines “Lepa Srbija” (Beautiful Serbia), “Rusija danas” (Russia Today) and “Vodič za život” (Guide for Life).
“Together with Dejan Mirović and Mladen Obradović, he is a co-founder of the Russian-Serbian Cultural Centre.” He wrote and published a large number of newspaper columns and texts for the magazines ‘Press’ and ‘Standard’, and in 2012 he was chosen as the best columnist in Serbia, as chosen by the magazine ‘The Man’ in the category of man of the year. He is an associate and honorary member of the Urban Literary Circle from Canada. In the “Official Herald” edition, Bokan designed and directed twelve sound books. He also directed the short film ‘Serbian Legacy’. He was one of the actors of the monumental documentary-historical film ‘Death of Yugoslavia’. He wrote the children’s collection “Heroes of the Serbian Uprising”, under the pseudonym Vuk Devetak. In 2004, Bokan was the editor-in-chief of a 1,008-page monograph on Belgrade called ‘Belgrade, the city of secrets’. Bokan’s monograph ‘Politics: Myth, Chronicle, Encyclopedia’ won the ‘Golden Seal’ diploma at the Belgrade Book Fair in 2008,” the resume says.
He states that in 2007, as a marketing expert, he designed a billboard campaign with quotes from Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill, George Washington, John Kennedy and Willy Brandt with the message “Kosovo is Serbia”.
“The media in Serbia have a deeply masochistic and anachronistic approach to this campaign, as if it were organised by Slobodan Milošević. If we believe in ourselves a little more, that will be the beginning of our success – said our interlocutor. When asked if the cause of this kind of approach by the domestic media was precisely his biography (Dragoslav Bokan was, along with Mirko Jović, one of the leaders of the paramilitary formation ‘White Eagles’, and in 1996 he was arrested for involvement in the robbery of the owner of the company ‘Juko’ in the village of Bukovac near Novi Sad), Bokan replied that he can always confront his biography with the positive results of this campaign. As you know, there is The Hague tribunal that is not at all favourable towards the Serbs, and they did not accuse me, nor did they even call me as a witness. No journalist from abroad ever asks me such questions, nor questions my work in that way. The Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija announced a public tender for this campaign, and I have no connections or friends there, but the agency whose creative solution was the best got the job,’ said Bokan.” (Politika, December 12th, 2007)
He published the books “Fiery Lilies” (1998), “Portrait of a Young Dandy” (2000), “Heroes of the Serbian Uprising” (2004), “Belgrade, City of Secrets” (2004), “Novi Sad: From Town to City” (2005), “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” (2008), “Politics: Myth, Chronicle, Encyclopaedia” (2008).
He points out that “he had the honour of being the first diplomatic representative of the Donetsk People’s Republic in Serbia.”
Since 2019, he has been the president of the Institute for National Strategy.
Although he did not hesitate to express harsh criticism of Aleksandar Vučić and his regime during the first years of the SNS power, in recent years he has changed his attitude and has become an increasingly frequent guest of pro-government media.
In December 2020, the regional journalist network “SafeJournalists” reacted to the insults directed by Anja Kožul, a journalist at “Novosti”, a weekly of the Serbian national minority in Croatia.
“The regional journalistic network SafeJournalists condemned the campaign of defamation, insults and threats against the journalist of the weekly of the Serbian national minority in Croatia, ‘Novosti’, Anja Kožul, and called on the authorities in Croatia and Serbia to investigate the case and determine whether the safety of the journalist was threatened, as well as that the authorities provide protection in Croatia. According to reports, on December 1st, Kožul published an article entitled ‘From Islamophobe to State Official’, which deals with the appointment of Arno Goujon as head of the Office for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region under the Government of Serbia, after which the former leader of the organisation ‘White eagles’ Dragoslav Bokan attacked a journalist on his Facebook profile. ‘It simply cannot and will not pass without consequences. Remember her name forever and don’t let her play to be Serbian after this. She is our enemy, a degenerate and a traitor, the most wretched one – who does everything she is told for a handful of kuna, in all positions and whenever her bosses from the chessboard (Translator’s note: refers to the Croatian flag) quasi-state feel like it,’ Bokan wrote on Facebook. He wrote that Kožul should be banned from entering Serbia and that her crime must not go unpunished, and those announcements triggered an “avalanche of insulting comments” and threats to journalists, adding that the “Večernje Novosti” and the Kurir daily newspapers also joined the campaign against Kožul.” (FoNet, December 14th, 2020)
In August 2020 and 2021, he orchestrated central gatherings on the occasion of the anniversary of the persecution and suffering of Serbs in the Croatian “Storm” operation, as well as the celebration of the Day of Serb Unity, Freedom and the National Flag, on September 15th, 2021. “Even though, as usual, he was not signed at the credits of RTS, because the vampire Titoism remained the strongest in that institution, which is the Radio-television of Yugoslavia, not the Radio-television of Serbia,” said Bokan. (TV Happy, September 16th, 2021)
In November, 2021, when commenting on the road blockades that were organised as a sign of protest against the adoption of the law on expropriation and the referendum, on TV Pink, he insulted the vice-president of the Party of Freedom and Justice Marinika Tepić on a national basis and declared her a national enemy.
“An answer is needed, not only ‘they are awful, they are like this, like that…’ They are, but that is not the topic. Marinika Tepić is a member of a national minority that hates Serbia and the Serbian people, who joined Čanak in his anti-Serb organisation when she was a young girl and studied what? The Romanian language! From a Romanian family! Romanian mom, Romanian dad, worked in a Romanian organisation, and she is our enemy! She is an enemy of the state, not only ideological and political,’ said Bokan.” (N1, November 29th, 2021)
The next day, he dismissed criticism that he had insulted Tepić on a national basis and added that “someone is trying to create a non-existent conflict with Romanians”.
“Bokan told TV Pink that ‘out of a revolt’ he mentioned the Party of Freedom and Justice official as ‘the first and only Romanian woman in the history of the phenomenal relations between Serbs and Romanians who spoils those relations.’ He assessed that “someone is trying to spin” that story. “There is no nation in the Balkans with whom Serbs have fantastic relations like we have with Romanians. Even during the wars, those relations were not disturbed’, added Bokan.” (Beta, November 30th, 2021)