Željko Ražnatović

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Željko Ražnatović (Cyrillic: Жељко Ражнатовић, pronounced [ʒêːʎko raʒnâːtovitɕ]), widely known as Arkan (Аркан) (17 April 1952 - 15 January 2000) was a Serbian career criminal and later a paramilitary leader who was notable for organizing and leading a paramilitary force in the Yugoslav Wars. He was on Interpol's most wanted list in the 1970s and 1980s for robberies and murders committed in a number of European countries and was later indicted by the UN for crimes against humanity. Arkan was assassinated in 2000 before his trial.


Early life

Arkan was born in Brežice, a small border town in the Styrian region of southern Slovenia, where his father was stationed at the time. He also spent a part of his childhood in Zagreb and Pančevo, before his father's job eventually took the family to Belgrade, which Arkan considered his hometown. His disciplinarian father Veljko Ražnatović was a Montenegrin Serb who served as a decorated officer in the SFR Yugoslav Air Force, earning high rank for his notable World War II involvement on the Partisan side, while his mother Slavka Josifović whom his father had met in Kosovo during the liberation of Italian-occupied Pristina also took part in the war as a communist activist.

Arkan grew up in the 27th March Street, in New Belgrade, SR Serbia[1] with three older sisters in a strict, militaristic household with beatings administered by his father being a regular occurrence. In a 1991 interview for Duga magazine, Arkan recalled: "He didn't really hit me in a classical sense, he'd basically grab me and slam me against the floor."[2] Due to the highly demanding and significant position of both his parents, there appeared to be very little time in which a bond was able to be established between parents and children. His parents eventually divorced during his teenage years.

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