Along with a formidable phalanx of guards, Mladić had a driver, his own cook, even his own personal waiter who would travel with him back to Rajac in the late winter of each year. When the season was over and the deer hunters had departed, the entourage would return like a travelling court. During this period, Mladić also spent a considerable amount of time in Belgrade, at his family home on Blagoja Parovića Street in the upmarket suburb of Košutnjak. He went out to restaurants and football matches in the Serbian capital. Video of these days shows a relaxed Mladić playing table tennis at Stragari, theatrically ruing a missed shot, and presiding over family celebrations.
The men and women who helped keep the fugitive general in this contented bubble saw him as a national hero, embodying the martial virtues of Serb legends from other eras. Somehow they managed to persuade themselves that within this crude stub of a man was an echo of Serbia’s heroic age. But just in case their loyalty should ever waver, they were shown photographs of their children – a characteristically direct reminder of the high price paid by informants.Julian Borger
I’ve read the article a while back, but it seamed fitting to share it together with my review of The Cellist of Sarajevo, an excellent novel depicting the struggle to survive in a city under siege and constant bombardment.