The Republic of Yugoslavia, made up of Serbia and Montenegro, has changed dramatically since the fall of 2000 when Milosevic was forced out of power. Slowly, the republic is leaving its recent war behind and becoming part of the European community.
Some of the changes are easily identifiable. The government is repairing buildings in the towns and the countryside. Bridges and roads are being rebuilt with the help of foreign aid. The airport, empty a year ago, is now crowded with travelers who are able to move about freely. The new government has opened the borders and restored relations with its neighbors. And, more significantly, Montenegro remains part of the republic, after a brief flirtation with independence.
Other changes aren't as obvious. The streets are filled with relaxed laughter, and children, once unable to attend school, have returned to the classroom.
"We have democratic freedoms, definitely yes, the press is free, and television," said one high-school teacher in Belgrade. "And we are not under pressure [in the classroom] to express support for things."
The new liberties extend beyond the classroom. Journalists no longer fear being arrested by the police for doing their jobs.
Reforming the government and economy of Yugoslavia remain the most difficult challenges. Fighting between government officials is causing some much-needed reforms to take a back seat.
After Milosevic was sent to the Hague, the U.S. pledged $50 million dollars to help rebuild the ravaged nation. Today, the country still relies on foreign aide and is unable to pay its debts. Prices continue to rise and wages can't keep up. The prices of basics like cooking oil, sugar and bread have quadrupled. The currency, Dinars, are worthless outside of Yugoslavia.
"American democracy, the American economy, was not made in one year, and Serbs still don't understand that," said one political analyst. "They think their leaders will give them democracy. They don't understand they have to fight for democracy, that it is a process."
Although things are changing, people are still looking for opportunities elsewhere. Many of the young people who led the uprising that ousted Milosevic from power are wondering if they should stay and help rebuild the nation or leave for better lives in the west.