Dragan Pavlović Latas, the early years

 The exiting story of achieving an “American dream”, “from rags to riches”  – begins!

Part 1: The modest beginnings, long years before becoming media mogul, wealthy businessman and landowner.

Dragan Pavlović (1978)

The earliest photo of a person named Dragan Pavlović from Skopje is from 1978. It’s a mug shot from police files uncovered by the web portal Burevesnik. The files show a young man, good looking, born in 1960 and detained for grand theft by the Article 156 of Criminal Code. The files contain personal data, physical description, fingerprints and so on.

Police file 1. Click on image for larger version.

Police File 2. Click on image for larger version.

How can a detained criminal avoid getting into jail, especially in a communist country?
– By becoming a police informer.

During the 1980’s there were two places in Macedonia where you could find dissidents who publicly disagreed with the regime to inform about. In some of the theaters, where some young directors like Vladimir Milcin (under secret police surveillance) “corrupted the Communist youth” with “anarcho-liberal” ideas, and in some of the newspapers. The most trouble-making newspaper was “Mlad Borec” (Young Fighter) where people like Nikola Mladenov started to promote certain ideas of democracy and investigative journalism.

The following photo is a scan from “Mlad Borec” article (1980), a feature about a young man, named Dragan, who came to their doorstep and asked them to promote his theater company. The company did not actually perform yet, but it was evident that the young man had ambition and was trying to infiltrate in the youth theater scene and also to make contacts within the media.

“About Dragan and his company… WE ALL MAKE A SHOW”. Mlad Borec (1980). Click on image for larger version.


 About Dragan and his company…


After he shyly entered into our office, he said that his name is Dragan Pavlović  and that he is the president of the Experimental Drama Club “Scene” within the Cultural Artistic Society “Metalec” within the factory Metalski Zavod “Tito.” We were curious to get to know more about him and his company, so we set and talked. Dragan talked about their efforts and achievements calmly and pleasantly, and never imposing.

“Members of our drama section are twenty students from the high school “Josip Broz – Tito” and the workers from Metalski Zavod “Tito” – Skopje. And because “Mlad Borec” is our paper too, paper of the youth, we decided to ask you to write about us. You are closest to us from all media, and we believe you will help us. And we do not play other people’s texts, we only play our texts, because we think we have enough abilities. We can present our own texts better than the others. Theres no person “in charge” within our company, we make agreements through conversations and work collectively. Together we prepare the directing, scenery, costumes, texts. There are more girls than boys, if that matters at all. We had good composition of membership, mostly amateurs, who have previously worked in other amateur drama companies. We officially exist from October 20 last year, and we had 6 performances so far. We plan to soon go to Kratovo to present a premiere of our show “Corrida” (Bull Fight). We work 3 hours per week, and plan to participate in city amateur drama festivals, in the Youth Centre “25 Maj” in Skopje and “Metalna” in Stip. Besides we also develop a play based on “Crime and Punishment” by Dostoyevsky. And also, we send appeal to all interested young people to join us. We have rehearsals every day, except Monday, in the high school “Josip Broz – Tito” from 5 pm.

“So you don’t have any problems?” – we asked our interviewee.

“Our problem is the ‘competition’ with other drama companies from Skopje, who ‘grab’ our members.”

“Well, you did not tell us anything about yourself.”

“I was a member of ‘Cekori’ (Steps) and I am actively working as amateur actor for 3 years. Otherwise I intimately believe that we will be the best in our country, and maybe outside of it, too…”

We promised Dragan that soon we will visit one of their rehearsals, and their first premiere. He said he will surely send an invitation and that he is very pleased that we will write about them in our paper. He also did not forget to bring us his photo, that we would publish. And one more thing: “Scene” would like to play before all of you, due to your applause and your pleasure.



Is this the same Dragan Pavlović who later added the nickname Latas to his name and become one of the most powerful men in Macedonia, a personal friend to Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski?
– It remains one of the big Macedonia Mysteries!

Come back for more, and comment.


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