Today’s statement by Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, in which he claims that he regularly talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, about the key issues of further development of cooperation, according to “Danas”, represents a finger in the eye of the European Union. The goal remains to move Serbia further away from the EU, with increased dependence on Russia.
“Such statements only reinforce the EU’s doubts about Serbia’s sincerity on its European path. This is what Putin does calculatedly to separate Serbia from its European allies as much as possible, and on the other hand uses the precedent of Kosovo’s independence abundantly as an argument for independence of Donetsk and Lugansk,” said Nenad Canak, outgoing leader of the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina.
He notes that Putin is an enemy of European Serbia and is dragging it to destruction along with Russia. However, Canak also notes that Putin is not the only culprit, primarily because Vucic is undecided.
“Vucic is insufficiently resolutely opposed to this for a number of reasons, the most significant of which are the fear of Russian retaliation in case of a full turn to the West and the indecision and unclear message of the West regarding Serbia’s accession to the EU. Serbia, therefore, is no longer sitting on two chairs, but is crucified between two policies that are rapidly moving away,” concludes Canak.
The league of Social Democrats of Vojvodina notes that the intensification of relations in the region suits Putin and that the visit of Milorad Dodik, a member of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina from Republika Srpska, who is close to Vucic, should be seen in this light.
They note that Serbia must not be held hostage to the policies of a dangerous extremist such as Milorad Dodik and that it would be best if Vucic, for the sake of the European perspective and peace in the region, stopped cooperation with him.
Russian President Putin’s claim that Russia will deepen cooperation with Serbia, because Russia and Serbia are connected by a strategic partnership, is a very important message, for Sonja Biserko, the president of the Helsinki Committee.
“It seems that Russia is holding Serbia hostage, since Serbia is declaratively pro-EU membership. On the other hand, it is getting closer to Russia, that is, her neutrality is reduced to being neutral on the Russian side. And the West expects from Serbia, and it is increasingly mentioned to harmonize its policy with EU policy, which Serbia has not done so far,” Biserko said.
According to her, Russia seems to be increasing its threats to Serbia, especially when it comes to Kosovo.
They say that they will support everything Serbia wants in the UN Security Council on Kosovo, but with the emphasis that Russia’s interest must be taken into account, Biserko said.
And Russia’s interest, she says, is to maintain the status quo in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it must not be forgotten that Russia has a strong foothold in Montenegro through Serbian political parties and the Serbian Orthodox church.
“Russia has radicalized its behavior regarding the Balkans and increased pressure to maintain the current situation. Putin’s message is also aimed at the European Union, meaning that they are not capable of keeping Serbia on the European track,” Biserko said.
She added that Russia has managed to maintain itself in Serbia thanks to the growing russophilia in the leading Srpska napredna stranka, the SPC, but also the academic community.
According to her, it is impossible that Vucic did not know what business Dodik was going to Moscow, because these are people who are in the same job with divided roles, and their closeness was seen during the days of the Serbian flag.
“However, when the Russian world falls, so will the Serbian world,” Biserko concluded.
At the ceremony of awarding agreman to ambassadors of foreign countries, Putin said he appreciated the efforts of Serbian friends to pursue a balanced, independent policy on the international arena.
“In the framework of international law, relying on UNSC Resolution 1244, we will continue to provide our Serbian friends with comprehensive assistance in the fight for the legitimate rights and interests of Serbia, the protection of its state sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Putin said./Danas