Without the democratization of Serbia, it is not possible to normalize relations with Kosovo or with other countries in the region.
This is what the president of the Regional Academy for the Development of Democracy (Regional ADD) based in Novi Sad, Balsa Bozovic, says in an interview with The Geopost, adding that this cannot happen when cars are set on fire in the north of Kosovo.
“Without the democratization of Serbia, it is not possible to normalize relations either with Kosovo or with other countries in the region,” says Bozovic.
He emphasizes that Serbian President Alekadar Vucic is not a factor of stability in the region.
“The bottom line is that normalization cannot happen when cars are set on fire [by criminal groups] in the north of Kosovo of all those who want normalization. Sooner or later it will be completely clear to everyone. I’m sorry that we will lose again with this history of making the stability factor by Aleksandar Vucic and his regime, because it is not a factor of stability. It is a factor of instability,” he adds.
According to Bozovic, in the Western Balkans it is a mini-situation of what is happening in Ukraine or Taiwan.
“Here in the Western Balkans it’s just a mini-situation of what’s happening in Ukraine or Taiwan. You can’t say that imperialism is wrong there and it’s not here. It’s about a model that exists and is stable, on which they rely all the western countries that have developed and that today lead Europe and the world and influence world trends”, he asserts.
The chairman of the Regional ADD predicts that the Vucic regime will not be able to survive for long.
“I do not expect that the regime in Serbia will be able to survive for a long time, because I am sure that already, for a large part of the region, but also for a large part of Europe, it is completely clear that this regime is undemocratic and that this regime is absolutely pro-Russian, anti-Western and a source of instability and I don’t think it can survive for a long period of time”, predicts the chairman of ADD.
Bozovic finally says that Russia’s defeat in Ukraine is inevitable.
“The loss of Russia is inevitable and it is important precisely because of the preservation of peace in Europe and the world, and in turn, for the further future of all of us who still wish to live in some democracy and freedom and not in totalitarian regimes”, concludes Bozovic
In this interview, he commented on James Rubin’s visit to Montenegro as well as the presidential elections in this country.
The Geopost: State Department envoy and Center for Global Engagement coordinator James Rubin toured the region, excluding Serbia. The region, Rubin said, is susceptible to Russian and Chinese disinformation, and that much of it comes from Serbia.
What really encouraged me was that it turned out that the administration of the United States is not uniform, that there is one and another information and that there are those who have different lists of priorities when it comes to the Western Balkans. Because it is a good analysis that disinformation comes from Belgrade, it is completely clear and they came not only when it comes to Montenegro and Kosovo, but also Bosnia and the Western Balkans region in general. One of the things that has remained largely undefined is the Open Balkans, where certain US officials openly support and even push in that direction, a part of foundations and civil society, while on the other hand, the EU is the one saying that it’s not in line with European integration and that it is necessary for the Western Balkans to focus on the Berlin process.
So, there is also another story related to the war in Ukraine and to what extent the USA will tolerate continued (Serbian) non-imposition of sanctions and continued defiance of the West and the whole of Europe. I think it’s a good analysis, but of course it was late, but, as they say, it’s never too late, and it was very precise.
That visit followed another mini-crisis in the talks between Belgrade and Pristina, then it followed the presidential elections in Montenegro and a big question mark about what policy the new future president of Montenegro will lead.
I think that in that sense it was an extremely good visit, but what also represents a kind of additional question is why the visit did not take place in Belgrade and in the end not even in Pristina itself. I think that left another question mark, especially after the assurance of official Belgrade that in the documents leaked from Washington, there is no connection between Serbian weapons and the Ukrainian side and that justification. I think that there is still a big question mark in the administration (USA) and that they are not clean with everything that is happening in Belgrade, but here we see that they are not clean in Montenegro either.
So I think those messages are good. On the other hand, we heard that the normalization process is being supported. What I believe is the case, I underlined it somewhere right after Rubin’s visit to Montenegro, that the result will not be what they expect.
The Geopost: Why?
Because without the democratization of Serbia, it is not possible to carry out any normalization of relations neither with Kosovo nor with other countries in the region. Here I would like to refer to an excellent sentence by Rada Trajkovic from the previous few days, who said that everything agreed upon by Aleksandar Vucic is implemented through mafia clans and a parallel system in the north of Kosovo. Which is true.
And that woman is being persecuted by Vucic and his regime because she speaks the bitter truth that many do not want to see or hear, and that includes a good part of the opposition in Serbia, and a large part, if not majority of the civil sector in Serbia, too. So this is the fact today, you can’t play exclusively on Aleksandar Vucic, who will choose positions in the civil sector in Serbia as well as opposition positions and politics.
That is the essence, as long as there is great-state nationalism in Serbia, there will be no normalization of relations because every great-state nationalism in Serbia is Russian, and it is historically Russian, and then simply, especially in this crisis, it will never play honestly nor will it definitely decide to break off relations with Russia and impose sanctions on Russia.
The Geopost: If a large part of the government and opposition in Serbia, as well as a large part of the civil sector are uniform towards Serbian politics and in the region, how can a small part of Serbia’s common sense resist this, especially if it is taken into account that the West is on the side of that majority of Serbia?
In these circumstances, Vucic used the opportunity to create a narrative that is supported by almost the entire political scene, the intention is that society will support him. Whenever there is a so-called national unity from the end of the 1980s, we know that it is a crisis and we know that behind it is big-state nationalism and its aspirations, which are not sustainable because they deny other identities and other countries.
Therefore, they want a rearrangement of the borders in the Western Balkans, as they wanted in the late 1980s and during the war in the 1990s. They were never censored after 2000 and today there is a bitter taste in the mouths of all those who fought for a civil and democratic Serbia when they see that certain Western addresses coexist with big-state nationalism and the corrupt regime of Aleksandar Vucic. Therefore, you cannot move towards stabilization with someone who is a source of destabilization. This is simply nonsense and the essence here is that there are mechanisms and they are very well known in all societies, including ours, mechanisms that will thoroughly democratize our society and strengthen independent institutions and in Serbia start a civil option policy that actually exists but is extremely miserable and small, give her wings to grow stronger.
This is the only way to calm passions in the region and to have the entire Western Balkans on the side of the West, especially in these relations with China and Russia. And in this sense, in the coming months, not years, but months, I think that it will become very clear who is actually an obstacle to European unity on this continent, among other things, in the Western Balkans, because I think that all the agreements, all the support that some Western addresses give to Serbia is not to Serbia, but to Vucic and his regime.
So, these are their bilateral but also personal relations and they do not apply to the whole of Serbia because I don’t think we can say that Serbia has support if someone nurtures a collective consciousness that says that in fact Serbia should be more of a state than it is and that is asked in the Western Balkans more than its economic and generally its borders allow. The bottom line is that there will be no peace until this society and this region are thoroughly democratized and until, in some way, those intentions that bring the clericalization of society as a solution are completely pushed aside.
The Geopost: Vucic conditions again. In the meeting held in Raska, where he defended Milan Radoicic, known as the leader of criminal groups in the north of Kosovo, Vucic said that he will demand that elections be held in Kosovo after the formation of the Association of Serbian Municipalities. What can we expect in the continuation of the “show”?
Vucic is just buying time. Every administration, as well as every project, when someone is working, you have a timetable that tells you that you have to deliver results by the end of the year. That’s how every administration in the West works. That is why they are successful. But that doesn’t mean that in this game Vucic doesn’t take advantage and constantly pulls them by the nose. So the bottom line is that normalization cannot happen when cars are set on fire in the north of Kosovo to all those who want normalization.
Sooner or later it will be completely clear to everyone. It is my fault that we will lose again with this story of making a stability factor out of Aleksandar Vucic and his regime because he is not a stability factor. It is a factor of instability. The American administration also tried in the 1990s to create factors of stability in the Balkans. However, it also ended in a disastrous way for the entire region.
The Geopost: Can something be corrected, or may it be too late for our region?
I say again, it’s never too late, but it would be better to prevent rather than cure. I think that we have lost a huge number of years and I believe that the only future of the Western Balkans in the EU is if individual states succeed in resisting big-state projects and enter as equals as civil, democratic and, what is very important, anti-fascist non-clerical, without any revision of history members of the community of European nations.
The Geopost: If Brussels and the West are already working according to plan, does that mean that any possible resistance by Bosniaks, Montenegrins and Albanians will be thwarted in advance?
I think these resistances will certainly be present and I think it’s normal that they exist, you can’t keep people oppressed and say it’s okay for Serbia, Croatia or Albania to have their imperialist motives in the Western Balkans and then Reassure the rest of the world that it’s not okay that China has towards Taiwan or Russia has towards Ukraine.
That’s exactly it, here in the Western Balkans it’s just a mini-situation of what’s happening in Ukraine or Taiwan. You cannot say that imperialism is wrong there and it is right here. It is a question of a model that exists and is sustainable, on which rest all the western countries that have developed and which today lead Europe and the world and globally influence trends. Therefore, they are free, based on democracy, principles of human rights, strong inclusive independent institutions, they are democratic creations, so you cannot have semi-mafia and parastatal cartels ruling the region that constantly smuggle weapons, narcotics, and in that sense represent an unsafe part of the European continent.
And then, on the other hand, that you have some dealings under the table with China, with whom Serbia has just signed a trade agreement, or for example, of course, the always huge presence of Russia in this region, which of course had very close relations with these three regimes (Serbia, Croatia, Albania) and, of course, with Janez Jansa, who as the then Prime Minister of Slovenia proposed it.
The Geopost: How do you see Montenegro after April 11 and the parliamentary elections. The new authorities announce winning a 2/3 majority, changing the constitution, and a simplified version of acquiring Montenegrin citizenship is already being applied. If this quiet suffocation of Montenegrin identity takes place, and we also have a case in BiH where a Bosniak in the Federation is worth ten times less than a Serb, and four times less than a Croat, how is any resistance possible?
Resistance will certainly naturally exist, the resistance will be great because it is the peoples and identities that are putting everything on the map to be or not to be, and I don’t think they will be reconciled just like that. On the other hand, I do not expect that the regime in Serbia will be able to survive for a long time because I am quite sure that already now, for a large part of the region, but also for a huge part of Europe, it is completely clear that this regime is undemocratic and that this regime is absolutely pro-Russian, anti-Western and a source of instability, and I don’t think it can survive for a long period of time.
But also, by then he can do a lot of damage. I would say, as it was then, that even today Serbia is leading the way, unfortunately, in this kind of constant creation of instability that, unfortunately, many from the opposition, but not all, but many, do not see a problem in this, a large part of the civil sector also does not see the problem. It creates a kind of unison national unity related to these big goals. You had the opportunity to hear some from the opposition talking about building a Serbian navy in the Adriatic Sea.
These are all things that will not contribute to anything good. Ultimately, this is not in the interest of the West and this is what encourages me that sooner or later it will be clear to everyone that without a new constellation, that is, the old constellation, without democratization there is no peace and long-term progress, economic and otherwise. They will certainly put on the map those who are deeply corrupt, who are deeply anti-Western and pro-Russian oriented in these areas and who will most certainly lose all support and the opportunity to continue exercising power in their cantons, states, cities…
The Geopost: How do you see the latest arrests in Montenegro?
It is about transnational crime and drug trafficking. I think it was clear to everyone that for a year there has been evidence for certain representatives of the authorities in Montenegro who came in 2020 on the wave of the clerical revolution on the narrative of endangered Serbia, that they simply trade drugs, that they carry out various criminal activities.
What is commendable is that the Western services do not want to just leave it to someone’s control and are extremely focused on solving these problems, and I think that those shifts in the police that recently happened in Montenegro actually happened only for the reason that one part of crime was defended and only the other was attacked. I think that this will also not be sustainable in the future and that after the elections on June 11 things will somehow calm down, and many who are in power in Montenegro today will no longer represent any political factor in that country.
The Geopost: It seems that Prime Minister in technical mandate Dritan Abazovic was surprised by the arrests?
It seemed so to me. Until recently, he said that Milo Bozovic is the most successful president of the municipality not only in Montenegro but also beyond. They were also friends and it seems to me, although I don’t have facts that would speak in favor or against it, but I think it is more than clear that even in 2020, that narrative about the change of crime in Montenegro was exclusively as we see, first of all, a political tool to come to power, and then criminal activities continued to a greater extent than they had been before.
The Geopost: In the end, to what extent will the region’s problems related to Russian influence be solved by the expected victory of Ukraine?
So, what is the focus of apparently all of Europe and the West is that war. I believe that Serbia will not be able to last until the end of the year without making a decision, because I think it is clear to everyone that the USA and its administration will not allow Hungary, let alone Serbia, to play a double game. The defeat of Russia is inevitable and it is important precisely because of the preservation of peace in Europe and the world, and on the other hand, because of the further future of all of us who still want to live in some democracy and freedom and not in totalitarian regimes. /TheGeopost/