I think that the state of Serbia is behind what happened in Banjska in Kosovo, and we are yet to see the exciting twists and turns of the already bloody drama, says Rade Radovanović, a journalist and publicist, in an interview for TheGeopost.
Radovanović is the author of the book “Laughter under the Gallows: Everything You Wished You Didn’t Know About the War in Kosovo”, which, translated into Albanian (by Flaka Surroi), was also published in Kosovo.
The interlocutor of ThGeopost believes that the recent events in Banjska were not organized on the personal initiative of Milan Radoičić, no matter what Vučić said.
“He (Radoičić) is the implementer of a certain, I think, state initiative that can also be defined as para-state, that is, the state of Serbia, and then as such he is a dangerous witness because it is unlikely that under certain conditions of a fair procedure such a witness would agree to anything and everything and protected someone who approved it and was aware of it, namely Aleksandar Vučić”.
Radovanović points out that the state of Serbia is almost the private property of an autocrat, who in such conditions is both the prosecutor, the judge, the state and the media…
It appears that the epic variant is often called upon in Serbia for help, and that is how it is thought.
“Such propaganda continues because nationalism that leads to drastic chauvinism, especially towards Albanians, and I tried to deal with this in my book dealing with the war in Kosovo in 1998/99, is fertile ground for re-igniting, inflaming all extremism, and above all, of nationalism and chauvinism which expediently, i.e. “completely logically” comes to the point that there is no more, that it cannot be tolerated, but we have to go to war once again, which was announced by hundreds of graffiti measuring 50 meters, 100 meters, which very clearly gave the directive, not to say the command: ‘When the army returns to Kosovo’.
Geopost: What message did the state of Serbia send by releasing Milan Radoičić?
Radovanović: The message that was sent to the domestic as well as the European and world public by releasing Milan Radočić from custody is actually logical.
In the state (Serbia) as it is, it is a parastate, a more or less private possession of Aleksandar Vučić, where he, according to the tried and tested French motto “the state is me”, rules with the intention of “making” his subjects happy.
So, in such a state, Aleksandar Vučić, as is known, makes all the decisions, so of course he also decided to arrest Radoičić. After that interrogation, which looked as it looked, we saw what the Prosecutor’s Office announced, after which the court made a decision that Radoičić, since all the reasons for keeping him in custody disappeared even before the expiration of the previously established 48 hours, were annulled, he would be released to freedom.
The bottom line is that in the state of Serbia, which, as I said, is the private property of an autocrat, one man makes all decisions according to the need and his expectations or according to his promises that he made to, for example Christian Amanpour and the world public, or Blinken, the American secretary of state, and that’s how he behaves. But as he promises a lot and sends many messages to all sides like this one – arrested yesterday you release him tomorrow – I mean Milan Radoičić, those messages look, I don’t know if more paranoid or schizophrenic, but they completely realistically reflect the character and actions of Vučić, the owner of this country, which it is and is not, just as he is and is not the president, because in fact, in that position, he often does what he shouldn’t, rather than what he should do and be.
Geopost: Do you think it is possible to expect a turnaround? Let’s say that the West increases the pressure on Vučić to organize the trial of Radoičić for terrorism in Serbia or hand him over to the Pristina authorities.
Radovanović: I am not a legal expert, but as a journalist and a man of experience who lives with these difficulties in the Balkans, i.e. in Belgrade, I doubt that Aleksandar Vucic will allow Radoičić to be tried for terrorism because he already defended him a priori, saying that Radoičić is a Serbian patriot, that for him, what Radoičić does is patriotism.
Therefore, it can only be treated as a terrorist act by “malicious” interpreters, even if those malicious people were also the spokesperson of the EU, and one of the American officials, perhaps the Secretary of State Anthony Blinken himself.
Radoičić will be tried, probably, in Serbia with the outcome of some sort of agreement, settlement, I suppose. There are several possibilities as to why he could be charged. For now, what is in that charge is the possession and sale of weapons or some kind of racketeering related to weapons. No mention of the term terrorism or the criminal offense of the indictment for terrorism.
Therefore, he will not be tried in Serbia for terrorism. However, under the pressure of the USA, the EU, and the US Secretary of State does not just call Aleksandar Vučić, I expect that anything is possible, but I don’t know what concretely when Vučić treats Radoičić as a distinct Serbian patriot who committed a patriotic act. He says in one of these interviews that he had in the past few days, that all those young people were returning to their homes, so they were carrying those weapons so that they could be “handy” around the house and neighbors, which are really not absurd but idiotic claims of a man on the position of the president of Serbia. In that context, I don’t see the possibility of a trial at all, so maybe they will go for the variant that, Radoičić, might propose himself what he is responsible for, so that it is taken into account, that he settles with the state of Serbia, with its judiciary in terms of – here I give my word that I will never commit something like that in Banjska again, here I am ready for house arrest, leg arrest, handcuffs… and that way there will be ‘peace, peace, peace, no one is to blame’… which has already been attempted in some earlier procedures, but I doubt that now in these circumstances the EU and the United States of America and Pristina, i.e. the Republic of Kosovo, will agree to ‘throwing dust in the eyes’ and mocking the European and any other civilized order, including order in Kosovo.
On the other hand, if Vučić is really pressured, which is possible, by sanctions and various other subsequent issues, I can’t imagine how he would hand over Radoičić to official Priština, except that Radoičić, in his style, since he presents himself as headstrong, voluntarily leaves to Pristina and report there to the judicial authorities of Kosovo. Radoičić is a dangerous witness, and that makes his position and his trial even more delicate.
Geopost: What exactly do you mean?
Radovanović: When I say dangerous witness, I do not mean criminal acts for which I have no evidence, but for which there are suspicions in the business domain – drug business, oil, cars… but I do not mean those acts, but those where he is suspected of murders, for example the murder of Oliver Ivanovic. But of all those acts, I think the most drastic is this “patriotic act”, as President Vučić says, I mean this terrorist act, the attack on the state bodies of the Republic of Kosovo, on the police where one man paid with his life, where those who participated with him in all that. That’s why I think that there is the least chance that he will answer at all and that it was not his personal initiative and private business, no matter what Vučić said, but he is the implementer of a certain, I think, state initiative that can also be defined as para-state, that is, the state of Serbia, and then even as such, if I am right, he is a dangerous witness because it is unlikely that even under some conditions of fair proceedings such a witness would protect someone, someone who approved it and was aware of it, and that is Aleksandar Vučić. Actually, I think that the state of Serbia is behind what happened in Banjska in Kosovo and that we are yet to see the exciting twists and turns of these bloody dramas.
Geopost: Large amounts of weapons were found, Serbia was massing troops on the border, videos of Radoičić’s luxurious villa were published. How persuasive are the mantras about “the danger of Serbs in Kosovo” and “Kurti’s terror” in Serbian public opinion?
Radovanović: The media in Serbia is mostly under the control of the private regime of Aleksandar Vučić. As such, they are media of direct indoctrination and the most direct propaganda of the regime, which usually means either direct or indirect lies regarding many things, especially when the topic is Kosovo. I want to say that in this situation, after this terrorist act in Banjska two weeks ago, many people in Serbia have been informed or indoctrinated through almost all of Vučić’s printed and electronic media, they are convinced of the claims that have been made since the beginning of Aleksandar Vučić’s address. These claims are that Albin Kurti is to blame for everything. That because of the “terror” that Albin Kurti, he almost did not say personally, was carrying out against every Serb in the north of Kosovo, the “tsar was brought to the grave”, as they say in the Balkans, so the innocent, poor, Serbs had to use their machine guns, automatic rifles, mortars, what not, up to heavy weapons in order to protect. The President of Serbia and not only him but also his close Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic would say that it could not be otherwise, because the people were boiling over, cruelty can no longer be tolerated.
The epic variant is often invoked here for help, so it is thought of as such. When you broadcast for hours and days to some people who are consumers, listeners and viewers of such media, a person really has to be superversed and have the ability to make some comparisons, to have some real and true sources of information and to ask the question – is there an end to such propaganda that is lie to lie.
Such propaganda continues because nationalism leading to chauvinism, especially towards Albanians, I tried to deal with this in my book dealing with the war in Kosovo in 1998/99, is a fertile ground for re-igniting, inflaming all extremism, and above all, nationalism and of chauvinism that purposefully or completely logically leads to the point that there is no further, it cannot be tolerated, but we have to go to war once more, which was announced by dozens and hundreds of graffiti measuring 50 meters, 100 meters, which very clearly gave a directive, not to say a command: “When the army returns to Kosovo”.
To an objective viewer, listener, observer, everything that I am saying, which is roughly a reflection of reality as I see it in Serbia, will all seem irrational, perhaps like some kind of sketch for a television movie or series.
But, I really see this reality as such and see it in the last case as some kind of terrible willingness of many people to fight for ‘denied rights’, for ‘enslaved people, Serbs in Kosovo’, willingness to go to war in Kosovo. I would like to be wrong, but I am afraid that this is the mood of the Serbian public, among the people who live in Serbia.