I think that Vucic is a hybrid of all the leaders of Serbia, from whom he took the worst, says Aleksandar Stosic, master of political science and former journalist and editor in the Belgrade newspaper Danas, in an interview for Geopost.
Stosic emphasizes that the solution to the Kosovo issue, no matter how painful it may be, could turn society towards the future and try to put the past in an acceptable framework for each of us to understand.
“I still doubt that it will happen, if we are talking about Serbian experiences, you remember how the leaders of the SRS, SPS and JUL in the 1990’s rejected each agreement in the end”.
He states that there is a possibility that everything will end like the case that was in Kyiv in 2013/2014 when the Agreement with the EU was finally signed.
Geopost: In the Irish newspaper “Munster express” from Waterford last year, you wrote an article in which you said that when you see Putin you see Milosevic, stating the fatal consequences of Milosevic’s policies. Has Vucic surpassed Milosevic in terms of perfidy?
Stosic: I wrote that text immediately after the Russian occupation of Ukraine, I was in an emotional state, but I tried to think rationally and critically about it all. From this perspective, I don’t know exactly whether Putin is Milosevic or Milosevic was actually just a lever of the KGB, which we see working today.
At the end of the day, politicians, autocrats, dictators are very similar in methodology, they organize societies in a very similar way, one organized this, this one does it today. The way in which Milosevic treated his neighbors – Croats, Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo Albanians was absolutely identical to what Putin is doing with Ukraine, what he was doing with Georgia, absolutely not recognizing the identity of the achieved nations, ignoring all international treaties and agreements that have ever been existed in the past so that we could live in some peace today. So, in that sense they are equal, they both held/hold secret services, institutions of power in an identical way.
Geopost: And Vucic?
Stosic: As for Vucic, he drew conclusions from the rule of probably all the previous rulers who were in the last 25 years in Serbia, starting with Milosevic through Đinđic, Kostunica and Tadic – he probably did an analysis of all of them and tries to ignore all their mistakes and in it succeeds. Is it perfidy or is it actually just learning from the mistakes of the predecessors, but not in the sense of improving the quality of society and developing democratic institutions, pluralism, transparency, but turning all that in the direction of self-preservation of bare power and government.
In this sense, he is not more perfidious, but he is much more capable because he has a historical background that he can refer to and the ability to rule much more strongly. Between 2000 and 2012, we had a relatively improved atmosphere in the region where Serbian leaders, pro-Western, had better relations with other neighboring countries. We remember Tadic’s relationship with Croatian President Josipovic.
Montenegro has always been a quasi-state in the eyes of Serbian public opinion, but not in the way it is today. We were silently offended, but we treated them humanely. There were some elements of good, fair relations that are now disappearing, even though the current president is trying not to look the way it looked in the 1990s. OK, we don’t have a war policy, but verbally I think that the level is identical or very similar – we are always the victims, we are always attacked by others, we do not give up, we will persevere, we are small but we are tough… And that is some rhetoric aimed at to populist points for the predominantly uneducated part of the population, which of course exists in every country, but in other countries that part of the population is “cultivated and nurtured” in a different way, and in Serbia they only salt the wound and do not get any chance to come to their senses in the sense that someone explain to them what happened and how it happened. At the end of the day, even when someone tries to explain it, it quickly goes into the past in the media.
I repeat, I think that Vucic is a hybrid of all Serbian leaders, from whom he took the worst.
Geopost: The Kosovo issue must be resolved by the end of the year, is a phrase we often hear from Western officials involved in the negotiations. In your opinion, is it to be expected that Vucic fulfills the task and recognizes Kosovo within the given deadline?
Stosic: With Serbian leaders of nationalist provenance, right-wingers, nothing is expected and nothing can be known in advance. The ‘stick and carrot’ policy seems to be working well for them, they are trying to extend that stick as flexibly as they can. However, we all supposedly know, at least that is how it is established in public opinion, that the West clearly expects from him (Vucic) recognition and a promise that it will be completed. I would like that to happen because the people of Kosovo are suffering terribly, the Serbs in Kosovo are suffering terribly, the Serbs in Serbia are suffering from severe apathy because they do not know what is theirs. That’s why the solution, no matter how painful it is, could turn society towards the future and try to put the past in an acceptable framework for each of us to understand. And it should probably become clear in the next few years how it happened and what happened historically.
I still doubt that this will happen, if we are talking about Serbian experiences, you remember how the leaders of SRS, SPS and JUL in the 1990s rejected all agreements in the end. I do not know and cannot understand what those reasons and complexes are, there is absolutely no rationality in that part of their ideological structure. They are trying to defeat reality with mythomania, they are doing it successfully in the public opinion of Srpska, people started to believe in colorful lies instead of the real situation and the worst thing is that they put themselves in a situation where they would be treated as traitors. It is clear to me that the West expects that, and it is clear to me that he allegedly promised the West that, but I do not see that it will happen.
Geopost: What outcome can we expect then?
Stosic: I have had the fiction for some time that everything will end like the case that happened in Kyiv in 2013/2014 when the Agreement with the EU was finally signed. I would not be surprised by the Yanukovych scenario that Vucic also gives up at the last moment when there is nowhere else to go. I could mention a million reasons why this is so, and probably because the relations between Belgrade and Moscow are quite strong, in the past there were very clientelist relations between the powers or rulers. I don’t understand how many would get away with it now, there is probably historical blackmail.
I would like Kosovo to end as a topic, to turn to the future. For example, let’s look at how the Irish managed to reverse their difficult historical situation that they had with the British state, I live here so I mention it. These are very positive examples. That will be the future of the region, we will see if there will be a truce one day under Vucic or another president.