Today’s meeting in Sochi between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the 19th meeting beetwen them, was followed with great anticipation, but it was not made public what was specifically discussed behind closed doors, apart from what was announced a few days ago. The Russian president during the meeting with the “close friend” of Serbia, as he said, , stated that the solution for the price of Russian gas will be found in Sochi.
“I know you are particularly concerned about some issues related to the expiration of the gas purchase agreement. I think we will agree, we will order the relevant entities to do that work. In any case, we will find such a solution that will certainly be acceptable to our Serbian friends,” Putin said.
Putin also used the meeting with Vucic to persuade the Serbian people to support him in the next elections, although the majority of voters have done so involuntarily so far.
“I want to express my gratitude for your personal attention to the development of Russian-Serbian relations,” Putin told Vucic, expressing hope that voters would support him.
“I wish you success,” the Russian president said at the beginning of a conversation with Vucic at Bocharov’s residence in Sochi.
During the meeting, they also talked about the Russian vaccine, which Aleksandar Vucic received as a donation with great enthusiasm, but he did not tell his Russian friend that Serbs in Serbia avoid getting this vaccine because they do not trust the Serbian and Russian authorities , he did not even tell him that the Russians in Serbia come for vaccines of Western production.
“I am pleased to say that not only have we delivered the ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine, but production has also been organized in Belgrade, which is extremely important for Serbia and the surrounding countries to which it can be exported. This is an extremely positive moment of our cooperation, which also speaks of mutual trust and deep cooperation,” said the Russian president with great enthusiasm.
Putin also stressed the importance of military-technical cooperation between the two countries as well as cooperation in the international arena. While Vucic, who spoke in Russian all the time, said military-technical co-operation was at the highest level and thanked Russia for the “beautiful gifts”, even though Russia has consistently donated old weapons where Serbia has invested a lot of money in modernization of the same.
The director of the Forum for Ethnic Relations Dusan Janjic, in an interview for Geopost, estimates that today’s 19th meeting between Vucic and Putin at this moment was more important for Vucic than for Putin. He said that Serbia is definitely not doing as well as Vucic says and that this visit is important as a signal that not everything is as the government says.
“Let’s say that this is almost the 20th meeting of the two presidents, in the course of frequent meetings, the partners are not equal, they can be equal, but they are not equal in strength on the international public scene, or in other parameters, it is obvius that Vucic needed this meeting more at the moment than Putin and I think there are two main things, one of which presidents in democratic societies do not do, but in authoritarian societies the presidents can influence the price of energy and the dynamics of payment of foreign interstate debts, both of which plague Serbia”, Janjic emphasized for our portal. As he said, Vucic has to repay some debts and he also needs some kind of privileged gas price.
“As we know ‘debt is not a good friend’, Serbia is definitely not as big as Vucic says, so this visit, at least for the local public, is very important as a signal that not everything is as the government says. Here we have an energy and economic crisis and monetary instability, especially if Putin does not agree and can not repay most of the debts that came,” Janjic said.
Regarding the second regular consultation on bilateral and other political issues, Janjic emphasizes that this certainly includes Vucic’s intention to inform Putin about the situation in the region, in Serbia, about the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“What can be revealed that has not already been said?” Very little. “I assume that Putin, if he is honest with Vucic, can inform Vucic about some important details and things and the relations between Russia and Washington and Moscow and Washington, which have to do with Europe, ie Ukraine, and of course the Western Balkans. “, Said Janjic.
Janjic also stressed for our portal that the meeting of the two presidents should show good relations between the two leaders and that according to him, the leader of Belgrade should use it for his campaign that does not stop.
A consultative meeting should in some way help Vucic himself decide which side to take when it comes to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Moscow-backed support for Molorad Dodik is not in the interest of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and is directly against the US administration in resolving the dispute peacefully and preserving Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s entry into NATO. “, Janjic emphasized.
Janjic emphasizes that Russia fears that Serbia will go the way of NATO and that this is the main perspective from which Putin will evaluate all his moves. He added that the percentage of cheaper gas will show how satisfied he is with Aleksandar Vucic’s answers.