Just few days before his official trip to Moscow, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, hosted in Belgrade a senior Russian official, though a little has been reported about it. Vucic met in his office the Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Borkan-Kharchenko, accompanied by the director of a powerful Russian organization. He is Alexey Likhachev, director of the Russian state agency for nuclear energy, ROSATOM, founded in 2007 by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The governments of Russia and Serbia have long ago signed an agreement to build a research center which will initially suppose to deal with technological development, medical research, oncology, industry and social development.
Putin-Likhachev meeting (November 2021)
Likhachev’s visit to Belgrade is not a coincidence. It is part of a scenario and interference by Russian politics in the Balkans, as part of their geopolitical attitude and just another channel of pressure to the West. Russia and its president are interfering with coordinated actions in the Western Balkan countries, especially in Serbia, even though investments from the west in the last 20 years have been massive. With projects such as this one negotiated with ROSATOM, Russia aims to undermine Serbia’s co-operation with the west and keep it within its control orbit as the epicenter for destabilizing action in the region.
Likhachev’s arrival in Belgrade and the possible outcomes should be closely observed, if it is really of a purely medical character, as stated in President Vucic’s statement, or just a disguise of a project that has completely different purposes, such is the character of ROSATOM, a nuclear power plant in the middle of the Balkans, as an instrument of demonstrating Russian strength in the region.
ROSATOM is a Russian state-owned corporation based in Moscow specialized in nuclear energy. Established in 2007, the organization includes more than 360 enterprises, including scientific research organizations and the nuclear weapons complex. It is one of the largest in the nuclear power industry in the world and ranks as the first for electricity production in Russia.
Bushehr 1 nuclear power plant in Iran
Rosatom has the former USSR republics as the main target of enlargement and recently has accomplished a project in the Middle East, specifically in Iran. The agreement was reached in 2011, while the center was built in the city of Bushehr, and named Bushehr 1. The project aims to expand with Bushehr 2 and 3. Ground work commenced in 2016 and the goal is to have it finalized in 2024 and 2026, respectively. Bushehr 1 is the first nuclear power plant in the Middle East. As expected, the implementation of this project has raised tensions between Russia and the United States, because Iran faces sanctions regarding nuclear developments.
G.Venhari – The Geopost