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Serbian zugzwang
Material posted: Publication date: 08-04-2017
Aleksandar Vucic won the next elections of the President of Serbia. According to the published data, the politician gained almost 12% more votes than the other candidates, all together. Whether the new President to find a balance between European integration and friendship with Russia?

Brussels and Moscow – "two chairs" in today's Serbia, to sit at the same time the country is trying from the time of the conflict in Kosovo, when the Serbian territorial unit declared its independence. Since then, the "balancing act" between East that has not recognized Kosovo's independence, and the West, were on the side of the Kosovo branch, is a kind of Gordian knot policy of the authorities of Serbia.

Do we need Russia to the Serbs, and the Serbs of Russia?

Despite the age-old Western pressure, Serbia has always demonstrated and continues to Express their aspirations and desires to cooperate with Russia. And there are several political and economic explanations.


First of all, Serbia is sandwiched between the member countries of NATO on the one hand and extremely troubled by the neighbors on the other side. For example, the Serbs have a concern Croatia, really developing military equipment and a new strike weapons for the army in recent years. The growing military power of the Zagreb Serbs raises numerous questions about against whom they may be sent to the Croatian weapons, because the country is a NATO member, and the closest non-allied unit with this government is Serbia. In addition, nobody canceled the perennial difficulty in conflict relations with Kosovo and Albania, who today are in the stage of the surface freeze.

After the recognition of the former Federal Montenegro, Kosovo's independence the relations between the two countries also leave much to be desired. It is absolutely clear that in such a "friendly" environment, Serbia I would like to feel safe. Without the help of big Slavic brother here not to do, though, because the rearmament of the Serbian army in advanced military technology, on the most favorable terms and in the shortest time can offer only Russia. With this proposal in the Kremlin, the Serbian government had appealed even in 2015, and received assurances of full support and the shortest deadlines.


For the Kremlin, such upgrading means even more benefit in the long term, rather than for the Balkan countries, because the Russian standards of the Serbian army pushed back to a later date the possible accession of Serbia to the EU and especially NATO, because one of the fundamental points of entry into the block is now in full compliance with the army of the country-the candidate of the unified NATO military sample.

In addition, Russian rearmament of Serbia would balance the whole balance of power in the Balkan region through the export of missile defense systems, and in the future will allow the Kremlin to have a political "trump card" in a complex relationship with Europe in terms of opposition to NATO.


Also we should not forget the fact that Serbia not only did not impose any sanctions on Russia, but was the only country in Europe, boldly went counter to US policy and a campaign on the part of anti-Russian sanctions and the Crimean issue.

In economic terms, goods from Serbia (mostly food and agricultural products) has largely contributed to the elimination of the grocery shortage in stores of our country in the most difficult period, and the trade turnover between Serbia and Russia grew during the sanctions period of time almost 40%.

But despite a significant rise in agriculture of Serbia due to the situation with anti-Russian sanctions, the poor condition of the Serbian economy and the lack of real growth makes many people in this Balkan country to redirect views in search of the best in the direction of unity with the EU.

But whether joining the EU is a Union of mutual interests? Whether Serbia, the EU, and EU to Serbs?

Supporters of the Serbian integration with the EU based on the notorious freedom of speech and democratic principles and the EU itself is not really in a hurry to form a quality Alliance based on mutual interests. Even if Serbia's economy and would come out on the economic growth rate of 5-7% per year, the average level in the EU country managed to grow only by 2035, and that in the best case. Realizing this, Brussels is keen to give political color to the involvement of Serbia in the European space, rather than to engage in effective help in leveling economic disparities. Otherwise, the European Council immediately proceeded to the opening of access to the funds of the European Union to all its Balkan aspirant countries, and the main pragmatist in Berlin, no doubt, would have supported this idea.

Photo: social networks

But while the EU only rebukes the Serbs in the report of the European Commission for the increasing corruption in the country and the growing infringement of freedom of speech, which suddenly developed in the country to the space variables after the progressive decision of the government of Serbia military and economic issues with Russia.

Will need to Brussels, the stability on the Balkan Peninsula after the victory of Vucic on the election? Also a controversial issue.

Like Vucic openly demonstrates a willingness to negotiate on Kosovo and leads to reasonable immigration policy, but at the same time looks back on the big Slavic brother and enshrines the phrase "no more war" the territorial integrity of Serbia and Kosovo. The Serbian government is considering more potential EU membership as a political game in which it is important now to gain time on the course, and the Serbs themselves, looking back on the experience and mistakes of Greece, I can hardly imagine a better life today, whether they are in tandem with the European Union. And in General it is reasonable. After all, despite the flow of money from European coffers, more than half of the EU countries mired in the same challenges that every year more and more like a growing snowball. And now Britain is trying to use her problems to "disown".

In addition, the longer the process of integration with the European Union, the stronger growing skepticism about such enterprises. As well as the majority of Ukrainian citizens is almost ill with the "virus" speedy European integration.

Photo: globallookpress

According to the latest statistics, in Serbia only 47% of the population feel the need of joining the European Union, but the number of those who believe that, together with the EU, the country will live better barely reaches 11%. With 80% of the Serbian population clearly considers Kosovo a part of Serbia and about 82% categorically against any contact with NATO. Simultaneously, over 70% of Serbs are in favor of further building the relationship with Russia.

All this indicates that a single vector from the Serbian government in addressing national problems and issues to find work, but to focus on the people constant in Kosovo and cooperation with NATO, the newly elected President Vucica, therefore, still have.

Interesting fact that the number of citizens who support a Union with Russia for 10 years always exceeds the number of applicants joining the EU, despite the continuous active Western propaganda and Pro-Western media, the mechanism of which has long launched in Serbia similar to the Ukrainian scenario. But to underestimate the informational influence of the West on the opinion of the Serbian people on the part of many issues you should not. For if in regard with brotherly Russia in the minds of the Serbs, nothing has changed, other contentious socio-economic issues best EU and US propaganda has managed to reverse the opinion of the Serbian youth in some parts of the country.

For example, modern North of Serbia, formerly under the control of Austria-Hungary, something begins to resemble Western Ukraine late 2000s, which began to actively use the tools of Western anti-Russian propaganda in order to stop the identification of Serbian values and mentality of Russian culture.


Maybe Serbia to conduct the necessary reforms without participation in any of the European groups and associations?

Most likely, Alexander Vucic will follow precisely such a course. I doubt that the newly elected President of Serbia will go against popular opinion and would fold to the EU in matters of recognition of Kosovo and support anti-Russian sanctions. Although many experts call it a fully Pro-Western politician, who repeatedly pressed on the fact that the alternative to Union with the EU, Serbia is not there, and with its "light hand" the country has applied for EU membership in 2009 and also signed a preliminary agreement on cooperation with NATO.

But we should not forget the fact that Vucic does not consider the Kosovo issue against public opinion and not just focused on the fact that there is no "recognition will not." Obviously, for the newly appointed President recognition of Kosovo would be, at best, resignation and political suicide.

In addition, it is not necessary to underestimate the factor of dissatisfaction of part of the Serbian population in the course of integration with the EU, because the Serbian economy has still not recovered from the reduction rate of customs duties, which since 2009 annually loses around 150 million euros, which for such a small country is a very serious loss. And no matter how the vote Brussels about the bright prospects of Serbia in the EU, Serbian producers when the next reduction of fees will incur new losses, and agriculture will turn into ruins. In addition, the Serbian citizens will have to deal with rising energy prices and the product for aligning an integrated pan-European "canvas". It is the Serbs want? Flimsy to non-existent democratic "values" in exchange for the impoverishment of the population and the final loss of its independence in the Balkans? I think that the Serbs are wholly fed up with the viability of the European Union on the hot Greek example, and Britain is now a "marriage" is not needed, it's big steps for the prompt "divorce".

Photo: globallookpress

Generally, if you take a step back from Serbia and the EU, integration is a multifaceted process that requires not only a careful weighing of all policy decisions and deeper economic development. At the same time, it is important to understand that cooperation with Europe Serbs can not be avoided, because Serbia is part of Europe itself. Therefore, the integration with the European Union, the Serbian economy would be important only in the case if the country was in economic parity with the three most developed countries in the EU. Membership in the European Union with the economy that is in the country now, only the transformation of Serbia into submissive "cash cow."

Today Aleksandar Vucic faces a difficult task in finding a way out of a difficult political situation, and the next few years of his presidency will be a serious test of strength for the Serbian people, because to sit on two chairs for a long time nobody has been able.

And the main task here for Serbia is to not to allow growth of the Serbian contradictions in a new venue for the hidden confrontation between the West and Russia. The Serb a sort of zugzwang in chess field in Europe.

Maxim Bykadorov


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