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Relations between Russia and Serbia since the beginning of XXI century and prospect of further development of cooperation
Material posted: Trifkovič DraganaPublication date: 28-10-2016

Looking retrospectively, we can say that for Serbia, the XXI century began with tragic events that gave false hope for a better future. And when it became clear that the expectations are not met, the country was gripped by the great apathy that continues to this day. Serbia (or rather the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, then Serbia and Montenegro, and eventually Serbia) turned in the direction of European integration and cooperation with the North Atlantic structures with the so-called democratic changes in Serbia (then Yugoslavia) October 5, 2000, which affected the further destabilization and disintegration of the country.

For the analysis of these developments should take into account the events of the previous century, especially the fall of the Berlin wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the demise of the Warsaw Pact, when the United States assumed the role as the sole world power and began to carve out the world according to their own needs. This combination of circumstances open the way to Russia and the development of post-Soviet territories, and the destruction of Yugoslavia, which at one time served as a buffer zone between East and West.

After the bloody wars of the (externally imposed) in former Yugoslavia and the illegal bombing of Serbia, democracy has brought more devastation. The process of razrusheniya developed on a similar model as the collapse of the Soviet Union, through predatory privatization, tycoonization (though it existed in the time of Milosevic), the imposition of economic models of Western forces, the transfer of state resources under the control of the foreign factor with the parallel destruction of domestic production, prioretit foreign investors and opening the market to foreigners, more precisely the setting up of the Serbian market according to the interests of foreign investors so that they are minimally invested, but as out of the country.

The state lost its independence, and during protura decades, more and more fell under the influence of the West, both political and economic, cultural and informational sense, although the Western influence was significant and in Yugoslavia in the twentieth century. On the other hand, Russia's influence has weakened along with the weakening of the Soviet Union, and at the beginning of the XXI century Russia and Serbia I can't find a common language. On the one hand, in Serbia came to power the democratic party, which was set up exclusively on cooperation with the West, and on the other hand, Russia wanted to develop the relations and strategic cooperation with the West. At the same time, Russia in the early XXI century has been busy addressing the numerous internal problems.

The new circumstances of Russian-Serbian relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin's first official visit to Serbia on 16 June 2001. During this visit, he met with the Russian peacekeeping forces in Kosovo and Metohija and informed on the need to strengthen Russia's military presence in the Balkans. Unfortunately, in 2003 the Russian peacekeeping forces began their retreat from Kosovo and Metohija, soon after which was organized a series of mass attacks on the Serbian population and Serbian shrines from the Albanian terrorists. Russia took this decision due to the inability of peacekeeping missions due to a number of circumstances, not wanting his presence to legitimize the further destabilization and disintegration of Serbia by the West. Another reason could be the absolute dedication of Serbia to the decision of their problems only in agreement with the West, not wishing in any way to consult with Russia. Relations between Serbia and Russia until 2008, was developed through a limited trade-economic cooperation based on free trade Agreement (which predostavljaet a huge opportunity), and after that became harder to develop energy cooperation between the two countries. The Russian company Gazprom bought a 51% stake in the company "Petroleum industry of Serbia", and also signed contracts for the construction of part of the South stream pipeline through Serbian territory.

In addition, during this period, Serbia diplomatically begins to rely on Russia, especially on the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, seeing that the West openly supports of wineservice region. Thus, apart from its economic and energy cooperation, and begin to strengthen political ties. Significant changes in the same year proishodjat and in relations between Russia and the West after Georgia's attack on South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which subsequently will affect the changes in foreign policy strategy of Russia. The aggression of the Georgian army, behind which stood the Washington played a key role in the revision of the partnership between Russia and the West. In addition, other US actions in the middle East and in Southeast Europe more and more influence on the mutual estrangement between Russia and the West until finally the deterioration of relations, which today is at the highest level since the Cuban crisis. These events have virtually opened new vistas of development of Russian-Serbian relations and initiated the return of Russia to the Balkans

Russia during the first decade of the 21st century was reformed and the military, economically and politically strengthened, failing to regain the status of a world power..

During this time Serbia, through European integration, military, economically and politically completely weakened, lost sovereignty, and today is in the final phase of nestabilizirovannoy.

The spread of Russian influence

Russia's interest to strengthen its presence in the Balkans, the Rast, and on the other hand Russia and Serbia have many common interests. Vozvedenie Serbia national overstone policy would mean rejection of the European Integrati and overriding strategic cooperation with Russia. However, it remains unclear how in today's kontroliruemykh media, the corrupt political elites and institutions usurped by the Serbian people will be able to regain control of their own destiny. According to public opinion polls, about 80% of citizens support the strategic partnership of Russia and Serbia, while support for European integration is now below 50%. But Serbian government exists only (at most) 5% of the representatives who advocate strategicheskoe cooperation with Russia. This is a consequence of the redrawing of the West Serbian political scene where political parties "bribed" the people's will. During election campaigns all parties that aspire to power, they promise greater Serbia's cooperation with Russia and the national responsible policy, and on this basis to gain the trust of people. After coming to power of the party to forget their campaign promises and continue to euromantique with the support of Washington and Brussels.

For the further development of Serbia and Russia requires that both parties have made further efforts. In addition to the development of economic and energy cooperation, it is necessary to pay attention to the development of political, cultural and military cooperation.

As for Serbia, its room for maneuver reduced to a minimum, and its collaboration with Russia is developing in the extent to which Washington and Brussels allow it, and that predostavlyaet opportunity to further weakening of Serbia through the dictates of the IMF or further territorial fragmentation of Serbia. The key importance for Serbia is the strengthening of new political elites, which are not under the control of Washington.

On the other hand, Russia must have due cooperation with these elites, and through the extension of influence to constantly reinforce their presence in the Balkans, specifically in Serbia, which is a key Balkan state. Therefore it is necessary informational influence, which would mean in the near future opening of another, in addition to the Internet portal of Sputnik, a large information of the project, which could be the opening of a representative RT in Serbia on Serbian language, so that this channel could cover the entire Balkans.

Russia for 2015 has taken new steps in cooperation with the opposition parties and activists in the Balkans, and it was presmotrel their views, which was to operate iskluchitelno with the current government. The current government in the Balkans is under the influence of the West, given that Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union and until 2008 had a minimal impact in this region. Therefore, Russia's decision to cooperate with oppositionary parties Pro-Russian orientation has tremendous value, and may in the future give good results, given that the West is in any case to a greater or lesser extent affects all political action. On the other hand, political cooperation of Russia with the authorities of Serbia are limited and burdened with numerous neispolnenie promises. For example, one of the points of conversation during the visit of Serbian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (planned for October 2016) will be the granting of diplomatic immunity to employees of the Serbian-Russian humanitarian centre in niš. Although Serbia under pressure from the previously refused to do, now the President of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic promised that the decision would be changed, and that employees of the centre of bodø granted diplomatic immunity. Western forces nor to whom the case is not going to give relief on this issue, even require the closing of the Center, arguing that Serbia should vystraivaet their civil defense in accordance with the EU regulations. On the other hand, the Serbian government led by Aleksandar Vucic signed a number of documents (IPAP, SOFA), which is at the disposal of NATO was transferred to infrastructure, access to objects, and provided diplomatic immunity. You need to keep in mind that 80% of Serbian citizens opposed to any cooperation with NATO, and that such attitudes are difficult to change primarily because of the bombing of Serbia by NATO. In addition, the Serbian-Russian humanitarian center is a civic organization, i.e. equating the diplomatic immunity of this structure to NATO's military organization – is unacceptable.

Further development of cooperation between Serbia and Russia

Contrary to the claims of the West, Russia is not pursuing an aggressive and expansionist policy and not claim someone else's land, as do the United States, but it should be borne in mind that there are countries that have a great need to increase Russian influence as, say, Serbia, Georgia or Ukraine. Obviously, in a period of reform in Russia could not focus on expanding influence, on the other hand the effects of American propaganda, held this time in Georgia and in Ukraine, a lasting. Therefore, the strategy of Russia's expansion should include both the post-Soviet space and other regions, like the Balkans and Europe. The growing influence in the Balkans is expected within approximately the next two to three years.

Cooperation between Russia and Serbia will be in the future amplifies the energy sector: although the project South stream have been suspended, I am convinced that there is a solution for the transit of Russian gas to Europe, which will pass through Serbia. Serbia is interested in this project, which will affect the development of economy and the improvement of the situation in the security sphere.

In order to maintain a balance in the region and to defend their own interests, especially in the new context of European security, Serbia should initiate the development of military-technical cooperation with Russia. Real low intensity of cooperation of Serbia with the Russian Federation does not meet the challenges of the Serbian security and for the sake of comparison – the cooperation between Serbia and the United States and Serbia and Russia is in the ratio 100:2. Russia in 2012, during the visit of Dmitry Rogozin, expressed his wish to strengthen cooperation with Serbia in the military sphere, as well as to supply the Serbian army with modern weapons at very favourable terms. Serbia still has not taken any serious steps in this direction, although they are needed: first, for elimination of consequences of the so-called "reforms" in which the Serbian army is actually disarmed.

Considering the potential threat, and the fact that Serbia is in a hostile environment, the army needs to implement a modern system of air defence With-400 and to fill the missing equipment, which was destroyed. It is extremely important that the Serbian army has stepped up joint military exercises with the Russian army. If Serbia seeks to establish military neutrality, the level of cooperation of the Serbian and Russian armies must be equal to the level of Serbia's cooperation with NATO and the United States. This implies the conclusion of an agreement between the Serbian authorities and the Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation on a higher level of cooperation, and redefine cooperation with US and NATO.

As for the economy, on the basis of the free trade Agreement Serbia could reallocate its resources towards the development of domestic production and develop a strategy for exporting products to the Russian market. The only way Serbia can save the economy, weakened in the process of European integration.

In Serbia, the people have historically been focused on cooperation with Russia, and Russia to expand its influence needs to invest fewer resources than, for example, US. In addition to cooperation with the new political elites and the non-governmental sector, which operates independently of Washington, special attention should be given to scientific and educational cooperation, culture, youth programs, student exchange, student scholarships, and to organize free courses for learning the Russian language.

In particular, it is necessary to note Russian assistance to Serbia in crisis situations, where the key role is played by the Russian-Serbian humanitarian centre in Niš. During the floods in Serbia two years ago, Russia first delivered humanitarian aid and specialists of civil defence has saved the lives of many citizens of Serbia. In the current immigration crisis of historic proportions, caused by the irresponsible policy of the United States and the EU, Russia is helping Serbia to overcome the problems associated with temporary care workers. In turn the EU responsible for the crisis, put up walls and arguing with each other about the quotas and the allocation of responsibilities for the care of migrants whose countries they ravaged.

Serbia should continue to develop cooperation with Russia in the humanitarian sphere, and the first step is to assign diplomatic status to employees of the Russian-Serbian humanitarian center.

Finally, we must Express our gratitude to the Russian Federation for its principled defense of international law, resolution 1244 and support for the preservation of the territorial integrity of Serbia and for the deterrence of the West, primarily the United Kingdom, in the attempt unjustifiably to brand the Serbian people resolution about Srebrenica.
In addition to the mutual sympathy of the two peoples of Serbia and Russia in the future will be to build even closer ties in the future due to the shared history, roots, language, religion and culture, despite the factors preventing this.

Dragan Trifkovic

Tags: Russia , Balkans

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