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Diplomatic Twine

German politician Markus Söder promised to support Serbia on its EU journey. According to the German media, Söder is making “diplomatic twine” in his belief that a Putinised Serbia is an “urgent necessity for Europe”, as the Western Balkans’ strongest country

Fate determined that this 24th March marked both the commemorating of a quarter of a century since NATO aggression against Serbia and Russia’s official day of mourning for the victims of the recent terrorist attack to hit Moscow. This contributed to strengthening the emotional charge of Serbian-Russian ties. Friendly football matches were also played between the two countries’ national teams in Moscow and between FC Red Star and FC Zenit Saint Petersburg in Belgrade. Adoration for the Russian president was evident in Serbia even before the Progressives came to power. FC Zenit was at Red Star’s stadium back in March 2011, during the presidency of Boris Tadić. And Putin was also at the stadium, then as Russian prime minister, and received a standing ovation.

Aleksandar Vulin, a former director of Serbia’s Security Intelligence Agency (BIA) and a longstanding and symbolically important comrade of Vučić, told Russia’s National Defence Magazine that NATO’s greatest interest in Serbia is in overthrowing President Vučić. Almost at the same time as Vulin was making his media appearance, U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill told RTS that Serbia is currently much closer to NATO than Kosovo. And he made that statement on the eve of the anniversary of NATO’s bombing campaign. These two statements are obviously contradictory, because it turns out that Vučić is collaborating with those whose primary goal is to oust him. If one were to conclude that Vulin was replaced as BIA head due to U.S. political pressure, that doesn’t mean that he, as the personification of Putinism in the “Serbian world”, is currently less valuable to Vučić’s government. Nor does it mean that Serbia doesn’t cooperate intensively with NATO. This is confusing for some, while for others it merely illustrates Vučić’s diplomatic skills and the continuation of his risky geopolitical game. Or maybe it’s not so risky if some tacit American-Russian consensus to tolerate Serbia’s unique position exists.

It turns out that Trumpism is the most effective way to fix anti-American sentiment among Serbia’s Putin loving voters, who represent a majority in the country

Minister-President of Bavaria and Christian Social Union leader Markus Söder promised to support Serbia on its EU accession journey. According to the German media, Söder is making “diplomatic twine” in his belief that a Putinised Serbia is an “urgent necessity for Europe”, as the Western Balkans’ strongest country. Cynics could imagine that the opposition list for the repeated Belgrade elections includes the name of MEP Andreas Schieder of Austria’s Social Democratic Party (as maliciously recommended to the opposition by PM Ana Brnabić after Schieder said that he witnessed election irregularities as an observer), while the other list carries the name of Markus Söder, who also received billboards with welcome greetings from Vučić.

Serbia is giving the Army General Staff building that suffered bomb damage during the NATO aggression to American investors close to Trump. The opposition is using this fact to criticise the government from a position of patriotism. It turns out that Trumpism is the most effective way to fix anti-American sentiment among Serbia’s Putin loving voters, who represent a majority in the country. It seems somewhat surreal today that this building of famous Serbian architect Nikola Dobrović bears the symbolism of the biggest battle of Tito’s Partisans against the fascists and Nazis: the 1943 Battle of Sutjeska (in today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina) – a battle in which Serbs and Croats fought alongside one another, which is even more surreal to consider today.

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