Serbia is one of the key battleground countries in the New Cold War that is being cajoled into the Western orbit.
During the 1990s, the Clinton administration orchestated a regime change in Serbia targeting the socialist Slobodan Milošević, first by bombing and military attack, and then by sponsoring a “color revolution” and having Milošević arrested and put up for a “show trial” at the Hague.
Two decades later, Washington is reaping the fruits of Milošević’s downfall as Serbia is leaning towards the West in the new Cold War and spurning its traditional ally, Russia.
U.S. ambassador to Serbia, Christopher Hill, is pushing for Serbian accession into the European Union (EU), stating that “there is only one path for Serbia, which is the West and EU.”
Serb President Aleksandr Vučić, a one-time ally of Milošević who in 2008 formed the conservative, pro-European Serbian progressive party, admits that a majority of Serbians are against joining the EU—44 percent compared to 35 percent who support EU accession.
Vučić stated that as the President of the Republic of Serbia, it was his job to hear and understand public opinion, “but it is also [his] job to do what is best for Serbia. My message to everyone is that Serbia is on the road to Europe [he means EU accession] and will continue down that road more strongly.” Spoken like a true authoritarian.
Serbia’s Minister for EU integration Jadranka Joksimović claimed that “the development assistance of the United States is extremely important to us. It is concrete, implies more opportunities for employment, learning and following modern trends in the economy, health, social policy, and democratization of society.”
Insofar as “Father Vučić” knowing what’s better for his Serbian “children,” maybe the kids aren’t so dumb as he thinks:
“The poll showed that 82.1 percent of Serbians do not support sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine while just 6.9 percent support sanctions and 11 percent are undecided. According to NSPM, 49 percent said that Russia is in the right, 6.1 percent said Uraine [sic] is right, 24 percent said they have no opinion and 21 percent said no one is to blame. ‘We asked who was to blame for the conflict in Ukraine and 68.7 percent said NATO, 7.4 percent blamed Ukraine, 5.6 percent blamed Russia and 18 percent have no opinion’”
Say “adios” to the exports to Russia of cheeses, fruits, and other commodities.
Do Serbians own and drive Ladas? The Lada Niva is the most popular four-wheel drive in Serbia. Other Lada models are used by car rental agencies, the Russian made Lada is everywhere in Serbia and has been for decades. Sanctions will say bye-bye to Lada spare parts when the junkyard supplies are exhausted.
That is just the tip of the Serbian domestic nightmare that imposing sanctions on Russia would bring. Putin promised Serbia very cheap natural gas and “I know best” father-figure Vučić assured Serbians that these supplies would be secure via a pipeline through Bulgaria but the EU (the EU’s Siamese twin NATO, actually) promptly sent Vučić a “not so fast” message when it pressured Bulgaria (together with other states that surround Serbia) to close its airspace to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, preventing his visit to Belgrade.
If Bulgaria is not allowed to open its airspace to a Russian diplomat’s travel to Serbia, what are the chances Serbia’s Russian natural gas supplies are secure? Slim to none.
U.S. military intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s was packaged as being designed for humanitarian purposes and to help usher in democracy in the region.
However, the fact that 80%+ of Serbs oppose sanctions on Russia, and 44% oppose versus 35% favor joining the European Union (with the other 25% too beaten down to care) shows the huge democratic deficit in Serbia today.
The government led by Vučić is completely unaccountable to its people—which is evident not only in his blithe dismissal of public opinion about Russia, sanctions and the EU but also its advancement of economic austerity measures that triggered mass protests.
Serb government officials meanwhile continuously steal from the treasury. A recent example was the appropriation of millions of dollars from the Ministry of Family Care to organizations that lack an official website and provide zero information about the projects they supposedly implemented with the government money. 
Vučić’s designated successor, Siniša Mali, the current finance minister and former mayor of Belgrade, has been involved in several scandals—from the destruction of the Savamala quarter in Belgrade to allegedly owning 24 apartments in Bulgaria. The University of Belgrade stripped him of his doctorate after it was confirmed that he had plagiarized his thesis.
Reporters from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) learned in 2015 that Mali—then Belgrade’s mayor—was the director of two offshore companies that owned 19 resort apartments worth more than U.S.$5 million on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Mali also directly owns another large apartment in the same resort.
In some of Mali’s apartments, masked men shook down and intimidated residents with impunity.
Mali, however, has never been censured and is poised to become Serbia’s next Prime Minister because he plays ball the way the powers that be want—that is he advances conservative economic policies that favor U.S. and other foreign investors and supports integration with the West and U.S. aid while turning his back on Russia.
In more examples of corruption, Serbia’s current Health Minister, Zlatibor Lančar confessed that while working at the Clinical Centre of Serbia, he gave a lethal injection to the Montenegrin criminal Veselin Božović Vesko who died shortly thereafter on September 7, 2002.
As a reward, the head of the criminal group Dušan Spasojević who also had interest in Božović’s death, gave Lančar an apartment in New Belgrade.
Officially, ten days after Božović’s death, Lončar bought the apartment from the wife of Zemun Clan hitman Sretko Kalinić for 30,000 euros only to re-sell it months later.
No Truth or Justice
Vučić claimed in a recent address that he will “always fight for truth and justice, because there is nothing harder, neither more honorable than that.”
But there is little truth or justice when corruption proliferates under his leadership and when Vučić goes against Serb public opinion, betrays a traditional ally (Russia), and aligns with the countries that are in the process of provoking World War III.
https://archive.li/bh4Fa from https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/vucic-i-agreed-with-putin-extremely-favourable-gas-price-for-serbia/; https://archive.li/5HtfI from https://sputniknews.com/20220605/countries-surrounding-serbia-close-airspace-for-lavrovs-plane—zakharova-1096037750.html ↑
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About the Author
A former Sergeant of Operations and Intelligence for Special Forces, Ronald Thomas West is a retired investigator (living in exile) whose work focus had been anti-corruption.
Ronald’s formal educational background (no degree) is social psychology. His therapeutic device is satire.