МОСКВА, 07 декабря 2021, Институт РУССТРАТ.
Processes that can be called geopolitical turbulence, political transformation and creative destruction continue in the Balkans. For Russia, all of this has significance.
The entry of Montenegro into NATO, and then Northern Macedonia (where one of the North Atlantic Alliance commands is already stationed), as well as the harsh pressure on the leadership of Serbia and the Republika Srpska, which is part of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, demonstrates the West’s constant attempts to suppress the sovereignty of regional states, disorganise national politics, impose its own rules of the game and destroy cultural identity (which can include historical traditions, values and the significance of religions).
In May 2021, Western countries appointed the so-called High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was done bypassing the UN Security Council and Russia did not recognise this decision. Further, on July 23, outgoing High Representative Valentin Inzko introduced amendments to the Criminal Code of the country, providing for a ban on «denial of genocide and glorification of war criminals» in Srebrenica in 1995. This was done explicitly, since the topic of the «genocide in Srebrenica» has not yet been closed — the West is trying to present exclusively the Serbs as the guilty party and does not take into account all the factors of this tragedy. And a huge number of falsifications are evident.[i]
In response, the leadership of Republika Srpska announced that, as a sign of protest, it would not take part in the work of the authorities of B&H, and then announced its intention to withdraw its consent to a common army and a common judicial and prosecutorial council.
On November 29, Serbian member of the Presidium of B&H Milorad Dodik stated that there is no High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H), and Christian Schmidt, who appears to be such, will never be recognised.[ii]
Western media and their satellites in the region immediately began to demonise both the Serbs and Russia because of Moscow’s support for Banja Luka and Belgrade. Separately, the goal of the Western partners is the Russian-Serbian Center for Humanitarian Cooperation in Niš, where firefighters and rescuers from the countries of the region are trained.
For the integrity of the picture, it is necessary to consider other umbrella initiatives of the West aimed at absorbing the Balkan countries.
One of them is the Open Balkan project, which is an initiative of the EU and involves the creation of a single economic and political zone for Albania, Serbia and Northern Macedonia. It is completely unclear what role Kosovo will play in this project — a number of EU and US countries have recognised this separatist region as a sovereign state, but for Serbia it is still part of their state.
On November 3-4, the Open Balkan Summit was held in Belgrade, where issues of political settlement, open borders and economic cooperation were discussed. Obviously, there is no reason to talk about successes and results yet. Despite the active participation of the EU, as before in the so-called «Berlin process», observers note that there are no prospects for the «Open Balkans» and there will only continue to be an increase in frustration with the problems of European integration in the Balkan capitals and a simultaneous increase in internal contradictions in the region.[iii]
There are signs of discursive manipulation in relation to the region. For example, the term Western Balkans, which includes countries such as Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania, clearly indicates attempts at artificial separation with a geographical background. Now it is actively used in political discourse.
Britain shows a special interest in the Balkans and the other day the British Foreign Minister, making another Russophobic statement, mentioned that London would «maintain stability in the Western Balkans”.[iv]
Next, let’s go directly to Serbia.
In Serbia itself, which maintains neutrality and friendly relations with Russia, there are tendencies to change the political system both from inside and outside. The Serbian Parliament (Assembly) decided the day prior to hold a referendum on changing the Constitution. There is no question of the territorial integrity of Kosovo and Metohija yet, but changing the country’s basic law may trigger a domino effect.
So far, unified debates are underway on the draft law on the amendment of the Constitution of Serbia, the draft law on constitutional law for the implementation of this Act and the draft law on the decision to hold a referendum to confirm the act on the amendment of the Constitution, the adoption of which will allow amendments to the Constitution in terms of the judicial system.[v] It is known that the Venice Commission insists on changing the Constitution of Serbia. The referendum may be scheduled for January 16, 2022.
In Serbia and the region as a whole, there are a huge number of NGOs and media that receive funding from Western foundations and foreign governments. Since the format of the publication does not allow us to give a list at least, we will mention only a few that have been operating for many years.
A major pro-Western hub is the CRTA (Centar za istraživanje, transparentnost i odgovornost) organisation.[vi] Since 2002, it was the Liberal Network, and in 2009 they changed their name to be more «close to the people».
Among the partners of the organisation are the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, USAID, the National Democratic Institute, the Embassies of Britain, the Netherlands, Britain, Switzerland, Canada, Norway, Microsoft, Google, the Open Society Foundation in Serbia (Soros structure)[vii], the OSCE, as well as local puppet structures such as the Balkan Trust for Democracy (a project of the Hermann Marshall Fund in the region) and the EU representation in Serbia.[viii]
CRTA have a special project on «media monitoring», where they conduct information discrediting of the Serbian authorities.[ix] The official partner for this project since 2020 is Facebook. It is important to note that the company’s regional office is located in neighbouring Croatia. And you can imagine how content from Serbia is filtered and censored from there. Funding comes from USAID.
Another project with a political orientation is «Open Parliament», where the interpretation of the adopted laws in the Assembly is conducted.[x] Of course, such monitoring allows Western curators to quickly intervene in the legislative process of Serbia through their diplomatic channels.
Another organisation is BIRN (Balkan Investigative Reporting Network), established in 2004. The board of directors of this network includes employees of the Air Force and American media, Amnesty International, etc.[xi] Dubious materials are regularly published on the site and if Russia is mentioned, as a rule, the texts are biased, with distortion of facts, if not openly Russophobic.[xii]
Having a wealth of experience in political manipulation in Serbia, various activist movements have been created in the country. For example, another pro-Western clan, which includes representatives of various social strata, is the «Assembly of Liberated Serbia».[xiii] And the «Don’t Let Belgrade Drown» movement plans to take part in local and parliamentary elections in April 2022.[xiv]
Now they are increasingly mentioning Dobrica Veselinović, who is a possible candidate for the post of mayor of the capital. He is closely associated with the aggressive far left and is supported by many pro-Western liberal media in Serbia. One of them is the daily newspaper Danas, owned by the American company United Media, although the editorial board claims to be an independent media outlet. Danas supports this movement by publishing their column once a week and regularly giving news about them.
A certain indicator of public sentiment in Serbia recently became an incident with graffiti, when the image of General Mladic with the signature hero was filled with paint. Patriotic groups immediately created a «People’s Patrol» to protect the restored graffiti (portraits of Mladic also appeared in Belgrade and elsewhere), and the well-known liberal and ideological inspirer of the colour revolution to overthrow Slobodan Milosevic, Čedomir Čupić , linked the activities of the «People’s Patrol» with the machinations of the authorities and hinted at fascist tendencies in society.
At the same time, eco-protests are shaking Serbia. In particular, a rally of thousands took place on November 28 in Loznica, near which there are lithium deposits and Rio Tinto is aimed at their development. The key «ecologist» now is Aleksandar Jovanović Ćuta.[xv]
He became a public face several years ago when protests against the construction of mini-hydroelectric power plants began in the South-east of Serbia (Temska village, Pirot municipality), which threatened the existence of the local ecosystem — rivers, mountains, water sources, flora and fauna.
At that time, the investor was a person close to Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlović and Interior Minister Nebojša Stefanović — both are openly pro-Western politicians in the Serbian government. Zorana Mihajlović was previously a member of the G17+ party, then switched to the Democratic Party, and later she became a member of Vučić’s Progressive Party.
Currently, Ćuta continues his environmental activities against Rio Tinto (Australian-English concern), but at the same time it is funded by the Embassies of Norway, Denmark and Germany in Serbia. That is, he acts in the interests of several companies against another.
On the one hand, we see British and American agents in the Serbian government (it is known that Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, as well as Minister Siniša Mali, are connected with London’s interests; and with the US ministers Zorana Mihajlović, Jadranka Joksimović and Goran Vesić (deputy mayor of Belgrade, who was a very close associate of Zoran Đinđić, but now claims to support Vučić).
On the other hand, Aleksandar Jovanović Ćuta and other «environmentalists» who work in the interests of the EU and the United States. It is important to note that the «environmentalists» received public support from Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, who is a member of the Green Party in Germany and visited the place where Rio Tinto wants to set up a lithium mine. At the same time, Viola von Cramon-Taubadel lobbies for the independence of Kosovo and Metohija.
Finally, another reason for the pro-Western opposition to speak was the holding by the Progressive Party of Serbia of a nationwide conference in Belgrade on Saturday, November 27, which attracted thousands of people from all over the country. On the same day, unauthorised protests were organised, which continued on Sunday.
On the same weekend, representatives of the authorities of self-proclaimed Kosovo and Albania held a joint meeting of their institutions and announced the abolition of the border between Albania and the occupied Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija, effectively confirming the course towards the creation of Greater Albania. Probably, the next stage will be the alienation of a part of Northern Macedonia.
Rooted corruption and the activities of the Montenegrin mafia in the country are another serious problem that has become part of Serbia’s daily life. Interestingly, even pro-Western think tanks in the region pointed out the danger of the Milo Đukanović clan’s activities in the region (which is engaged in drug trafficking and smuggling) and noted the facts of appalling corruption of systemic liberals.
For example, it was said that under the rule of liberals Vojislav Koštunica and Boris Tadić, the government was engaged in a banal racket — back then more than 6,000 criminal cases were opened against various property owners and businesses. It was only with the coming to power of the Serbian Progressive Party Government that the situation changed, since article 359 of the Criminal Code was repealed.[xvi]
All this may look like separate processes and events from the outside, but with a geopolitical approach, it will be seen that almost all of these are links in the same chain. And behind them is the West, which uses a wide range of manipulation technologies, social engineering and political blackmail.