Western Balkans Overview Dec 26, 2023 – CWBS

Western Balkans Overview Dec 26, 2023 – CWBS
  • Ukraine’s disgraced ex-official and Putin ally Viktor Medvedchuk comments on Belgrade events to Srbija danas.

Viktor Medvedchuk, a traitor to the Ukrainian people, told Srbija danas the West seeks to destroy Serbia through a “color revolution” scheme. The godfather of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin believes that under the guise of democracy and freedom of speech, any dissent is being suppressed in Serbia as pundits and journalists who dare to defend national interests are subjected to oppression and physical violence in Belgrade. Today’s events in Serbia, notes the ex-official who defected to the Kremlin, are part of a classic color revolution scheme, where Nazis pose as democrats, and political criminals claim to restore order. “Every such revolution is a parade of lies, hatred and crime,” Medvedchuk wrote in an article posted by the “Other Ukraine” organization that he had founded in Belgrade. For some reason, Medvedchuk believes there are no pro-Russian organizations in Serbia, but many pro-Western ones raise a false alarm about Russia’s influence. If the cultural and historical ties of the Serbian and Russian peoples are removed, Serbia in its national sense will cease to exist, claims Medvedchuk, who is not an ethnic Russian. Of course, Medvedchuk might not be aware that Serb-Slavs came to the Western Balkans in the second half of the 6th century from what now is modern Ukraine, while there were no Slavs at all in the territory of modern Russia at the time. They appeared only 200 years later, having come from the territory of Poland – the Krivich, Sloven, and Vyatich tribes. Medvedchuk is also oblivious of other historical facts. He notes that in its development, Orthodox Serbia has always focused on Orthodox Russia, and that these ties shaped the basis for the formation of Serbia as a state and Serbs as a nation. At the same time, he says nothing about Christianity being adopted in Serbia several centuries earlier than in most of modern Russia, where paganism widely prevailed until the 15th century.

Medvedchuk believes that under the guise of “assistance in the implementation of democratic reforms” many organizations that intend to overthrow the government and lobby the interests of transnational corporations are paving their way into Serbia. According to Medvedchuk, under the guise of democracy and freedom of speech, any dissent is stifled, while pro-Western media keep pushing the hysteria about “Russian meddling” in Serbia. The goal of every such operation is “to first accuse the victim of one’s own crime.”

Medvedchuk stated that the legitimate national government, elected by the Serbian people, is declared criminal not only by the defeated pro-Western political forces, but also by a huge number of Western politicians. It seems that the West imposes on people a choice that they snubbed, and at the same time the elections winners are slandered, labeled as “dictators and “criminals”, while the defeated “gangsters” are referred to as “angels of light” and “fires of civilization”. According to Medvedchuk, the West completely ignores the fact that opposition movements like “We, the Voice of the People” have no objections to the quality of the election process. And one of the leaders of this movement, Dragan Stanojevic, is also the head of the Belgrade branch of “Other Ukraine”. “But for Brussels and Washington, this is no argument. After all, the said political force is consistently Russia-friendly and sharply criticizes the EU and NATO,” he says, adding that the West is not interested in the rights of the opposition as such, but only of its part that acts on the orders from the US embassy. “The question arises, why join the EU, if the country’s leaders will be appointed from there, regardless of the opinion of the people, because today the European Union is following in the footsteps of NATO, which bombed Yugoslavia for no reason and dismembered it. And it is clear that the movement towards the EU is one towards the further disintegration of Serbia and the destruction of the Serbs as a nation,” Medvedchuk says, stating that the citizens of Serbia today have to choose between a “sweet European fairy tale” and true national dignity and sovereignty.

The article purportedly penned by Medvedchuk was drafted by the Russian Embassy in Belgrade and approved by the Kremlin, since the disgraced defector is unaware of what has been happening in Serbia at all. Meanwhile, his piece is full of assessments that the Kremlin has openly or covertly been offering on the events in Belgrade. It becomes clear that Moscow is waging an uncompromising fight against Serbia’s European choice and is ready to destroy anyone who dares to defend the priority of relations with the European Union. The language of hate for everything democratic, manipulation in assessment of developments, and propaganda of Russia’s aggressive policy are all intertwined in this one malign op-ed. The Western world should take a sober look at the policy pursued by Moscow, which is ready to fight to the death on Serbian soil so that the country remains in the fairway of the Kremlin’s policy. It is obvious that Belgrade has become the main hub for the spread of Moscow’s influence over the entire Balkans. It is here that the Kremlin plans to launch a large-scale war that would divert the attention of the Western world from the war in Ukraine. Moscow has bet on Serbian chauvinists and those who are ready to implement the project of creating a Greater Serbia up in arms. For this purpose, even pseudo opposition parties are created, which, as it turns out from the op-ed, are directly financed by Moscow. The assumptions that the We, Voice of the People party is an overtly Russian election project have been fully confirmed. Without realizing it, the author of the op-ed in Srbija danas, which is the Russian embassy, has exposed it. The collective West now needs to combine all its efforts to at least try to counter Russian influence in Serbia. Moscow is determined to drag the country into military conflicts in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, turning them into a major Balkan war. Assuring Brussels and Washington that everything in the Western Balkans is under the control of the EU and NATO is false. The latest events in Belgrade further confirm this.

  • Serbian Prime Minister praises assistance from Russian intelligence

An extraordinary event of political and security significance took place in Belgrade. “It seems that our secret security services have completely failed,” the Serbian prime minister said, thanking Russia’s intelligence for assistance. Commenting on Ana Brnabić’s statement that she is grateful to the Russian intelligence agencies, which informed the government about the opposition’s alleged plot to violently seize power in Serbia, one of the opposition leaders, Zorana Mihajlovic, said she believes everything the incumbent government is doing is aimed at retaining “corrupt and dirty” power. If necessary, “they will fight to the last drop of blood of Serbian citizens, which they showed on Sunday,” said Mihajlovic, a former minister in the outgoing government, and today the head of the Always for Serbia movement. She recalled that earlier, Prime Minister Ana Brnabić used to hand certain transcripts to Western ambassadors, but “the government of Serbia and Aleksandar Vučić have long been working on the guidance from Russia’s FSB and Putin.”

Miodrag Gavrilovic, Vice-Chairman of the Democratic Party, recalled that the incumbent government claimed Wagner Group had organized demonstrations in Belgrade in July 2020, after Covid. In February 2023, Wagner’s banners were once again spotted at protests organized by the opposition’s Zavetniki, Dveri, and Nada. And now we see these comments from the prime minister…

The only thing that has become completely clear is that the Russian intelligence agencies have fully penetrated into the security, political, and social spheres of Serbia’s life. And if Serbia’s own security agencies did not find out in the protests against the falsification of election results pose a threat to the state order, the Russians decided to go directly to the country’s president and prime minister, offering their interpretation of the latest developments, which they claim is the opposition setting up grounds for a coup and a violent toppling of Serbia’s government. Such an apocalyptic scenario naturally freaked out the country’s political leadership and the ruling party. However, could Moscow’s interpretation of the opposition’s rallies outside the City Council and the Central Election Commission a deliberate effort to mislead Vucic and Brnabić? Could this escalation be a Kremlin scenario with the aim of demonstrating to the Serbian authorities Moscow’s alleged loyalty to the incumbent government, but at the same time a hint that the tip (quite dubious, really) implies hope that the new government will include mostly openly pro-Russian politicians. Therefore, Miroslav Parovic with the People’s Freedom Movement believes that Vučić is using Brnabić, who will obviously no longer be prime minister, to further feign loyalty to the Russians, thus deceiving the public in Serbia again. “After that, they will appoint a completely pro-Western government, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the new prime minister is a Serb born and raised in America.” This might be not the most realistic scenario, given that President Vučić met with the head of the Russian diplomatic mission in Belgrade a day ago and briefed Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko on the riots, stressing that everything will be done to preserve the safety of citizens and the state. So, in the end of the day we see Russian ambassador asking for a meeting and sharing with the Serbian president intelligence on the alleged coup plot. The prime minister thanks Russia, adding that the domestic security agencies have slept through the plot, while vigilant Russians found out about the “terrifying” plans of the opposition. At the same time, operatives from the Security and Information Agency of Serbia are personally loyal to Vučić, and still, they are facing the blame. That’s more than just a bit inconsistent. However, further developments in the coming days will reveal who was right in their comments: the Serbian PM, who thanked Russia, or the opposition, who noted that the Russians have shown they are in complete control over the country’s social and political life and able to manipulate it as much as they want.

  • Statement by North Macedonia’s opposition leader 

VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski has refuted allegations of holding a meeting with Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski, but he remains available if the latter offers to have a public meeting for reconciliation regarding the technical government formation. According to the opposition leader, Talat Xaferi does not deserve the support from VMRO-DPMNE regarding the technical prime minister so in the interests of a healthy atmosphere and democratic process, the party will refrain from voting. “Secret meetings are not part of my character. If Mr. Kovacevski wants us to discuss the technical government or any other political processes that will follow, I am at your disposal, we just need to agree on a date. You know that I have long been looking for such meetings. At first I was snubbed, so we saw political gymnastics on the political stage for these leadership meetings to happen, and elections were finally established. I value the idea that the public should be informed, that people are fed up with such secret meetings, negotiations, and agreements,” Mickoski said at a press conference announcing investments for the development of 15 municipalities, led by VMRO-DPMNE.

Regarding the question of whether the meeting will take place before the decision is made on who will be technical ministers, he said that it depends on the meeting’s organizer, that is, the prime minister, denying the allegation that the decision on VMRO-DPMNE’ participation in the technical government is his personal opinion because the party bodies are yet to decide on this. “I am not asking for a meeting, nor do I have the opportunity, because I am still head of the largest political party that remains in opposition. As far as I am concerned, the deadline for the technical government formation is January 28. And the one who plans to organize the meeting has the opportunity to do that,” Mickoski added.

It should be recalled that five days ago, Prime Minister Kovačevski of North Macedonia said he would demand a meeting with Mickoski regarding the issue of the technical government following the meeting and relevant decisions of the party bodies. He noted that the meeting would not be announced through mass media, adding that the agenda will include the distribution of positions in the technical government.