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Monday, March 12, 2018

Putin is lobbying for the appointment of “the Ministers” in the government of Serbia

Unexpected talks between the Russian President and Prime Minister of Serbia was on the periphery of attention of the Russian media, but the focus of the Serbian. Why, in fact, Putin advised Vucic to appoint a new government: “the Ministers”, that is loyal to Moscow politicians. Apparently, after a series of failures in the Balkans, Russia decided to intervene in the situation seriously.

On the eve of Vladimir Putin held a brief meeting with Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, who arrived in Moscow on private business (rumored to be on treatment). And expressed the wish that in the new government of Serbia has included people who could contribute to the strengthening of relations between the two countries. The Russian leader did not explain whom exactly he has in mind, but congratulated Vucic on the victory of his party in recent parliamentary elections, stressed that “the necessary number of votes received and party allies”. In response, Vucic promised that he will work on the development of Russian-Serbian cooperation, and thanked the Russian President for his personal attitude to Serbia.

“Now in Serbia, do not even discuss the thesis of Putin, but a very specific candidates”

Event pulling sensation, because never before has the Russian leader (even in a soft and friendly form) is not recommended to the head of government of another state, as of him who is the government to form, if we proceed from the interests “of development of bilateral Russian-Serbian relations”. Thus, characteristically, now in Serbia, do not even discuss the thesis that Putin (this is perceived as something ordinary and normal), and a very specific candidate, and an active speculation is that part of the message which referred to “party allies”.

Two of them – Serbian people’s party Nenad popović and Serbian socialist party first Deputy Prime Minister and foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. SNP Popovic was part of the ruling and winning coalition “Serbia wins!” Vucic, while the socialists went to the polls, as if in Alliance with the ruling party, but on their own and eventually took a convincing second place. This allows them to form the Cabinet of Ministers, otmahnulsya from the rest of the parliamentary parties according to the law of the majority.

After the words of Putin in Belgrade began to point the finger not so much on the SNP, how many personally Nenad Popovic, who created and heads her. The fact that Popovich spends in Russia more time than in Serbia, all his business is located in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Cheboksary (group of companies “Energo ABS”). He taught at MSU and is now a Professor in the Department of mining of the Moscow mining Institute. Dissertation, he also was defending us, and in 2005 was declared in Russia “entrepreneur of the year”. Finally, in 2014, energy Minister Novak conferred on him the title of “Honorary power engineer of Russia”. Also worth mentioning is that in 2007 he was appointed head of the coordinating Council on contacts with the party “United RussiaDemocratic party of Serbia.

Nenad Popovic (photo:
Medija centar Beograd)

In the Assembly (Serbian Parliament) Popovich was considered the main lobbyist of Russian projects, primarily energy. Here he is, seemingly, ready the Minister of energy. Putin himself no names were called, but Nenad Popovic indirectly mentioned by the Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on international Affairs Konstantin Kosachev. And apart from it in Serbian “waiting list” was Ivica Dacic and somehow Dragomir Karic is a businessman rather ambiguous.

In the outgoing government, Dacic was first Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of foreign Affairs. To improve it’s nowhere. But it is not surrounded by enough people applying for high government positions. In particular, the same post of Minister of energy and industry is his creature – Alexander antic, the socialist party and this position is not so easy to give. Another thing is that the Antic long-established good relations with the leadership of Gazprom, and it can also be considered a political activist, contributing to the development of relations with Russia.

The process of government formation was delayed just due to the fact that the socialist party and Dacic personally still not decided what will be their share and role in the new government. It has been suggested that Dacic is “in the process of formation of political priorities.” Including and therefore judge the results of the parliamentary elections in Serbia still early, besides, it’s not clear the role of small parties, including the achieved relative success of the nationalists of Vojislav Seselj. Whatever happened, calmly wait for the outcome will not work, because the new Cabinet must be formed already in the first week of June.

In Serbian the analysis of the statements of Vladimir Putin and “parsing” of candidates contained a substantial error. The involvement of any figures in the Russian business (Popovic Karic and others) – not the main argument. Yes, Nenad Popovic I am sincerely committed to close friendship with Russia, and its industrial interests – only Supplement to this position. But a lot of Serbs and Montenegrins (both entrepreneurs and representatives of other professions) who have decades of climbs from Moscow and Khanty-Mansiysk (this is one of the “carbonising” cities of Russia), while looking in the direction of NATO. Typical Belgrade “doublethink” sometimes forced to search preferences and with the other side, and amid acute ideological confrontation inevitable polarization of positions.

Because most successful candidate for “the development of bilateral relations” could be a technocrat, perhaps a successful businessman (the cult of business success of any quality and origin in the Balkans forever), but with stable beliefs and political views. In the mind of such a person should be an integral picture of the world, and positions in business or in political parties – only the second most important factor. The same Alexander antic works with Gazprom, its Pro-Russian position is determined by practical interests, not the integrity of the views. The famous brothers Karichi fled to Russia and Belarus from President Vojislav Kostunica, who didn’t forgive one of them – Bogolyubov – third place in the 2004 presidential election, corruption and the proximity to Slobodan Milosevic. And I do not understand how suddenly in the context of the purpose of the Pro-Russian Ministers floated the name of Dragoljub Karic, Serbian media but many write about it.

Ideological technocrat, not an oligarch or street stands, would not only work on the development of relations between Russia and Serbia, but also seriously improve the image of Moscow in Belgrade, where in recent years, the struggle for hearts and minds has become more important than economic and military projects. While we don’t know and can’t even predict what positions in the government of Serbia could claim a Pro-Russian policy. If we are talking only about the Ministry of energy, it is very boring. Much more interesting, for example, the post of defense Minister, the benefit of the countries looming really tight defence cooperation.

The current defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic no relation at all to the army has not, he is a mathematician and financier, but this post got completely random – after the previous defense Minister Bratislav gašić was dismissed because of the ridiculous jokes with sexual overtones, said to the journalist. It has been officially stated that Djordjevic will sit in the chair of Minister only until the early parliamentary elections on April 24, that is, it has been a month since outlasted. The story itself with a “temporary” appointment of Djordjevic was due to the fact that the coalition tried to agree in advance on the division of key posts between the parties (as it usually happens in the Balkans, in a popular restaurant), and then (for the Balkans is also typical) all went wrong. But in Serbia very talented generals, who are able to develop cooperation with Russia to Ministerial positions, despite the policy of creeping integration into NATO. In the end, this issue is still far from all solved.

The fact that Vladimir Putin’s words will not remain without due attention, it is already clear. It would not be announced publicly, if they were not carried out prior consultation. It remains only to understand what in this context will be more – economic component or is it ideological and political. Corporate interests for a long time remained dominant in Russia’s relations with the Balkan countries, which eventually gave several high-profile policy failures. Now the situation has changed, and Moscow once again have the chance to change things for the better. That is in their favor.

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