Montenegro: Politics & Current Events

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  • Tomche Makedonche
    Senior Member
    • Oct 2011
    • 1123

    Montenegro: Politics & Current Events

    Montenegro’s opposition has decided to boycott local elections in the country’s second city, Niksic, over an attempt to prosecute two opposition MPs suspected of involvement in an alleged coup plot.


    Montenegro Opposition to Boycott Poll Over ‘Coup’ Claims

    Montenegro’s opposition has decided to boycott local elections in the country’s second city, Niksic, over an attempt to prosecute two opposition MPs suspected of involvement in an alleged coup plot.

    The opposition announced its boycott ahead of a parliamentary session on Wednesday at which Montenegrin lawmakers are expected to vote on a motion to strip two opposition leaders of their immunity from prosecution over their alleged involvement in a coup attempt on election day, October 16.

    MPs are to vote on the motion filed by the Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime, Milivoje Katnic, which asks for the leaders of the pro-Russian opposition Democratic Front alliance, Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic, to be detained and put on trial.

    The motion was approved by a Montenegrin parliamentary committee on Monday, and the ruling pro-Western coalition has a stable majority to enable it to have the decision confirmed in parliament.

    But after an emergency meeting on Tuesday, all the opposition parties decided to boycott upcoming municipal polls on March 12 in Niksic, the second largest city in Montenegro, over the prosecution move to prosecute Mandic and Knezevic.

    The opposition claims it has the chance to win the election in Niksic and accuses the prosecution of working in favour of former PM Milo Djukanovic's ruling Democratic Party of Socialists.

    The opposition has already been boycotting parliament for over five months and refusing to recognise the results of October’s general election, alleging vote-rigging.

    The vice-president of the opposition centre-left Social Democratic Party, former finance minister Rasko Konjevic, urged Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic to withdraw the decision to hold the elections in Niksic next month.

    “It would be normal that a person who should be the president of all citizens understands this decision [to boycott] and at the very least postpones the Niksic elections,” Konjevic said.

    The two MPs who have been accused, Mandic and Knezevic, are the leaders of the main opposition alliance which strongly opposes the country’s NATO membership bid and advocates closer ties with Russia.

    In the motion sent to parliament on Monday, the special prosecution claimed that both are suspected of "establishing a criminal organisation" and being involved in attempts to undermine "the constitutional rule and security of Montenegro".

    The prosecution said that a group of Serbs, Montenegrins and Russians tried to organise a coup on election day, October 16. It claimed the security services had thwarted the coup after the arrest of 20 Serbian citizens, including a former Serbian police general, Bratislav Dikic.

    Both Mandic and Knezevic have dismissed the plot allegations as false. They said on Monday they won't try to flee the country to avoid arrest.

    "I have no intention of going anywhere. Those who come to arrest me must be ready for that task," Knezevic told reporters.

    After returning from Belgrade late on Monday, Mandic said that everything related to the lifting of the men’s immunity was a show organised by Djukanovic.

    The Democratic Front has accused the prosecutor's office acting under the influence of the still-powerful former PM.

    It has said that Djukanovic is “threatening to drag Montenegro into civil war”.

    “If violence becomes state policy, the answer to this could be violence,” it warned.

    Responding to the accusation that the prosecution is under the political influence of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, the Supreme State Prosecutor, Ivica Stankovic, asked for patience and promised that all evidence on the two politicians will be presented to the court.

    “The side chosen by the state prosecutors is solely the side of law and constitutional norms,” Stankovic said.
    “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you’ve got to make it stop, and you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all” - Mario Savio
  • Tomche Makedonche
    Senior Member
    • Oct 2011
    • 1123

    #2
    US Senate Approves Montenegro as NATO Member

    Montenegro has moved closer to becoming a NATO member after the US Senate approved the country’s admission into the military alliance.


    US Senate Approves Montenegro as NATO Member

    Montenegro has moved closer to becoming a NATO member after the US Senate approved the country’s admission into the military alliance.

    The US Senate approved on Tuesday a treaty allowing Montenegro to join NATO, with overwhelming majority 97 out of 100 members voting in support of a treaty.

    Although the parliaments in the Netherlands and Spain are yet to vote on Podgorica's bid to join the alliance, Montenegrin government hopes the process would be completed by May when the next NATO summit is scheduled.

    The Senate vote came after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on March 21 wrote to senators urging them to ratify Montenegro's membership, saying it was "strongly in the interests of the United States".

    Tillerson argued that Montenegro's membership would support the country's democratic reform, trade, security and foster stability among its neighbours.

    "Montenegro's participation in the May NATO Summit as a full member, not as an observer, will send a strong signal of transatlantic unity," Tillerson wrote.

    The only two ‘no’ votes in the procedural ballot on Monday came from Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee, both of whom had been blocking the progress on the vote for several months.

    Paul warned Washington against spreading itself too thinly at a point when its military is involved in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen.

    "Montenegro in NATO will antagonise Russia while doing nothing to advance US national security," Paul said during the floor debate on Monday.

    "Most Americans can't find Montenegro on a map," he added in a sharply-worded Senate speech.

    "Are you willing to send your kids there to fight?" he asked.

    Paul has suggested that recruiting Montenegro, which had once been a staunch Russian ally, could lead to heightened tension with Moscow, possibly even war.

    Moscow strongly opposes the expansion of NATO to the east, including the Balkans, however, and the delay in US approval of Montenegro's protocol had raised doubts about whether Donald Trump's new administration was ready to stand up to Russia over the issue.

    Russia’s allies and Kremlin followers in Montenegro had hoped that Trump's friendlier attitude towards Moscow could mean ratification being blocked.

    Montenegro gained NATO candidate status in 2010. All 28 of NATO's members must ratify Montenegro's accession protocol before it can join the alliance.

    Accession still remains a highly controversial issue inside the country. An opinion poll conducted in December 2016 had only 39.5 per cent of Montenegrins in favour of NATO membership.
    “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you’ve got to make it stop, and you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all” - Mario Savio

    Comment

    • tchaiku
      Member
      • Nov 2016
      • 786

      #3
      No sea for Serbia then.

      Comment

      • Phoenix
        Senior Member
        • Dec 2008
        • 4671

        #4
        Originally posted by tchaiku View Post
        No sea for Serbia then.
        No sea for Russia is the end game.

        Comment

        • Benito
          Junior Member
          • May 2015
          • 68

          #5
          The EU and NATO are the biggest terrorists and occupiers on this planet.

          Comment

          • Phoenix
            Senior Member
            • Dec 2008
            • 4671

            #6
            Originally posted by Benito View Post
            The EU and NATO are the biggest terrorists and occupiers on this planet.
            You forgot to mention the USA, the most destructive and evil force from the last days of WWII to the present...

            Comment

            • Vangelovski
              Senior Member
              • Sep 2008
              • 8532

              #7
              Global Research (Socialist Website) claims that the US has been responsible for between 20 and 30 million deaths since WWII. Maybe. They attribute culpability for a whole lot of conflicts that the US had very little to do with.



              According to various historians (listed in Wikipedia) the Soviet Union is estimated to have been responsible for up to 61 million deaths in its own country. Most sources state between 30 and 50 million. That's not counting its foreign interventions - in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa for example.

              Some of these historians estimate that communist regimes have resulted in the deaths of up to 100 million of their own people. Again, that's not counting their foreign interventions.

              These were mostly through forced starvation, forced labour, genocide and plain old murder. In fact, Mao believed that it was all just part of "progress".

              He [Mao] envisaged that "one-tenth of the peasants" (or about 50,000,000) "would have to be destroyed" to facilitate agrarian reform.

              [Goldhagen, Daniel (2009). Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity].
              And he acted on it as well:

              In a secret meeting at Shanghai in 1959, Mao issued the order to procure one third of all grain from the countryside. He said: “When there is not enough to eat people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.”

              [Frank Dikötter, Mao’s Great Famine, Key Arguments].
              This was a part of Mao's "Great Leap Forward" in which about 45 million Chinese died.

              Well, if its for agrarian reform I suppose its ok Mao - as long as socialism wins.



              Should we add the Soviet Union and China (or communism as an insidious ideology) to the list? I think so.
              Last edited by Vangelovski; 05-03-2017, 08:03 AM.
              If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

              The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations...This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution. John Adams

              Comment

              • Phoenix
                Senior Member
                • Dec 2008
                • 4671

                #8
                Originally posted by Vangelovski View Post
                ...Should we add the Soviet Union and China (or communism as an insidious ideology) to the list? I think so.
                Of course you can add the Soviet Union and China to the list and I'm sure they have been brutal and evil in their own ways...although the veracity of those claims would need further investigation...you cannot deny that Communism was the Wests bogeyman for almost 50 years and Russia today and modern China are still tainted by Cold War propaganda...

                What clearly can't be denied are the crimes of the US war machine, perpetrated on innocent people in every corner of the globe and the environmental disasters resulting from the rabid pursuit of US exceptionalism.

                Remember, only the USA has nuked a civilian population, not once but on two occasions...the millions of tons of ordnance dropped on Indochina, that is still killing and maiming people today, or the defoliation of Indochina that resulted in the destruction of entire eco-systems...

                Comment

                • Soldier of Macedon
                  Senior Member
                  • Sep 2008
                  • 13675

                  #9
                  Welcome to the club.

                  OUTRAGE has erupted in Montenegro after Donald Trump “humiliated” the country’s Prime Minister by shoving him out of his way at this weekend’s G7 summit. Footage of the inci…

                  STRONG-ARM TACTICS Donald Trump sparks fury in Montenegro after ‘humiliating’ country’s prime minster by shoving him out of his way at G7 summit

                  27th May 2017

                  OUTRAGE has erupted in Montenegro after Donald Trump “humiliated” the country’s Prime Minister by shoving him out of his way at this weekend’s G7 summit. Footage of the incident – showing Trump pushing his way to the front of the pack of world leaders – went viral this week. But the response among locals was predictably furious, with viewers who watched it on local broadcaster RTCG taking to the comments section to vent their fury. According to Russian news agency TASS, one even suggested tiny Montenegro should place sanctions on the US in revenge. They wrote: “There should follow tough sanctions against America to let it know whose prime minster was pushed and humiliated.”
                  In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

                  Comment

                  • Skolovranec
                    Junior Member
                    • Mar 2017
                    • 52

                    #10
                    So we can kiss goodbye to making them any sort of strategic partner then ...

                    Fuck our luck.
                    Anti-EU Pro-Guns National-Libertarian Trekkie Minarchist
                    Anti-NATO Pro-United MK Agnostic Secularist Magick Occultist
                    Anti-UN Pro-Military Meritocratic Integrationist Altruistic Socio-Darwinist
                    Anti-Globalist Pro-Choice Intellectual Pirate Spiritual Vagabond

                    Comment

                    • Tomche Makedonche
                      Senior Member
                      • Oct 2011
                      • 1123

                      #11
                      MINA... Lol...



                      Bootlicking Montenegro PM ‘grateful’ to Trump for shoving him

                      Montenegrins used to be known for being big on fighting, tribal honor, and not allowing the Ottoman Empire to establish itself in their desolate mountains.

                      Their PM is working overtime to try and change that. He told Politico he is “grateful” for Trump for shoving him out of his way at the last NATO meeting because this “made Montenegro famous”:

                      “I have to say that I’m very grateful that this incident, so to say, took place. Because this is what made us so famous.”

                      “This is what made Montenegro so famous.”

                      I don’t think becoming famous for being butt-kissing toadies to the Ottomans of today is a step up in the world — but then how would a guy who joined NATO after it killed Montenegrin children eighteen years ago ever know that?
                      “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you’ve got to make it stop, and you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all” - Mario Savio

                      Comment

                      • Tomche Makedonche
                        Senior Member
                        • Oct 2011
                        • 1123

                        #12
                        More than 25 years since Yugoslavia dissolved, the borders between many of the former states remain contentious and unresolved.


                        Montenegro Backs Down Over Opposition Leader's Arrest

                        After opposition MPs in Montenegro spent a fifth night in parliament, vowing to prevent the arrest of an opposition leader, the President has intervened with prosecutors

                        Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic on Monday sent a letter to Supreme State Prosecutor Ivica Stankovic, asking him to instruct the State Special Prosecution not to demand the detention of opposition leader Nebojsa Medojovic.

                        The move came after several MPs from the main opposition alliance, the Democratic Front, and other opposition parties, spent five days in parliament, blocking the detention of Medojevic, who faces arrest in connection with corruption allegations.

                        The parliament, dominated by the Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, lifted Medojevic‘s immunity on Thursday on the request of the special prosecutor for organised crime, Milivoje Katnic.Katnic said police should take Medojevic in for questioning, after which a decision on his possible arrest would be made.

                        Medojevic is known as one of the sharpest critics of the government and of the ruling party run by veteran leader Milo Djukanovic. He is accused of plotting to help a businessman from Bosnia to evade taxes and of money laundering.

                        After spending five days in the parliament, the opposition MPs said they were ready to “spend all summer" in the building, calling the charges against Medojevic politically motivated. "We are not defending Medojevic here, we are defending Montenegro," another Front leader, Andrija Mandic, said.

                        Tensions over possible Medojevic’s arrest rose over the weekend, especially after the leading bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, Metropolitan Amfilohije, was prevented from entering parliament on Sunday, when he planned to visit Medojevic.

                        In February, two other Front leaders, Mandic and Milan Knezevic, were also stripped of their parliamentary immunity from prosecution in connection with an alleged attempted coup on election day last October.

                        The Democratic Front parties are seeking to end the long reign of the DPS, which has lasted more than 25 years. They accuse the party and its chief, former prime minister and president Djukanovic, of abusing authority to hold on to power and gather immense wealth through corruption.

                        Thousands of opposition supporters protested in the capital, Podgorica, until the Supreme State Prosecutor Ivica Stankovic ordered the Special State Prosecutor's Office not to seek the arrest of Mandic and Knezevic, suspected of involvement in attempts to undermine "the constitutional rule and security of Montenegro".

                        However, the prosecution insists that a group of Serbs, Montenegrins and Russians, including Mandic and Knezevic, tried to overthrow the pro-Western government last October, mainly to stop the country from joining NATO. It claims the security services only thwarted the coup after the arrest of 20 Serbian citizens, including a former Serbian police general, Bratislav Dikic.

                        Both Mandic and Knezevic have dismissed the plot allegations as false. The Democratic Front has accused the prosecutor's office of acting under the influence of Djukanovic
                        “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you’ve got to make it stop, and you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all” - Mario Savio

                        Comment

                        • maco2envy
                          Member
                          • Jan 2015
                          • 288

                          #13
                          Trump allegedly called Montengro's prime minister a "whiny punk bitch" (lol)

                          President Trump referred to Montenegro's prime minister as a "whiny punk bitch" after video of Trump appearing to shove the foreign leader went viral following last year's NATO summit, former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman claims in her new book.

                          In excerpts from “Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House" obtained by the New York Daily News, Manigault Newman questions her former boss over video that appears to show Trump grabbing the arm of Prime Minister Duško Marković as he moves toward the front of a group of leaders.

                          “I asked him, ‘You came off a little aggressive. Why did you do that?’ ” Manigault Newman writes.
                          “Oh, he’s just a whiny punk bitch," Trump responded, according to Manigault Newman.

                          Video of the incident went viral last year, with social media users questioning whether the U.S. president had shoved his way to the front of the group of leaders.

                          Trump also faced criticism earlier this year when he referred to Montenegro as "a tiny country with very strong people" who might start World War III.

                          "Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people. ... They are very aggressive people, they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you are in World War III," Trump said last month while appearing to question the purpose of NATO's Article 5, which states that an attack on one member is an attack on all.

                          The country's former president, Ranko Krivokapić, fired back, telling reporters that Trump was the "strangest president in the history of the United States."

                          "With this kind of president, with his knowledge of foreign policy, who knows what is going on?” he added. “Foreign policy is not his big thing."

                          Trump weathered similar criticism at home over the incident, with GOP Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) accusing Trump of playing in to Russian President Vladimir Putin's hands.

                          Trump has faced criticism for his tense relationships with leaders of foreign countries considered to be U.S. allies, including Canada's prime minister, whom Trump personally called out on Twitter after a NATO summit in June.

                          The president referred to Justin Trudeau on Twitter as "meek and mild" earlier this year after disagreeing with Trudeau on trade issues at the summit, blaming Canada for a deficit with the U.S.


                          Image what he would say about our bootlicker zaev.

                          Comment

                          • Carlin
                            Senior Member
                            • Dec 2011
                            • 3332

                            #14
                            Originally posted by maco2envy View Post
                            Trump allegedly called Montengro's prime minister a "whiny punk bitch" (lol)
                            Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.


                            Last edited by Carlin; 08-16-2018, 05:28 PM.

                            Comment

                            • Carlin
                              Senior Member
                              • Dec 2011
                              • 3332

                              #15
                              Waiting for Putin

                              Vladimir Gligorov
                              16/01/2019

                              URL:
                              They come to power with Western, USA and EU, support, and try to stay in power with Putin’s support. Milorad Dodik is one successful, so far, example. Vucic, the President of Serbia, is attempting the same.


                              They come to power with Western, USA and EU, support, and try to stay in power with Putin’s support.

                              Dodik, who runs Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is one successful, so far, example. Vucic, the President of Serbia, is attempting the same. Putin is due to visit Serbia on the 17th of this month. Everybody, opposition included is waiting for his arrival with great expectations.

                              The record, Putin’s, however, is not encouraging. In most cases, Putin’s support, when extended, was not enough for embattled leaders to stay in power. The most important case in the Balkans is that of Kostunica, the President of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) and the Prime Minister of Serbia. He had strong support of the West to topple Milosevic, while Putin’s support, which he sought and received, was not enough to keep him in power after Kosovo declared independence in 2008. The most recent example is that of Gruevski, the Prime Minister of Macedonia, who came to power and stayed in charge of the country for a decade or so with the support of the USA and the EU, but lost elections and fled the country (as an asylum seeker in Hungary) despite Russia’s support. A cunning counterexample is that of Djukanovic, the President and Prime Minister of Montenegro, both titles several times, who declined Putin’s offer of support. He was a protégé of the USA initially, and a Eurosceptic, but chose the pro-EU policy ahead of Montenegro’s succession from Serbia, and eventually led his country into the membership of NATO against strong objections from Putin. Montenegro is also the frontrunner candidate country for membership in the EU. Stunning given Montenegro’s historical pro-Russian sentiment, and significant investments in real estate and tourism.

                              Vucic is now threading the path that has led others to political defeat. Why the support of Putin is sought and why it has been almost regularly unhelpful so far? To see this, the Ukrainian example is instructive. Take an authoritarian leader in a presidential system, which is nominally democratic, which is to say holds regular elections. At some point, the odds of a legitimacy crisis erupting will increase if the leader is defying the public will in one way or another. In the Ukrainian case with respect to the EU integration. Then, one option the embattled leader may choose is Putin’s support. If the leader is Putin’s ally to begin with, as in the case of Belarus’ Lukashenko, Putin’s additional or renewed support has a good chance to be enough for the opposition to be crashed e.g. in the streets. If not, then Putin’s chances of success are much lower. In the case of Yanukovych, as in the case of Gruevski, fleeing the country proved the only option left to stay out of prison.

                              The key lesson then is that an aspiring authoritarian leader that turns away from pro-Western policies and seeks Putin’s support to stay in power when facing legitimacy crisis in the streets – has more often than not diminishing chances of surviving in power.

                              What is a legitimacy crisis? There is a misunderstanding, which was widely expressed during the Ukrainian crisis, that the rebellion was illegal, the President being duly and legally elected, and thus the ouster of Yanukovych from office was a putsch. In fact, the legitimacy crisis erupts if there is a conflict between the will of the people and the will of the government, the legally elected executive or Parliament.

                              To see this, start with Weber’s distinction between Macht (power) and Herrschaft (legal authority in this case). If, for example, a President defies the will of the people, e.g. by changing policy or political institutions, the power of that will can be expressed in the streets – which is the start of the legitimacy crisis. If the President resorts to repression, then the crisis may very well have to be resolved through the conflict in the streets, as in the case of Ukraine. Then the outcome depends on the balance of power, i.e. how overwhelming is the public disapproval of the President’s policies or politics, including the use of force to suppress the revolt. In the Ukrainian case, the lack of legitimacy of Yanukovych’s actions outweighed the legality of his holding the office of the Presidency. In many other cases, governments survive the test to their legitimacy because and if they have not lost its power, i.e. the support of the majority not necessarily for their policy but for their claim to run the country, at least until the results of the regular or the early election are in.

                              Now, what is often contentious, is the international aspect of legitimacy. What does it mean to come to power with Western support or attempt to stay in power with Putin’s support?

                              Putting aside conspiratorial cases, external legitimacy means to offer to the public an international policy which commands the support of one or the other foreign partner or partners. E.g. as in the case of Poroshenko or the new Macedonian government or Djukanovic. Or indeed, seeking external legitimacy through a change in the international policy as in the case of Dodik and now apparently Vucic. The success of course depends not just on the offer but on its desirability and feasibility. If all it accomplishes is the survival of a legitimacy crisis coupled with authoritarianism, that might not be either desirable or indeed feasible in view of the lost balance of power in the public. Which is why Putin’s support tends to prove to be the losing strategy.

                              What can be learned from Putin’s successes? In the Balkans, this is just Dodik. He came to power with Western, and in no small part German, support. The expectation was that he will work to transform Bosnia and Herzegovina and integrate it into the EU and NATO. He turned around and has been the main proponent of the secession of Republika Srpska from Bosnia and Herzegovina and has been able to secure Putin’s support for some time now. However, though he tends to win elections, he and his government have been losing legitimacy and are facing a full-blown legitimacy crisis now. He has proved able to squash the protests by force of the police and the law at the same time relying on the support of Serbia and Putin. It is expected that Putin’s support will be reinforced when he visits Serbia on the 17th of January.

                              How has he managed to successfully repress the public dissatisfaction? By managing to make use of three conditions.

                              First, democratic legitimacy is not needed to be in power in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Republika Srpska in particular, rather ethnic legitimacy is required. Which means that the support by Serbia for whoever is the leader of Republika Srpska is decisive.

                              Second, every Serbian government as well as the parties in the opposition have supported Dodik over the years. The aim being to show to the Serbian public that while Kosovo is lost, Serbian territorial gain in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is Republika Srpska, is not. Dodik has been arguing for quite some time that the annexation of Republika Srpska should be used as a compensation for the loss of Kosovo.

                              Third, even if the Serbian government were to contemplate dropping Dodik, that would not go well with Putin. So, Putin’s support is helpful to Dodik because it keeps his the potential loss of legitimacy with the Serbian government in check.

                              Dodik basically remains in power because and as long as he keeps Republika Srpska in the state of a frozen territorial conflict. With the help of Serbia and Russia. So, internal legitimacy is irrelevant, external legitimacy is what matters.

                              Vucic’s case is different from Dodik’s. At the moment, Serbia is in the early stages of legitimacy crisis. Initially, the issue of legitimacy was raised by the informal change of the parliamentary into the presidential system when Vucic decided to run for President. Serbian constitution safeguards against presidentialism with the requirement that the President should not hold a position in a party, let alone be a leader of a party. Vucic, however, remains the leader of the ruling party and thus runs the country whatever state office he actually holds. In effect, both the government and the Parliament are the legislative and executive extensions of his rule. That is both illegal and illegitimate.

                              However, as often happens, it is the arrogance of the power that triggers the legitimacy crisis. In Republika Srpska, it was the unexplained killing of a young person and then the suppression of the protests led by his parents to hold government accountable for the murder. In Serbia, it was the beating of one opposition leader by the members or followers of the Vucic’s party. Those were the scandalous manifestations of the increasingly repressive and manipulative rule by authoritarian leaders. In response, there are growing number of people demonstrating against Vucic’s regime in the capital and in towns across the country each Saturday. Demonstrations are planned also for the 16th of January, on the eve of Putin’s visit.

                              So far, the Serbian government has refrained from repressive measures against the demonstrators. Unlike Republika Srpska, it is sensitive about its legitimacy. It is in addition hoping that Putin’s support will be enough to marginalise the dissatisfied population. Putin, for his part, is taking the extraordinary step of personally supporting Vucic and his government by visiting the country. Something he has not done before in the Balkans in any case. He and Vucic clearly hope that he can lend his legitimacy to the embattled Serbian leader.

                              Will he be successful? That depends on the international balance of power. Which is to say on the position taken by the EU and the USA. And their stance depends on their expectations of Vucic’s intentions when it comes to the solution of the Kosovo problem.

                              Ostensibly, Vucic wants to come through with the promise that got him the EU support when he was coming to power in 2012 – an agreement on the normalisation of relations with Kosovo which has been understood, by Merkel in particular, as the legally binding treaty which removes the obstacle for Kosovo’s membership in international organisations, in the UN most importantly. Currently, Vucic’s goal is to wiggle out of that commitment, risking his international legitimacy. He is banking on three conditions.

                              One is the opposition’s growing anti-EU stance. They, the opposition, believe that Vucic is kept in power by the EU and more specifically by Germany. So, they are very much behind the curve as is in all appearances the EU itself, i.e. Ms. Mogherini and Mr. Hahn.

                              The other is the renewed involvement by the USA with their support of the plan for the swap of territories by Serbia and Kosovo. This is an unimplementable plan, which however dispenses with the previous commitment to normalisation.

                              The third, and more important, is the change of the anchor of international legitimacy from the EU to Russia. Which is where the Putin’s upcoming visit comes in. The visit that should, in addition to shoring up Vucic, also strengthen Dodik’s grip over Republika Srpska.

                              That is the plan. Will it work? In the short run, yes. As intended, the time for the implementation of the commitment to Merkel and Mogherini will run out because of the upcoming EU elections. The proposed territorial accommodation will be frustrated by its unpracticality. And, in all probability, Vucic will come ahead in the upcoming early or regular elections, which are due next year. In addition, Dodik will be successful in the repression of the public outcry in Republika Srpska. Putin will succeed in strengthening authoritarian leaders facing legitimacy crises in the Balkans. And the EU will have to come up with an alternative plan or give up. It remains to be seen what the reaction by the USA will be.

                              Beyond the short run, Putin risks another disappointment. He may prove successful in the short run because of the EU’s lack of commitment to the Balkans and because of the uncertainty about the US intentions with NATO. Once EU consolidates, if that happens, and more importantly the US commitment to NARO is reinforced, the effects of the permanent lack of internal legitimacy of both Vucic and Dodik will doom them both.

                              In addition, and rather importantly, there is growing Chinese influence in Serbia in particular. So, eventually, the important international discussion will be between the US, the EU, and China, with declining influence of Russia. But for now, Serbia is eagerly awaiting Putin.

                              Peščanik.net, 16.01.2019.

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