What Does Russia Know That Serbia, EU, the USA and NATO Don’t?

Belgrade, June 17, 2011

CEAS

CEAS

CEAS statement concerning the fact that the Russian government included Serbia among the states „with explosive social-political situtation“, together with Tajikistan, Georgia, Abkhazia, Guatemala, Israel, Iran, Sudan, Chad and North Korea

The Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies strongly condemns the move of the Russian government putting the Serbia on the list of states „with explosive social-political situation“, together with Iran and North Korea. What does Russia know that Serbia, EU who might give us the candidate status, the USA who find the military cooperation with Serbia the best part of bilateral relations, and NATO who invite Serbia to cooperate, don’t? Unfortunately, some other parameters which were taken into account, such as: inefficiency of central government, outdated economic system, energy dependence and low living standards, depict a somewhat more realistic image of Serbia. We disagree about the growing rate of criminal, also referred to by Russia. Cinically, Russia takes the majority package in energy trade from us, and then aligns us with energy-dependent countries. Democratic elections, free media and respect of human rights seem not to be important factors in the estimate of situation in a country, or else Russia did not consider them when it comes to Serbia, while those factors make the biggest difference between us and Russia. Unfortunately, Serbia has several thousands of people engaged in private security sector which is poorly, if at all, regulated by law, and this represents a security threat which is little discussed and even less faught. Even if Russia included in its estimate the analysis of Kosovo as a part of Serbia over which Serbia currently has no competencies and thus cannot be held accountable for some things, there is no explosive political situation there, either.

CEAS wonders how would Russia classify itself if applying the mentioned parameteres?

CEAS finds the Russian influence, visible or invisible, one of the major factors of Serbia’s decelerated EU accession, and only an accelerated EU accession may save us from the „outdated economic system, energy dependence, inefficiency of central government and low living standards“.

Such an estimate of Serbia came after arrest and extradition of Ratko Mladić free of any major social turmoil. Does Russia know something about the whereabouts of his hiding, his supporters or their intentions now? Let us remind that Ministry of Defence and Military Security Agency, after a brief internal investigation, allegedly ascertained that they have not been helping Mladić since 2002, even despite plenty of indications and evidence. Knowing that some obviously have, there remains the issue of what they intend to do from now on, and how strong is their power. Serbian media have even speculated that one of the Russian diplomats in Serbia, who has recently left, was the liaison with Ratko Mladić. CEAS reminds that the issue of who used to help Radovan Karadžić was likewise forgotten immediately after his extradition. Does Russia know something about it and may that be the basis for the estimate of the „explosive political situation“ in Serbia?

This ranking comes at the moment when the western international community expects Serbia to make only a couple of additional efforts, such like the arrest of Goran Hadžić, a more creative policy on the Kosovo issue and stopping to undermine the integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, towards the goal of accelerated EU integrations. CEAS wonders if this is an estimate of the Russian government about the looks of Serbia if that road should be obstructed, if Serbia should abandon these plans. Does Russia intend to obstruct Serbia in the process of dialogue, and not in the conflict with Kosovo, or in respecting of B&H integrity? Could it be that Russia has partners in Serbia for such obstructions in case the Government and the President Tadić take these historical steps towards EU, and that’s why it anticipates the „explosive political situation“?

CEAS urges the Government of Serbia to state its mind on this scandal and to disclose to the public the contents of the announced Treaty on Strategic Partnership between Russia and Serbia. Why would Russia want a partnership with a country where an „explosive social-political situation“ rules, anyway?

After this scandal, the Serbian public deserves to hear the information on the huge problems in the defence system and poor fighting efficiency of Serbia, as well as the steps to be taken by the Government. Some of them are that the numerous state authorities and public companies ignore the national defence preparations stipulated by law, that there is no place for storage of ordnance, that there is no money for maintenance of radar and aviation assets, facilities and equipment, and it is also hard to maintain and procure the parts because the whole technology is outdated. In the above report, which was presented to the people’s deputies at a closed session the other day, it is stated that the ammunition and military equipment in warehouses have mostly expired, and that plenty of those are stored in the open, exposed to degradation, and the motor vehicles are generally over 20 years old.

Belgrade, June 17, 2011