CEAS press release - An obvious attempt to weaken the Republic of Serbia’s negotiating position in the dialogue on formalization of relations with Pristina in an effort to reach a compromise that would keep us on the European path

CEAS press release concerning last night's riots in Belgrade

The Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies from Belgrade (CEAS) strongly condemns the violence and vandalism that last night's protesters resorted to.

CEAS points out that the main leaders of violent demonstrations that the public has had the opportunity to witness are openly pro-Russian public figures, who use any means to delegitimize Serbia’s attempts to reach a compromise on a new status of Kosovo through a comprehensive multidimensional agreement, which would take into consideration the arguments of RS on the one hand, and keep it on the European path on the other. That is why the timing of the protests was chosen to be just a couple of days before the important meetings that the state leadership has regarding the Pristina dialogue.

CEAS already pointed to the Russian ties of actors such as Srđan Nogo, Novica Antić and Mlađan Đorđević, who during the mass “1 out of 5 million” protests called on the army and police to stage a coup and forcibly take power in a country that is a candidate for EU membership. We also pointed out that the self-proclaimed democratic opposition, which has never condemned or distanced itself from this aspect of their actions, appear very hypocritical when it complains about the state of human rights, media freedoms and the rule of law to the European, and not to the Kremlin institutions. Nogo and the like are supporters of the same Russian policies that led to the EU imposed sanctions against Russia.

CEAS also warned about and submitted undeniable evidence to the penetration of pro-Kremlin structures into the ranks of the allegedly pro-EU movement Let's Not Drown Belgrade, but this failed to stir any reaction.

Russia's violent undemocratic-autocratic attempts to emulate non-violent, truly pro-democratic movements have already been witnessed in Ukraine, Montenegro and Northern Macedonia.

CEAS hopes that real analysts and serious politicians in the West will see these violent demonstrations, which have the same methods of action and whose actors share the same values ​​and contacts, for what they really are. Their common goal is to stop the stabilization and democratization of the Western Balkans and prevent a compromise solution to the remaining open issues that would anchor the entire region, including Serbia, in the political West. After all, that is in the interest of Moscow.

CEAS, of course, condemns the excessive use of force against individuals – to which the Ministry of the Interior must immediately react, but points out that these incidents are by no means the main circumstance that must be considered when monitoring these events.

We note with regret that smoke bombs, torches and sporadic police brutality are unfortunately attracting more attention of the Western media these days than many positive trends in Serbia. In part, this can be understood in a world where news must be generated 24 hours a day; however, once it becomes a trend then the question must be raised whether certain circles in the West prefer to undermine Belgrade's negotiating position in finding a compromise on the new status of Kosovo. We sincerely hope that they will not resort to the methods of pro-Kremlin structures and attempt to destabilize legitimate authorities by recruiting parts of the security system.

Belgrade, July 8, 2020