EXCLUSIVE Novica Antic, President of the Army of Serbia Trade Union in the Christmas interview for our web magazine speaks of the burning issues

"The Octopus of Crime Is Destroying the Serbian Army!"

Published on January 2019.

We speak to Mister Antic at the moment when as the first and only military union in the history of the Serbian Army is being the most persecuted organization in Europe. In an exclusive interview, Antic speaks of the current moment, going out into the streets, the state of the Serbian military, financial embezzlement and the dismissal that has caused an international incident within organizations dealing with unionist and workers’ rights.

Mister Antic, your dismissal from the Army of Serbia has been an issue in the Serbian press for weeks, but also in the international public. How do you view your current situation?

- As the third generation of soldiers in my family, of course it is not pleasant when a deserter and a false socialist and leftist Aleksandar Vulin decides to dismiss me completely illegally and against international law. This new evidence, and one should rather call it attempt to silence the only representative union in the Serbian Army, came at the moment when we discovered a series of embezzlements, robberies from the state budget, of which we will be informing the Serbian public in detail in the coming weeks. The key intention of this legal savagery is to remove me from the Army of Serbia Union and to send a message to my colleagues that this is the way they will be treated if they oppose the dictatorship. There they made a key mistake, to which they are quite prone, because they forgot that we are soldiers before all and only then are we unionists. The Statute of the Army of Serbia Union has foreseen such a possibility, since we have understood a while ago that we are bothering an interest group headed by Minister Vulin. This group of usurers has not brought a single good thing to the Serbian Army. By the decision of my colleagues who make up the Assembly of the Army of Serbia Union and in accordance with the Statute, I remain at the helm of this important union, of which I am very proud.

Often you have criticized certain decisions by the Ministry of Defense, the Minister and his aides. In what measure do you think this has contributed to the situation?

- This is key. The socialist and leftist Vulin, instead of holding talks with us and signing a collective agreement that would significantly advance the living standard of the members of the Serbian Army, so that they are not “second-class citizens” in their own country, they have decided to take action against us using methods from one hundred years ago when union leaders were murdered. Had this clique been in power, conditionally speaking, in the year 1968, they would have torn Lech Walesa apart in the center of Gdansk using horses. They go so far in violating their own Constitution, international conventions, EU and U.N. charters, in order to persecute the Army of Serbia Union. They act as if Serbia were a medieval state where each of them has their own feud to plunder, rob, economically enslave and exhaust the impoverished people.

Members of the Serbian military gathered in the Army of Serbia Union do not want to tolerate such an order and, what is interesting, the number of union members has been growing ever since the persecution started. They have woken up the spite in the Serbian soldier and together with our innate catholicity, our orthodox and military codes, they have strengthened our actions. The Army of Serbia Union is the only professional organization whose membership is growing every month despite the fact that seven members leave the Serbian Army every month because of the intolerable standard of living and conditions at work. They are ready to go through with this legal abomination even at the price of being condemned by respectable international organizations from the EU and Russia that the Army of Serbia Union has signed cooperation agreements with. The state will allow itself, because of the arbitrariness of some guy called Vulin, or some clerks at the Ministry of Defense, to have problems while signing the chapters 19, 23 and 24 in the EU accession negotiations, if they ever start or if they come to an end. This means they are ready to jeopardize the state’s interests because of selfish personal, tawdry deals. That is a disgrace.

Protests are being announced across Serbia and in Belgrade itself, with each gathering bigger than the one held the previous week. Army of Serbia Union was invited to join the demonstrations, but your union is not taking part. Why?

- Army of Serbia Union is a national, patriotic and state-preserving organization. We do not shy away from getting involved in politics, this is actually one of the essential roles of the union, and there are countless examples around the world where union representatives play important roles in the parliaments – in Germany, England, Norway where unions have been in power for over 80 years… However, certain politicians consider that this is their prerogative and privilege alone. Serbia is at an important geopolitical moment where a clear danger exists that we may forever be robbed of 15 percent of our territory. On the other hand, Serbia is facing the economic genocide, over 40,000 young people have left, and those who stay in a large number of cases have to suffer slave owners’ terror of the foreign companies who have ironically come here thanks to the insane subventions from the Government and the state. Today migrants and foreigners have more rights in Serbia than its own citizens. The demonstrations against the current Government are led by those who in the past 30 years have in certain periods been part of that government and have been creating the Serbian reality for three decades. We all know how things are going. We have been economically destroyed, we have economic genocide going on, we have been robbed, to put it simply. Does Serbia really have no other people with untarnished reputations and biographies? Are we held as prisoners by people systematically destroying the state in which over €120 billion have been taken out of the country and put onto private accounts in a robbery unlike any other in the whole world? And now the culprits of those robberies are protesting ones against the others while we, people who fought in the wars, who wrote the noble history of Pastrik and Kosare with our bravery, our children and our people should be the guinea pigs of those people who should face not just the judgement of the history, but also charges brought by the Special Prosecutor’s Office.

And they should do so in line with the new laws providing for brutal confiscation of everything that was robbed, annulling of the criminal privatization and confiscating the money deposited in foreign bank accounts. At this moment, Serbia needs strategic realignment. We need to audit all the transactions and then choose the road we should take in the next one hundred years. Zivojin Misic[1] realigned his troops and reorganized the army, fed the soldiers and won one of the most magnificent battles at Kolubara against much stronger and more numerous enemy forces. We are receiving calls from veterans, citizens, retirees, teachers, policemen our colleagues, students, farmers… to form an alliance that will stand before the people together with us at the helm of the march. Our sacrifice was not in vain because all research shows that our union is highly ranked in terms of confidence of the people. Should the Army of Serbia Union stand before the people, then the people will know for what, why, against whom and for whom it is getting out into the streets! Until then we shall weigh everything carefully and we will not allow anyone to take advantage of us or embarrass us.

Do we have strength for such a thing as a people?

- Historically we have seen worse situations. Our Calvary across Albania, the First World War, the killings in Jasenovac, Sumarice, the communist dictatorship, the genocide during operation Storm, I need not continue. There is no oppression that can defeat the toughness and the sharpness of the Serbian peasant and father of the house. The strength of this people is in its history, its orthodox faith and its glorious army. The fall of those who have been destroying the people and the state for 30 years will be very painful. If you take a country that has given the world Ivo Andric, Nikola Tesla, Mihajlo Pupin, all the way to our contemporary Novak Djokovic, and turn it into a reality TV pigpen with a feudal order in which every municipal mayor is the lord of his manor, it is well-known how these occurrences ended throughout history.

What is so wrong with the Ministry of defense and the Serbian military that the Army of Serbia Union has been criticizing it in a thundering voice for the last five or six years?

- This is a long and extensive subject. Serbian Army has been systematically destroyed by certain foreign services, and its members are humiliated to such extent that NATO has an office at the Ministry of Defense, while the only and the first representative union in the history of the Army does not. A deserter has been brought to head the Ministry, a man who was pretending to be a rock n’ roll buffoon while our colleagues were being brought back in coffins from the war fields, while he was exempted from military service. Imagine if such a thing were to happen in Israel, for example. The people would take to the streets. And that is not the worst. Then a person with such moral code chooses people like himself for his aides, coating it all with sugar of idolatry. In Serbia, it does not matter how much you steal, as long as you celebrate the leader and all of his actions. These are relapses into the totalitarianism that had collapsed on its own. And their projects are just pillages, senseless projects like Lazar combat vehicle, discrimination of children, worst kind of oppression against union representatives, financial embezzlements, all the way to the lack of responsibility for the deaths of the people who were sent on a mission in an illegal way… While your army has the lowest wages in the region of just €270, your officers are leaving to drive trucks god=knows-where in the world, your army is hungry and naked and barefoot… No one in the Army of Serbia Union will keep silent about these things. We exist in order to protest and fight against this and they will have to understand this and accept it. They are lessening the combat readiness of the country at the moment when there is saber rattling around us. Serbia is no one’s inheritance. We have sworn to this country, to its flag and its Constitution, not to politicians.

WHAT ARE THE AUTHORITIES AFRAID OF?

- The authorities are afraid of the strength of the Army of Serbia Union. The union that has almost eight thousand soldiers among its members would scare any dictator politician whose authority is based on reality TV shows and false propaganda. When that bubble of illusion finally bursts they will be faced with what remains untainted, honest and is the most valuable thing Serbia has. Members of our army, next to this wonderful people, certainly are just that – Antic said.

 

OF PRIDE AND DISAPPOINTMENT

- I am proud of Serbian soldiers who are members of the Army of Serbia Union. They are brave and honest people. I regret making the sacrifice and suffering the humiliation, as the best of my class, third soldier in our family’s tradition, to be thrown out of the Army of Serbia by a war deserter. All those men who have gathered catholically around our unionist family deserve much more… And wheb they have told me, on the day of the christening of my little daughter, that I was dismissed unconstitutionally and illegally, the strength and the willingness of the Army of Serbia Union to remain what it has always been have won. I was a little disappointed to learn that there are officers in the Serbian Army who would sign the decision to put me out of service. I believed that the code of honor among officers was not just a dead letter and that they would have a little honor and valiance to refuse doing criminal acts for the sake of petty politicizing. It is obvious that a message was sent to me and my colleagues that they would obey the enemy in the same manner and betray us all, but unfortunately our history remembers such moments too – Antic said.

 

[1] Zivojin Misic GCMG, GCLH, KCB was a Field Marshal who participated in all of Serbia's wars from 1876 to 1918.