OpEd

Serbia in four views

Elections in 2023 prepared Serbia for the desired wonderland of 2024 - with Russia victorious, Europe tilting to the far right and Trump at the helm of America - a world that, President Vucic hopes, will begin to seek Serbia's likeness. today.

Here is a contribution to the analysis of the recently held elections in Serbia. Anyway, it will be more for a deeper analysis, but here are four views/impressions.

1. Aleksandar Vučić, Political Center of Serbia

In the recently held elections in Serbia, the man who did not run, the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, won. He won for the parliament, for which he did not run, and won for mayors, for which he did not run. He won on behalf of the Party whose chairman he is not.

Critics of his victory address the slavish submission of the country's mainstream media. They also address the use of public funds for party purposes. In these elections, it was also criticized for election manipulation, from the "Bulgarian train", up to 40 thousand Serbs from Bosnia and Herzegovina brought by buses to vote for the party which brought them by buses to Belgrade.

But, even taking into account these remarks, Vučić has won these elections by transforming himself into the political center of Serbia. To his left and right are the parties that were neither more left nor more right than him and with less than 10 percent of support they can become eventual partners of the governing coalition. Throughout the campaign, the socialists failed to show themselves better than Vuçiqi in the distribution of public funds and the nationalist right failed to show themselves more nationalist than Vuçiqi. The coalition of parties that are considered pro-European and named "Serbia against violence" failed to show how they will make Serbia more European than Vučić - one will remember the declaration that they would cancel all Vučić's agreements with Kosovo - but demanding that he be removed from power.

The election was a referendum for and against Vučić, and Vučić won. Vuçiqi, of course, defined the discourse of these elections as a referendum. And, Vuçiqi, even though it seemed like some kind of opposition demand, determined when the elections would be held. And they are held, usually, when Vuçiqi believes he wins them.

In pre-election polls, the number of respondents consistently calling for a strong hand in Serbia was always over 60 percent. President Vučić read these polls carefully and offered Serbia what it asked for: that it will deal with increasing pensions and salaries, with talks about Kosovo, with preventing sanctions against Russia, with preserving German investments in Serbia, with demonstrations and demonstrators, with the kilometers of roads that will be paved from one village to another and the number of Chinese anti-aircraft weapons that will be bought...

Voters overcame the particular problems and identified the force that should lead them further, Vucic. If this was a description of putting power in the hands of one person, i.e. an autocracy, then it would also be fair to say that it is an autocracy that reflects majority support in Serbia. A support of those who voted for him; a support for the right to successfully test undemocratic means of holding power to the limits of the patience of his people and those in the international community who still consider him a partner.

2. Serbia of unfinished wars

On the victory podium, on the night of the elections, along with President Vučić, were the leader of the Bosnian Serbs, M. Dodik, and the leader of the Montenegrin Serbs, the Chetnik voivode and speaker of the Assembly of this country, A. Mandić. On the podium would have been M. Radoicic, considered as the leader (or rather manager) of the Kosovo Serbs, if his paramilitary operation in Banjska had not been unsuccessful.

In the discourse of these elections, the winners and most of the parties and coalitions that did not win, Serbia's wars have not ended. Since the arrival of President Vučić in power, Serbia and the Serbs have not found a new form of accommodation with the neighboring countries and peoples, but have deepened the problematic relationship with them. Today, the Serbian issue is open in relation to the contestation of Kosovo, BiH and Montenegro as democratic, functional states with a Euro-Atlantic perspective.

In this discourse, the wars of the nineties of the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia have not ended, there were no crimes committed by the Serbs and Serbia, and their objectives are legitimate to be continued by other means, from the blockades in BiH, the revolution clerical-nationalist in Montenegro to the operations of paramilitary units against Kosovo.

These elections legitimized the regional policy of President Vučić, that of reviving the Serbian issue by contesting the neighboring states. Almost the entire political spectrum in Serbia became part of this discourse, reinforcing the legitimacy of Vučić.

The self-declared pro-European opposition coalition called itself "Serbia against violence". It got its name from the protests for the mass murder of children and young people on the second of May in Serbia. But throughout the campaign, he did not address Serbia's culture of war and violence that coexists with the wars of dissolution of the former Yugoslavia - the sources of collective violence in Serbia and the threat to the entire region. With the votes won and the trap name, this coalition can be symbolically interpreted to have said the opposite, that most of Serbia is not against violence.

3. Serbia with many chairs

Western diplomats and statesmen have repeated to President Vucic that he cannot sit on two (or more) chairs in his foreign policy. With these elections, he demonstrated that he can.

Serbia is a country on the "European road", as described by the president who won the elections. The European path in recent years has been, simply broken down, turning the EU into an ATM from which funds are withdrawn with the promise that one day the obligations to it will be fulfilled, and that selectively.

Serbia is a country that respects the role of the USA and shows this respect by producing ammunition for export. In the strange journeys that international trade takes, this ammunition ends up in the Ukrainian military.

Serbia is a country with love for Russia. This love is manifested by the fact that Serbia "on its European path" has not imposed sanctions on Russia. In return for this love, Serbia expects diplomatic (and other) support for its policy of reopening the Serbian issue through the contestation of other states, including a NATO member, Montenegro.

Serbia is a country with admiration for China. In this admiration, Serbia would like to see itself as the dry port of China in Central Europe and a dream of every little child to have a big brother by his side who will not let anyone push him.

In recent years, Serbia has seen Europe as a successful market and investor, the USA as an insurmountable power, Russia as the big brother of the politics of unfinished states, China as the global power that will create balance with the West. After all, President Vučić has successfully tested the possibility of offering to everyone what he does not offer to others, and to take from everyone.

Thus, Serbia sees itself projected as part of the BRICS world, an association where there is money and markets, but no value affiliation.

4. Serbia waiting for the world of wonders

The elections in Serbia were not to get closer to Europe and America, but to project the hope of a future when Europe and America can resemble Serbia.

In today's EU, the point of reference for Serbia is Viktor Orban, who shares European money with other member states, but not values. In the projection of 2024, expectations in Serbia may be of a fundamental change.

In it, Putin's Russia regains the initiative in Ukraine, exhausting both this country and the West's support for it.

In it, European elections increase political forces like those of Orbán, and the Netherlands proved this with the victory of the extreme right.

And in it, the election in America is won by Donald Trump, bringing the revenge of a man who does not see the world through the traditional American eyes of an order based on rules, but in the order of rules he sets himself, according to the whims of that day.

This world of wonders would resemble today's Serbia more than Serbia resembles it today. Serbia, which is today's European exception, projects itself to be "mainstream", part of the European Center, or perhaps transatlantic. Just as President Vučić is comfortably placed in the Center, at least until 2027.