OpEd

The limits of the Serbian social contract

By copying Putin's social contract with the Russian people, Vuçiqi has concluded a social contract with the Serbian people, in which case Vuçiqi guarantees the Serbian people protection from the "external enemy", but at the same time provides them with stable economic development. The problem is that these two things are contradictory

Last week and this week were good weeks to understand the technology and engineering of the Vucic regime's propaganda operation. Let's start with last week.

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The President of Serbia started the week in Brussels – the unofficial capital of the West – surrounded by the Western community and talking about Western topics. He was praised for the meeting with the president of the European Commission, Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen, with whom he talked about "all strategic issues, about the future of Serbia and our advancement on the European path". Also, he posted a photo of the "cordial meeting" with the president of France, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, with whom he talked about "strengthening the partnership between Serbia and France". 

But seventy-two hours after this Western holiday, Vuçiqi organized a deeply anti-Western rally to mark the 25th anniversary of the "NATO aggression". He addressed the Western community with dramatic and combative vocabulary: “We will resist you as long as we breathe, we will resist you, because you cannot take away our freedom. You can take the air from us, but we will never give you freedom, because we love Serbia, we live for Serbia and we will never allow you to take Kosovo and Metohija from us, and to make our Serbia disappear".

At the same time, he posted on social networks a solemn text on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the bombings, saying: "Today marks 25 years since the beginning of the NATO aggression. 19 most powerful countries of the world attacked Serbia. Without any rights and for the first time without a decision of the United Nations Security Council. They destroyed our country for 78 days. They killed children. Territories were divided. However, Serbia still lives. Smarter. Stronger. More daring. More combative. And most importantly, cheap. Freedom is more important than air, freedom can never be taken away from us. Serbia will live!"

And on the same day, Vucic visited an arms factory, where he said: "For us Serbs, freedom is more important than air, and we will always know how to protect the freedom of our people and protect the air and land of our Serbia." .

So, within 72 hours, Vučić, on the one hand, talked "warmly" with the Western leaders in Brussels about "all strategic issues and the future of Serbia", and on the other hand, the Serbian arms factories promised him that he would resist them for as long as the Serbs "breathe", because "freedom is more important than air".

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Closing last week with open threats against the Western community did not prevent Vučić from starting this week with the West's wallet: the International Monetary Fund. With the IMF, he talked about "capital investments and project financing within the investment plans of the growth project: Leap towards the future - Serbia 2027".

But twenty-four hours after the meeting with the IMF, Vuçiqi posted a cataclysmic text: "Difficult days are ahead of us. At this moment, it is not easy to tell what news I have received in the last 48 hours... our vital national interests are directly threatened". 

So, within 24 hours, Vuçiqi on the one hand talked to the West about a bright and joyful future, called "leap to the future", and on the other hand he warned of cataclysm and terrible news that "threatens vital national interests".

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These two weeks have beautifully captured the technology and engineering of the Vucic regime's propaganda operation. By copying Putin's social contract with the Russian people, Vuçiqi has concluded a social contract with the Serbian people, in which case Vuçiqi guarantees the Serbian people protection from the "external enemy", but at the same time provides them with stable economic development. As long as the balance of these two interests is maintained, Vucic's regime is guaranteed. 

But there is a problem. These two things are contradictory. The sustainable economic development of Serbia is only possible thanks to the ever-increasing cooperation with the "external enemy". And this is where propaganda like the one we saw these last two days comes into play. But sometimes even propaganda reaches its limits. In other words, in the coming days, Serbia will find itself at a crossroads: either it will choose the "leap towards the future" and the West, or it will resist until the last breath, because "freedom is more important than air".