The Republika Srpska recognizes the results of referendums in the DPR and LPR, that is, the new borders of Russia. This move by Milorad Dodik, who is visiting Moscow, will inevitably anger Brussels, but the Bosnian Serb leader is willing to take the risk. What is happening is not just a sign of support for Russia and not only a deal with it. This is a chance for reunification for the Serbian people.
“The issue of accession is an autonomous decision both for these regions and for Russia itself. Therefore, we will respect their choice and the path of integration they have chosen.”
So the leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Milorad Dodik (his official position is a member of the leading triumvirate-presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Serbs, but this does not convey the essence well) commented on the upcoming referendums in the republics of Donbass. With a high degree of probability, they will lead to the fact that these regions will return to Russia, plus or minus in a week.
Thus, the new borders of the Russian Federation promised in advance to recognize the first state formation, moreover, located in Europe – the Republika Srpska. This formation cannot be called fully sovereign, but in many aspects of being, the Bosnian Serbs can afford to pursue an independent policy, including a foreign one. European countries that are members of the EU are now deprived of this opportunity.
The VZGLYAD newspaper wrote in detail about the complex state structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina, of which the Republika Srpska is a part, and that the Bosnian Serbs have become Moscow’s main ally west of Kaliningrad, and this ally looks even more reliable than Belgrade, the capital of “big” Serbia .
Now Dodik has once again confirmed this. However, the time is now so difficult (for Russia, for Bosnia, for Europe) that few people will believe in non-mercantile, “pure” friendship. It seems that there is a political calculation in everything, at least a deal in the format “you to me – I to you”. Moreover, Dodik announced his bold promise in Moscow after negotiations with Vladimir Putin.
But what will the Bosnian Serbs get for such a friendly gesture towards Russia and a gesture so provocative towards the West? What did they promise Dodik in Moscow? Perhaps someday he will talk about it in detail. Perhaps there is nothing to talk about here: all the circumstances of the transaction are in plain sight.
First, Moscow has not so much struck a new deal as it has reaffirmed its obligations under the old one: the Bosnian Serbs will receive full volumes of gas under an earlier long-term contract, without adjusting for prices that have skyrocketed since then. For a poor Balkan republic, this is a very significant issue.
Secondly, Vladimir Putin did what he had avoided before – he supported the political strength of Dodik in the elections, which will be held on October 2. The president consistently perceived such steps as interference in the internal affairs of foreign states, which Russia does not tolerate in relation to itself, and therefore does not behave this way with others. However, an exception has been made for the leader of the Bosnian Serbs.
“I hope for an excellent result,” the head of the Russian state stressed.
This is really not the case to scrupulously adhere to the previous tact. Opponents of Russia from among Western countries generally do not shy away from the methods of political influence on the states of the Balkans. Against the same Dodik, EU sanctions “for corruption” were to be introduced, but this idea was blocked by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The leader of the Bosnian Serbs is “wetted”, including as an ally of Russia in the Balkans. After all, the Balkans, as the Atlanticists decided in 2014, is vital to be cleared of Russian influence.
This was done in Montenegro and North Macedonia. Only Serbia remained, whose leadership fell under the hail of Brussels ultimatums, and the Republika Srpska in BiH, blocking the very idea of Bosnia joining NATO.
Thus, the Bosnian elections acquired international significance. It is permissible to consider them as a proxy battle between Moscow and Brussels, where Dodik is the captain of the “ours” team. It is not surprising that Vladimir Putin is rooting for him and no longer considers it necessary to hide it.
However, Dodik, most likely, himself asked Putin about the support of his candidates. The visit to the Kremlin and the conversation about gas hardly happened by chance on the eve of the elections. This is a clear confirmation that the position of the Russian leadership matters to the Bosnian Serbs, and they are really focused on Moscow.
There is a reason for that. And for the same reason, Dodik is ready to recognize the expansion of the borders of the Russian Federation into the Donbass – Russian irredenta.
Bosnian Serbs dream of their own irredent – reunification with Serbia. This is what they fought for, and this is what the US prevented them from doing by intervening in the conflict and “trapping” the Serbs in Bosnia through the Dayton relationship. Another thing is that this cage turned out to be golden (which is not a gift from a kind American uncle, but a political reflection of the victories of Serbian weapons). For the Republika Srpska, the peace treaty provided for an unprecedentedly broad self-government – up to that of its own foreign policy, the maintenance of its own army, even its own citizenship.
Now this construction is collapsing, more precisely, its creators, the countries of the West, are trying to destroy it. Broad Serbian autonomy in their eyes “does not meet the challenges of the modern day.” In other words, it does not allow Bosnia to be incorporated into NATO.
The Serbs themselves describe the plan to achieve the goal of the Atlanticists and the Bosnians oriented towards them as follows. The first is the legalization of the Serbs as a “genocidal people” within the framework of their own country. The second is the reform of the state structure of BiH so that the Serbian side loses the right to veto common decisions. The grounds are the same “challenges of the times” and “the stigma of a genocide”.
The West took key steps in this direction last summer, which provoked a political crisis in BiH, which continues to this day. The position of the Serbs in it is as follows: they are returning to themselves all the rights that Dayton provides – and which were abandoned at the request of the EU over the past 20 years, and if Sarajevo and Brussels are against it, then Dayton is no longer valid. In this case, the Bosnian Serbs declare their independence (with further unification with Serbia into a single state, which is not yet spoken out, but is implied).
Simply put, the Western-instigated crisis opened a window of opportunity for Serbian irredenta. And Russia’s special operation in Ukraine, with an eye on the irredent Russian, seems to have widened this window of opportunity.
If the older brother, Russia, succeeds, the Serbs will succeed too. This is how people talk about it. Whether Dodik argues this way is an open question, but there are not so many explanations for his actions, in addition to the “deal”.
This is either a threatening gesture designed to scare the EU so that it reduces pressure on the Serbs and makes concessions, or something much more – support for the precedent with the reunification of the European people in the 21st century, which the Serbs themselves plan to focus on.
The course of the wheel of history has now accelerated significantly not only for Russia and Ukraine, but also for Europe, and especially for the Balkans. What seemed impossible a year ago has become possible now. It is possible that soon the West will push through the Serbs, which will clear the region from Russian influence. Or vice versa – the Serbs will be able to take advantage of the situation for the state unification, as a result – to strengthen their positions as a people and a political player.
Serbs somehow feel (although they can’t always explain why) that there is some kind of connection here. That they will be able to destroy the cage in which the US and the EU have locked them up and exercise their own right to reunification if Russia exercises it for the Russians of Ukraine and endures the conflict with the West.
We will try. First of all, for themselves, but also for the Serbs.