Тelegraph: Putin in Serbia – the EU candidate country welcomes „our president“

As Serbia prepares to throw its biggest military parade for 29 years in Vladimir Putin’s honour, we look at why so many in this country on the EU’s doorstep are in thrall to Russia’s president

Serbia’s biggest military parade for 29 years will welcome Russian president Vladimir Putin to Belgrade today, as the ex-Yugoslav state continues to balance its EU membership ambitions with close ties with Russia.

Serbian army soldiers drive tanks during preparations for a military parade in Belgrade Photo: Reuters

Serbian army soldiers drive tanks during preparations for a military parade in Belgrade Photo: Reuters

Military aircraft have been roaring over the city all week, in preparation for the event, which nominally marks the 70th anniversary of Belgrade’s liberation from the Nazis and the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The parade is a striking display of militarism for a country which spent much of the 1990s embroiled in wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.

What’s going on?

Some 3,500 troops will participate. Vladimir Putin will make a flying visit, jetting in en route a Europe-Asia summit in Milan at which he is expected to engage in tough negotiations with Ukrainian president Petro Proshenko over a peace deal and a gas dispute which threatens Europe’s winter energy supply.

Thousands are expected to brave Belgrade’s torrential autumn rain to see the parade around the grey Communist blocks and shiny new offices and malls of New Belgrade. Many wish to give Putin a hero’s welcome.

Stencils of the Russian President’s face have appeared around town – swiftly defaced by his detractors – while posters have referred to him as “Our President”.

One joke on the streets says that the army will parade missiles it failed to fire during the wars of the 1990s for fear that they would merely explode immediately when launched.

Why is Serbia giving Putin such a welcome?

Although authorities stress the parade is a commemoration of Belgrade’s liberation, the scale is certainly closely linked to Putin’s visit. The Russian president is likely to bask in the adulation afforded to him by an EU candidate state before meeting European leaders in Milan.

For many Belgraders, the military parade is a nuisance that the country can ill-afford; citizens complain about the noise from the aircraft and the damage done to roads by military vehicles.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Getty Images)

But Belgrade has a close relationship with Moscow. Russia has extended soft loans to the cash-strapped Serbian government. Serbia has been a staunch backer of South Stream, a Gazprom pipeline project that would bring Russian gas to Central Europe via the Balkans, against EU opposition.

Serbia also enjoys privileged trade access to Russia’s market as well as the EU’s, positioning itself as a regional export centre.

Finally, Russia operates a “humanitarian centre” in the strategically-important southern city of Nis that some fear could give it a foothold in the region.

A woman walks past posters showing Russian President Vladimir Putin reading "Welcome, President" in Belgrade (AFP/Getty Images)

A woman walks past posters showing Russian President Vladimir Putin reading „Welcome, President“ in Belgrade (AFP/Getty Images)

Some critics of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, a former ultranationalist, say that he is trying to ape Putin’s strongman image and policies; Serbia has recently come under fire for curbs on media freedom.

Natural allies

Serbia and Russia have cultural ties, both being predominantly Orthodox Christian country with a Slavic language.

Furthermore, there is a grudging respect for Putin’s tough stance against the West and his assertion of Russia’s independence.

A Serbian army truck carries surface-to-air missiles during preparations for a military parade in Belgrade (Reuters)

A Serbian army truck carries surface-to-air missiles during preparations for a military parade in Belgrade (Reuters)

Many Serbs still regard the West with suspicion. Serbia was bombed by NATO as recently as 1999 – two huge ministry buildings gutted by the bombing still stand in the heart of Belgrade, untouched since they were hit as a reminder of what the majority of Serbs see as a grave injustice.

While Serbia is making real efforts to move towards the EU, there is a widespread feeling that the Union will only accept Serbia reluctantly and conditionally, (membership is not expected until 2020, probably later).

Putin’s alpha-male image is also appealing, in contrast to effete European and American leaders.

Russia has also staunchly supported Belgrade over Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, but the Serbian government still sees as a breakaway state.

By Andrew MacDowall, Belgrade

(Тelegraph, 16. 10. 2014)



Категорије:Стање@English

7 replies

  1. Видео компонента спота, технички савршена!
    Онај ко не разуме срБски, могао би да стекне утисак да се ради о реклами за Путина, Србију и СрБску војску.

    Аудио компонента спота, дилетантска!
    Неталентовани анонимни извођач, више фалшира него што се држи нота Чолиног великог хита “Јесен у Београду“!

    Текст: мизерија!
    Нарочито бисер: “Путин кредит даје, задужиће нам унуке“!
    Па, нама је већ и нерођена чукунунучад у дужничком ропству лихварског ММФ-а!
    Цар Владимир својим кредитима може само да нам скине ММФ-ове букагије!

    Радио Лагуна?
    Нови тројански коњ шарене демократске лаже који је преузео штафетну палицу од Бееееее92!

    Свиђа ми се

  2. @Мирослав Анђелковић

    Аудио компонента спота, дилетантска!
    Неталентовани анонимни извођач, више фалшира него што се држи нота Чолиног великог хита “Јесен у Београду“!

    Реч је о споту Уроша Богдановића, он је имао такве „скечеве“ раније на Радио Индексу. Заправо је човек шаљивџија, сад колико је успешан – нека свако процени сам: мени је био симпатичан, али не више од тога.

    Али стављање тог видео/аудио записа за оне који не знају срБски је беспредметно, осим ако није стављено за оне који ЗНАЈУ срБски, али и енглески…

    Свиђа ми се

  3. G. Laziću,
    Imao je nekada na Indeksu „skečeve“ i Dragoljub Ljubičić.
    Hleb je zaradjivao sprdajući se i potsmevajući se Čoveku čiji se duh pojavljuje u ovom pamflet-spotu!
    Mada je dotičnog predstavljao kao velikog diktatora, Mićko je neometano vršio svoju „misiju“ i nije mu stradala ni jedna dlaka sa glave!
    Pa, Koraksić je takodje napravio karijeru u zdravlju i veselju na bljutavim karikaturama „diktatorovim“!
    Ni jednog ni drugog velikog „umetnika“ nema danas u javnosti da se narugaju galeriji aktuelnih likova i njihovim delima!
    Ni malo ih ne inspirišu likovi poput Sline, Če Gevare, Mrtvozornika, Betmena…
    Naglo im uvenuo talenat u demokratiji?
    Ili ga nikada nisu ni imali?
    No, ipak će biti da je onaj njihov diktator bio malo dete prema ovim današnjim!
    Prpa bato za goli život!!
    Pored pomenutih „gromada“, na ovog nižerazrednog bednika iz spota ne treba trošiti reči!

    Свиђа ми се

  4. G. Andjelkovicu, nepravedni ste prema Koraksicu !
    Na prvoj strani sajta DANAS stoji njegova karikatura parade :

    Iz visine, sa bine, Putin sa smeskom posmatra dvojicu koji pred binom guraju jedan stari raspadnuti tenk?
    Dvojicu cete lako prepoznati. Crtao Corax.

    Свиђа ми се

  5. Procitao sam samo naslov i podnaslov ovog clanka u Telegraph-u i nazalost, vec u podnaslovu (prva 3 reda), nasao izvesne neistine. Evo pokusaja prevoda :

    Dok Srbija sprema najvecu vojnu paradu u zadnjih 35 godina u cast Vladimira Putina, mi razmisljamo zasto u toj zemlji, koja je na pragu EU, ima toliko zavisnika od ruskog predsednika

    Свиђа ми се

  6. @Deda Djole
    Baš ste neki šeret!
    Ulovili ste ih u lažima već u prva tri reda!
    Koliko li ih je tek u celom članku?
    Kao: niste znali da generalno na podivljaljalom Zapadu nema novine kojoj je Istina sveta, odnosno da im je Laž paradigma!
    A, tek kad pišu o nama i našoj braći Rusima, laž im postaje opsesija!!!

    Свиђа ми се

  7. Извињавам се Кораксу!
    Није ми био познат његов најновији опус!
    Ипак је цензура у овој данашњој “демократији“ жешћа од оне у ономаднашњој “диктатури“.
    Браво мајсторе!
    Ево линка, па уживајте:
    http://www.slobodnaevropa.org/media/photogallery/karikature-predrag-koraksic-corax-srbija/24573068.html

    Свиђа ми се

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