No friendly state would ever do to another what Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Montenegro just did to Serbia, which is disgraceful to the extreme and a violation of the most basic diplomatic norms. They and their American overlord are afraid of Lavrov traveling there because the positive example of Russian-Serbian relations draws attention to their unfair relations with the US.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zakharova confirmed late Sunday night that Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Montenegro all closed their airspace to her boss Lavrov’s planned flight to Serbia on Monday, where he was scheduled to visit on a two-day trip to meet with this friendly country’s leadership. This disgraceful development confirms that all three of them are nowadays nothing but US-led Western puppets and also represents another milestone in how terrible Russian-NATO ties have become since the onset of Moscow’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine.
Despite a lot of diplomacy being conducted remotely during the highpoint of the COVID-19 pandemic, professionals always prefer to handle business face-to-face if given the choice. That’s because it’s more difficult to spy on them and easier to strike up a personal rapport with their counterparts. Russia’s top diplomat probably planned to discuss their energy cooperation, Belgrade’s proud refusal to sanction his country despite publicly condemning it at the UN under foreign pressure, and other related matters. This was evidently unacceptable for the US-led West, however, hence why they obstructed his trip.
Serbia’s in a strategically disadvantageous position since it’s literally surrounded by NATO countries that can simply cut it off from the outside world if they want to. This leverage is exploited to put maximum pressure on that country’s leadership in order to coerce it into distancing itself from Russia, which thus far has only been successful in the superficial sense of getting it to vote against Moscow at the UN. What’s so hypocritical about this is that those same countries falsely claim that Russia wants to control Ukraine’s foreign policy yet they’re the ones literally attempting to control Serbia’s.
This hostile stance towards Russia and Serbia alike didn’t come out of nowhere but was preceded by years of information warfare against both of them. While most of the world is well aware of the anti-Russian narratives that have been propagated since late February, some might have forgotten about the anti-Serbian ones. They basically claim that Serbia is a “Balkan Russia” that supposedly wants to conquer the region out of pure bloodlust, which the Kremlin is allegedly conspiring to encourage in order to destabilize this part of Europe. Suffice to say, there’s no truth in these claims, but they still resonate.
That’s because Serbophobia has been pushed for over a century by the US-led West, which saw political capital to be earned in the region by scaremongering about this ethnic group. The end result was the three genocides of the Serbian people (Serbocides) during World War I, World War II, and during the Yugoslav Wars (including the one over the Serbian Province of Kosovo & Metohija). Instead of acknowledging what they’ve done to their neighbors, many Albanians, Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks), and Croats take pride in these war crimes and regard them as integral parts of their national histories.
Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Montenegrin attitudes towards Serbia aren’t as toxic but are still unfriendly at some levels, especially the official one. The first-mentioned has historically regarded itself as an aspiring Balkan leader and used to be supported by Imperial Russia to that end during the late 19th century, which is why it sometimes becomes jealous of Serbia’s currently close ties with Russia. As for Macedonia, its people regard their 20th-century history as a period of Serbian occupation, the same as many Montenegrins do as well. Naturally, their NATO-controlled governments intensely dislike Serbia.
Historical interpretations aside, it sets a very negative precedent for countries to band together to diplomatically isolate their neighbor by closing their airspace in order to prevent their partner’s Foreign Minister from visiting them. This violates diplomatic norms and confirms that those countries aren’t operating in independent capacities but as pawns of the US-led West. They’re exploiting their geographic locations that give them leverage over Serbia so as to enforce their diplomatic will over that country, which in this case is for it to distance itself from Russia.
Try as they might, however, these pathetic attempts won’t weaken Russian-Serbian relations but will only strengthen them, especially at the civil society level among those patriotic Serbs who have no doubt that those neighboring governments – but importantly, not their people! – are their enemies. No friendly state would ever do to another what they just did to Serbia, which is disgraceful to the extreme and a violation of the most basic diplomatic norms. They’re afraid of Lavrov traveling there because the positive example of Russian-Serbian relations draws attention to their unfair relations with the US.
To explain, the much larger and more powerful US abuses its medium- and smaller-sized partners as vassals while similarly sized Russia respects them as the equals that they are in the eyes of international law. It doesn’t mistreat Serbia like the US mistreats Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Montenegro, but sincerely treasures it as an important partner. This stark contrast is one of the reasons why Russia has genuinely won many hearts and minds in the Balkans, which makes those NATO-controlled governments very uncomfortable because they always fear the scenario of patriotically driven Color Revolutions.
That’s not to say that one would break out if Lavrov wasn’t stopped from visiting Serbia, but just that the optics of him meeting with that country’s leaders in the context of the New Cold War might nevertheless inspire local multipolar conservative-sovereigntist (MCS) forces. It’s with these ideological motivations in mind to counteract Russia’s rising soft power appeal in the region that those three earlier mentioned countries’ American overlord ordered them to close off their airspace to his flight, though all that this diplomatic provocation proved is how self-conscious they are of their vassalhood.