This is one of very few sober assessments of the turbulent events currently in progress in Serbia.
Under his government, Serbia clinched an “Individual Partnership Action Plan” with NATO, the same alliance that bombed it for 78 days in 1999. It’s also an official EU aspirant and has informally recognized Kosovo & Metohija’s self-declared “independence” at Brussels’ urging. Furthermore, Serbia voted against its historical Russian ally at the UN over Ukraine in solidarity with its new Euro-Atlantic partners. For all intents and purposes, Serbia has proven itself to be less reliable of a partner for Russia than many Global South states.
Serbian President Vucic condemned the failed Color Revolution attempt on Sunday by the Western-backed opposition whose pretext for trying to seize government buildings was their anger with the latest national elections’ alleged irregularities. He also thanked unnamed foreign spy agencies for tipping him off about this plot, which Prime Minister Brnabic soon thereafter confirmed were Russia’s. Although the damage to the Belgrade administration building was deemed by Mayor Sapic to be irreparable, the state still stands.
Many were surprised by what just unfolded since Vucic has made many concessions towards the West. Under his government, Serbia clinched an “Individual Partnership Action Plan” with NATO, the same alliance that bombed it for 78 days in 1999. It’s also an official EU aspirant and has informally recognized Kosovo & Metohija’s self-declared “independence” at Brussels’ urging. Furthermore, Serbia voted against its historical Russian ally at the UN over Ukraine in solidarity with its new Euro-Atlantic partners.
The only two issues on which Serbia hasn’t budged under pressure concern the West’s demands to sanction Russia and cut off military-technical cooperation with it, but the latter might not be as solid as some earlier thought. The Pentagon leaks earlier this year alleged that Serbia agreed to send arms to Ukraine, which Vucic denied, but then he said over the summer that he isn’t opposed to Ukraine receiving Serbian ammunition via third parties. This suggests that such rat lines do indeed exist.
For all intents and purposes, Vucic’s Serbia has proven itself to be less reliable of a political-military partner for Russia than many Global South states, including those that are its non-traditional partners with whom relations only expanded in recent years. One would therefore think that the West would be content with his many concessions towards their New Cold War bloc, but instead it wants full control over Serbia as proven by Sunday night’s events.
This hegemonic mentality is counterproductive to its objective interests since the signal being sent to other countries is that no number of concessions will satiate the West’s lust for full control over them. They might therefore be reluctant to comply with related pressure after seeing that even the most uncomfortable policies, including those that inflict damage on their own interests, won’t protect them from Color Revolution threats. All that they’ll do is weaken them more before an impending coup plot.
Looking forward, it would be wise for Vucic to seriously consider recalibrating his admittedly lopsided balancing act between Russia and the West. There’s no doubt that Serbia is in a very difficult position that greatly limits the exercise of its sovereignty, but even so, he could at the very least have his government issue an official demarche to those Western ones that backed the Color Revolution attempt. Suspending cooperation with NATO, even if only in part, could also send a strong message of discontent.
The problem that Vucic has found himself in, and it’s entirely of its own making, is that his country’s liberal–globalists wanted him to make maximum concessions towards the West while its conservative-nationalists were appalled at how much he’s already done. That’s why it was important to clarify over the summer that “Serbia’s Anti-Government Protesters Are A Mix Of Color Revolutionaries & Patriots”. Without intending to, he angered both influential groups, which reduced his public support.
What happened on Sunday was a textbook Color Revolution attempt that no bonafide patriot could support in good conscience, but some undoubtedly experienced schadenfreude after he tried running with the hares and hunting with the hounds, only for the liberal-globalists to turn on him. Vucic was never going to entirely please them, yet he still consistently made his best effort to do so. It’s unlikely that he learned his lesson and will finally dump them, but that would be the best-case scenario.