Is Russia losing its little brother? Information war drags Serbia closer to EU


December 20, 2015 – 

Kirill Ozimko, PolitRussia – 

Translated for Fort Russ by J. Arnoldski 

“Serbia is betraying Russia and joining the EU”

Serbia already received candidate status for EU membership back in March 2012. For a long time, starting negotiations was blocked by the conflict with Kosovo, which seceded from Serbia in 2008. For a few years, Serbia did not recognize the secession of their land. However, this summer they agreed to cooperate with it. 

On August 25, Serbia and the partially-recognized Republic of Kosovo even signed agreements in Brussels, according to which they will deepen their cooperation and join the European Union together. With this step, Serbia actually recognized the independence of its former territory. Despite the fact that this is a pure betrayal of Kosovo Serbs, Belgrade is making this step only for the sake of good relations with the West and the possibility of becoming a member of the European Union. 

Oh, those dreams of Eurointegration…They are like a virus which infect some hot head and instantly block memory and common sense. 

The process of accession formally began this month. The European Union launched accession talks on Serbia’s joining, put forth a number of economic demands along with a plan for building relations with Kosovo. The authorities of this Balkan country plan to fulfill all of Brussels’ requirements by 2019. 

In doing so, all of Serbia’s domestic and foreign policies fall into dependence on Brussels. Think about it: European officials are giving Serbs instructions on how and on what terms good-neighborly relations with Kosovo should be approached. 

After the meeting with the “bosses” of Europe, the Serbian Prime Minister eloquently expressed that Serbia is going to Europe not for economic reasons, but, first and foremost, for the public: the Serbian people want to match European-style society. 

What is this – a sensible step or betrayal? In our opinion, it is betrayal. 

Firstly, this is a betrayal of the Serbian people

Surely, the NATO bombardments which killed thousands of women and children are  still fresh in peoples’ minds. And NATO and the European Union are siblings who very diligently listen to their stern father – Washington. Whoever wants to speaks of the independence of Brussels, Europe has demonstrated this brotherhood more than once in recent history. 

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The collective West, in the form of NATO, deprived the Serbian people by force of the elected president Slobodan Milosevic, and the American eagle ripped the historically Serbian territory of Kosovo away with its claws. Today, [the American eagle], through Brussels, is urging the Serbian leadership to recognize the statehood of this territory and build friendly relations with it. In Europe, there is perhaps no other nation that has been more strongly affected by NATO. This is a betrayal of hundreds of thousands of Serbs thrown out of Kosovo, who were forced to leave their homes because of the threat of murder. In 2008, during the secession of Kosovo, it appeared to us that Serbs would always remember this and never forgive the West. 

However, according to Serbian politicians, the majority of the population endorses the European trajectory of development. What is this? An ordinary lie or the result of information work-overs that have caused amnesia? 

The second option is more likely, as otherwise Serbs would have somehow resisted the actions of their authorities. 

Secondly, this is a betrayal of Russia

A Serbian proverb says “in heaven there is God; on earth there is Russia.” Russia has always come to the aid of Serbia. During the Russo-Turkish War in 1878, Russian troops pinned down the Turks and forced them to sign a peace treaty, according to which Turkey was forced to recognize the independence of Serbia, Montenegro, and Romania.

Nikolai II entered the First World War partly for the sake of Serbia. In 1915-1916, he forced England and France to save the Serbian army which had retreated into Albania and was on the verge of destruction. The Russian Emperor wrote in his ultimatum: “If the Serbian Army will not be evacuated from Albania, then Russia will break its alliance with the Entente and conclude a separate peace with Germany.” 

However, there are things for which Serbs can be resentful against Russia. Our country really did nothing to save the Balkans from NATO bombardments in the late 1990’s when they, according to tradition, awaited their defenders.

Friendship between Russia and Serbia is based not only on historical ties, but also on a common Slavic origin of the Russian and Serbian peoples, as well as on the shared Orthodox religion. Serbs and Bulgarians live on the Balkan peninsula surrounded by Catholics and Muslims, and Russia has always been the bulwark of Orthodoxy. So why has the Serbian government taken the path of integration with the West, and not with Russia? And why is the Serbian people rather calmly reacting as if it approves of this?

In our opinion, the point lies in the information activities of Serbian media, which work for Western interests. They aggressively and uncompromisingly popularize Euro-Atlantic integration. B92, Blitz, Time, Today, and other outlets close to the Liberal Democratic Party, to put it mildly, express intemperate criticism as to their national culture and Russian-Serbian relations in any of their expressions. It has come to the point that journalists are justifying the American bombing of Serbia and as often as possibly try to write about how Russia didn’t help Serbia back then. Most of the articles in the Serbian press can be summarized in one phrase: “You Serbs hope for Russia in vain; she can’t or does not want to help, and you have to turn to the West and join the EU and NATO.”

Media and political centers (first and foremost, G17 and the pro-American Liberal Democratic Party), in conducting the campaign against energy agreements with Russia during the Serbian gas crisis, attempted to put all the blame for the situation on Moscow. The most scandalous part of the campaign was a picture in Blitz newspaper of two men burning a Russian flag (which is in fact the Serbian one inverted), so they blamed Russia for Serbia’s cold batteries. 

Some publicists and public and political figures justify this to Serbia for economic and geographical reasons. Supposedly, the territory of the country is almost surrounded by NATO and EU countries. But what kind of excuse is this? Georgia is actually surrounded by countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, but this does not stop it from moving steadily westwards.

In conclusion, I would like to say that a comparison of Serbia and Ukraine could be made not in vain. While the geopolitical importance of the two countries is different, the power of the information indoctrination of these two peoples is comparable. The majority of Serbian media are turning the population against Russia and pushing the image of our country as an unreliable ally, highlighting the fact of the absence of Russian aid at the end of the 1990’s. However, they ignore all possible aid in the 19th century and the First World War. 

Russia suffered a defeat in the information war in Ukraine. Does anyone doubt that the same fate awaits Serbia? In our era, it is necessary to keep allies not only through economic concessions, but through the enhanced dissemination of truthful information. 

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