Unfortunately for Serbia, Vucic's actions have blocked its
path to the EU, opening Pandora's box for destabilization in the Western
Balkans and a slowdown in EU accession for other countries. Among the ‘axis’
countries, only Bulgaria, due to President Radev's marginalization, has
thwarted the Kremlin's plans.
The elite in Skopje should reconsider its current policy
lines, following Vucic's Serbia as a political anchor, and realize this ends up
with RNM being left out of the EU and Albania having a separate accession
track. Such developments would affect the Albanians in North Macedonia. Note
the usual 'blame Sofia' game won't work.
The diplomatic farce of Russian special services warning
Vucic about the protests being equivalent to Maidan is a clumsy Moscow
self-aggrandizing act. Vucic has long employed political tactics borrowed from
Putin, which has been evident since the announcement of early parliamentary
elections. The Kremlin seeks to portray Vučić as a Moscow puppet, undermining the latter’s status at home and abroad.
To the protesters in Belgrade, I extend my profound
sympathies and best wishes for success, even if it may not come soon. Vucic will likely persist in power using increasingly brutal measures; the more, the
further Serbia remains from the EU. In the short term, Vucic is a liability for
Serbia as his leadership style and political instincts are incompatible with a
membership in the EU - which is a setback for the EU, Bulgaria included. Our
two countries can only address historical issues and realize their full
potential within this union. Tensions will only arise with Serbia in Russia's
To the protesters, take comfort despite your disappointment with
some quarters in the West. The US ambassador in Belgrade’s “principled"
stance against violence may not align with the protesters. Still, hunger
strikes and ongoing protests could force Vucic into some form of reconciliation
or compromise. At any rate, to avoid despair, please read and learn
lessons in realpolitik from US diplomacy during the collapse of the Soviet
Union. Many suggest revising this main line in US foreign policy towards
Serbia - appeasement and engagement with Vucic through reforms. Without a
balance of carrots and sticks, Putin prevails.
And the Soviet Union collapsed - regardless of US policies.