Serbia is the most Russophile country in Europe – OpEd – Eurasia Review
Kosovo’s accession to NATO through accelerated procedures is one of the ways to stop Serbian military expansion and the annexation of northern Kosovo. NATO will give its approval to the creation of the Albanian Federation, thus bringing Kosovo back to its mainland, from where it was divided in 1912.
Serbian citizens are said to be the most Russophile community in the world. This has been a damning fact since the 18th century, when the concept of national consciousness in Serbia was shaped. The Serbian Church is an extension of the Russian Orthodox Church. Therefore, culturally, Serbia is an extension of the Russian Federation in Southeast Europe. As such it still remains today. In fact, in the political field, Serbia has often tried to flirt with the West, as its president Aleksandar Vučić still does today, but at heart it has remained pro-Western, both culturally and militarily.
Last week, Serbia voted in favor of a UN resolution condemning Russia’s act of aggression against Ukraine, but the idea of imposing economic sanctions on Russia did not even not crossed the mind of the country. How to deal with it, when the Russian economy and military are completely interdependent with Russia?!
This ambiguity, a game built on the foundation of dual morality that emerged more than two centuries ago, is the problem that Serbia is currently facing, namely its authoritarian President Aleksandar Vučić. Now that the position of neutrality can no longer be exercised even by Switzerland, which has a centuries-old tradition, Serbia can no longer do so, because in the meantime the Russian invasion of Ukraine has favored the de facto confrontation of Russia with the West. Aleksandar Vučić can no longer sit on two chairs simultaneously.
It is true that Serbia was brought to power by the West, even German Chancellor Angela Merkel treated her government as her personal pet, while she was in power. But, similarly, as the so-called “our” king (Ahmet Zogu) had done, despite the fact that Belgrade brought him to power, he soon went to Mussolini’s Italy. Aleksandar Vučić was also lifted to the helm of Serbia by the West, but faster than “our” Zog, he flew off and fell into Putin’s lap. Aleksandar Vučić is now entirely in Putin’s hands. Only Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko can exceed his level of loyalty to Putin.
The catapulting of Aleksandar Vučić and his Serbian Progressive Party (2012) into power is the product of the split within the Radical Party, led by the famous Chetnik leader Vojislav Šešelj, serving as its spokesperson during the war in Bosnia. The West had invested in this area, of course with the idea of drawing Serbia into its heart. After a decade of experimentation with liberal democracy and quasi-efforts at Euro-Atlantic integration and liberal economic reforms, Serbia is fully returning to the traditional mode of authoritarian governance, as well as to the idea of a “world Serbian”. This idea is de facto a complete copy of what Russian neo-fascist ideologues had promoted for the “Russian world”, which Putin is already implementing in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.
Aleksandar Vučić and his current circle of collaborators, whom well-known historian and diplomat Milan St. Protić recently described as “the most primitive and backward network”  Serbian leaders in its history, have always been and remain fervent admirers of the idea of a Greater Serbia. This is officially evident even today. The Minister of the Interior, as well as the President of the Serbian Parliament, do not hide it at all. Aleksandar Vučić himself, as we said above, was Vojislav Seselj’s right-hand man. Vučić is the political student of Vojislav Šešelj and undoubtedly one of the most successful products of the macabre school of Serbian political thought.
Let us remember that the radicals won the elections in the 2000s, but because of their intransigent position against the West, they could not form a government. In 2008, Vučić understood the message that came to him from the West. He had to make a formal concession: form a new party and accept the European Union, thus removing the insurmountable obstacle that prevented him from gaining power.  The West, in essence, was not bothered by Serbian fascism, for that it was enough for Serbia to proclaim itself pro-Western and for the radicals to convert into Western-type conservatives!
Last summer, Aleksandar Vulin, among others, said: “The task of this generation of politicians is to create a Serbian world to protect the Serbs. If we don’t create it, I’m afraid we won’t welcome the next generation of Serbs…”  For those who are familiar with the Serbian political scene, it is clear that behind the whole expression “Serbian world” hides Vučić, who is one of its main planners and ideologues.
The “Serbian world” is in fact a kind of sophisticated Greater Serbia, adapted to the modern circumstances of the beginning of the 21st century. In the meantime, they worked out this adaptation, temporarily overlapping the idea of an “open Balkans”. The objective remains the same: to maximize the expansion of Serbian influence and make Serbia an attractive driving force in the region vis-à-vis Russia. Initially, this is supposed to be done through the establishment of state ministries in the form of the Association of Municipalities wherever the Serbian population lives in neighboring republics. They claim to impose themselves mainly through culture, art, sport, economy and politics. According to this project, the Serbian communities of the neighboring countries must obediently follow the policy of Belgrade and become its instruments. The Serbian list created with the agreement of April 19, 2013, with the agreement of the Prime Minister of Kosovo at the time – Hashim Thaçi and supplemented with the agreement of July 2015, supported by Prime Minister Isa Mustafa, is the model of excellence, which Belgrade claims to push further even with the support of its traditional friends within the EU.
The current circumstances, which according to Belgrade represent the most favorable geopolitical conditions, of course in case Russia manages to quickly control Ukraine, then having the support of Russia and China, judged by the Russian ideologues who impose everything in Vučić, the possibility of shooting Serbia, the most powerful country in the Western Balkans, is already ideal and viable. This expected conclusion inevitably leads, according to this political logic, to the change of borders in favor of Serbia or to the creation of new Serbian entities. Vulin during this intervening period brought the idea of the Serbian world, promoting it in various European circles, as useful in three essential areas:
1. As a final solution to the Serbian national question;
2. As an impediment to the creation of a greater Albania; and
3. As a prevention of new genocides against Serbs.
This last thesis has been applied to the Russian military march against Ukraine as one of the “reasons” put forward by Putin for undertaking aggression against Ukraine.
The second thesis, which has to do with the alleged impossibility of creating a “Greater Albania”, is a slander of the kind by the propaganda of the Serbian religious-fascists, since no Albanian political force has on its platform the idea of a greater Albania. Of course, the rapprochement and cooperation between the two Albanian republics (political Albania and the Republic of Kosovo), even with the creation of the Albanian Federation, in no way affects the internationally recognized borders of Serbia.
In the long term, Greater Serbia’s policy towards Kosovo, seen in the light of current developments in the geopolitical sphere, has suffered an irreparable fiasco. In the meantime, the threats of the Serbian Minister of the Interior, Aleksandar Vulin, from Brussels and Washington should have read them well; and took immediate action. “The forced entry of Kosovo into the NATO pact is not only a violation of NATO membership procedures and a violation of resolution 1244, but also an open threat against Serbia and another form pressure on Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, and they know it; even countries that defend Pristina’s NATO membership,” Vulin warned, openly threatening the expected consequences.
The declaration of this awkward Serbian politician, unfortunately endowed with a lot of power, comes at a time when the global paradigm is changing the concepts relating to the international order. This speech should not be ignored, although such self-hypnotic action of the Chetnik Vulin may remind us of the anecdote of the frog and the blacksmith. The anecdote teaches us how the frog had asked the blacksmith to run away from the horseshoes, without the poor man realizing that his leg was so small and could not support the nail!
Brussels and Washington, meanwhile, as the war in Ukraine continues, clearly understand that geopolitics is also forcing rapid changes around Southeast Europe. Consequently, bilateral interactions in Brussels, whether at EU headquarters, but above all at NATO headquarters, must be equal to the urgency imposed by this political momentum.
After the meeting of the Kurti government, during which the inter-institutional group for the integration of Kosovo into NATO was formed, the head of diplomacy said that the deadline for membership does not depend only on Kosovo. Kosovo has taken the first important step with the government decision today (9 March 2022) to form an inter-institutional group for the integration of Kosovo into NATO.
“We are aiming to get into an existing mechanism and you have to know that the existing mechanism has its own rules, its own deadlines, we will work to achieve this as soon as possible, but I do not believe that we will have deadlines from the institutions of Kosovo, because it also depends on the other side”,  said Foreign Minister Donika Gërvalla at the press conference following the government meeting. Brussels and Washington must now realize that Serbia could easily reenact the chaos of the 1990s in this part of southeastern Europe. This is why Serbia must be stopped now. If Belgrade does not stop, the West will be responsible.
Kosovo’s accession to NATO through accelerated procedures is one of the ways to stop the Serbian revenge. The other way remains the accelerated adoption of the act of creation of the Albanian Federation, thus bringing Kosovo back to the core, from where it was divided in 1912, in which case it would automatically become part of NATO, at the Like what happened with the German Democratic Republic (DDR) after its reunification with the Federal Republic of Germany – BRD (1989).
Brussels and Washington must now be clear that there can be no normal procedure for Kosovo’s NATO membership, because the circumstances are extraordinary. The Western Balkans, not unfairly, are seen by experts as the second stage of Russian aggression to the detriment of Western geopolitics, which Moscow claims to hold and secure through Serbia, the most Russophile country in Europe.
*About the Author: Dr Sadri Ramabaja [Iliria University, Prishtina]