Kostunica Needs a Slap

Nicholas Comrie RSS / 23.02.2008. u 17:25

Where now for Serbia? Violent protestors; with the tacit support of the police and elements of the Serbian government and political establishment; have succeeded in setting Serbia back five years. After all the progress that Serbia has achieved over the last ten years to move towards the international club of nations, one night of state ‘green-lighted’ violence has recreated what should have now been, tired, negative stereotypes of Serbs. After all the positivity created by the likes of Djokovic, Ivanovic and Serifovic, Serbs are once more at the centre of violence which has been internationally reported and condemned.

Serbian anger over Kosovo is understandable, but the government’s willingness to give protestors a thirty minute window of opportunity to attack the U.S., Croatian and other embassies is criminally reckless and all too transparent. How Kostunica, the police and those that sanctioned this can justify their actions, or believe that any positive outcome will emerge from this violence is hard to fathom. Officially, the international community has voiced its anger at police failure to intervene, but the repercussions are likely to be more severe than simple statements, and not only on the U.S. side.  

How Serbia will move forward is the biggest question. An apology is almost certainly on the cards and a lot of international bridge-building, but what happens on the domestic political scene is perhaps more significant. Serbs aren’t blind to what happened and most recognise the lasting damage that the violence has inflicted. The government has a lot to answer for and Kostunica may well have to fight to preserve its integrity. His uneasy alliance with his DS coalition partners will likely be stretched to the limits and early elections may well cost the DSS. This is DS’s chance to punish their coalition partners.  

What happened two nights ago will hopefully be suitably sobering for the Serbian electorate. Continuing support for nationalist parties and ideologies amongst the general public, and the police force in particular, created the conditions that led to the violence of two nights ago. Serbs must recognise that only a rejection of nationalism at the ballot box will prevent future executives being involved in such mindless vandalism. What would have happened if a Radical government had been at the helm? Until Serbia rejects these dangerous ideologies, there will be little trust in the international community.  And it wasn’t just the American Embassy that went up in smoke two nights ago, but ten years of building a positive image of Serbia and the illusion that DSS was a party that could restrain its nationalist tendencies.

Those that attended the peaceful demonstration must feel particularly aggrieved; hopes for Kosovo remaining part of Serbia must seem further away than ever.

Komentari (7)

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oblutak oblutak 17:49 23.02.2008

just a slap?

Yes, Koštunica has a great deal to answer for, but the question is: TO WHOM?
Sadly, the nation is riding on a new wave of nationalism and I seriously doubt that many will hold him responsible.
Cink Cink 21:11 23.02.2008

Many positive outcomes - for Mr. Kostunica

How Kostunica, the police and those that sanctioned this can justify their actions, or believe that any positive outcome will emerge from this violence is hard to fathom.

If Kosutnica's goal , after losing popular support in the Serbian electorate, after receiving the strong support of Russia, at any cost, just to remain in power and to do what he sees as right (no matter what the democratic will of the people is), than it is very positive for Mr. Kostunica and people around him.
Russians would gave him a model how to build and to save the power and how the political opposition, and independent medias could be effectively wiped out.
Serbia has already received the message from Russia's state-run official TV that late prime minister Djindjic was rightfully murdered and that the liberal EU road proved to bring all but god for Serbia.
So, there would be no elections in Serbia this year, and Kostunica would remain in power for long time, Serbia would be isolated...
The crucial issue is whether EU and USA will help or will they stand by and watch how the things in Serbia are going from bad to worse.

Yes, it is crucial that EU AND USA HELP SERBIA to overcome the independence of Kosovo.
I mean really to help with strong political support for Serbian citizens and Serbian economy, help Serbia to swallow the loss of southern province. Strong support and real measures not just symbolical ones.
I know it is easier for many European politicians to play to be moral giants and to request from Serbia to fulfill its moral and legal obligations in order to continue with European integration. But that was tried with Germany in 1918 and proved to be all but successful. After 1945 the new approach was tried and the result was the emergence of European Community and real moral overturn in German society in 60's.
So, my question is: Will USA and EU give their hands to Serbia, after majority of citizen of Serbia chose to continue European integration despite Kosovo, or not?
networker networker 23:00 23.02.2008

Oh, really?

Actioni contrariam semper et aequalem esse reactionem: sive corporum duorum actiones in se mutuo semper esse aequales et in partes contrarias dirigi.(Isaac Newton, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, 1686.)

My dear (American?) friend,

First off, apologies if you can't read extinct languages anymore. I know that even doctors in the States these days can't read medical records with diagnoses in Latin anymore. Some friends of mind learned that very well when they found the doctors in the US not being able to decypher the Latin diagnosis "varicella" on their kids' medical records. Poor guys had to obtain additional official papers stating that varicella are chickenpox.

Hence, to make your life easier, see a good translation of the above mystical text at:


Or in short, as already summarized by Mr Newton at the very beginning of his brilliant third law of motion: whatever draws or presses another is as much drawn or pressed by that other.

Please, don't get me wrong. No, I'm not trying to justify violence or hooligans' actions. On the contrary, I feel really disgusted and ashamed of what happened yesterday in the city where I was born, where I grew up, the city that will always stay a part of me wherever I live. I feel the same as I felt many times before in the last 20 years, every time when I saw hooligans after soccer matches, political meetings or whatever. But every time when such a thing happened, I always tried to find the root cause of that unpleasent event. Because every single thing in this world has a cause ... and a consequence.

And therefore you might ask yourself: is the re-birth of nationalism in Serbia today a cause or a consequence? And that's precisely what I'm trying to say here - is Kostunica a cause or a consequence?

I'll tell you this: a CONSEQUENCE, of course! Otherwise, can you explain how comes that the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS) and their leader Seselj won only 15-20% of votes in September 2000 and, since then, their support raised abruptly to the nowadays' 40-45%?! Election fraud? Don't think so ...

Just about seven and a half years ago, the people of Serbia made an end to the regime bringing Serbia from the leading East-European state to the bottom of the social and economical scale of Europe. Just like Romanian, Czech, Bulgarian and other nations of East Europe did years before that, Serbs decided to bring a totalitarian regime down and turn their heads towards the West. However, unlike the other folks of Eastern Europe, Serbs didn't get any greetings for their deeds. On the contrary, even in the night of the fall of Milosevic, on the 5th of October 2000, while Zoran Djindjic was busy appreciating Serbian people what they did for him - the sole message that we could hear both from Washington and Brussels was: "Nice job, guys! But the sanctions, embargo, boycott ... name it - iron curtain - will remain wide shut until you do: 1. ..., 2. ..., 3. ...". I can't recall that such a list had been given to Romania, Bulgaria, Czechia ... when they brought down their communist regimes.

In the years that followed, despite of the efforts that Djindjic and his successors made to bring Serbia closer to the Western world, all that we could hear were threatens, blackmails, terms, conditions. Always the do-your-homework message with modest gratitude. Rather very symbolic.

Want an example? Sure ... remember that the whole world talked about delivering Milosevic to The Hague as the "task of all tasks" that have to be done by the new government. Once Milosevic was behind the bars, a new task came: "Now, the others". Even no thank-you, even no good-job-done. Even horses get a sugar cube, you know. But all that Serbia got from the EU in the last 7.5 years without Milosevic in power - was always the whip. Never any sugar.

Let me remind you that until today Serbia delivered to The Hague: 2 ex-presidents, 2 ex-army-commanders-in-chief, several ministers and generals - total of 15-16 people to the very same Tribunal. More than any other country in the region! And that was never enough, even now, when the wanted-by-the-tribunal list reduced to only 4 persons, Serbia is still being seen as a country that does not cooperate with the Tribunal in the Hague.

Last elections ... people chosing between the pro-Western candidate Tadic and the nationalist Nikolic. EU tries to offer Serbia to sign the SAA. But did it happen? Not. Officially refused because the Netherlands objected. Unofficially the Dutch were just the messengers of bad news. EU didn't want Serbia. Nevertheless, Serbian people chose to go West. They voted for Tadic. Right. And what happened after that? Not only that Serbia didn't sign any agreement with the EU, but that very same EU "rewarded" Serbia by backing the Albanian separatists, taking away a piece of land from it and recognizing it as a state. Now, thank you Europe, thank you America, thanks a lot guys!

At the same time, both the brave new Western world funded a party winning at most 5-6% of the votes in the elections. Noone ever asked why they always perform so bad at the elections? I'll tell you why: you can't win the elections if you split and divide people into "first" and "second" Serbia and decide to address only the latter one (counting those 5-6% votes) in your speaches, while you don't even try to convert the majority to get on your side. No, the majority gets only terrifying words, like "we shall lustrate you", "we shall clean you up", "we shall revenge". People don't like revenge. People like nice and sweet lies. And Kostunica knows how to sell them. Simple, isn't it?

And - what's even worse - this whole story with Serbia today is a deja vu. Weimar Germany, in the 20's. Isolated. Deprived. Humiiliated. Blackmailed. Brought to ground zero. Everyone knows what happened next. Churchill, Truman and Marshall learned that lesson very well, that's why they helped Germany after WW2 to become the leader of Europe again. Regrettably enough, American and West-European politicians repeated the mistake of that time and continue treating Serbia like Weimar Germany after WW1.

And the hooligans in front of the embassies are just a top of the iceberg.

Sorry, you failed. Again.
gagonja gagonja 21:16 25.02.2008

Re: Oh, really?

some good points here, however i couldnt find any piece of evidence of our contribution to this conflict. we sent milosevic to hague, but we still didnt send 2 guys whose prosecutions are crucial for milosevic's trial. at the same time the prime minister was assassinated and political elite and succeeding government didnt show any effort in revealing the cause of that act. now Djindjic was the only guy willing to work in setting Serbia on "the right track", and he was seen as the only partner of the western world in serbia. and then?
dont forget that serbian government protects the war criminals and in that sense doesnt show much willingness to cooperate with powerful west that doesnt really care about the pride of some small nation in transition. the spite has always been our biggest obstacle. (if "spite" can figure as a proper translation for INAT). and djindjic said it several times that we need to do our part of the job and then we can sit with "big guys" and see whether thay love us or not. but untill we do that (and we should do that for our own wellbeing, it is in our key interest, to extradite the heros of the last war) we cant claim that we have shown the goodwill and we cant expect the good treatment. dont forget that we were in a war with west. and we are small country
aurelije aurelije 12:49 24.02.2008

He needs a slap

a big slap in groin, but i suspect that he has something to be hurt there
man ray loves me man ray loves me 14:52 24.02.2008

Kostunica needs

dierre dierre 11:33 25.02.2008

oh dear

"The government has a lot to answer for and Kostunica may well have to fight to preserve its integrity. His uneasy alliance with his DS coalition partners will likely be stretched to the limits and early elections may well cost the DSS. This is DS’s chance to punish their coalition partners"

this is one of the worst attempts to look in the crystal bowl and see what happens in the next elections that i have come across recently - no hard feelings

the dss has probably gained a little, and ds are losers in this. their way and approach has failed serbia to my great regret. not two weeks ago i was tadic's voter, and not only that but made half my family who never vote turn out. but that today seems like it took place in a different life.

but what this piece conveniently leaves out are the prospects of the largest party, the radicals. what do you think this did for their rating?

other than elections, another option is either a srs dss coalition or dss minority government with srs support. kostunica now has his hands untied to do these things. it's a pity he does. it isn't he through any action of his that managed to untie them, though.

we will unfortunately see in days and weeks and months to come that the only "criminally reckless"enterprise in this story was when the powers, same ones who decided to hunt for wmds in iraq, decided to break the law and violate serbia's sovereign borders.

and by the way that is the real issue, in the real world.



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