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Serbian Foreign Minister Dačić honoured as Russian “Friend”

Ivica Dačić; Photo: Tanjug/Rade Prelić

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to decorate a number of foreign nationals for making a considerable contribution to strengthening cooperation and friendship with Russia. Among the recipients of the Medal of Pushkin was Serbia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dačić.

The award comes only a few weeks after Serbian delegation led by President Aleksandar Vučić visited Moscow where they met Russian President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Although President Vučić remained without the Medal of Pushkin, Foreign Minister Dačić was honoured by the Order of Friendship for achievements in strengthening friendship and cooperation between nations in previous years.

Before Dačić, former Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić was also awarded by Russian President Putin for strengthening ties between Serbia and Russia. Back in 2010, current Minister for innovations Nenad Popović was the first Serb to be honoured with this award. Among the great friends of Russia is also Serbian film director Emir Kusturica, who was honoured in 2016.

Even though it is unknown what makes someone qualified for the award, Minister Dačić is considered as one of the most pro-Russian politicians in Serbia who never hides his sympathies toward Moscow. Furthermore, First Deputy Prime Minister Dačić started advocating in favour of granting diplomatic status to the controversial Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Centre in Niš.

Recently, Minister Dačić told a talk show broadcast on TV Happy that Balkans is still an area of unsolved issues of great powers. Foreign Minister did not miss the opportunity to say a few words about the pressure that is coming from great powers that have recognized Kosovo. Moreover, Dačić named United States, France and United Kingdom as some of the states that pressure Serbia, not working in favour of its interests.

“I cannot say that these are our friends – I beg President Vučić’s pardon, they are not working in favour of our interests, they are working against them. I can respect them as partners, but they are far from being our friends”, stated Dačić.

On the other hand, Dačić said that “the Russians are our friends, our brothers.”

“Ten years ago many countries recognized Kosovo under pressure. Ten years have gone by and Kosovo has not rounded off its independence and never will as long as Serbia is what it is, has these authorities, as long as it will not make compromises at the expense of its own state. Russia will not allow Kosovo to join the UN because it has veto powers,” Dačić remarked.

In Serbia, it is popular to support strong ties with Russia, which enables Minister Dačić to easily get some political points. But, the lack of a clear foreign policy strategy of Serbia, allows each state official to make his own statements without taking any responsibilities. As long as there are no formalised priorities, it remains to the ministers, the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic to communicate their, sometimes different, views from the visit to the visit and from the interview to the interview, stating in which direction one country should move in terms of its foreign policy.

Also, during the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Serbia, Minister Dačić emphasized that Russia never put any pressure on Serbia, naming Lavrov as one of Serbia’s dearest guests.

“I cannot emphasize enough that without Russia it would not have been possible to protect our territorial integrity and sovereignty. Serbia will never be an anti-Russian state, as some other countries have become, and it will not align with EU sanctions against Russia, Minister Dačić stated.

Publication of this article has been supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy of the German Marshall Fund of the United States

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