The call of the Serbian Interior Minister, Aleksandar Vulin, for the creation of the “Serbian World” has caused strong reactions in the region and the Serbian public, with critics emphasising that this is the rehabilitation of dangerous and destructive politics.
“Creating the Serbian World, where the Serbs would live and be united, is the task of this generation of politicians”, said Vulin on Sunday, on the occasion of the 13th anniversary of the Movement of Socialists, a minor political party he leads.
He specified in his speech that, in order to create the Serbian World, it is necessary for Serbia to be economically successful, have good leadership, and have an army that can save both the country and the Serbs wherever they live.
Appearing on TV Pink, Vulin said that the idea of creating the Serbian World, which refers to “state and political space” should be realised “without a shot being fired”.
“Let it last as long as it lasts. Why are you so convinced that the situation in the Balkans is unchangeable? I guarantee only one thing – it will happen, without a single difficult word”, Vulin said, daily Danas reported.
Following numerous calls to distance himself from such statements, President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić said yesterday in Brussels, after a meeting with the Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti, that the official politics of Serbia is inviolability of borders.
“The official politics is that the borders of Serbia are unchangeable, and Belgrade does not deal with other borders”, said Vučić.
This is not the first time that Vulin is talking about the idea of the Serbian World. The same thesis was presented by the Serbian Minister in May this year, when the process of uniting Serbian countries was rebranded into this new political phrase.
“I believe that creating the Serbian World solves the national question of Serbia, that it stops the spread of the Greater Albania, guarantees Serbs that genocide against them will not happen again, and above all, ensures long-lasting peace in the Balkan”, Vulin said on that occasion.
This time, Vulin provoked reactions in the country and in the region.
According to Radio Free Europe (RFE), the top authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina urged the President of Serbia to distance himself from Vulin’s statements, Kosovo officials assessed that Vulin’s messages reflected the official policy of Belgrade, while Montenegro Democratic Front (DF) supported Vulin’s idea.
Member of the European Parliament, Tonino Picula, assessed that Serbia, if it wants to join the EU, must nurture European values, and added for Aktuelno.me that Vulin’s address reflects all the undemocratic political environment in Serbia.
Cvijić: A message primarily for the Serbian electorate
Srđan Cvijić, Senior Policy Analyst at Open Society European Policy Institute, assesses for EWB that Vulin’s statements negatively affect relations between states in the Balkans.
“Vulin’s statements look like a not-so-washed-up version of the policy of Greater Serbia on the borders of Karlovac – Karlobag – Virovitica, which was propagated in the 1990s by Vojislav Šešelj, political father of the current President of Serbia. We all know what misfortune this politics brought to peoples of Yugoslavia, including the Serbs, so it is normal that such statements by the Minister of the Interior cause unrest among Serbia’s neighbours in the region, but also strengthen nationalists in their ranks”, says Cvijić.
According to Cvijić, looking back in a few years, it seems that Vulin and other representatives of the ruling regime in Serbia are saying what President Vučić thinks, but cannot say it out loud, because of his perception in the region and the world.
Cvijić emphasizes that there is no meaningful politics behind the idea of the Serbian World and that the slogan is only used for daily political purposes.
“Vulin fits perfectly into the role of a political chameleon, who went from the conceited Che Guevara, a member of the Yugoslav United Left led by the wife of dictator Slobodan Milošević, to his current version of a Serbia nationalist particularly fascinated by uniforms”, says Cvijić.
However, Cvijić believes that this message was sent primarily to the Serbian electorate in the run-up to next year’s election.
“The phrase “Serbian World” is used as a counter-argument by some in the opposition, who accuse SNS and Serbian President Vučić of being ready for a compromise, according to which Serbia will, on one way or another, accept Kosovo’s independence”, says Srđan Cvijić.
Cvijić concludes that with such messages, Vulin consciously and intentionally accepts the role of a “nationalist tribune”, hoping that in this way his small political party will take over the role of the “main ancillary wheel” of the ruling SNS.