The German magazine Der Spiegel has strongly criticized the Serbian president for the autocratic tendencies in his country and the destructive role in Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia. While Vucic undermines peace in the region, the West is being too tolerant, especially Miroslav Lajçak, who is silent about Vucic’s propaganda, writes the Hamburg-based magazine.
“Protests in his own country, supporters attacking KFOR soldiers, and a shadowy figure as the head of intelligence: Despite all this, [Serbian President Aleksandar] Vučić is still considered an important negotiating partner in the West. [Russian President] Vladimir Putin is likely pleased with this”, Der Spiegel writes.
The German magazine even calls Vučić „an arsonist of the Balkans“ and „a puppet master from Belgrade“ and quotes human rights activist Sonja Biserko, who says that during his mandate, Vučić destroyed state institutions, blocked social dialogue, made parliament irrelevant and discredited critics.
Relations with Brussels and Washington, writes Der Spiegel, are mentioned as desirable, but those with Beijing and Moscow are cultivated. Belgrade has not imposed sanctions against Russia, and recently pressure has increased on Russian dissidents who have fled to Serbia.
According to the German magazine, the United States of America has increased the pressure against Serbia, including blacklisting some of Serbian politicians, including the current head of the Serbian intelligence organization, BIA, Aleksandar Vulin.
Der Spiegel goes on to say that it is Vulin that actually says things that Vučić cannot or does not want to say. He supports the concept of the “Serbian world”, inspired by Vladimir Putin’s “Russian world”. Vulin says that the only possibility for the Balkans to remain stable is for Serbs to live in one state, because, according to him, “all conflicts in the Balkans begin with the discrimination of Serbs.”
Der Spiegel also quotes the results of various public opinion polls in Serbia which show that 45 percent of respondents consider Vladimir Putin the best political leader in the world, followed by the Chinese president. The German media outlet also says that Vučić sees himself as the spokesman for all Serbs, including those living in Bosnia, Montenegro and Kosovo and that the Serbian Orthodox Church remains a strong ally of the Serbian President. Der Spiegel also describes the visit of the Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Porfirije to Gračanica in Kosovo, on the anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo. During the visit, Porfirije, who is branded as a supporter of Vučić, said he was committed to peace.
Der Spiegel also criticizes the EU mediator Miroslav Lajčak. While Vučić said that the Serbian people in Kosovo have been subjected to the “most terrible persecution” in the last 15 years, Lajčak did not contradict him, but praised the “sincere and open conversation” with the Serbian president.
This post is also available in: Italiano