“Aggressive in Serbia, humble abroad”; these are the words of experts who describe more closely the political aspect of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić on the domestic and international political scene.
Serbian public opinion is often confused by President Vučić’s appearances, ranging from “banging his fist on the table” while using aggressive rhetoric addressed to his interlocutors, citizens, political friends and journalists at home, to the calm, composed and often humble demeanour he shows on official meetings with European and world leaders.
Political experts agree that these are two or more sides of Aleksandar Vučić.
Psychologist Zarko Trebjesanin says that the President is an authoritarian character, which is something we can see in action these days: “Vucic shows one side in Belgrade, and a completely different one in Paris, when he met with the French President Macron”.
“He treats those to whom he feels superior to, such as citizens, his friends or opposition representatives, with arrogance, sadism and contempt that you can often see on his face. We have seen that in the last few days when he was talking about protesters or the coronavirus. On the other hand, when he visits foreign leaders, he behaves humbly, showing the classic attitude of idolatry. It all depends on necessity, i.e. whether he needs to demonstrate his power or admire someone else’s. This time around, he showed a servile attitude towards Macron,” explains Trebjesanin.
Only one day after the violent protests in Belgrade, the excessive use of force by the police and the harsh words he used to address Serbian citizens, the opposition and the “foreign factors involved in the protests”, people were informed about his hour-and-a-half-long private conversation with Macron and the subsequent dinner, but also that Vucic had been allowed to enter the private rooms of the French President.
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“The hospitality Macron has shown me is almost unbelievable. I had not experienced it in Western countries until now. As a gift, he took me to his private rooms and showed exceptional attention to Serbia. He remembered his visit to Belgrade (in July last year) and the emotions he felt,” said Vucic.
The President of Serbia uses similar words to describe his talks with other world leaders: Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping or American Donald Trump are just some of the most important names on Aleksandar Vucic’s list of “great friends and brothers”. On one occasion, he told how he hadn’t eaten anything for lunch when he met Angela Merkel so he could listen attentively to everything she had to say to him.
The sociologist Ratko Bozovic believes that Vucic’s “performances” reflect a basic imbalance.
“When a person shows extreme cruelty to some and too much servility to others, it is a sign of imbalance. Complexes are a strange phenomenon, always moving towards an aggressiveness that covers frustrations to compensate for a void. When did you hear a leader talk about how someone welcomed him? Nobody does that but him, and he passed the same thing onto his co-workers. Just as he speaks enthusiastically about Macron, Putin or Merkel, his co-workers must praise him when they talk about him. It is normal behaviour for them, both when he is there and when he is not,’ Božović concludes.
Trebjesanin believes that Vucic learned this duplicity from his ‘political father’, the leader of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS), Vojislav Seselj.
“Seselj is also a completely authoritarian character and Vucic learned from him. Once in Seselj’s presence, he was as calm and silent as a child. Only when Seselj was not present, Vucic became aggressive. Today, the situation is different – now Seselj is behaving servilely towards Vucic,’ Trebjesanin concludes.
This post is also available in: Italiano