The government is “not weaker now than before but it is more anxious because it is expected to fulfill what it has promised in relation to Kosovo,” political analyst, Djordje Vukadinovic said in an interview with FoNet.
He adds that civil protests, which have become widespread in Serbia, are not political, “although they have political implications”.
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In a conversation with journalist Danica Vucenic, as a part of the Kvaka 23 series, he recalled that previous protests, aptly called “Against Dictatorship”, were more massive and politically dangerous.
“These protests against high fuel prices have spread all over Serbia, they are spontaneous and include social and political potential,” Vukadinovic said and added that he “was not sure that the government’s strong reactions to these civil protests are a sign of weakness of the regime.”
He thinks that “the regime is more prepared for these protests than the previous ones, in the sense that they have come up with a story which immediately disqualifies the protestors.”
He also explains the “anxiety on the part of the authorities” by the fact that citizens now deal with life issues that also affect the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) voters.
“That’s why it is important for the authorities to disarm, disqualify and present them (the protestors) as rebels and revolutionists, even as mass criminals, something that extremist, so that they never dare to protest again,” explained Vukadinovic.
Referring to the attitude that the authorities have towards the citizens blocking roads due to high fuel prices, Vukadinovic calls the protesters as “remnants of the middle class”, but there are also people among them who are “ready to fight against anything and everything”.
“There are more of those people who are just disgruntled with the authorities but there are also protestors how are protesting only against the fuel prices”, Vukadinovic added.
Vukadinovic estimates that “protests also have social and political potential” and that “the government is trying to bring them down in a rather irritating manner, which offends common sense, because they are also accused of protesting because Djilas, Jeremic or Jankovic told them so.”
According to him, “some of his opposition’s colleagues are winning political points from the protests, and leave an impression, that benefits the people in power the most, which is that the opposition leaders are carrying themselves as more important in those protests than they actually are.”
He points out that some opposition leaders were truthful and admitted on social media that they had nothing to do with the protests.
According to Vukadinovic, a serious positive change in society can happen “only if there is a correlation and coordination between civil movements, citizens, spontaneous initiatives, parliamentary and extra-parliamentary opposition.”
“There is this false dilemma of what is better – spontaneous civic movements and initiatives or a party-organized protests? What is important is for everyone to row in the same direction, which does not have to be perfectly coordinated at all times,” Vukadinovic pointed out.
He warned that, otherwise, organized party structures, which appear bureaucratic and repulsive, and the young movement members will increasingly start hating each other and arguing, and this is what the regime wants.
Vukadinovic predicts that “the opposition will eventually merge because it will be forced to do so at regular or snap elections, but” it’s not the same when or how it does it, whether as a group political losers or, say, like they did before the Belgrade elections. “
Vukadinovic sees recent elections in the Democratic Party (DS) as “positive” in the context of removing the “dilemma where the DS stands”.
But this, according to him, does not mean that the opposition will form an alliance soon.
Vukadinovic does not think that Serbia today is in the same situation as Serbia in the 1990s, although, in some aspects, it could be likened to it because there is more instability, violence, murders, conflicts of power and crime in the streets than it was back in the 1990s.
“And what is particularly worrying, in an otherwise unfavourable image and diagnosis, is the absence of any system and I would say every competence,” Vukadinovic warned.
Asked whether the SNS was at the peak of its power, he replied that “this is the peak of their power,” but added that he was under the impression that the true peak happened last year.
“They now have all the leverage, that is, institutional, non-institutional, economic, political, media, but there is this nervousness that we talked about, which is real, even if we cannot completely detect all the reasons for this nervousness,” Vukadinovic said.
This post is also available in: Italiano