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The secret war between Vladimir Putin and Vu?i? for Kosovo is revealed, Serbia "trembles" from the fear of repeating the chaotic scenario of the 90s
Written by Marsela Shytia 24 Mars 2023
The "special relationship" between Russia and Serbia can be tested by the recruitment campaign of the Wagner group in the Balkan country. The unscrupulous private military company led by Evgeny Prigozhin is actually, according to many sources, aiming for a mass recruitment in Serbia, which could create significant problems for President Aleksandar Vucic. Serbia has maintained a close relationship with Russia throughout the conflict in Ukraine and is the only European country that has not imposed sanctions.
Serbia is particularly fearful of the idea of ??a mass influx of paramilitaries with military training or experience abroad (especially in Ukraine) into Wagner's ranks, which could create unrest, difficult for the central government in Belgrade to control. . The confirmation came from an environment often seen as the "thermometer" of Serbian society: the world of football. Last week Il Messaggero wrote about the attack on the ultras of Fedayin, historical leaders of Roma fans, on the evening of last February 4 outside the Olympic Stadium by fans of Red Star Belgrade, a team from which many fighters emerged of the Notorious Arkan Tigers in the 1990s. The Serbian ultras who attacked the Romanists, whose flag was stolen and burned two weeks later at Belgrade's Marakana,
Between Russia and the West
President Vucic is under pressure from Serbian ultranationalist groups, after promoting the border agreement with Kosovo at the initiative of the European Union and the United States. The Carnegie Endowment for Peace estimates that Wagner is registering hundreds of recruits in Serbia and underlines that since January 2023 the pressure from Prighozin has increased. Vucic finds himself in the delicate situation of having to maintain good relations with Russia and comply with domestic laws that prohibit Serbian citizens from signing up as mercenaries to foreign groups.
The "political" derby
Vu?i?, it must be said that from 2014 until today, he has never supported the Russian occupation of Crimea or Moscow's claims for Donbas and has always considered the invasion of February 24, 2022 illegal. But the Serbian population, also influenced by history, seems that they are with Moscow and not with the West, and according to a poll earlier this year, Putin, with 66% of the vote, is the most popular political leader in the Balkan country. Wagner, according to Carnegie's analysis, "fishes" for ultra-nationalist groups. The same ones who today attack Vu?i? for solving the border dispute with Kosovo.
Pak para 27 shkurtit, ditën e takimit në Mynih midis Vuçiçit dhe Sekretarit të Shtetit të SHBA-së, Tony Blinken, i cili iu afrua një kompromisi për Kosovën, ultranacionalistët serbë të udhëhequr nga lideri populist Damjan Knezevic, një mbështetës i lëvizjeve të Wagner, organizuan një demonstratë në Beograd, më 25 shkurt. Politico.eu në një shkrim asokohe, theksonte se si takimi tërhoqi "qindra nacionalistë serbë dhe aktivistë pro-rusë me lidhje me grupin Wagner". Ata u takuan "duke kërkuar përfundimin e procesit të normalizimit me Kosovën", duke shkuar deri aty sa e kërcënuan Vuçiçin me vdekje. Po ashtu shkruhej se ishte dora e "agjentëve të huaj" pas këtyre protestave, duke aluduar për ndikimin e Prighozin.
Lufta e fshehtë
The ultra-nationalist-mercenary union brings to mind dark memories for Serbia, which does not want to return to the tragic past of the 1990s. Vu?i? is seeking the normalization of the country and is not ready to take the internal situation to extreme consequences due to relations ideological and political with Moscow. He calls for investment, stabilization and prosperity for Serbia, and it seems that fear of Wagner's presence threatens to divide the country. How far can this secret confrontation between Belgrade and Moscow continue? Hard to say. But it is clear that Moscow does not like the instability of this area of ??the Balkans. And the solution could be sabotaging the agreement on the border of Kosovo. Even if the loss of a historic ally is the price to be paid for it.