On Monday, the Kremlin held talks between Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandrom Vuchichem - expected to win the upcoming presidential elections. Vucic came to Russia for political support - and he got it. Meanwhile, Belgrade should think about how this "eternal friendship" framed on his part.
The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vučić can be described as "tightly closed." Initially, it was expected that at least four topics will be discussed - general economic cooperation, defense, tourism and culture, and Vučić characterized the meeting with the Russian leader as having "exceptional political and economic significance." In any case, the details of the implementation of the previously existing agreements were off-screen. The only thing that remains common is the friendly spirit and obvious support that the Russian leadership has shown to Vucic in the forthcoming presidential elections in Serbia.
Vucic was accompanied by Minister of Defense Zoran Dzhordzhevich and the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Social Affairs Aleksandr Vulin. Both are considered to be supporters of the pro-Russian Party of probation, which compete in today's Serbia supporters' integration with the EU. " This division into "pro-European" and "pro-Russian" is not so artificial as it was, say, ten years ago, and the Serb politicians have to invent rather complicated linguistic formulations to indicate the position of the state.
The same Vucic insisted on the neutrality of Serbia, as though such a choice exists. It was during the Cold War, Josip Broz Tito successfully invented the "non-aligned movement", which was headed and where the parasite for a long time. Now there is no Warsaw Pact, in Europe there are only NATO, which has already entered or will sooner or later will include traditional Serbian opponents - Croatia, Albania, Bosnia.
In short, Belgrade's position boils down to the fact that Serbia has been and remains a close friend of Russia and would like to expand cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union, but at the same time "is on the European path." What this wording means in practice, no one can really explain, but it leaves Belgrade able to maintain a negotiating regime with the EU and NATO. In addition, according to Vučić, Serbia "jealously preserves its military neutrality", which seems to be a completely strange verbal construction, since the massive rearmament of the Serbian army is now proceeding exclusively at the expense of Russian weapons and Russian money.
Of course, it is a question of expanding military cooperation of all interested in the most. Critical theme remains the possibility of deliveries to Serbia Russian air defense systems. Almost a year ago it was on the supply of C-300, but talking about it gradually faded, and now Vucic says only "Buk" systems.
"We not only want police protection the sky, but also protect against potential attacks in the future" - he said he was still in Belgrade. Here, apparently, we are talking about the problems of translation: under the "police" the Serbian prime minister was referring to the constant protection of the country's air space, which "Buckow" enough. But after the war 1999 of Serbia defense system lies in ruins, and in an atmosphere of an arms race in the Balkans, which is on level groundCroatia launched, Belgrade needed a missile shield system because of Zagreb decided to get the German and American medium-range missiles. And this requires just C-300 and higher product class.
The Balkans - a small region, and accepted that the modern high-tech military system he simply irrelevant as an aircraft carrier in the Baltic Sea. But if an aggressive neighbor increases Park medium-range missiles that could theoretically reach up to your capital from it as it is necessary to defend themselves. The same goes for tactical aviation, which should provide cover at least the major cities.
We should not forget Kosovo. Participation of countries, education in international football tournaments do not negate the fact that Serbia will never accept the rejection of the historical part of yourself. Recently, the Serbian leadership is directly expressed that in case of recurrence of anti-Serbian pogroms in the region, it will be forced to enter the troops there. It is quite possible that we will live up to "anti-terrorist operation in Kosovo and Metohija." The risk of new Balkan fire has not been canceled, and no wonder Putin and Vucic stated that the situation in the region is only exacerbated.
The economic part of the talks was covered in more detail, but crumpled. Vučić expressed surprise at "how thoroughly President Putin is familiar with many of our projects and work" (yes, we are not protecting maize here). But the specifics behind this did not follow. Actually, for the Serbian prime minister, the very fact of meeting with the Russian president, who wished him luck in the upcoming presidential elections, was important. Approximately in the same scheme a meeting with South Ossetian President Leonid Tibilov took place a week ago - sometimes the very fact of support means more than a public demonstration of new economic projects. In the end, business is often not in the economy, but in preserving the trend for the pro-Russian orientation of Belgrade.
Yes, Vucic has to invent heavy words to maneuver between two mutually exclusive trends. But there are things that can not be retouched. Almost no country in Europe supports Belgrade on the issue of Kosovo - and none of the truly influential. No NATO country will re-equip the Serbian army. And no one will provide Serbia with diplomatic cover in controversial ideological issues, for example, when considering a UN resolution on the events in Srebrenica. This is even if we forget about the technical loans provided by military-technical cooperation.
In response, Belgrade declares its exceptional position on the sanctions. According to Vucic, Serbia is the only country in Europe which has consistently and categorically rejects the imposition of economic restrictions against Russia. It is, of course, because (and this is especially valuable in the background in Montenegro), but still a "historic friendship" implies not only passive resistance, but also some meaningful steps.