by Sergei Pravosudov
translated by Evgenia
Thanks to the development of a Russian-Serbian energy co-operation. I began to frequent Serbia. At first I was fascinated by this country, as the people are friendly to Russians, but it soon became clear to me that the Serbian elite behave differently.
I was told that almost all the representatives of the Serbian political elite have certain relations with the intelligence agencies: the US, UK, Germany and other states. Last autumn, I published an article “The disappointment in Serbia”, in which I wrote about the conflict between the Serbian people and the elite. This article provoked a heated debate in Serbia, some scolded me, some praised me. But most of all I was surprised by the fact that none of my opponents denied that the Serbian political elite is actually under the control of foreign intelligence services. If Russia had information that some of the country’s leadership is cooperating with foreign intelligence services, then this person would be considered a traitor and it would be difficult for him to maintain his position.
In Serbia, the situation is different. Here in Serbia, as I understand it, the elite deem it necessary to cooperate with several foreign intelligence services in order to strengthen their position in the country, using this help from abroad. Under these conditions, hoping that this elite will defend the interests of the Serbian people is very naive. Yet the people vote for this elite. Why do they not vote for those parties who favor a union with Russia? The Serbs explained to me that the people are deceived by a propagandized media. First of all, the TV. But there is Internet media, you can get alternative information. In early March, I was back in Belgrade for the Russian-Serbian conference. There I learned that according to opinion polls, over 60% of Serbs blame the failure of the “South Stream” project on the US and the EU. It turns out that the Serbs do not trust the media, which blamed the failure of the project on Russia.
I often meet with the Serbs, and to be honest, many of the discussions end up with this: “We love Russia, give us money.” To that there is an urge to respond, “I love Serbia, give me money.” Virtually all the Serbs, with whom I’ve spoken, say: “Russia must open a television channel in the Serbian language, and finance the creation of a pro-Russian party, and then we can vote for politicians who support Russia.” Serbs are constantly citing examples of Americans who do just that.
But Russia can not compete with the US in sheer number of dollars, for the simple reason that the the US dollar is printed in the US, and in Russia it is not printed. At the same time, the US take control of the elite of other countries so they work for the benefit of the Americans, not the citizens. Russia also offers other countries mutually beneficial projects that benefit the good of the citizens of these countries. In these circumstances, it is unclear why Russia needs to control the elite of Serbia or Bulgaria. Russia needs the elites of these countries to take care of their own national interests, nothing more. But precisely this is what we do not observe.
Western propaganda always says that countries need to compete for foreign investment, to attract them. From this logic, it follows that it is not necessary to create a Russian TV channel in Serbia, on the contrary, Serbia needs to advertise in the Russian media, to attract investment from Russia. But for Russian investments, this approach is clearly not the case. Russia must fight for the right to invest their money in the creation of gas transportation infrastructure in Serbia. However, no real alternative transportation projects in Serbia, are even offered by other states. Therefore, the refusal of the Russian project means that there will be no alternatives. Perhaps this is the actual reason for the interest in Serbia.
In Bulgaria, there were also high hopes for the arrival of foreign investment, after the country joined NATO and the EU. But this did not happen. Bulgarian industry was destroyed. Western investments were invested in the creation of shopping complexes in Bulgaria, where you can buy foreign goods and food, as well as the roads on which these products were carried through foreign transport companies. Life in Bulgaria is glimmering in the coastal zones where more than 400 thousand houses and apartments are owned by Russians. The largest taxpayer in Bulgaria is the Russian company “LUKOIL”, which owns the refinery in Burgas and a network of gas stations. By the way, the level of wages in Burgas higher than the national average.
Due to mass unemployment, millions of Bulgarians migrate to other countries, the birth rate fell to negative values. As a result, Bulgaria’s population dropped from 9,000,000 in 1990 to 7,000,000 today. By 2050, Bulgaria will host 5 million people, most of whom will be the Romans and Turks. As a result, the people who lived in the Balkans are no more than one thousand. In some years they will disappear from before our eyes. When I say this I am struck by some of the Serbs reactions : “Let the Bulgarians die, than Sofia will be Serbian town.” And this is highly educated people who make these comments, who have doctoral degrees. For any sensible person it is obvious that Sofia will not become a Serbian town, as Serbia is degraded just as much as Bulgaria. Rather Sofia will again become a Turkish city.
I understand that the history of relations between Bulgaria and Serbia is very complicated. These countries have repeatedly fought among themselves. However, circumstances that threaten the very existence of the Serbs and Bulgarians have to look for something that combines the Slavic peoples, instead of summoning up old grievances. But the Serbs can not even agree among themselves. When you talk with the Serbs, they are always struck by the fact that they are slinging mud at each other. You will quickly get told that the majority of Serbs, are “bad Serbs.” Depending on who you’re talking to, “bad Serbs” will be located in Belgrade, Vojvodina, Bosnian, Montenegrin, and some other parts of Serbia. And if you praise some Serbs, then you immediately get told that he is actually not a patriot, but a mason or a CIA agent. Even Kosovo Serbs, who are living on the verge of physical survival, cannot agree among themselves.
This is very scary. When you talk with the Serbs you are always surprised that they always remember about past successes and glorious history of their country, but almost never talk about the future of Serbia. Obviously, if everything will continue as it is now, the future of Serbia does not exist. The west offers a future to the separatist Serbs who work against their own country. Some Serbs bind their future to emigration. But Serbia as a highly developed, strong country – the Western countries do not need.
Most Serbs understand this perfectly. It seems that the bombing of 1999 broke the Serbs. They fear a repeat of this nightmare. Today, Russia is testing the pressure of Western sanctions, like Serbia recently did. Russia will continue to fight for her freedom, because we still have a lot of people who prefer to die fighting than to live on their knees. Are there such people in Serbia? The answer to this question can only be answered by the Serbs themselves. That depends on the answer to another question, which I have learned in the title text: Does Serbia have a future?