by Saker’s Johnny-on-the-spot in Serbia for The Saker Blog

The regime of one of Europe’s last two tyrants (guess where the other one is, hint: also in the Balkans) has been convulsed by massive outbursts of popular discontent and disobedience during the last two days. For all his fabled manipulative skills, Alexander Vučić, the tyrant here in question, made the foolish miscalculation by taking himself and his ability to intimidate the populace he was eight years ago installed to rule by the machinations of Western intelligence services, just a bit too seriously.

The immediate trigger for the popular insurrection was the autocrat’s apparent impression that he could continue to play indefinitely and with impunity the nasty cat-and-mouse lockdown game begun after the arrival of the corona virus to Serbia several months ago. Corona resonated favourably with the mean streak deeply embedded in Vučić’s disturbed psyche, and it was quickly welcomed by him as one of those crises he just could not allow to go waste. Surrounding himself with a coterie of medical charlatans who correctly sensed their boss’ sadistic inclinations and were willing to lend them a superficially scientific veneer, disciplinarian Vučić eagerly embraced the most restrictive, Chinese model for dealing with the pandemic. Over a seemingly interminable two and half month period during the spring the populace were subjected to a brutal lockdown regimen which during some weekends, including Orthodox Easter, stretched to 96 hours of continuous house arrest. But when in June it was ordered from on high that “election” preparations disrupted by corona were to be resumed, the medical hacks dutifully announced that thanks to Vučić’s brilliant handling of the emergency, in Serbia corona was “vanquished.”

Parliamentary elections were then triumphantly staged on June 21 with Vučić’s party – unsurprisingly – sweeping 66% of the seats, and a few satellite political groups being awarded the rest. This touching expression of popular gratitude for a corona job well done, as it turned out, was strategically indispensable to enable Vučić, already neck-deep in secretive negotiations to sign off on NATO-occupied Kosovo’s formal separation from Serbia, to use fraudulently acquired total control over parliament to amend the constitution to “legally” do just that.

Believing his purpose to have been accomplished, the arrogant tyrant then foolishly overplayed his hand. The medical issues were of course unresolved by the brilliant Dr. Vučić and in fact continued to simmer under the surface (the real number of people affected by the contagion and who actually died from it were crudely falsified down) and Serbia’s hospital infrastructure was collapsing. On Monday therefore Vučić went on national TV to decree the only therapy he knows how to impose – brute force. He announced to a stunned nation, which had just emerged from two and a half months of house arrest and was left deeply humiliated by crudely falsified “elections,” that beginning on Friday he would reimpose lockdown and compel large sectors of the population, about a third in the initial stage, to submit to forced vaccination. Never mind that Dr Vučić had apparently overlooked the minor detail that even magnates most interested in cashing in on forced mass vaccination, like Bill Gates, were not claiming that presently one was actually at hand. But that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The mere thought of being forced back into their cages and, to boot, of being obliged to submit to the injection of unknown, untested, and possibly dangerous substances hastily improvised to make loads of money and get rid of useless mouths was enough to trigger a reaction even from the dispirited and docile population of Serbia.

On Wednesday this week huge crowds began to gather spontaneously in front of the Parliament building to express their boisterous disapproval of the tyrant’s plans. After an assault they even managed briefly to burst into the eerily empty parliament building, still unoccupied by Vučić’s yet-to-be sworn-in fraudulently elected deputies. At first, the police stood by and merely watched the unprecedented manifestation of popular disgust; once they regained their wits, received reinforcements, and were issued orders from above they pounced viciously on the protesters.

Stunned by his helots’ unpardonable act of lèse-majesté, a visibly rattled Vučić then went on to make his second foolish gaffe in as many days. He again appeared on nation-wide TV, to denounce the protesters as outlaws and fascists, but that was the least of the absurdities that he uttered in the live broadcast. He went on to ramble incoherently that the dissidents were not just “flat-earth” partisans, but even more outlandishly that they were infiltrated and directed by believers in a “square earth,” whatever that silly construct is supposed to mean in his mind. (One recalls with amusement the leader of a Caribbean nation pontificating several years ago on the subject of extra-terrestrials during his address to the UN General Assembly.) That was at 3 pm on Wednesday, as an incredulous Serbia watched its megalomaniacal and delusional President go off the deep end on live television, Ceausescu style.

Three hours later, around six in the evening, an even larger and angrier crowd of “square earthers” began to gather in front of Parliament. But Vučić’s tontons macoutes were also ready, reinforced by cohorts of provocateurs infiltrated in the crowd with the task of creating incidents that would furnish the rationale for the police and the gendarmerie to do a Belgrade replay of Tiananmen square. The tension on the streets was so thick it could be cut with a machete. Groups of regime hooligans were positioned in spots not far away from the parliament area, ready to assist the forces of “law and order” when instructed. As the crowd in Belgrade booed the tyrant and screamed indelicate insults inspired by his widely suspected intimate preferences, heartening news was being received of similar manifestations erupting in the streets of Novi Sad, Niš (where in a huge hint to Vučić the police and army units refused to beat up on peaceful citizens), and other Serbian cities. Broken heads and bones were everywhere.

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Sidebar: We report with sorrow that information was just received that the young man who was brutally gang beaten in Belgrade by Vučić’s Serbian police last night, as shown in the video, has passed away. The authorities are trying to hush up his death and have not released his name or any official admission of the circumstances in which he was murdered. We do not have any details, other than that by the time the ambulance brought him to the hospital he was dead. Also, information was just received that last night the police used military grade poison gases rather than regular tear gas to disperse the crowds. People exposed to these combat weapons whose use on civilians is prohibited by international conventions were losing consciousness and collapsing to the ground. The use of these illegal substances by the authorities was witnessed by French doctors who will document it. Tonight at six o’clock in the evening protesters will be assembling again in front of the parliament building.

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Eventually, of course, the thousands of students, retired people, housewives, and citizens from all walks of life retired for the evening. But as Scarlet O’Hara memorably put it, “Tomorrow is another day.”

What is now in store for Vučić? On Thursday he nonchalantly flew to Paris (colleague Ceausescu had flown to Teheran just shortly before his day of judgment) to discuss Kosovo arrangements with Macron. On Sunday he is scheduled to meet with one of the Kosovo secessionist leaders in Brussels, presumably to put finishing touches on the recognition agreement. Whatever the further course of civic opposition to the regime (civic revulsion would perhaps be a better term), it is clear that during the last two days Vučić was politically wounded, and irreparably. In the eyes of his NATO sponsors he was whacked where it hurts the most. He has been delegitimized as Serbia’s spokesman and will henceforth be perceived as being without authority to sign off on an agreement amputating 15% of the country’s territory and renouncing its cultural and spiritual heartland, whatever titles he might still officially claim to have.

The commotion in the streets of Serbia has hugely complicated the successful completion of his one remaining task – signing off on Kosovo – after which (mission accomplished) he will become a useless burden and be thrown under the bus by his Western sponsors before the Serbian people even come to arrest him. They have tolerated his moral turpitude and unbridled tyranny for the sole purpose of achieving that objective. They needed a seemingly strong Serbian leader with an appearance of popular support to perform the dastardly deed so they could then say pacta sunt servanda and make it binding on his successors. But now, the entire operation looks far less certain and even if Vučić signs off as instructed, legally and politically (never mind morally, that is of no concern whatsoever to any of the actors) the value of his signature will be greatly diminished.

Vučić is cornered. If he keeps the commitment he made to his Western sponsors to formally accept the rape of Kosovo in the name of the Serbian state, the disturbances of the last few days will be a mere garden party compared to what he would then have to face. If he continues to delay the promised act of treason and reneges on the Faustian bargain he made in return for power and plunder, he will face the outrage of his foreign handlers. There is no need to elaborate. He knows exactly what that means. One feels sorry for the man, almost.

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