Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The cofounder of the Agency for Strategic Communications Oleg Bondarenko explained in an interview with “ukraina.ru” why the visit of the Russian President Vladimir Putin to Belgrade became a real celebration for Serbians.
At the beginning of high-level negotiations the Russian President Vladimir Putin noted the contribution of the Serbian leader Aleksandr Vucic to the development of bilateral relations. The Russian leader also said that he will hand over a state award of the Russian Federation — the Order of Aleksandr Nevsky – to his colleague.
“Many thanks, this will be a great honour for me and for Serbia. We and Russia are sincere friends. I want to thank you personally, dear sir president, for putting a lot of energy, work, time, love, and respect into the development of Serbian-Russian relations. Although Serbia geographically speaking isn’t a very big country, you can count on us”said Vucic
The Head of the Presidential Administration of Serbia Nikola Selaković called Putin’s visit an extremely important event — the most important since the beginning of year and probably during the forthcoming period.
In an interview with “ukraina.ru” the cofounder of the Agency for Strategic Communications Oleg Bondarenko emphasised that Putin’s visit is indeed a very important historical visit from all points of view. However, the main issue is what he brought with him to Belgrade, and so far no answers are forthcoming.
“In the current situation that Serbia finds itself in, it has nobody else except Russia to count on. This concerns military support, Kosovo, energy, and a huge number of other issues. There is the strong desire to hope that president Vucic won’t use Putin’s visit to achieve his internal political aims. As is known, in Serbia a rather serious oppositional movements aimed against Vucic exists, but there is no need to believe that this movement has an anti-Russian character”stated the expert
The Russian authorities repeatedly said that Moscow will never recognise the independence of Kosovo. As the Russian President’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov reported, in November of last year, during the solemn events in Paris devoted to the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Putin communicated with the president of the self-proclaimed republic Hashim Thaçi on the sidelines and urged him to reach a consensus with the leadership of Serbia. The Russian leader assured that Moscow will support any agreement between Belgrade and Pristina.
During January 17th’s negotiations Vucic and Putin discussed the possibility of building the gas pipeline “Turkish stream” through the territory of Serbia. The day prior Vucic declared that the country doesn’t intend to refuse Russian gas in favour of more expensive liquefied gas to please the US.
“If this agreement depended on Belgrade, it would’ve been signed already today. But today this question depends on Bulgaria — whether or not there will be construction on its territory – and Sofia is not independent and is guided by advice from Brussels and Washington. Unfortunately, Serbia is a hostage of the position of Bulgaria, which is dictated by America and the European Commission”stated Bondarenko
Putin’s arrival was eagerly awaited not only by Serbian politicians, but also by ordinary citizens. The city streets were decorated with portraits of the Russian leader, and souvenir products with his image are in great demand. When the leaders went to the car after wreath-laying at the monument of the Soviet and Yugoslavian soldiers who liberated Belgrade during World War II, people applauded and chanted “Putin! Putin!” The president of Russia at the beginning of negotiations in a government complex said that he was very glad to visit brotherly Serbia, and thanked the Serbian people for such a warm welcome.
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