“Serbian Maidan” was started on April 3 of the classic, well known to the Ukrainians after the announcement of preliminary presidential election results on the streets of Belgrade and other cities in peaceful protest of thousands of people, mostly young people, agreeing about the campaign in social networks.
On the eve of the Republican election Commission announced the winner of the election, the incumbent Prime Minister Vucic Aleksandar. He scored more than 55% of the votes and won in the first round. The closest competitor — Sasha Jankovic, the former Ombudsman received slightly more than 16%.
Demonstrations continued throughout the week, and on Saturday and Sunday, 8 and 9 April, in street protests in major cities of Serbia was attended by tens of thousands of people. Protest marches took place in Belgrade, NIS, Novi Sad, Kraleva, Kragujevac, Cacak, Novi pazar, Sombor, Zrenjanin, Subotica, Valjevo… the protest was the largest in the recent history of Serbia.
Members of the “Serbian independence” I don’t want to see their President Aleksandar Vucic, because he:
a) “the Thief”, “stolen election”. The protesters believe that the election was abuse and violations, in particular, the electoral Commission added to the actual votes for Vucic fake.
According to the headquarters of Sasha Jankovic, the physical count of votes at polling stations and the final aggregate data do not match. “Aleksandar Vucic could potentially steal 319 thousand votes in these elections”, — reads the statement of the headquarters.
b) “the Dictator.” Vucic accused that he is trying to usurp power.
Election campaign, according to his opponents, was undemocratic, in particular, candidates were at a disadvantage in access to media. During the election campaign the government under the leadership Vucic won the loyalty and support of most media in the country, and just before the “day of silence” almost all Central Newspapers came out with Vucic is on the front page. In addition,
after the election of the head of state, he will de facto lead not only the presidential vertical, but also the government because the Serbian progressive party headed by Vucic, part of the ruling coalition.
“Serbian independence” called “Protest against dictatorship” (that’s the name and most of the groups of protesters in Facebook). The protest is the “Maidan without politics”: the protesters said that distanciruemsa from the influence of any political parties.
The main demand of the rally — the second round of the presidential election (new voting).
Prior to this, the government must create the conditions for genuine political competition: to remove from positions of the persons involved in the election fraud to change the leadership of the Republican election Commission and state television. To prevent new manipulation is also required to update the voter lists and to revise the rules of voting in the Diaspora.
On Sunday, on behalf of the protest organizers released a statement, which lists the main demands of the protesters. Answer from power forward to April 17.
“Protest against dictatorship” is only the peace: with creative posters and other visual agitation, whistles, drums, chanting slogans and insulting to Vucic verses.
No Serbs tea and sandwiches at every step, but there are chants of “Who does not jump is…”. In the Serbian version it sounds like “Who does not jump, he survived” — “Ko ne skače, taj je Vučić”.
Stones and bottles known what the protesters are not observed.
Sasha Jankovic, who supported the protest, stressed that it is impossible to prevent the violence and provocations. Similar positions, to protest peacefully, without burning, without violence and stupidity — and adheres to Luka Maksimovic, known as Lube, Preleukemic Beli (White) — political parodist who took part in the electoral race and took third place.
While these appeals are heard. “Destroying the dictatorship, and not a city” — written on the posters of some of the protesters in Belgrade. However, the power component of the action, you might say, is present only in a little different way: the protests were joined labor unions military and police.
It is clear that it is transparent and powerful signal to the authorities by the security forces. More powerful than stones at the Windows.
Equally important issue — foreign policy vector of the protests. And everything here is very difficult. On the one hand, the requirement of fair elections is a typically Pro-Western discourse. However, their support for the protesters and said openly Pro-Russian policy of Vojislav šešelj of the Serbian radical party and Bosko Obradovic from the right-wing movement Dveri.
In this context, it seems natural looks review Moscow “RIA Novosti” regarding the protests in Serbia: “it is Clear that this is not the Pro-Western Maidan. Rather, with the opposite sign”.
However, while the Serbian yellow press “chases” the rumors that the protests should… George Soros. He allegedly invested in the destabilization of the country 10 million euros.
The reason for these conversations was the participation in the protests of the movement “Women in black”, allegedly receiving funding from this famous patron. However, the tabloid “informer” telling “horror stories” about Soros, refers to the Russian sources.
The conspiracy theorists have to wrestle with in trying to figure out who “is behind the protests” — “the Department of state with cookies”, “world government” or “hand of Moscow”.
Complicated “investigation” by the fact that among the requirements “of the Serbian independence” is not calling to make a geopolitical choice between the EU and the Eurasian economic community, between Brussels and Moscow.
The official foreign policy of Serbia has for many years been a multi-vector, and the formula “European integration and friendship with Russia” is a trend and public opinion. Both leaders in the presidential race are largely Pro-European, but at the same time in any case not anti-Russian.
Vucic, as you know, a few days before the election, I visited with a friendly visit to the Kremlin, where he received assurances of support from Vladimir Putin. In turn, Sasha Jankovic on the eve of election day in an interview with Russian state news Agency TASS, said: “the Real sincere friend Russia has in the people of Serbia, its citizens. We should build relations with Russia, not looking at it, who are now in power: Aleksandar Vucic or Sasha Jankovic, our relationship is stable and developing.”
In the end, the protesters who take to the streets of the Serbian cities, do not declare the task to adjust the country’s foreign policy.
“Serbian independence” today looks like a classic spontaneous protest, which is due to purely internal problems of the country, worsening the age-old conflict between the government and the society. But watching the events in Serbia, we must bear in mind that the Balkan Maidana last years, similar to the “Russian dolls” — there are many components in the first layer there is a second, third…
Here it is worth remembering the transformation of the protests in neighboring Montenegro. They began in mid-October 2015 with performances against the mafia and corruption in the government. The participants, among whom were supporters of different geopolitical views (even NATO) and demanded democratic changes in the country and, in particular, the resignation of the then Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.
When the Montenegrins who supported “anticomunista” action, pointed out that under the beautiful anti-mafia slogans can hide Russian interests that Moscow is trying to keep Montenegro in the sphere of its influence, they are very much offended.
However, the Montenegrin protest movement is really very quickly turned into antievolutionism openly Pro-Serbian and even Pro-Russian. Share of Montenegro there were Serbian and Russian flags, portraits of Putin…
Later, the protest finally led the political leaders who focused exclusively on radical forces in Serbia and Russia.
The culmination of anti-government actions was the attempted coup and attacks on Djukanovic in October 2016. The power scenario, as the investigation revealed, was developed with the participation of Serbian citizens (including the former head of the gendarmerie of Serbia and the “militia” of the Crimea and Donbas) and the representatives of the Russian special services.
However, Serbia does not enter NATO, Vucic does not make anti-Russian statements, and therefore the Montenegrin scenario not seem realistic.
But even if “Srpska independence” will not turn into the operation of external forces and will remain a classic Maidan, to be sure 100% that all will end quietly, peacefully, the parties agree and disperse.
Some purely domestic factors in Serbia will be enough to initiate a large-scale shocks, which will have consequences for all of Europe. Suffice it to recall that in Belgrade 17 years ago was the first in the history of “color revolution” with the eloquent title “bulldozer”.
But still reason to moderate, not alarmist predictions are.
First, Vucic, with all the nuances, do not pull on the second of Milosevic. And Sasha Jankovic cannot be called a leader of the United democratic opposition.
Secondly, the protesters still adhere to the concept of peaceful protest. Now there is no force that openly advocated the transfer of “Protest against dictatorship” in the power phase.
Third, the Serbian authorities have already bitter experience and knows what not to do if you don’t want in the end you toppled a crowd of protesters. The absence in the streets during the protests reinforced police cordons and police, even the government agencies in Belgrade — one of the signs that the Serb government learns from the mistakes of predecessors.
Vucic said that the police took from the places of holding of mass actions that the protesters had no opportunity to provoke — “tricks from books”, “tricks that have been applied in many countries.”
The protesters, he said, can show their displeasure when they want and how they want, and everything will be fine, as long as the protest is peaceful and does not threaten the constitutional order in the state.
As for the “stealing votes”, Vucic has called the accusations of the blatant stupidity and offered to count the ballots — in front of cameras, in the presence of journalists. Of course it’s not something you can wait for the protesters.
So to be continued. Yet the protesters every day after the demonstration say goodbye to each other with the words “until tomorrow”.