Financial Times: Dodik's threats of secession and Russia's blockade of EU and NATO enlargement

Milorad Dodik / Photo: Profimedia

Milorad Dodik's threats to secede from Republika Srpska come at a time when the West is struggling with Russia and China for influence in the Balkans, writes the respected Financial Times, noting that Dodik has strengthened relations with Vladimir Putin, whose main strategic goal in the region. is to block further EU and NATO enlargement.

Dodik and Putin
Milorad Dodik and Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Moscow / Photo EPA-EFE / MICHAEL KLIMENTYEV


"Bosnian Serb Leader Defies Sanctions as Tensions Rise" - The Financial Times examines the current political crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which culminated in ethnic tensions.

The British newspaper recalls the recently expanded US sanctions against Milorad Dodik, a politician who won the election for the first time twenty years ago, when the West was seen as a person capable of bringing about positive change in BiH.

Washington freezes Dodik's assets in US over sanctions for "destabilizing and corrupt activities" that threaten peace process as the day of the independence of Republika Srpska is mentioned in the text.

"But the increasingly nationalist politician is portraying the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords as a tool of Western interests. He has been boycotting the work of state institutions since July last year and wants to end the Republika Srpska entity's participation in the defense, justice and taxation sectors at the state level. "The prospect of what would be a quasi-secession has sparked international warnings about the risk of a resurgence of ethnic violence."

Milorad Dodik and Janez Jansa
Milorad Dodik and Janez Jansa / Photo: Twitter, Janez Jansa

Dodik, who has approached some leaders politically, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, responds defiantly:

"If they think they will discipline me, they are very wrong," he told RTRS after the US sanctions, adding that "I have a new motive to fight for the rights that have been taken away from us for 26 years."

Dodik and Erdogan meet in 2019 / Photo EPA-EFE / FEHIM DEMIR

The Financial Times recalls that Dodik's threats came after Valentin Inzko, now a former international high official in BiH, introduced a ban on genocide denial shortly before he left office last year.

Dodik and Orban at a meeting in Budapest in 2019 / photo: EPA / EFE

Haris Silajdzic, a former BiH prime minister and member of the BiH presidency who took part in the peace talks, claims Dodik wants Republika Srpska to steal state land and property from state control.

"Dodik wants to get Bosnia and Herzegovina's resources," which will give him full control of the country, Silajdzic said.

Valery Perry, a senior member of the Council for the Democratization of Politics, warned of a serious risk of corruption and said it was worrying that the international community was no longer opposed to the corrupt activities of Republika Srpska politicians.
Dodik has not yet commented or commented on the allegations made through the Financial Times.

Assembly of the Republic of Serbia
Assembly of the Republic of Serbia / Free Press Photo Archive

Maida Ruge, a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, called Dodik's move to secede "a desperate escalation", adding that tax cuts alone would cost $ 360 million a year in lost budget revenue, compared to $ 7 billion gross. -homemade product.

Photo: Ministry of Interior of Republika Srpska

BiH has called elections for October this year. The Republika Srpska opposition believes Dodik's only way to keep the government afloat is to perpetuate the crisis.

The opposition believes that "Dodik is a political bluffer""There are no real answers to the challenges in the economy, the pandemic, corruption, emigration, the rule of law."

However, the ban on denying the genocide, according to experts, helped Dodik and they will use him as long as they can, until the elections, if possible, in order to get as many votes as possible.

Dodik's threats of secession come as the West fights Russia and China for influence in the Balkans. Since 2006, Dodik has strengthened ties with Putin, whose main strategic goal in the region is to block further EU and NATO enlargement. Dodik visited the Russian president in December, saying he supported him against the "liberal West".

Photo: Instagram


However, the text notes that Aleksandar Vucic, the president of Serbia, distanced himself from Dodik, although his own Serbian nationalism provoked criticism from the West.

"The international community has made thousands of mistakes in BiH," Vucic told the Financial Times.

Sources in BiH and Western diplomats say that while US moves could herald tougher sanctions, the West is also keeping the door open for talks with the Serb leader in BiH.
The paper also quotes a number of Western politicians as saying that the West's only response could force Dodik to change the course of RS's secession from the federation.

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