To ban a political party, as recently in Moldova, is not something that frequently happens in Europe. It is even more unusual for state authorities to ban a political party with representatives in the parliament. This happened to the Shor party in Moldova. There were cases of corruption and money laundering within the party, and a 15 years prison sentence for the founder of the party Ilan Shor for financial fraud, which is why he fled the country to Israel. But none of that would be a reason for banning and dissolving the party because money laundering in politics is not unusual, neither in the West nor the East.
The party was banned because it undermined the sovereignty of its own country. It placed itself at the service of a foreign power. It desired and worked for the foreign country’s invasion goal. It represented a pure fifth column, which would grow into a quisling and puppet government as soon as its real bosses entered the country with their army. With this ban, the pro-European government in Moldova might have already defended itself from the impending Russian invasion. They cannot know this, but they have reached a brave decision and made a safer country that preserved its independence.
After Ukraine, Moldova was next in line for the Russian invasion, following the same pattern. If the casus belli in Ukraine were Donetsk and Luhansk, Transnistria in Moldova should have been the next, as another one of the security pockets and unresolved conflicts Russia created so one day it could enter other people’s territory. Kosovo is one of those pockets Moscow does not want to be resolved.
Moscow can now throw plans for the subjugation of Moldova into the trash. Chisinau has clearly shown they reject the submission and know well how Russia planned the take-over. If one day Moldova becomes a member of the EU or NATO, which it fervently wants, it will remember the banning of the Shor party as a crucial decision and a turning point which led it to the democratic society it wants to be a part of instead of war and loss of independence.
This is how one defends the freedom of one’s country, despite all the risks, including the biggest, of being attacked from outside.
There will probably be no banning of parties in Serbia, but that does not mean that the idea of total subjugation to Russia, including the arrival of its occupying army, with the loss of state sovereignty, does not exist. The media is full of such narratives. The Russian occupation is extensively called for on social media. Messages are written in Russian as a welcome sign to the foreign army and government. Those people also say they would give up their country if sanctions were imposed on Russia.
A Serbian patriot must be a Russian patriot at the same time. He believes that Serbia cannot achieve its goals if Moscow does not help it. There is also a belief that the world is being reshaped, that Russia would emerge at the forefront and Europe and America would fall apart. Serbia must stand by Moscow on the winning side in this epic battle.
Unfortunately, this misconception is widespread. It has been the main stream of social consciousness in Serbia, and as such, it determines the behaviour of politicians, regardless of whether they are in power or the opposition. Competition in Russophillism has been a general feature of the Serbian political scene because no one will risk opposing the feeling of the majority of Serbia, imposed from the political sphere – that of Moscow, in cooperation with the domestic one. Serbia has been the most positive example for Russia and its plans to expand imperial influence and create a “historical Russia.” Without money or any significant effort, full vassalage could be obtained.
Serbian voters traditionally think that Russia is the biggest investor and donor to Serbia, although we haven’t seen a single kopeck. They are convinced that only Russia could help Serbia save Kosovo.
They brag about the Russian tricks regarding the arrival and quick withdrawal of the battalion from Kosovo or the famous “protest” of Yevgeny Primakov when he turned the plane over the Atlantic and returned to Moscow instead of Washington because he heard that NATO had attacked Serbia. Those tricks have been celebrated in Serbia as acts of epic brotherhood and a “historical NO” instead of being ridiculed as a cheap political deception.
People often say with smiling faces and even malice that Putin is the most popular politician in Serbia and would beat Aleksandar Vučić in the elections. It is usually perceived as a sense of (global) supremacy rather than a wake-up call that something is deeply wrong with the nation’s political health.
On the other hand, it is difficult to say anything every time Europe and the West help Serbia, like a few days ago when we received 162 million euros for free to improve our public services, health, education, and railways. Or last March when we received as much as 600 million euros, again non-refundable, to finally fix the Belgrade-Nis railway. Our “thank you” is uttered in a low voice and through gritted teeth, if uttered at all. We should say “thank you” to the West, but Russia says the West is its enemy, so we should think and behave like Russia.
Serbia owes it to itself, like Moldova, to recognise the danger to its independence and identity and to do something about it. Serbia did that, even though reluctantly, several times at the UN, when it condemned the Russian aggression against Ukraine and, because of that, participated in the expulsion of Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. But no one needs to justify, let alone apologise for those decisions, as Serbia did.
Serbia should repeat them as often as possible because it stood by two-thirds of humanity (civilisation) who opposed Russian aggression. It should reach such decisions boldly, with pride and conviction that they are the best for Serbia, without allowing the Russian ambassador to interpret Serbian politics on his official Twitter account and in the Serbian media and explain what Serbia and Vučić will do and what they are ready for. The ambassador should not be allowed to threaten Serbia (government and Vučić) with social unrest if Serbia dared to follow its own interests and impose sanctions on Russia. As an experienced diplomat, the ambassador is disrespectful as much as he is allowed. He sees that there are no limits to his behaviour in Serbia, and that’s why he took on the role of governor. That is why he interprets the policy of the Serbian government and President Vučić, and that is why he explains what Serbia should and should not do in the Serbian media because that falls under the governor’s jurisdiction.