Wednesday, January 9, 2013

''Springing'' Dodik and Serb Republic's Survival

On its 21st birthday, Serb Republic is "more stable than ever," President Milorad Dodik said. At the same time, he and his party's PR guru Rajko Vasić have been increasingly warning the public of a prospect of a violent overthrow, or a "spring" being in the works against their leadership. They cited knowledge of intensified financing of Western-sponsored NGOs in Serb Republic and their agitation among the impoverished and economically deprived segments of population, which Serb Republic, like every other country in Southeast Europe, doesn't lack.

On Tuesday, there was a condescending tone of denial in a Deutsche Welle article, written by a Bosnian Muslim and re-posted on B92 website, which, considering the outlets and the sources quoted, indicated to me that Dodik and Vasić are not merely talking crazy populism they tend to engage in every now and then. In fact, even with the notion of a violent overthrow of a government of a non-independent entity such as Serb Republic sounding so absurd and counter-intuitive, I'm inclined to regard such a prospect with fearful attention after Veran Matić's B92 jumps to mock it. Serb Republic has been under the threat of abolition since its establishment and Dodik has become a symbol of the resistance to Sarajevo's post-Dayton onslaught against the Serb entity. The Dayton Accords, which established Bosnia-Herzegovina and recognized Serb Republic as one of its two entities, had been violated consistently by the Office of High Representative and the Sarajevo central leadership prior to Dodik's second accession to power in 2006. Effectively decapitated through the political persecution of its leadership, the Serb Democrat Party couldn't withstand Sarajevo's march towards the abolition of Serb Republic in the first part of the last decade, but Dodik's return to power and his staunch and, oftentimes, abrasive attitude, has stabilized Serb Republic as a defender of the interests of Serbs west of Drina. He went so far to chastise and frown at Western envoys, and while a part of it was a show for the people and electoral rhetoric, in essence, that was the only way to repel the ever-oppressing imperial agents and their Sarajevo clients.

Considering the degree to which Dodik's burly presence, both political and personal, thwarted the abolition of Serb Republic efforts, it is understood why Western imperialist agents would want to overthrow him. One ridiculous element of the whole "spring" prospect is, as I said earlier, the fact that the Western imperialists would violently target the democratically elected government not of an independent state like Libya or Syria, or Yugoslavia in 2000, but of an entity within a state.
Dodik appears to be close to World Jewish Congress and, indirectly, to certain influencers in Israel, through his key advisor, a Holocaust survivor Arie Livne, as well as to Russian leadership and business circles. He recently closed the key energy deal with Russia's oil magnate Rashid Sardarov and the building of a new coal plant in the mining town of Ugljevik is underway. NIS (Serbia's largest oil corporation, owner by Russian Gazprom Neft) has bought Austrian OMV's gas stations throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was close to Serbia's former president, Boris Tadić, but the current leadership, despite the advances he has made, has been cold towards him, with Ivica Dačić rejecting Dodik's call for a formulation of a united national political strategy. Although a staunch supporter of Serbia's refusal to recognize Kosovo's secession, Dodik repeated his proposal to divide Kosovo along ethnic lines, but that was ignored in Belgrade as well.

The opposition within Serb Republic to Dodik's Alliance of Independent Social-Democrats (SNSD) is mainly represented by the formerly ruling Serb Democrat Party (SDS). While SDS holds significant power at the local level, kicking SNSD's behind in most major cities' mayoral races in October, and while the entity-level political battles between SNSD and SDS are as fierce as ever, they are united in the front towards Sarajevo and usually follow the common strategy in defense of Serb Republic. Although Dodik has become the symbol of resistance against Muslim domination over Bosnia in recent years, without the support from SDS' Mladen Bosić, it would be hard for him to remain as steadfast. For the sake of Serb Republic, it is crucial that their power-sharing model, where SDS dominates on the local level and SNSD controls the higher levels, is entrenched and maintained. I haven't seen indications that SDS leadership is willing to "spring" Serb Republic and remove Dodik in the streets, but there are minor parties clinging to the margins of the political arena dominated by SNSD and SDS, whom I wouldn't put past the desire to grab power in any way possible. Out of Mladen Ivanić's Party of Democratic Progress (PDP), which has seen a precipitous decline, and former president Dragan Čavić's Democrat Party (DP), whose leader strives to reclaim lost political strength, together with the Serb Republic extension of Serbia's ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), an aspiring "spring" architect could, under right circumstances, assemble a coalition of the willing and pit it against Dodik in a way they themselves, relying on their own capacities, cannot. Supported by the unions and a number of trained NGO operatives, and relying on popular mobilization spurred by a negative PR campaign, a street attack against Dodik in the mold of the one against Slobodan Milošević is not beyond a realm of a possibility.

For Serb Republic, such an event would be a disaster on many levels.
First, any instability within Serb Republic, especially one caused and orchestrated from the outside, is an invitation for vultures to come and feast on it. Serbia, right across Drina, is a cautionary tale. The robbery and the colonization of Serbia that ensued following the Milošević ouster in 2000 highly exceeded the negative aspects of Milošević's rule, however just his removal appeared to be at the time. At the time, Serbs that bulldozed Milošević out of power were not aware that CIA and NED sponsored their "revolution." A similar ouster of Dodik would almost certainly signal to Sarajevo that it is time to go for Serb Republic's jugular. I'm not even saying that no one but Dodik can secure the survival of Serb Republic, only that no foreign-sponsored overthrow of a people's choice can ever be grounded in a motivation benevolent to Serb Republic and the Serbian people. Or, from another angle, if the likes of those who conduct "springs" are going for Dodik's head, he must be doing something good for Serb Republic that its traditional, lurking enemies desire to end.

Second, anyone who advocates violence in Serb Republic is most likely an enemy of its people. Serb Republic has one top priority: survival. In the world of perceived greater and lesser evils, there is no model for its survival more appealing than power-sharing between its two major parties. The bad economic situation may continue to deteriorate and Dodik would be advised to roll up his sleeves, curb his personal greed and improve it, because he can. The increased popular outrage at the standard of living and widespread systemic corruption, and especially at Dodik's visible role in contributing to it, may indeed prove to be fertile soil for Western NGOs recruitment of cannon fodder against Dodik. Dodik must not close his eyes to this possibility, as examples of ousted leaders who refused to adjust their position in relation to their own people are too many to count.

Third, SDS, should it be drawn into a violent battle against Dodik on behalf of Western imperialists, must remember it is a party of Radovan Karadžić, because no matter what, its enemies will always remember this and if they pardon it for a short term co-optation, they will never forgive it. It must remember that the real enemy is in Sarajevo and not in Banja Luka and it must look for ways to bring Dodik to a position of cooperation for the benefit of Serb Republic. It appears Bosić is well aware of this and that's a positive.

Petar Luković, a renowned anti-Serb propagandist from Belgrade, might as well be right when he mocked Dodik and his "conspiratorial" sentiments for Deutsche Welle and dismissed it as rhetoric and even a straw Dodik is grabbing onto to preserve his power. Dodik could just be playing mind games with the people. Sure, it's possible, but since Luković called it, I doubt it. I wasn't even going to rush into commenting on Dodik's "conspiratorial" sentiments if I didn't see Luković's "analysis," in which he curiously, and I'd say, nervously, pokes fun at someone even talking about such outlandish propositions such as CIA and Vatican meddling, foreign-financed "independent" media etc. Yeah, sure, it is preposterous to think that ever happens...


The Hero of Crappy Town said...

Providing there is substance to these fears this would be an indication of how low the foreign meddlers gunning for a unitarian BiH have really fallen.

Supposedly they have all the power needed to remove Dodik as it is. All they need to do is snap their fingers, exercise their "Bonn powers", and strip him of the position he has been elected to. As they in fact did with Nikola Poplašen who occupied the office in 1999. In theory no such complicated, and logistically demanding undertaking as a color revolution is needed to take Dodik down.

If instead of the "Bonn powers" the biggest worry of Dodik is the prospect of a color revolution it shows how frightened the self-imposed supervisors from abroad are to exercise the powers they have claimed for themselves. I would say this shows the way forward (eg for Serbia).

Imperials and Europeanists may think themselves endowed with the right to exercise power over peoples in the region, but at least nowadays, in the face of a courageous front they are too unsure of themselves to actually exercise it.

They are only confident enough to slap around those who accept their right to do so. Challenge it instead and they're left pathetic and immobile.

Srbo said...

I said it long ago: imperialism doesn't impose borders to its expansion, the resistance to it does.
Yes, provided there is merit to Dodik's claims, we can argue these points. Not for nothing, the early Twitter community in any society is an indicator of political leanings of its best technologically equipped and savvy population. Well, there was a TV debate on Banja Luka's ATV between Dodik and Bosic last night and it followed by Twitter activism reminding of the best Alinsky ridicule advice. Now, ridiculing Dodik is neither hard not unexpected, but to not have any supporters in this community is weird. Not that Bosic had any either, but I made the point of not showing expectations from SDS to cooperate with the Imperialist clandestine efforts against Dodik. The most technologically advanced groups, for some reason, are close to PDP, like the ones in Serbia tend to be close to Dinkic.
Not that Twitter activity is an indicator of a plan, but it can be an indicator of a mood and of certain hopes.
Regardless of the prospects, I hope you are right in your last sentence.

Barry said...

Well written post Srbo!

I certainly agree with your arguments that anyone in favor of a spring/violence in the Serb Republic is arguing against the interests of the Serb people. In fact, this can be extended to any country that is generally opposed to Western interests like Russia, Iran, Libya etc - anything or anyone that the West supports tend to be opposed to the people's interest as a whole...

I'm not sure I can imagine a color revolution in the Serb Republic, simply because of the overwhelming support for the ruling SDS/SNSD parties. If the "international community" could have pulled something off along those lines, they would have done it years ago.

But you're right in arguing that Dodik's support is waning, particularly because of the negative economic situation in both of Bosnia's entities. This might make him vulnerable to external attempts to undermine him, or simply to media campaigns demonizing him...

I wholeheartedly agree - if the Serb Republic and Serbs from the north of Kosovo have shown anything, it's that passive resistance can be VERY effective in the face of Western imperial might!

Srbo said...

Thanks for the comment and the support, Barry.
Dodik, if he's smart, will adjust or he will go down. I emphasize that thin line between orchestrated revolt and the revolt people take over and take ownership of. A small group of paid professionals orchestrated the revolt against Milosevic and polarized Serbia along the line of being pro- or against him. If enough loud drums beat against Dodik and if he keeps responding in a uncontrolled way, as he has, the same can happen and the outraged people will be forced to choose.
There are elections and it is the arena in which the bad should go down and the better should rise up.
My main problem with bringing down Dodik in any other way is the experience of having anti-Serbian interests being behind ousting Serbian leaders.