old key
Photo: Ivana Tutunovic Karic

The age of EUphoria of president Aleksandar Vucic and his administration is long gone. It is now replaced by the age of EUphrenia, a serious behavioral and cognitive disorder, which intensified radically after the US took over the initiative in solving the Kosovo issue, and can now be tracked at all levels of the production of reality in Serbia, particularly in the statements of politicians posing as the president’s ambassadors. This refers especially to the statements of Ana Brnabic, Suzana Vasiljevic, Sinisa Mali, Marko Djuric, Aleksandar Vulin, and Vucic himself.

Primarily, this disorder concerns the relationship between Aleksandar Vucic and the European Union, which has been intertwined with the still unsuccessful “historic” solution to the Kosovo problem since the very beginning eight years ago. Namely, after intensive training with marketing experts, Vucic of the Radical party woke up one day as a progressive supporter of EU integration, Djindjic’s politics, and the fight against corruption. He crawled out of his Radical party swamp as a sort of parody of Raskolnikov, whose only concern is “killing the old usurer” and, thus, finally, liberating himself and his Radical party world from the baggage of the 1990s. This awakening was greeted with celebration not only in Serbia, but also in the main centers of the EU, which offered their extensive support. His inner schism came rather soon, before he managed to solve anything, when he realized that the “old usurer” is better kept in the basement or the closet, rather than killing her off at the very start of his political life. Of course, the “old usurer” here stands for all those problems which he attacked in his 2012 campaign, but which he abandoned as soon as he came into power, while keeping his support for the EU on the outside, and for despotism on the inside. Following this Raskolnikov on his path, his “European friends” enabled the deepening schism inside of him, which eventually led to general disintegration, the collapse of the EU initiative to solve the Kosovo problem, and Donald Trump’s strong entry into the game, as well as the complete devastation of institutions in Serbia, the creation of a one-party system, and criminalization of the opposition.

After sitting in the Oval office, in an episode which caused a serious breakdown in the perception of reality, Vucic and his delegation began acting like they had no idea what was going on and started giving contradictory statements to the media. It all started in real time when Sinisa Mali announced his fear of article ten of the agreement, which was allegedly a part of the American document at one point, only to have Ivica Dačić dispel that fear, by saying that Vucic had “brutally rejected” all that. This was the cue for Suzana Vasiljevic to start talking about that article, as well as about the domestic security service, which revealed in time that the article was being prepared, and finally said that the Kosovo delegation stated before going to Washington that it was going there to secure recognition for Kosovo. It seems that the BIA officials’ job wasn’t that difficult, since all of this was already public knowledge, but that article still incited rumors and drama during and after the negotiations. In a way, the recognition of Kosovo is present not in one article, but in the entire agreement, which is indicated by the events that were soon to follow.

Suzana Vasiljevic’s appearance in the media also indicates that the perception of reality of the members of the Belgrade delegation is not completely stable. She gave a completely new interpretation of the signed agreement as “not binding”, meaning the infamous embassy would not have to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. From Jerusalem, on the other hand, we hear that such things will never happen, as they would disrupt “traditional friendship between the Jews and the Serbs”. From Pristina, however, comes the news that Israel has recognized Kosovo a mere 22 minutes after the signing of the Washington agreement. Finally, Donald Trump was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, albeit because of his overall contribution to achieving peace in the Middle East, with the resolution of the Kosovo issue only being the icing on the cake.

Two agendas dominate domestic media. One is Vucic’s genius in avoiding article 10, thus also apparently avoiding any danger to Serbia, and the other is the great economic benefit that will occur after the Washington episode. Sinisa Mali and Ana Brnabic won’t stop talking about it. However, Aleksandar Vulin showed up with new symptoms of EUphrenia, in addition to his already proverbial lack of ability to identify that the disorder even exists, demonstrating deep social withdrawal and loss of will, and blaming the EU for all that. Namely, Vulin announced that the army of the Republic of Serbia, by the decision of the government, will “withdraw for six months” from all activities and maneuvers with its partners, regardless of whether they come from the East or the West. This happened, says the minister of war, due to the “terrible and undeserved pressure from the EU”. Indeed, one could say that no other agreement before has had such rapid implementation, since Richard Grenell, Donald Trump’s special envoy, said only 24 hours earlier that the agreement was a great victory for the American president, because he managed to “keep Serbia away from them” (i.e. Russia and China), which is actually the key to resolving the Kosovo issue. That is why Aleksandar Vulin received an order to borrow the unfortunate Raskolnikov’s axe and break all the other chairs on which Vucic (but also his predecessors) has been siting for years, so that in the end only the Oval Office dunce chair remained.

Immediately after Washington came Brussels, where Miroslav Lajcak took over the job started in the White House (the keys to which shall now forever grace the cabinet of the Serbian president). This was when, in addition to economic issues, the issues of missing persons, displaced persons, property, and minority communities in Kosovo finally came up. Lajcak seemed satisfied when he said that, after ten years, it is time for this negotiation process to end. At home, however, in the most loyal tabloid media, the noise continues and the leader’s genius is celebrated, as well as his unprecedented success in the negotiations, which began long ago, with DSS’s calls to “look at the traffic light,” or the insane travels of Vuk Jeremic and Ivica Dacic to strengthen the principle of the “four pillars” of Serbian foreign policy in the defense of Kosovo, which have now fallen apart. Informer, apparently suffering from severe hallucinations, printed on the front page the headline “Vucic wrecks Hoti”. However, having in mind all the symptoms of the late stage of EUphrenia, it seems that Trump has wrecked Vucic, and not only him, but also the logic of the SNS-SPS ruling coalition, which, after the decision to distance from Russia, will decisively influence the formation of the future government of Serbia.

Translated by Marijana Simic

Peščanik.net, 15.09.2020.

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Saša Ilić, rođen 1972. u Jagodini, diplomirao na Filološkom fakultetu u Beogradu. Objavio 3 knjige priča: Predosećanje građanskog rata (2000), Dušanovac. Pošta (2015), Lov na ježeve (2015) i 3 romana: Berlinsko okno (2005), Pad Kolumbije (2010) i Pas i kontrabas (2019) za koji je dobio NIN-ovu nagradu. Jedan je od pokretača i urednik književnog podlistka Beton u dnevnom listu Danas od osnivanja 2006. do oktobra 2013. U decembru iste godine osnovao je sa Alidom Bremer list Beton International, koji periodično izlazi na nemačkom jeziku kao podlistak Tageszeitunga i Frankfurtera Rundschaua. Jedan je od urednika Međunarodnog književnog festivala POLIP u Prištini. Njegova proza dostupna je u prevodu na albanski, francuski, makedonski i nemački jezik.

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