Photo: Predrag Trokicic
Photo: Predrag Trokicic

“This is of crucial importance for the future development of Serbia. This is incredibly important for us, our industry and development of our economy, as well as for all our citizens.” No, these aren’t the words of Aleksandar Vucic after his meeting with Vladimir Putin held on November 25th. This is what he said less than a year ago, on January 1st 2021 at the opening of the Balkan Stream pipeline.

What was all that excitement about? It was about, he explained, the fact that, from that point on, Serbia would be paying half of what it had been paying for gas until then. 1,000 cubic meters of gas coming to Serbia via Ukraine and Hungary costs $270 and now, with the new pipeline via Turkey and Bulgaria, the price would be reduced to $155.

So, this new/old price of $270 is, actually, almost double what was promised. Or the president lied to us when he said that the price would be $155.

But, why did Vucic go to Russia to negotiate gas prices from January 1st 2022 in the first place when the current contract between Serbia and Russia is valid until January 1st 2023? In 2013, Serbia and Russia signed a ten-year contract on sale of gas which, of course, set the price. The question now is why the duration of the contract is being shortened by one year? Actually, is it even being shortened? Or is this whole story about a new contract, about the price and Putin’s great favor to Vucic and Serbia, actually just one big pre-election marketing farce?

This is definitely a scam, but that is not even the worst part. In this whole story, gas is a lot less important than other things at play. Things like weapons, nuclear technology and geostrategic position.

Vucic’s flamboyant trip to Sochi actually puts Serbia one step closer to Russia and further from the EU. One step, but a very big one. And there’s no way to hide this anymore.

Translated by Marijana Simic

Pešč, 04.12.2021.

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Mijat Lakićević, rođen 1953. u Zaječaru, završio Pravni fakultet u Beogradu 1975, od 1977. novinar Ekonomske politike (EP). 90-ih saradnik mesečnika Demokratija danas (ur. Zoran Gavrilović). Kada je sredinom 90-ih poništena privatizacija EP, sa delom redakcije stupa u štrajk. Krajem 1998. svi dobijaju otkaz. 1999. sa kolegama osniva Ekonomist magazin (EM), gde je direktor i zam. gl. i odg. ur, a od 2001. gl. i odg. ur. 2003. priređuje knjigu „Prelom 72“ o padu srpskih liberala 1972. 2006. priređuje knjigu „Kolumna Karikatura“ sa kolumnama Vladimira Gligorova i karikaturama Coraxa. Zbog sukoba sa novom upravom 2008. napušta EM (to čine i Vladimir Gligorov, Predrag Koraksić, Srđan Bogosavljević…), prelazi u Blic, gde pokreće dodatak Novac. Krajem 2009. prelazi u NIN na mesto ur. ekonomske rubrike. U aprilu 2011. daje otkaz i sa grupom kolega osniva nedeljnik Novi magazin, gde je zam. gl. ur. Dobitnik nagrade Zlatno pero Kluba privrednih novinara. Bio je član IO NUNS-a. Sa Mišom Brkićem ur. TV serije od 12 debata „Kad kažete…“. Novije knjige: 2011. „Ispred vremena“ o nedeljniku EP i reformskoj deceniji u SFRJ (1963-73); 2013. sa Dimitrijem Boarovim „Kako smo izgubili (Našu) Borbu“; 2020. „Desimir Tošić: Između ekstrema“; 2022. „Zoran Đinđić: prosvet(l)itelj“.

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