Thanks to the Russian ambassador Alexander Vasiljevich Konuzin and his public performance, the first Belgrade Security Forum remained in the shadow of a media hubbub. Today, however, this is already history, since the situation at the crossings Jarinje and Brnjak has been deteriorating, and the rightwing organizations are demanding that the Pride Parade in Belgrade be banned, and at that, primarily due to security reasons. To make the situation even more complicated, the Independent Police Union of Serbia (family people from the Ministry of Interior) joined the inevitable [rightwing organization] Dveri, and appeared in the public warning that certain organized groups are planning the operation “Belgrade in flames”. Thus, in their opinion, it is best to cancel the Pride Parade, planned for October 2nd. In the meantime, Dveri has grown into a political party, with only one goal for this year: preserve the security system in the country. Mladen Obradovic is preparing for his rehabilitation on the streets, since he is spending the time until his verdict becomes final as a free man. In the meantime, “The prayer walk” is being organized, as an event parallel to Pride – on the same day, close by. Furthermore, Obradovic is calling on the police to raise its security awareness.
If one was to carefully read the statements of all the parties involved, one would find out what they are in fact saying, that is, whether the focus of their attention is really on the concern for security, or whether they skillfully manipulate a rhetorical arsenal, as a convenient rhetorical cover for articulating something else. Let’s start from the beginning. From Alekxander Vasiljevich. Reliable witnesses claim this was not his first time. Last September, at the opening of the Days of Russian Culture in Sava centre, Konuzin had his great moment of inspiration. Namely, after the manifestation was opened by the then Minister of Culture Nebojsa Bradic, who was booed by the audience, the Russian ambassador was welcomed with a thundering applause. Obviously inspired by the historical movie spectacle Admiral, directed by Andrei Kravchuk, he gave the Minister of Culture and the Serbian government a public slap in the face, by pointing out that the Russian Film Festival in Belgrade “should show Serbia how Russia protects independence, freedom and territorial integrity”. The audience was overjoyed almost as much as Kurir, Pecat and Dveri after the public appearance of Konuzin at the recent Forum. On the first occasion, Minister Bradic failed to respond, while this time, Ivan Vejvoda luckily did. Reactions from Russia, primarily from the Izvestije newspaper, arrived promptly, emphasizing that the Russian ambassador was insulted in Belgrade. However, somehow it was forgotten that Alexander Vasiljevich, during his public performance, let slip one important sentence, namely that “in Serbia, there are people who are ready to sell industrial compounds to anyone, just not Russians, although they are aware that those compounds will thus be ruined”. This does not have much to do with the story about “Serbs in this room”, and the concern for Serbs in northern Kosovo. This sentence expresses the standpoint of a person who believes that the production assets of Serbia are at his disposal, because he is investing something valuable. Furthermore, Konuzin’s statement also includes a threat – a security threat, because one can further deduce that, if someone is ready to give up such valuable Russian help concerning the issue of Kosovo, then understandably, the Great One can no longer guarantee anything. Alexander Vasiljevich also told us that everything has its price, but that the Russian price is high. The worst thing is the message this statement sends, namely that even if Serbia does pay this high price to Russia, it will still get nothing. The only thing Serbia will have is Russian ownership of our own factories. The message is that we should all be happy about this. As happy as we are when we watch the pathetic Russian movie about the White Admiral Kolchak.
What other experts of security have to say
It makes sense that the police talks about security. It makes a little less sense when the police acts from the position of someone who cannot control the security situation, ordering us all to stay in our houses, because the police does not have enough bulletproof vests and helmets. The most nonsensical thing is when the police, together with the representatives of one party, in this case Dveri – Movement for the life of Serbia, organizes a press conference, claims that it is unable to preserve public order, and silently agrees with the demands of their partners at the press conference, who demand the deposition of the head of state. After offering the details of the upcoming apocalypse, the president of the Policy Union, Momcilo Vidojevic, directed the following questions to the authorities: “is it normal that such a high-risk gathering” (in the times of the apocalypse), “is secured by police officers who earn less money, together with all other benefits, than the average salary, which in August amounted to just under 39.000 dinars”. Hence, “Belgrade in flames” could easily be prevented if police salaries were increased. For now, it is at the mercy of security risks. The organization Dveri, in fact, also fails to dwell deeper in the structure of the security situation, apart from their declarative concern “to prevent the spilling of the blood of the silent majority”. What they are arriving at, through the story about the Pride Parade ban, is the crisis in northern Kosovo, that is, the inability of the current authorities to solve this problem in the Dveri family manner (hence with arms), which leads to the conclusion that the president has to be deposed. Thus, the announcement of this year’s Family walk reads as follows: “For life without humiliation, for deposing Boris Tadic, for the life of Serbia”. I assume that this will also be the electoral slogan of the party. At the same time, it would mean that Pride, in the public discourse of Dveri, no longer functions as the verbal construct of the enemy, but as the medium for articulating their politics. It is in fact a transition discourse, as they now treat Pride only as a peripheral manifestation of an incompetent government that has to be changed as soon as possible, and their new discourse, hidden behind statements about security, primarily expresses their political offer to the public – “We have the right solution for Kosovo!” Thus, Pride no longer endangers family life, because, in a verbal twist, we now have a new situation expressed with one of the platitudes issued by Dveri: “A family women doesn’t want a model”. And what does she want? She wants Kosovo. She wants power.
In this sense, Pride becomes the verbal replacement for a wider specter of meanings (I exclude, at this time, the verbal strategies of ministers, raspberry producers, professors of economy on the pages of Politika, as well as other parasites of the struggle for human and minority rights): police salaries for one, Kosovo and the fight for parliamentary threshold on the elections for the other, diverting attention of the public to the recently issued verdicts for the third. Alexandar Vasiljevich and football fans remain outside the security control, as a (verbal) incident which can escalate at any moment.
Translated by Bojana Obradovic