After the famous session of the Main Board of the Democratic Party, Boris Tadic resorted to the Serbian proverb that the snow did not fall to cover the hill, but to make every animal reveal its trace. In the case of Boris Tadic’s associates, the revealed traces turned to be heartless. Tadic paints himself as a naïve man with a soft spot, who trusted his people, only to find out that they loved him and followed him only while he was in power. The entire affair was thus reduced to the Serbian myth of betrayal of the leader, which inevitably involves hypocrisy, deceit and false love, for heroes are born in fire.
If it were not about the Democratic Party, the mythic story about betrayal might have survived for a short while, although it did not stick even during the rift within the Serbian Radical Party, where betrayal of the leader was the crucial motive. Lamenting over betrayal has no realistic chance of taking hold in the Democratic Party. DP was forged by Zoran Djindjic into an efficient and modern instrument for achieving political goals. The party changed its political views, was often unclear about them, but never stopped perceiving itself as a modernly organized party. At least that was the general opinion, although a healthy combination of competitiveness and loyalty has long ago ceased to exist in DP. During the previous election, the party remained mute and acted as if satisfied with Boris Tadic, because he had the best electoral result. What he stood for and how he achieved it was irrelevant. The party line was: be silent, grab what you can, ask nothing, all is well as long as we are in power.
The behavior of Boris Tadic, his ancient story of love and betrayal, the myth of treachery by those considered nearest and dearest, is no surprise at all. For years, we stood witness to a president who could not function in any other way, but by surrounding himself with his men in the literal sense of the word, men who accepted the role of buddies, or were buddies from the school days. Thus, since the first days of his rule, two parallel structures were created: the party structure, which was fragile, cold and distanced from Tadic, where everyone did what he or she found useful and lucrative, and the structure around the president (the entourage), which functioned in an informal manner, based on personal relationships and camaraderie. Orders were not carried out on the basis of formally defined rules and duties – everything was set in the field of unclear, buddy relationships, where favors, fun and profit was traded back and forth. This is where his “soft spot” (I would rather say sick spot) was evident.
It is enough to point out that his relationship with Vuk Jeremic was never clarified, not even today, when he clumsily refers to him as a member of the traitorous group, because he allegedly publicly discussed the 7.5 million dollars issue without Tadic’s permission. It seems that Tadic is forgetting that he personally had to grant him this sum. No sane person could believe that such a decision could have been made by Mirko Cvetkovic without the prior consent of the President. It is unclear why Tadic granted Jeremic such a large sum of money, but it is equally unclear why such a limitless friendship exists in the heart of political power, in a place where it does not belong.
When the court was gone, along with the informal entourage which ruled Serbia directly from the Cabinet of the President, Tadic had to return to his party. He tried to postpone that return as much as possible, claiming at the beginning that his position in the party was not an issue. It was expected that he would form the government and become Prime Minister, which would help feed his main people. When he played his last hand and lost, Tadic attempted to avoid the party by silencing himself, aware of the fact that what awaited him back there was an ice-cold welcome. And Tadic does not understand and cannot stand this coldness, and this is why he is trying to warm it up and fool it with the worn-out story of betrayal. But this isn’t working out either. To everyone observing him and listening to him, it was obvious that he was piling up arguments for one last fight, offering only lies to the public. By uttering all these lies, he only managed to reveal the truth about why he lost the elections. This is what Istvan Kaic is speaking about when he said – Lie to me so that I can find out the truth.
And yet, Tadic is not giving up on the concept which is still valid here: everything in Serbia is dead, all party leaders have been in power for years, nobody is replacing them, for everyone is scared to utter a word (and can only leave on tiptoe); this is why everyone comes back to power eventually, and in any case help can be found in specialized groups which know how to secure votes. Is this not the way of life in the swamps of backward countries such as Serbia? Who is playing dumb and claiming that Tadic must leave just because, as the ex-president clearly said, he lost the damn elections by only two percent! No, he will not allow for a national institution to be ruined, as he solemnly refers to DP, because he needs it to return into power and renew his Cabinet, where friendship will rule once again.
But alas, the Democratic Party is not a national institution, but a party organization. It is a place where the Other will inevitably appear. That Other will say that the time has come for new people, better or worse, to take the reins. Tadic’s time has run out. Pressure came from all sides. If we are to ask ourselves why this is happening, I have no other answer but that it has become a custom in the Democratic Party to change its president. It has been so from back when Zoran Djindjic, to everyone’s amazement, decided to replace Micunovic, and wrote a letter entitled “Why I want to become the president of the Democratic Party”.
Back then a dramatic story about patricide, about the betrayal of Djindjic’s spiritual father circled the party. And Tadic is painting himself to be exactly this – the spiritual father of his rival, the one who brought him into the party, who invented him, who planned to make him the heir. And he is rewarded with a knife in his back. If this boring story is being repeated, because Tadic believes that the auditorium understands it, we should at least get the letter. It is yet to arrive. It would also be appropriate for the new competitors to make a letter of intent customary. This letter should include a strong opposition to Serbian mythology regarding disloyalty and betrayal. Without such a letter, the change of party leader becomes nothing but a useless street fight.
Translated by Bojana Obradovic
Vesna Pešić, političarka, borkinja za ljudska prava i antiratna aktivistkinja, sociološkinja. Diplomirala na Filozofskom fakultetu u Beogradu, doktorirala na Pravnom, radila u Institutu za društvene nauke i Institutu za filozofiju i društvenu teoriju, bila profesorka sociologije. Od 70-ih pripada peticionaškom pokretu, 1982. bila zatvarana sa grupom disidenata. 1985. osnivačica Jugoslovenskog helsinškog komiteta. 1989. članica Udruženja za jugoslovensku demokratsku inicijativu. 1991. članica Evropskog pokreta u Jugoslaviji. 1991. osniva Centar za antiratnu akciju, prvu mirovnu organizaciju u Srbiji. 1992-1999. osnivačica i predsednica Građanskog saveza Srbije (GSS), nastalog ujedinjenjem Republikanskog kluba i Reformske stranke, sukcesora Saveza reformskih snaga Jugoslavije Ante Markovića. 1993-1997. jedna od vođa Koalicije Zajedno (sa Zoranom Đinđićem i Vukom Draškovićem). 2001-2005. ambasadorka SR Jugoslavije, pa SCG u Meksiku. Posle gašenja GSS 2007, njegovim prelaskom u Liberalno-demokratsku partiju (LDP), do 2011. predsednica Političkog saveta LDP-a, kada napušta ovu partiju. Narodna poslanica (1993-1997, 2007-2012).