Morality and Law
Russia, Serbia and the Balkans: Prospects

Cooperation as the main paradigm of the new world, in which Russia and China are leading with their spiritual and moral values, undoubtedly awaits triumph, since it has already shown itself to be more successful and since it gives everyone a chance. It contrasts with confrontation, as the destructive, morally and democratically defective paradigm of the world, ruled by the West, sowing injustice and human sacrifice, writes Vladimir Kršljanin, Vice President of the International Slavic Academy of Sciences, Education, Arts and Culture, High Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia.

During the tenure of Presidents Vladimir Putin and Aleksandar Vučić, Russia and Serbia have reached their highest-ever historical level of cooperation, both in quantitative and qualitative terms. Mutual trust, as well as the volume and quality of cooperation far exceed the formal obligations stipulated by bilateral agreements.

Serbia and Russia are champions of Orthodox civilisation. Serbia was a constituent part and short-term successor to the Byzantine Empire, and Russia was its permanent successor. The fact that they share their Orthodox faith and culture explains their exceptional closeness. Throughout history, despite the most irresistible temptations, they have shown themselves as the most consistent defenders of their common spiritual and moral values, and in accordance with these values, all people, above all members of the Orthodox community, are brothers. This is what Serbs and Russians feel in relation to each other, and it is the guarantee of their mutual trust, as well as the volume and quality of their cooperation.

Thanks to its adherence to spiritual and moral values, Serbia managed to withstand the aggressive onslaught of the united West in the 1990s and led Russia to pursue a significant adjustment in its foreign and domestic policy. Thanks to its adherence to spiritual and moral values, Russia today is the military and political leader of mankind and, together with China as an economic leader, whose spiritual and moral values are the same or very similar, creates a new world, a world of cooperation, not confrontation.

Cooperation between Serbia and Russia is not only an excellent historical example of cooperation between two close peoples which has already lasted centuries. It is at the same time cooperation that is key to the survival and future of both countries. As a country on the “front line” in the confrontation imposed by the West, Serbia has already lost a lot — both territorially and economically, and it is threatened with new losses. Russia’s support is the only way for it to survive and regain a significant share of what it has lost. As the standard-bearer of spiritual and moral values, international law and new multilateralism, Russia can confirm its global authority only if it is successful primarily in cooperation with the countries of its civilisational circle — that is, with Orthodox countries. In addition to Russia, the Orthodox world today is formed by only two more large blocs — Ukraine and the Balkans, whose rapprochement with Russia the confrontational West is trying to prevent in every way. This rapprochement can only be achieved through Serbia, which in alliance with Russia has been the main bearer of Balkan integrations from the 19th century to the present day, and by further cooperation with Moscow.

However, at the moment, for the foreign policy of both Serbia and Russia, as well as for Serbian-Russian cooperation, the most important issue is relations with the European Union.

Neither Serbia nor Russia wants to see deterioration in relations with the EU, and they want to be in confrontation with the united West even less.

Moreover, as representatives of a civilisational model and spiritual and moral values that proclaim cooperation and deny confrontation, they sincerely advocate cooperation with the EU. The result of this is the following main emphases of Serbian foreign policy: 1) accession to the EU; 2) military neutrality (that is, non-entry into NATO); 3) never imposing sanctions on Russia. This does not end the list of priorities, which includes the development of a strategic partnership with friendly forces — Russia and China, and the best possible relations with the United States, but these main accents today fully satisfy both Serbia and Russia, who know that the price of a possible accession of Serbia, for example, to the Union State of Russia and Belarus (a formal attempt was made during Milošević’s time, in April 1999) would be too high today, since the West would declare it “Russian aggression against a European country”. Over time, the European enthusiasm from a part of the Serbian population is gradually decreasing, and the EU itself will have the final say on the European integration of Serbia, depending on whether it retains its current negative position against Russia and positive one toward Kosovo and Metohija. Thus, either the cooperation of the EU countries with Russia will become possible, or Serbia will not join the EU. We rightfully wish for cooperation, but for Serbia, associate membership in the EU could be quite adequate. It is worth noting that in the recently adopted document of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNP) (and Serbian Patriotic Union (SPAS) titled “Declaration on the priorities of national and state policy”, the EU is not mentioned at all, and the main emphasis is on peace, development and independence.

Cooperation as the main paradigm of the new world, in which Russia and China are leading with their spiritual and moral values, undoubtedly awaits triumph, since it has already shown itself to be more successful and since it gives everyone a chance. It contrasts with confrontation, as the destructive, morally and democratically defective paradigm of the world, ruled by the West, sowing injustice and human sacrifice.

Preparing for a new world in which they will play a significant role, Russia and Serbia should try to make up for lost time as soon as possible and compensate for their interrupted cooperation in the humanitarian sphere in the second half of the twentieth century, namely in the field of education and culture, when under Western influence in Serbia many Russophiles were persecuted, and in Russia many forgot about the existence of the Serbs.

The restoration of humanitarian ties, which have been welcomed and inspirational for centuries, is a necessary precondition for the current large-scale results in the political, economic, military, technological and other spheres to become permanent and further develop.

In this context, we can remember the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War and the uprising in Serbia that followed soon thereafter as the beginning of a gigantic joint struggle that liberated the world from Nazism, and it is extremely important for the two countries to establish in Belgrade the International Institute of Historical Memory. This will be the first ever joint academic institution, whose potential makes it possible to expand the truth about the joint Great Victory and about the Serbian defence against Western aggression at the beginning and at the end of the 20th century.

During President Putin’s last visit to Belgrade, both he and his host President Vučić called Serbian-Russian relations an alliance. Both used this term only once during the entire day of public speaking — so as not to interfere with anyone. Great achievements in collaboration don’t need a lot of advertising. Sincere trust is enough. Serbia and Russia today are full of aspirations for cooperation, creation, justice, conciliarity and unity. We are convinced that in the long term they will strengthen this spirit not only in their relations, but throughout the world.

Serbia as Vanguard of Russia’s Policy in the Balkans
Alexander Pivovarenko
Today Russia’s positions are highly dependent on the overall situation and a broad set of ties and interconnections in Southeast Europe. As distinct from other countries, Russia’s presence in the region is primarily limited to Serbia.
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.