Bassuener: Dodik mostly relies on Putin, while Vucic is juggling

NEWS 31.01.2023 17:32

Discussing the situation in the Western Balkans, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British Parliament that Serbia is no longer just a regional problem but a European one, referring to their relations with Russia and how it affects the countries of the Western Balkans, from Kosovo to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

When asked how to prevent Serbia from seeing Bosnia and Herzegovina as prey along with Montenegro and Kosovo, Western Balkans expert Kurt Bassuener pointed out that a number of mistakes over the past 17 years have been made, but that there is a way to correct these things and that Great Britain has a mechanism to do it.

“Serbia has not changed its strategic orientation. Serbia has not changed. The Russian influence will be reduced because of what is happening in Ukraine, but they are able to spoil things on their own without Russia. [Republika Srpska entity President Milorad] Dodik mostly relies on Putin, while Vucic is juggling. If the ‘Serbian world’ cannot exist without BiH on the menu, we can remove BiH from the menu,” senior associate of the Council for Democratization Policy, Kurt Bassuener said.

He added that “local actors are taking advantage of our weakness”.

“Everything seems possible now in a way that it didn't seem 17 years ago because of our attitude. Local actors ate taking advantage of our weakness. We have all the assets that we don't use. When I talk about Bosnia and Herzegovina, we have NATO forces that provide a security guarantee that we do not implement in action. We have the [Office of the High Representative] OHR, a key tool. We are the dominant economic actor and we have the best narrative,” he pointed out.

At the end of his speech, he mentioned the biggest disappointment that citizens experienced in 2004.

“The biggest disappointment for the citizens is what we did in 2004 when the EU was enlarged, that we didn’t continue in that direction. We dealt with leaders believing that the people would follow them. Russia and Serbia don’t need war, they only need disorder and discontent and political power,” Bassuener concluded.


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