07:55 GMT +330 March 2017
    Serbian Progressive Party supporters hold Serbian flag during a pre-election rally in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, April 21, 2016

    Serbia 'Playing a Very Smart Game' in Relations With Russia, EU

    © AP Photo/ Darko Vojinovic
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    Russia’s growing influence in Serbia should be a serious concern for the European Union, German politician David McAllister, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, said in an interview with Die Welt.

    He said that Russia was considered in Serbia as one of the country’s most important allies.

    "Moscow tries to exert massive influence on media, some politicians as well as civil society in Serbia. Russia is conducting a deliberate policy of destabilization in Serbia. That is a reason for great concern," McAllister said.

    He added that taking into account all of the above Brussels should increase its engagement in Serbia’s politics and the live of the Serbian society.
    According to Russian journalist and political commentator Ilya Kharlamov, the message of McAllister’s remarks is clear.

    "They want to strip Moscow of its traditional zones of influence and friendly relations with regions historically, culturally and religiously close to Russia. Serbia is one of such countries," Kharalamov wrote in a piece for RIA Novosti.

    Russia and Serbia have had friendly relations since the 19th century when Serbia gained independence from the Ottoman Empire. Russia also shares Serbia’s position on non-recognition of Kosovo that proclaimed its independence from Serbia in 2008 and is recognized by over 100 states. The countries are also developing economic as well as military cooperation.

    According to Kharlamov, Belgrade’s official stance remains unchanged, including its non-aligned status, opposition to anti-Russian sanctions and intention to develop ties with Moscow.

    "Russia and Serbia are actively building military-technical, economic and humanitarian cooperation. Belgrade regards ties with Moscow as priority. This is a headache for Brussels," the journalist pointed out.

    Serbia has been an EU candidate state since 2012. Meanwhile, in 2014, Belgrade reached an agreement on strategic partnership with Moscow.

    Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Russian independent political analyst Alexander Safronov explained the reasons behind European Parliaments’ concerns over a Russia-Serbia partnership.

    "The EU needs to find money for its foreign political program and explain its costs. This is why they’re making such loud statements. Of course, Moscow is Brussels’ rival in the Balkans. Serbia is Russia’s strategic partner. But this political, economic and diplomatic struggle extends back for several centuries," Safonov said.

    He suggested that relations between Moscow and Belgrade will remain stable.

    "Serbia is now playing a very smart long-term game, taking geopolitical advantage both from Russia and the EU. In this context, the Serbian government’s stance is praiseworthy in terms of its national interests. As for Moscow, it is comfortable with the status quo. On the other hand, electoral campaigns are underway in Serbia. Nevertheless, I think Moscow-Belgrade bilateral relations will be stable," the expert said.

    Safonov added that it is premature to speculate about Serbia’s possible NATO membership. 

    "Belgrade is not going to join the alliance in the coming future. Maybe in 10-15 years, but we don’t know what role NATO will play in the future," he concluded.


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    • avatar
      A fact is Serbian population is much more inclined to Russia than it may be inferred from this article. A problem that Serbs are constantly living in is that we are here fully encircled by NATO, so the Serbian politics is all about avoiding deeper confrontation with westerners until Russia makes its its full comeback in Balkan area. Serbs are very well confident this will happen, and we are happy seeing Russia's influence worldwide grows day by day.
    • Mikhas
      Serbia knows it's friends and it's enemies. Russia nor China, didn't ever tear apart bomb, rape, pillage or contaminated Serbian soil with atomic waste for an eternity and runned a decades long anti-Serbian hate-fest in their media. That's not what friends do.

      And Serbia obviously didn't expect them to either but Germany (€U) together with the US certainly did. Germany for vengeance, soon after it's reunification, because Serbs threw them out under humiliating circumstances in both WW1 & WW2 , Germany always wanted Serbs down and out. Also because a functional socialistic, anti-neo-liberal, union beside the €Urofag Borg-collective wouldn't go down so well.

      Serbia, even with it's US imposed quisling cult in Belgrade, can finally break free from the Stockholm syndrome they lived in for 15 years, not a moment too early
    • avatar
      These EU people are really full of themselves. But it is doubtful nations will continue to accept their bullying - or let them interfere with their people's lives as this man so arrogantly decrees.
      By the way, Sputnik, why must we put up with this daily parade of naked and protruding female backsides?
      What purpose do these disgraceful photos serve, other than insulting women?
    • avatar
      "Moscow tries to exert massive influence on media, some politicians as well as civil society in Serbia. Russia is conducting a deliberate policy of destabilization in Serbia. That is a reason for great concern," McAllister.
      As I remember it, it was Munich that assisted the US to dismember former Yugoslavia with devastating outcomes and then blamed it on Serbia.
    • avatar
      "Moscow tries to exert massive influence on media, some politicians as well as civil society in Serbia. Russia is conducting a deliberate policy of destabilization in Serbia. That is a reason for great concern," McAllister.
      As I remember it, it was Munich that assisted the US to dismember former Yugoslavia with devastating destruction and loss of life and then blamed it on Serbia. What callous and duplicitous bastards to accuse Russia of simply fulfilling wishes of majority of the Serbian people.
    • avatar
      armorin reply tormukarutabana(Show commentHide comment)
      rmukarutabana, I have been also wanting to write what you wrote in your one before last paragraph. Well done.
      Sputnik, I also object to this regular vulgar exhibition of nude and semi-nude women on Sputnik. Keep Sputnik clean, we do not have to put up with that. For a few months now, I have written regularly about this matter.
      We trust you will do something.
    • avatar
      me again
      We in Serbia have problem with our politicians on power now because they are all under the control of US, UK, EU and NATO. PM Vuchic tries to push us into EU/NATO although most of population is against. He sided with EU policy and performs neoliberal concept in Serbia that constantly destroys our economy. Several pre NATO entering agreements already signed, PM's best ally is Angela Merkel, neoliberal representative in Europe. We need stronger Russian influence here that would liberate Serbia. Thanks in advance gentlemen: Putin, Dugin, Shoygu, Medvedev...
    • Guru
      Russia whatever, EU/NATO never.
    • avatar
      Serbia is playing no game with Russia,Serbia is belong to Russia, but Serbian politicians are trying to play a game, but no game can be played with Russia, the game is played with EU, the day Serbia will try to play with Russia, then Serbia will become the dust of Europe.
    • avatar
      Medvezhonokin reply tormukarutabana(Show commentHide comment)
      rmukarutabana, I also completely agree with you. Those images are indecent, demeaning to decent men and women alike, and I don't read Sputnik to see things like that. In terms of Serbia, I hope to see an ever closer rapprochement with Russia. Old friends and brothers recognise each other so much more readily.
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