The Central Balkan state of Serbia has been rocked by increasingly violent protests that have begun to employ classic Color Revolution tactics. There's been ongoing unrest for a few months already over fears that President Vucic will sell out the historic province of Kosovo as part of a compromise deal for joining the EU, which compounded preexisting concerns that his rule has become authoritarian due to the control that his government is alleged to have over the media and civil society. The people's right to peacefully protest has hitherto been largely respected by the authorities, but they finally felt compelled to crack down after recent demonstrations got out of control and saw activists briefly breaking into the state TV building.
The next day, a small number of them split from the larger crowd that was protesting Vucic's speech about the previous day's event and attempted to break through the police cordon surrounding the presidential palace while the nation's leader was still inside. It's due to these increasingly dramatic events that the president vowed to prevent the radicalization of the protests and not flinch in the face of the latest developments. He also called out the opposition leaders by saying that "I wanted to show to the people of Serbia that fear from hooligans, thugs, fascist leader Boško Obradović and tycoon leaders Djilas and Jeremić should not exist", adding that they "want to return to power to continue stealing."
For some observers, these events remind them of the many Color Revolutions of the past two decades that ironically first broke out in Belgrade during the 2000 "Bulldozer Revolution". Since then, it was presumed that such occurrences wouldn't ever repeat themselves there because the country seemed to be solidly on the pro-Western track, though it's here where two diverging theories begin to emerge. One suggests that the latest violence might be part of a US-encouraged effort to unseat the Russian-friendly leader and foil the plans for the TurkStream pipeline to traverse through the country en route to Central Europe, while the other says that these are patriotic manifestations that are desperately trying to save the country before it's too late.
Andrew Korybko is joined by Joaquin Flores, Chief Editor of Fort Russ News and Director of the Center for Syncretic Studies and Stevan Gajic, PhD in political science who works at the Institute of European Studies in Belgrade.
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