PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS 2007:
WHAT IS IT WE GET WITH
THE RADICALS AT THE HELM?
By Bojan Al Pinto Brkic
It seems rather strange that the party offering voters a turn to Russia,
China and some African and Latin-American countries may win the elections in Serbia in
early 2007. Even stranger than that is that its voters expect it to put an end to
corruption, the global plague, which is probably at its worst in the above-mentioned
countries. The party promises a radical betterment to be attained through the abolishment
of several good things Serbia has done since the ouster of Slobodan Milosevic's regime.
Everything becomes totally surreal when you ask yourself whether the
Radicals' voters are able to name third biggest cities in Russia and China, tell how
people live in African and Latin-American countries, know the meaning of the term
corruption or the role the Radicals were playing in the Milosevic era. Senseless promises
and cheap slogans earmark the Radicals' election campaigns, this one included. All they
count on is that people's frustration exceeds their irrational hopes. Then you can
promise anything, just name it. You can promise bread for three dinars, you can promise
Serbia as powerful as Russia or China, you can promise the end of corruption.Borders
will be moving, Serbia will be growing, all they need is 50 percent plus your vote and
Tomislav Nikolic will be rocketing! Well, everyone knows he will not, but at least he can
annoy others by saying it.
The Radicals are the very image of manipulation. And how seriously they
pretend to be concerned for national interests!
The party offering voters a turn to Russia, China and some African and
Latin-American countries partook, not long ago, in the government that has also been
ambitious of bringing us closer to Moscow, Beijing, Minsk, Tripoli, Karakas and Havana. In
that period of her recent history Serbia has been at war with all her former allies and
enemies. Finally, the hawks in Russian and Chinese governments were so aghast at the
possibility that Serbia could provoke the world war III that they asked NATO what was to
be done so as to bring the government - with the Radicals in it - to its senses
(Yeltsin, "The Presidential Marathon").
The very hint that Serbia could turn to the Radicals again raises cheers
in the East. Russia - that last year attracted record-breaking foreign investment and
exerts herself to change unprofitable deals made in the past so as to profit as much as
possible on expensive energy and thus raise the standard of living of population before
presidential elections scheduled for 2008 - enthusiastically oils her rocket systems
while waiting for some lunatics from the Balkans to confront her with the West again.
China is euphoric at the thought that her only stepping stone to Europe - now that
Bulgaria and Rumania joined the European Union - might opt for self-isolation. Libya and
Zimbabwe, too, celebrate the beginning of a new era in Serbia. Only Venezuela and Cuba
mourn because in the past decades they have not given birth to leaders capable of
producing a havoc of Balkan proportions. It's been forty years now that Fidel Castro
managed to bring the world to the brim of another war, and that's a long period indeed.
And no matter how much he tries to look dangerous, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez still
resembles a TV entertainer. And even worse than that - Hugo Chavez resembles the TV
entertainer who has never heard of Nikolic and his "They are destroying us, they are
constantly destroying us" show.
Let's forget for a moment that the Radicals are what they are (which
is something one should never do) and see what kind of international cooperation this
party - that keeps inciting hatred for all neighbors and aspires for the territories of
four out of eight neighboring countries - has in mind. The Russia the Radicals want us
to cooperate with is not Yeltsin's or Putin's Russia, but the Russia of Zhirinovsky
and Zyuganov. Not even Mayor of Moscow Luzhkov, ringleader of Russian nationalists,
understands the policy the Serbian Radicals have on the table. It is understandable when
you condition huge international corporations' entrance to your market with responsible
attitude towards local community. But showing no respect for their investment and usurping
their property is another story. Russia has changed much in the past years. Today she will
hardly show any understanding for the government (composed of the Radicals and the
Socialists) that has usurped private property in the Trepca coal mines. The Radicals are
probably unaware of that change. On the other hand, it's more and more obvious that what
they have in mind is a specific form of isolation with citizens living in fear of the
regime and the regime sitting back and doing nothing. They will turn Serbia to no one.
Russia, China and other models are just products of their imagination. The real Russia and
the real China are far from the Radicals' perception of them.
Take corruption for instance. Voters expect the Radicals to resolutely
curb corruption and the plunder of state property in the privatization process. They
rightfully pinpoint that parts of state property have been sold with commission paid to
governmental officials or political parties. And they may also be right when saying that
parts of state property have been sold at prices below their market value. And that buyers
were often some mysterious funds from some exotic islands, veiling war profiteers.
The "Catch 22" here is that the Radicals are perceived as the party
that will put an end to all this. Well, the Radicals were themselves forging the warring
policy that brought about war profiteers. Was it not the government composed of the
Radicals and the Socialists that had a monopoly on foreign trade? It is not the common
knowledge how export permits used to be obtained? Or, who was importing cigarettes and oil
at the time? Was Zoran Krasic the Flower Watering Minister at the time Serbia was European
champion in illegal trade? Under what conditions did Tomislav Nikolic come into possession
of his Belgrade apartment? When was it that Slobodan Milosevic bought out the estate in
Dedinje and for what price? From whose bank account moneys were flowing into exotic
Some citizens of Serbia have a truly original approach - according to
them, foxes should be entrusted with watching over henhouses. Well, that's their right.
But the others have the duty not to allow them to take us all back to the Dark Age of
political murders and state-orchestrated crime. Conflicts with neighbors will not catch
Europe napping - Europe has learned the Balkan lesson of 1990s. Politicians and their
voters must understand that Serbia will get better once 50 percent plus your vote decide
to deprive the Radicals of parliamentarian immunity. Among other things, a responsible
regime proves its responsibility by not allowing everyone to represent citizens.
Serbian prosecutors may one day start doing their jobs. They may one day
prosecute offenders ex officio rather than at a minister's phone call. Courts of law may
one day pay heed to law rather than to the outcome of popular vote. Serbia may one day
start functioning as a state.
Until then, our goal is that Serbia at least functions as Zemun
municipality. In return for regular donations to their political platform, the Radicals
shall guarantee the right to illegal possession of kiosks. In return to one-off grants to
their political platform, the Radicals shall also guarantee the right to
building-construction on agricultural land. In return for regular contacts and donations
to their political platform, the Radicals shall guarantee the right to a gangster
self-organization. The right to construction of one's own fortresses for the purpose of
realizing criminal activities shall be guaranteed and occasionally consumed for the
benefit of the political platform. The right to education shall not be encouraged. The
right to communication with foreigners shall be restricted. The right to free information
shall be punished. The right to belonging to a minority community shall not be guaranteed.