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NO 101-102

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INFO   :::  Helsinki Charter - PAGE 2 > Helsinki Charter No. 101-102 > Text


Helsinki Charter No. 101-102

November - December 2006



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 islands?

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.


NO 101-102

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