"Large majority of Serbians clearly pro-Russia, anti-NATO"
Serbian citizens see Aleksandar Vulin as the cabinet minister who is contributing the most to Serbia moving closer to Russia.
This is according to Faktor Plus market research agency director Vladimir Pejic, quoted by Beta on Friday.
According to Pejic, Vulin is perceived in this way because he is prepared to rhetorically clash, "without fear," with those who are in favor of Serbia moving closer to the West - even at the price of imposing sanctions on Russia.
Commenting on the results of a survey which showed that more than half of Serbian citizens think good relations with Russia guarantee their country's military security, Pejic told the KomentarPress website that Russia's recent donation of six MiG-29 fighter jets to Serbia has been, "to a large degree, by nature of things," contributed to the Ministry of Defense, and its head, Vulin.
"With his cordial relationship with (Russian Defense Minister) Sergei Shoigu and the rhetoric he goes for, Vulin is in the forefront of cementing the ties between Serbia and Russia. He clashes, without fear, with those in favor of Serbia moving closer to the West, at the price of imposing sanctions on Russia," Pejic said.
Director of PR Agency Pragma Cvijetin Milivojevic weighed in on the same topic to say that Serbian citizens' perception of Vulin is being influenced by his political statements that are "purely Euro-skeptic, sometimes NATO-phobic" - and that this is "despite his very pragmatic performance of duties as defense minister of a country that has declared its military neutrality."
"Once you know that citizens reply to the question - 'what do you see as additional affirmation of relations with Russia' mostly by saying, 'military security' - and if you bear in mind that the current defense minister's appointment almost coincided with the arrival of the MiGs - it is clear that things have fallen into place for Vulin to such a degree that even (FM) Ivica Dacic, who heads the government's body for cooperation with Russia, Tomislav Nikolic, who received the Order of Friendship from Putin himself, and, verbally, the most Russophile member of the cabinet, Nenad Popovic - are all left behind Vulin," said Milivojevic.
According to him, perceiving Vulin as that minister who contributes the most to Serbia moving closer to Russia is also the consequence of Serbia being a country where "at least three quarters of citizens are clearly and unequivocally anti-NATO, and Russophile."