Serbians "increasingly pro-Russian; would rather live in EU"
The latest opinion polls show that Serbian citizens are increasingly supportive of Russia, but would rather live in EU countries.Source: B92
Public opinion research companies say the fact that Serbians are "torn between Russia and the EU" is "nothing new."
Ipsos Strategic Marketing conducted a poll in December that included 1,031 respondents, 72 percent of whom said they viewed Russia positively - compared to 25 and 7 percent who have the same opinion of the EU and NATO, respectively.
At the same time, 46 percent of those polled would "vote" in favor of joining the EU, while 38 percent said they were against.
When asked "where they would rather live", 60 percent of those who said they supported the SPS party stated they would choose the EU, while 35 percent said Russia. 72 percent of SNS party supporters would prefer the EU, while 21 percent favor Russia; 85 percent of supporters of the DS would live in the EU, and 15 percent in Russia.
"It seems to me that beside those traditional emotions, our citizens are now perceiving a new form of partnership with Russia, in the wake of their desire to sell us weapons. The EU is seen as somebody making conditions, Kosovo is emerging as an important factor..." Marko Uljarevic of Ipsos noted.
Political parties are as divided as citizens. Recently, the "patriotic bloc" of the DSS and the Dveri Movement was made official.
"Russia never bombed us or took away a part of our territory. Last year, thanks to Russia, Kosovo was prevented from joining UNESCO, we have a great trade agreement, one that is a huge development opportunity," DSS leader Sanda Raskovic-Ivic said.
The SDS party, however, believes that "love and business" should be kept separate.
"The fact is that more than 60 percent of exports go to the EU, while not even five percent go to Russia. Over three billions in donations came from the EU during the past 15 years, while several million euros came from Russia," said SDS MP Aleksandar Senic.
But what is "the important factor" for the state? Foreign Minister and First Deputy PM Ivica Dacic says Serbia's strategic goal is to join the EU - "but it wants to have military-technical cooperation with Russia."