with Tomislav Nikolic
The frontrunner in Serbia’s presidential
election on June 13, according to opinion polls,
is the deputy leader of the Serbian Radical Party,
Tomislav Nikolic. The party is a former coalition
partner of Slobodan Milosevic’s Socialist
Party of Serbia and its leader, Vojislav Seselj,
is, like Milosevic, now in custody in The Hague,
awaiting trial on war crime charges. B92’s
Sanda Savic interviewed Nikolic two weeks before
Guest: Tomislav Nikolic
Author: Sanda Savic
Tonightís guest is the Serbian Radical Partyís presidential
candidate, Tomislav Nikolic.† Good evening and welcome.
Nikolic:† Good evening.† Iím happy to be
B92:† Your slogan in this campaign is ďRealisticĒ.†
Last time around it was ďRadically BetterĒ.† Does
this mean that you have given up the concept of
radical changes or is it only a change of image?
Nikolic:† Yes.† ďRadically BetterĒ was a
slogan for the parliamentary elections.† I think
we will have something very similar for the coming
extraordinary parliamentary elections, after the
June 13 election.† My victory is really something
realistic in Serbia and many people I have heard
in the street had guessed what our slogan would
B92:† We shall begin by looking at one day of
your election campaign.† We had a crew with you
yesterday in Kragujevac, but before we see this
footage I must ask you to comment on the fact that
Vojislav Seselj made a decision not to vote in the
presidential elections.† Does this mean that you
have lost his support or is this also because of
the change of image?
Nikolic:† Itís not that.† I know Vojislav
Seselj very well.† When we drafted the law on election
of members of parliament we said that there would
not be any voting organised where there is no control
and we donít want to damage any candidate or political
party.† There is no control in The Hague, no one
knows how people will vote there and, because the
Foreign Ministry will count the votes, Vojislav
decided not to give his vote away to anyone else,
they would discard the ballot slips and substitute
new ones anyway.† This time itís the goat who is
guarding the cabbage.
B92:† You say you donít doubt his support.†
So why is it you have not mentioned him during the
past few days of the campaign?
Nikolic:† What do you mean I havenít mentioned
B92:† You have?
Nikolic:† What do you mean Iím not mentioning
him?† Iím not the kind of person who would betray
a friend and teacher.† Iím not interested in what
other people think about whether I should betray
someone or not.† I do everything according to my
VIDEO FOOTAGE FROM KRAGUJEVAC
Nikolic in Kragujevac:† I want to make sure
you sleep peacefully, that you have security, that
the government starts providing jobs for you instead
of closing down factories.† There should be workers
in the factories, not rats.† There should not be
wind blowing through broken windows.† I want you
to be able to be productive and I know where the
market is for our goods.† Itís not in the West.†
I want to cooperate with the West.† I want to cooperate
in a way in which no has had the guts to cooperate
for a long time.† In the way I broke Harri Holkeriís
back in Strasbourg fifteen days ago.
Radical Party supporter:† It only seems
that the party has changed a lot, but basically
nothing much has changed.† They look a bit different,
B92:† Mr Nikolic, how would you reply to this
supporter of yours?† Will you tell him that youíre
the same Toma, orÖ
Nikolic:† He didnít ask me anything.
B92:† Ö are you discarding your earlier policies?
Nikolic:† These observations are correct:
nothing has changed.† Iím only fed up with being
defeated by people not worthy of me.† I think that
our response to what befell us last year is the
correct one.† Weíve behaved ourselves all these
fourteen or fifteen years when we were under constant
attack from our political opponents, the media,
you name it.† Finally, the truth has come to the
surface.† The Serbian Radical Party has climbed
to the top in times when we were really under threat.†
When they were persecuting us, beating us, harassing
us and arresting us, we behaved differently; we
showed how good we are at defending ourselves.†
Now, when no one is persecuting us and when we have
room for activity, it would be really stupid of
us to do what is not necessary.
B92:† You mean to use the violent methods you
Nikolic:† To respond to violence, to respond
to violence.† I donít know of anyone except Milosevic
accusing us of violence, weíve never committed violence.
B92:† All right, weíll come back to that later.†
Letís talk now about your main election messages.†
We heard in Kragujevac about the change of foreign
policy and the improvement of the economy:† these
are the two things you most emphasise.† Letís start
from the beginning.† You say you want both the West
and the East.
Nikolic:† Foreign policy is somewhat defined
by the changes which took place after 2000.† The
West has brought its protťgťs to power in Serbia,
theyíve been in power for four years and theyíre
still in power, so I canít say the West is not present
here.† Itís here, itís penetrated our society considerably,
and in a bad way.† Itís possible that it had the
best of intentions, but that the people in power
here have failed those intentions.† We must cooperate
with the West.
B92:† And, in your opinion, who is our main
partner in the West at the moment?
Nikolic:† The European Union, I think.
B92:† Youíve heard what Javier Solana said:†
ďIf Tomislav Nikolic wins, the EU wonít support
him and this will be a very bad signal to foreign
Nikolic:† He didnít say that.
B92:† That is exactly what he said.
Nikolic:† He said this very gently and mildly,
choosing his words very carefully.† He said that
he believes foreign investors will not be too happy
if I win.
B92:† ďItís going to be a bad signal,Ē thatís
what he said.
Nikolic:† What, am I going to steal from
B92:† They wonít invest in this country: you
know that.† Thatís our second topic tonight, the
economy.† Letís see how you canÖ
Nikolic:† Letís clear this up, because youíre
convinced Solana said something which he didnít
say.† Does the EU want to invest in a country in
which people like these are in power?† Does it want
to invest in a country in which there have been
a thousand companies privatised but none of the
factories are working?
B92:† I agree with you.† The EU is investing
very little, but the economy canít get off the starting
blocks without favourable loans or foreign investments.
Nikolic:† But weíre more in debt at this
point than we were in Titoís day.† Only now weíre
not spending it on production but on consumption,
thatís the problem.
B92:† Weíll talk about the economy later.† First
letís finish with foreign policy.† Tell meÖ
Nikolic:† And if theyíre not investing much,
what is it thatís going to stop if I win?
B92:† That little will stop.
Nikolic:† That little.
B92:† That little will stop andÖ
Nikolic:† Itís not enough.† I donít want
to live on charity, you know.
B92:† Itís not charity.† Itís loans and foreign
Nikolic:† Thatís charity.† These are loans
for repaying old loans and debts.
B92:† And how would you solve it, if youíre
so keen to talk about the economy.
Nikolic:† When I come here as prime minister
designate you can ask me all those questions.† I
have answers to all those questions.
B92:† But your messages from the presidential
election campaign ralliesÖ
Nikolic:† Yes, but you heard what I said.†
Iím going to make the governmentÖ I really want
to make the governmentÖ
B92:† How are you going to make it?
Nikolic:† What do you mean?† I will use
the Constitution.† I control the government.† I
hear gaffes from certain media, even Radio Belgrade,
they say the government and the parliament control
the president.† I canít believe it.† I canít believe
that so many people have gone into the contest with
me.† I control the Serbian Government.† The prime
minister reports directly to me.† Ministers report
directly to me, they answer my questions, they answer
my criticism.† Iíd like on day to take over your
thankless role and ask the prime minister some questions
B92:† Who knows, perhaps you will.
Nikolic:† Itís a thankless job, thankless,
thatís why Iím saying this.† I would really like
to be unbiased, unlike some other people.† I oppose
the government politically and Iím the one who will
control it.† The citizens of Serbia donít trust
the others when they say theyíll control the government.†
They donít trust the government representative because
he canít control his government and its prime minister.†
They donít trust people who say the government will
support them in the second round of elections.†
If they support you, you canít criticise them.†
You canít criticise them because youíve been elected
by their votes.
B92:† All right.† Letís get back to the West
and the East.
Nikolic:† Yes, why not?
B92:† So how are you going to go to the West
without the EU?† The US, perhaps?
Nikolic:† I donít know what youíre getting
at.† Letís say Iím the elected president of the
B92:† Youíre not.
Nikolic:† But youíre saying I am and asking
me how I would doÖ
B92:† All right, all right.
Nikolic:† So, Iím the elected president
of the republic, and you know Iíll be elected.
Savic:† I donít know that.
Nikolic:† Letís say Iíll be the elected
president.† I want to be.
B92:† You said ďOnly if Iím dead will I not
be elected on June 13Ē.
Nikolic:† That was a reply to a democratic
message from the prime minister which you refused
to comment on.
B92:† Iíll comment on it when heís present.
Nikolic:† He said, during his visit to the
West, that Tomislav Nikolic wonít be president of
the republic.† If Iíd said that youíd say the Chetniks
are rising again, the rusty spoons will be out,
youíd say all those things about me.† Then I asked
the prime minister publicly why I wonít be president
if the people vote for me.
B92:† So this was only a reply, you donít actually
believe that you will win the first round?
Nikolic:† Iím certain.
B92:† About what?
Nikolic:† That Iíll win the first round.
B92:† All right.
Nikolic:† Iím on the road every day.† I
have been to sixteen towns in the Srednje Banatski
District and we finished with the rally in Zrenjanin
today.† Every day.
B92:† Letís get back to the West and the East.
Nikolic:† Please do get back.
B92:† How will you go to the West, and with
what will you go to the East?
Nikolic:† Iím the elected president of the
republic.† I have a government to control.† I have
a parliament which I appreciate and respect deeply.†
I have the Constitutional Court, I should appreciate
and respect that and, if everything goes well and
there are respected lawyers in it and the professors
from the Law School, we will have a constitutional
court we can respect.† And then the Serbian Government
will conduct an economic policy Ė I assume G17 Plus
wonít be part of it, theyíll resign the day I win
Ė and it will have to think about the West and the
East.† It wonít be a problem.
B92:† But what will you be thinking about?
Nikolic:† Iíll be thinking about how the
B92:† Wait a minute, as president of the republic?
Nikolic:† As president of the republic I
have to think about how the people are living.
B92:† Youíre supposed to represent the state.
Nikolic:† And then I call up the government
and ask them: have you done anything in the West,
have you secured investments, have you secured the
right technology, have you made it possible for
B92:† And they say itís problematic because
youíre the president of the republic.
Nikolic:† They say itís difficult because
Iím not allowing mobsters to run the state, itís
difficult because I insist so much on democracy,
itís difficult because I insist on human rights,
itís difficult because I insist on us observing
the Constitution and the laws.
B92:† All right, but how will you represent
Serbia in the West as president?
Nikolic:† My only sin against Serbia would
be if I donít warn the government about the rise
of crime: people who sell drugs to kids; people
who buy our natural resources or factories for a
pittance; people who were paying politicians while
they were in opposition and who now have to return
B92:† You havenít told me about the West.† Or
would you rather talk about the East?
Nikolic:† No, I want to talk about the West.†
My door will be open.† Iíll respond to every invitation
from the West.† If someone wants to talk to me Iíll
talk with them.† Iíll tell them the views Iím telling
you right now.† I really canít believe that the
West wants Serbia to be the way it is at the moment.†
Serbia in the past four years is Serbia the way
the West wants it!† I want with all my heart to
believe that the West wishes us better things than
that.† I want the West to convince us of that, not
to praise a government under which a million people
lost their jobs, not to praise a government under
which not a single worker has gone into the factories.†
Theyíre all the same to me.† Weíve been without
a constitutional court for a year and a half, now
we have a political court.† Weíve had our prime
minister assassinated, weíve had a state of emergency
which introduced a dictatorship, weíve had voting
fraud in the parliament, weíve become a lot poorer
and weíre another nine years further away from Europe.†
Before 2000 they told us we were ten years away
from Europe.† Four years have passed and weíre now
fifteen years away.
B92:† Do you think if you are elected president
it will bring us closer to the West.
Nikolic:† I donít know.
B92:† You donít know?
Nikolic:† It will depend on the West and
the Republic of Serbia.
B92:† As I said, there are certain messages.
Nikolic:† I wonít make a single move to
justify any kind of measure by the West against
Serbia.† Iíve told the head of the EU monitoring
mission in Belgrade: ďSay it openly: if Serbian
citizens vote for Tomislav Nikolic, we will bomb
you, and then Iíll withdraw from politics.† Say
B92:† They wonít bomb us, but there is a certain
kind of isolation they could apply.
Nikolic: †What will they say?† ďLetís isolate
the people of Serbia because they voted for Tomislav
Nikolic?Ē† Come on!† Those days are behind us.†††
Labus said in an interview today that thereíll be
no isolation and sanctions if Tomislav Nikolic wins.
B92:† And on what are you basing your belief
that thereíll be no isolation?
Nikolic:† On the fact that I will be elected
by the people.† On the fact that I respect the Constitution
and the law.† On the fact that I will help the government
to work well and criticise it when it does not.
†On the fact that I will stop laws which are unconstitutional
and put them into procedure immediately if theyíre
in accordance with the Constitution.† On the fact
that I will fight for the rights of each individual
in Serbia, each and every one.† What will the West
have against me then?† Is the West against people
like that?† If it is, I donít want to be supported
by the West.† And if they support me with views
like these I have nothing to be ashamed of.
B92:† All right, if weíve exhausted the West,
letís talk about the East.
Nikolic:† I think that the East is a much
more unpleasant topic for you.
B92:† No, there are no unpleasant topics for
Nikolic:† I visited Moscow again for the
first time in four or five years and I saw what
I sensed when I was initially for cooperation with
Russia.† Russia has been through expansion, an economic
boom.† Russia has a hundred billion dollars of foreign
currency reserves and each year a forty billion
dollar surplus in foreign trade.† Thereís not a
single deputy in the Duma who is against cooperation
with Serbia, not a single one.† In the Russian Duma,
thereís not a single pro-Western deputy, people
have simply not voted for them.† The Russian president
has offered a better life to his citizens.† First,
I told them everything I donít like about the Russian
administration, not the Russian people.† I know
about the ties between them and us, but I wonít
forget the vote for sanctions, the vote for the
weapons import embargo, that Chernomyrdin brought
the plan, that Russia took part in drafting Resolution
1244, that its battalion was the first to arrive
in Pristina Ė the Serbs were immensely delighted
by that Ė and then moved to Slatina Airport only
to eventually return to Russia.† They withdrew from
the Balkans because they didnít count on us as strategic
partners, as having historical ties.† And then,
after Iíd scheduled talks with only one faction,
all the rest called me and wanted to talk to me:
the foreign ministry, the presidentís advisorsÖ
B92:† Did you meet Zhirinovsky?
B92:† Why not?
Nikolic:† Weíve not been in contact for
five years, even more.† I donít count the time that
DOS wasted, three or four years before that our
relations became cold.† We havenít been at each
otherís congresses, that cooperation has withered
away.† We have no concrete cooperation any more:
we have another political party to cooperate with
in Russia.† When I arrived in BelgradeÖ
B92:† Thatís good.† I apologise.† Go on.
Nikolic:† I have learnt that the prime minister
will travel to Moscow on June 3.† Iím happy about
that.† Heíll find an open door there.† He, who hasnít
been to Moscow for five years, he whom MoscowÖ
B92:† Do you think that we have a chance, economically
Nikolic:† Thereís no other way out.
B92:† Thereís no other way out.† What can we
Nikolic:† Iím going to tell you now.
B92:† What can we offer to the East?
Nikolic:† Iím going to tell you now.† And
what can we sell to the West?† Thatís what hurts
me the most: no one has the guts to say openly that
we donít have any products for the West, not a single
factory of ours has products for the West; weíve
closed down our factories so that we can sell Western
products here and we even have to sell European
sugar on the Serbian market, we donít have our own
sugar any more.† The question is when the farmers
will again be able to produce sugar.† We import
it from Slovenia for four dinars and sell it for
one.† We import it from Croatia for three dinars
and export it for one.† Donít talk to me about cooperation
with the West any more.† I want that cooperation.†
I want new technology, I want the government to
secure capital, investments, good legislation, democracy,
human rights, at the highest possible level, but
I know that Serbia cannot survive without factories.
B92:† But can a factory work without loans and
Nikolic:† It canít, all right, it canít.†
But no one wanted to use the convenience we created
in 2000, in early 2000.† I hear now that the government
has shown interest in it and even that several ministers
have travelled to Moscow to deal with this.† We
can sell almost eighty per cent of our products
in Russia without customs duties.† Current products,
the ones we already have.† Any company in the world
can make its products here and then transport them
to Russia and they will be cheaper than if they
were made on ships in duty free zones.† Why hasnít
this opportunity been picked up in the past five
years?† Why have we had to sink so low?† Why have
we had to become this poor?† I donít know how much
you travel around Serbia.† I travel a lot these
days.† I meet a lot of people, honourable, honest
men and none of them are wealthy.† There are poor
people living in Serbia today and Iím going to ask
the government some questions about them.
B92:† Were you meeting those poor people when
you were deputy prime minister?
Nikolic:† We had a lot of serious work in
B92: It was a time when, it seems to me, all
of us were poor.
Nikolic:† Yes, but we were fighting terrorism
then.† We were defending ourselves from NATO and
we were rebuilding the country.† Those were our
three tasks which we were engaged on for a year
and a half and nothing more could have been done.
B92:† But you did manage to resolve your housing
problems during that period.
Nikolic:† Yes.† I did.
B92:† And members of your party, too.† Were
you thinking about poor people then?
Nikolic:† What do you have against my solving
B92:† Did you buy an apartment of 187 square
Nikolic:† Thatís not true.† I live in a
90 square metre apartment.
B92:† Because you had to sell the big one.
Nikolic:† And why did I have to sell it?
B92:† Why did you sell it?
Nikolic:† Not to make money, but to pay
the taxes invented by the state on the apartment.
B92:† Never mind, you had a place to live then.
Nikolic:† And where was that?
B92:† In a house in Kragujevac.† Is that true?
Nikolic:† But I live and work in Belgrade.†
My son lives with his wife in my house in Kragujevac.†
This year I will have a grandchild.
B92:† Do you think itís all right for anyone
who becomes a state official to accept a large apartment
and, when his term ends, not to return it but to
sell it off?
Nikolic:† I didnít accept the apartment
to use it.† Iíll move now to the presidential residence.†
Iíll use it while Iím president of the republic
and then Iíll leave it to the new president.† Whatís
this got to do with the East?
B92:† It was you who turned the topic back to
the West, but as we were speaking about poor people,
I wanted to ask you whether you had thought at all
about all of us being very poor at the time.
Nikolic:† I thought about it.† But I had
to live somewhere, a million people in Serbia live
B92:† Yes, but they donít have a house and an
apartment of 187 square metres.
Nikolic:† You canít count a house which
is a hundred and fifty kilometres away.
B92:† I say you could have returned your apartment.
Nikolic:† A house a hundred and fifty kilometres
away has never been an obstacle to getting an apartment
in any company I have worked for.
B92:† Yes, butÖ
Nikolic:† I want to tell you allÖ
B92:† Yes, you want to talk about everything.†
Thatís why youíre here.
Nikolic:† But I donít know the question.
B92:† Make yourself at home.† Say it.
Nikolic:† No, you do it, please.
B92:† What questions did you expect?
Nikolic:† The ones B92 would ask a Serbian
B92:† And what questions are they?
Nikolic:† You havenít tackled The Hague
Nikolic:† Do you want to talk about bread?
Nikolic:† Yes.† Three dinars for a loaf
B92:† We can talk about bread.† Not about three
dinars a loaf, but Iím interested in the kind of
economic system you have in mind, we can come to
Nikolic:† What did you have in mind.† Feel
free to use your prepared script.
B92:† Prepared script?
B92:† I should have liked to talk a little more
about the government.
Nikolic:† I donít believe I have intrigued
you enough to ask more questions.† I think youíve
already asked them all.
B92:† I want to talk about the honourable behaviour
of the Serbian Radicals when they are in government.†
How they find themselves apartments.
Nikolic:† Have you revealed anything new
to the Serbian citizens.† Have I been secretive
B92:† Iíd like you to comment on your behaviour
Nikolic:† I want to get this over with.†
Do you think it would be better if I took a hundred
or two hundred thousand Deutschmarks from the Mob
and bought myself an apartment so that no one could
bother me about it?
B92:† What kind of comparison is that?† I donít
know what you mean.
Nikolic:† Itís a powerful comparison.† Everyone
in DOS was doing it and youíve never asked them
B92:† Itís not true that we didnít, but tonight
youíre the guest here and because you claim that
the Serbian Radicals have nothing to do with crimeÖ
Nikolic:† Tell me about Zemun.† Whatís wrong
B92:† There are a lot of things wrong.† I have
a pile of documents here.† Iíll give them to you,
although you already have them.
Nikolic:† What you can give me isnít important.†
Letís see what we can do while weíre on the air.
B92:† Weíve obtained court records on some of
this material.† Thereís an enormous amount of documentation
on how the Radicals behaved between 1996 and 2000
in the municipality of Zemun.† Thereís a debt of
sixty-eight million dinars; the courts established
that there was a series of abuses related to business
premises in Zemun, and; according to the financial
police the Radicals received at least a million
and a half euros in campaign funding and gifts.
Nikolic:† You see, thereís only oneÖ
B92:† All right, we can go through them one
by one nowÖ
Nikolic:† Thereís only one court case and
only one man in question.† There is only one indictment
against one man from the Serbian Radical Party and
youíre talking about an ongoing case.† Nothing has
been proved, whether weíre guilty or not, but you
say itís fact because you received it from the Zemun
B92:† Iím asking you, do you want to talk about
these one by one?
Nikolic:† Please do ask me.† But I have
to tell your viewers that not a single Radical is
in prison, not a single one has been convicted,
and we lost power in Zemun five years ago.† Last
year we had a landslide in both the presidential
and the parliamentary elections in Zemun.† In the
parliamentary elections, in Zemun we had more votes
than all our opponents put together.† Thatís the
attitude of the citizens of Zemun to our tenure.†
All right, now tell me what the attitude of the
outgoing authorities is to our tenure in Zemun.
B92:† But the people of Zemun probably donít
know, for example, that they could have had two
million dinars per month more if you had not been
leasing the Magistrate Building, more than two thousand
square metres, for 1.57 dinars per square metre.†
Is that honourable behaviour?
Nikolic:† Yes, it is.
B92:† It is?
Nikolic:† Yes.† All parliamentary parties
in Belgrade lease offices for prices like that.†
Weíre not a profit-making organisation: weíre paid
by the state.† Why donít you ask in which parts
of town and in what kind of buildings other parties
have their offices.
B92:† Iíll ask them when theyíre here.† Now
Iím asking you.
Nikolic:† But thatís the law.† Those are
the regulations.† Itís a city decree.† We werenít
in power in the city, we went to Zemun.† Everyone
else was in central Belgrade in huge offices, donít
we have the right to do that?† What are we?† Aliens?Ē†
Under what conditions do we have a long term lease?
B92:† Shall we move on?
Nikolic:† We have a long term lease in accordance
with the law.† We have a long term lease contract,
thereís nothing questionable about that, itís fully
in line with the law.† The price is not questionable
B92:† Iím asking you whether itís honourable
behaviour: you say it is.† All right, youíve answered
my question, may we move on?
Nikolic:† But please, listen to me.† Thirty
political parties in Belgrade have offices like
that.† Itís an honourable thing for political parties
to have a place where they work.
B92:† All right.† Is it honourable, then, for
Dragan Todorovic to lease, on October 3, 2000, a
thousand square metres of land in Zemun for a dinar
per square metre for thirty years?
Nikolic:† Let me ask you something now.†
As Dragan Todorovic has sued everyone who said this,
are you reporting someone elseís words or will he
be able to sue you because these are your words?
B92:† Here.† I can give you the documents.
Nikolic:† Let me ask you: according to the
law are you not responsible if you report someone
elseís information?† Is this your information?†
Are these your words?
B92:† This is a report from the Zemun Municipality
from a meeting held on October 2.† A dinar per square
metre per month.
Nikolic:† Itís not true.
B92:† One day later they changed it to a dinar
per square metre per year.† For thirty years.
Nikolic:† Itís not true.† Theyíre lying.
B92:† Theyíre lying?† This is a forgery?
Nikolic:† Itís not true.† There are court
proceedings under way.
B92:† Okay, itís a forgery then.
Nikolic:† Thereís a trial under way and
Dragan Todorovic has sued all of them.
B92:† All right.† We have Gordana Pop Lazic,
then.† Very similar thing.† Thereís a contract,
she also got some land.
Nikolic:† I donít know about her.† Where
did she get the land?
B92:† She also got land.
Nikolic:† Where did she get land.
B92:† In Zemun, also.† Land to build a private
house.† She and her father, Andrija Milic of Barajevo,
signed the contract jointly.
Nikolic:† Please donít do this.
B92:† Iíll give you the document.† Do you want
something that concerns you?
B92:† Letís see something that concerns you.†
We have another interesting matter here, financing
of the Serbian Radical Party from the municipal
budget and the budget of the public community works.†
The money was transferred from the municipality
to your partyís account.
B92:† Do you see this?† The local Zemun paper,
you must remember this.
B92:† Five hundred thousand copies were printed.†
And five hundred thousand Deutschmarks were transferred
to make this.
Nikolic:† Are you sure it was five hundred
B92:† Five hundred thousand Deutschmarks.† In
dinars it was two point one million dinars.† Itís
Nikolic:† Why has it been converted into
B92:† So thatÖ
Nikolic:† So that one copy cost one Mark.
B92:† Who needs half a million copies of the
Zemun paper?† How many people live in Zemun?
Nikolic:† Where does it say five hundred
thousand copies were printed?
B92:† Here, take a look.
Nikolic:† Does it say so in the paper?
B92:† It does.
Nikolic:† What does it say?
B92:† It saysÖ
B92:† Circulation.† Circulation.† Five hundred
B92:† Yes.† Take a look if you donít believe
me.† Read it for yourself.
Nikolic:† Thatís the Zemun paper?
B92:† Yes.† The Zemun paper.
Nikolic:† Do you have anything else?
B92:† I have loads of things, but I still havenít
had a single answer from you.
Nikolic:† You donít have anything.
B92:† I havenít had a single answer.† I have
a heap of material.† An enormous number of facts.
Nikolic:† I knew this program would be like
B92:† An enormous number of facts.† I can read
them out to you.
Nikolic:† Donít read someone elseís facts
B92:† These are not someone elseís facts.
Nikolic:† Why didnít you approach me with
these before this program?
B92:† The Serbian Public Revenue Bureau.† A
report.† Listen to this.
Nikolic:† I canít respond to lies.
B92:† These arenít lies.† This is an audit report.
B92:† This is a report on the audit of business
dealings by the Zemun Corporate Business System
between January 1, 1997, and December 31, 2000.†
The register has been extracted to Tomislav Nikolic.†
That means you have this too.
Nikolic:† I have never worked in the Zemun
Computer Business System.
B92:† Excuse me?
Nikolic:† I have never worked in the Zemun
Computer Business System.
B92:† This is public information.† Iíve just
told you it was the Serbian Public Revenue Bureau.
Nikolic:† Iím telling you something.
B92:† All right.
Nikolic:† Let me ask you one thing.
B92:† Please do.
Nikolic:† If youíre a good journalist, why
didnít you ask me to prepare my answers in advance?
B92:† This isnít the first time these allegations
have been made.† Iíve only asked you to comment
Nikolic:† These lies have never before been
gathered in a heap like this.
B92:† Whether they are lies in a heap or not,
Iím presenting them to you for comment.
Nikolic:† Theyíre piled up, these lies.†
Why didnít you tell me?† I thought we were going
to talk about the future of Serbia.
B92:† Weíll talk about it now.† You provoked
Nikolic:† We wonít.
B92:† Ö by talking about people being poor.
Nikolic:† I havenít provoked you at all.
B92:† Youíve been talking about the poor people
you meet in the city squares so I needed to remind
you of your honourable behaviour in the past.
Nikolic:† Why are you working so hard to
prove the kind of television this is?
B92:† What kind of television is that?
Nikolic:† Why am I a thorn in your side?
B92:† Why are you a thorn in your side?
Nikolic:† Iím a candidate for the president
of the republic.
B92:† Thatís why youíre here tonight.† To present
Nikolic:† Yes, thatís why Iím here.† Why
didnít you tell me you would talk about Zemun so
that I could bring the documentation?
B92:† I have given you documentation which is
Nikolic:† What have you given me?
B92:† The documentation.
Nikolic:† Canít you see weíre sitting five
B92:† You have not answered a single question
for me, but letís forget about that.
Nikolic:† What can I tell you about stories
about us launched by you, Blic and some other news
B92:† These are not stories.† These are documents,
as you can see.
Nikolic:† They are stories.† But why are
we talking about them tonight?† Have I come hereÖ
B92:† You donít want to talk any more?
Nikolic:† Have I come here as a candidate
for the presidency of the republic?
B92:† Yes.† Yes, you have.
Nikolic:† Then why donít you talk to me
in a way appropriate to that?
B92:† I have, and you said ďI will help the
people to live betterĒ.
Nikolic:† But youíre doing it without motivation.
B92:† I am sayingÖ
Nikolic:† But youíre doing this without
B92:† No, Iím only sayingÖ
Nikolic:† I can see it in your eyes.
B92:† I can take you at your word, but I have
to judge you on your past deeds.
Nikolic:† Are you trying to justify something
B92:† Absolutely not.
Nikolic:† Are you trying to justify something
tonight, some money, perhaps?
B92:† I have not had an answer to these questions.†
Money?† We have no reasonÖ
Nikolic:† You have no money?
B92:† B92 has no reason to seek justifications
of that kind.† Letís take a commercial break now.
B92:† Our guest tonight is the Serbian Radical
Partyís presidential candidate, Tomislav Nikolic,
who is still in the studio with us.† Our viewers
have sent a lot of questions for you tonight, and
Iíll ask some of them myself.† Iíll read as many
as we have time for later, but a lot of them are
from people who have come from Croatia.† Theyíre
asking if you will stick to your position that if
you become president of Serbia you will break all
diplomatic communication with Croatia.
Nikolic:† Unfortunately, thatís not in my
jurisdiction, but I have one clear message for Croatia.†
The authorities which call themselves democratic
will become democratic for me the very moment they
allow Serbs to return, and thatís all I have to
say about Croatia.† I would remind them of the genocide
they committed, Iím not reminding them that thereís
not a single Serb left in the whole territory of
Croatia, that many people are changing their religion,
that children are changing their names.† I would
remind them that they have to do a great deal in
order to gain the trust of Serbia, enough trust
for us to have diplomatic relations with Croatia.†
Iím only reminding them that theyíve expelled people
and not allowed them to return while, at the same
time, they want trade and other relations with us.†
Weíre rather hypocritical when we want to cooperate
with Croatia: we take special care of our refugees,
offer them attention and kindness, but we are unwilling
to resolve their problems.
B92:† And will you be helping Serbs to return
to Croatia with this attitude?
Nikolic:† But Iím presenting my point clearly
and cleanly.† So far no one has helped them to return,
not with a different view, the complete humiliation
of Serbia and humiliation of them.† You know, when
you visit them at the top of a mountain, in a ruined
building, where children and the elderly and the
middle-aged all live together, then you start thinking
differently about them.
B92:† Is there any other neighbouring country
you would not go to?
Nikolic:† I have nothing to do in Slovenia.†
I have nothing to do in Croatia.† Why should I go
B92:† There are constitutional jurisdictions.†
This is also laid out in your presidential platform:†
the Serbian president is the head of state and representsÖ
Nikolic:† Yes, he conducts diplomatic relations
on all levels, of course, but I think that the level
of diplomatic support Serbia needs right now for
Kosovo and many other issues is not the level of
Slovenia and Croatia.† It has to be done with the
B92:† As youíve mentioned Kosovo, how do think
Albanian extremists would react to you winning the
Nikolic:† Who knows what goes on in the
heads of extremists or how they would react?
B92:† And Albanians in general?† How would they
Nikolic:† I donít understand the question.†
Iíve taken partÖ
B92:† Would it suit their efforts for Kosovoís
Nikolic:† How could my winning help them
B92:† Youíre not electing yourself.
Nikolic:† And is it any better the way it
is?† At the moment theyíre certainly prevented from
winning independence.† The state of Serbia and the
West are right now stopping them in their attempts
to win independence.† Come on, I said it clearly
and openly in Strasbourg.† First Harri Holkeri was
speaking and everyone applauded.† Then I said ďWhy
are you all applauding?† This man here supports
killers, people who burn down churches and houses.†
He gave them a foreign ministry, heís giving them
elections on October 23, which he says they will
conduct themselves.† Why are you applauding?Ē† Do
you think that Serbia hasnít managed to persuade
Albanians in the past five years that they wonít
have their own state?† I think that theyíve rather
convinced them that they will have their own state.†
We should start working from scratch.† Draft a platform
for a political solution to the Kosovo crisis.†
The whole parliament has been active in this, Iím
not standing out as an individual on this matter:
this is what all the people of Serbia want.† Kosovo
must be part of Serbia, whether anyone is happy
about it or not, whether someone is disgruntled
about it or not.† Itís defined in Resolution 1244.†
I didnít write it, I was unhappy with it, but now
itís our last hope.† For five years the United Nations
has refused to meet the conditions of the resolution
while we did whatever they wanted.† Every high representative
revises the resolution every day.† Weíve come to
the position that a new one should be written just
to cover what theyíve done so far.
B92:† And what can you do to improve this situation?†
Increase diplomatic activity?
Nikolic:† Of course.† We have to find our
own protector out in the world.† I donít know what
our diplomats are doing, apart from closing deal
for businessmen in the countries theyíre posted
to, for a commission, besides discrediting our country
and telling everyone we committed genocide.† I donít
know what else our Foreign Ministry has been doing.
B92:† Weíre back to my earlier question.† To
what extent are you able to represent us, because
a lot of doors around the world will probably remain
closed to you?
Nikolic:† I probably wouldnít be able to
represent you, but Iíll certainly be able to represent
the majority of Serbian citizens.
B92:† And why not me?† You said all citizens.
Nikolic:† I see you have different political
views and, whatever I do, I wonít please you.† Iím
really prepared to do everything for every Serbian
citizens, but something bothers certain individuals.†
Is it the word ďRadicalĒ?† I donít know what it
is.† But we, who had three hundred thousand votes
in 2000, will now have a million and five hundred
thousand votes.† That means weíve probably been
doing something right in the past four years.
B92:† All right.† Iíd like us to see a little
history of the Serbian Radical Party over the past
few years, and then weíll talk about it.
Presenter:† The Serbian Radical Party was founded
as an opposition party, but the first decade of
pluralist politics in Serbia showed that it had
more fruitful cooperation with the parties in power,
such as the Socialist Party of Serbia and the Yugoslav
Left.† While close to other opposition parties for
a brief period in 1993, by calling for the ousting
of the Socialist Government, the Radicals brought
about early parliamentary elections in Serbia, but
did not take part in any mass protest against Slobodan
Milosevic before or since.† They joined the government
with the Socialists and the Yugoslav Left in 1998,
only to be ousted along with them in 2000.† They
were the only party in the governing coalition to
acknowledge the victory of the democratic opposition
before the popular uprising on October 5, that year.†
In 2002, Slobodan Milosevic, from The Hague, gave
his support in the presidential elections to his
ďfavourite opposition politicianĒ, referring to
Radical leader Vojislav Seselj in the same way he
had during the nineties.†
In the federal and republic parliaments, the
Radicals have introduced such techniques as destroying
microphones, throwing water in their opponentsí
faces, punch-ups and other forms of obstructing
the work of the parliament.†
Outside the parliament, students, taxi drivers,
pensioners and some lawyers have felt the wrath
of the Radicals on their own skin.† Their opponents
accuse them of using their period of power in the
Municipality of Zemun for financial machination,
usurpation of apartments, land and the Magistrate
The Radicals respond by saying that these claims
have not been proved in court.† The Serbian Radical
Party lays great emphasis on patriotism and the
fact that they took part in the wars across the
former Yugoslavia.† Vojislav Seselj refuses to give
up his vision of Greater Serbia, even in his prison
cell in The Hague.
must be our option and thatís the border line along
which our army must deploy all our troops.† If itís
not capable of withdrawing troops from Zagreb without
a fight, it should withdraw them in a combat operation
while Zagreb is being bombed.† That official operation
was planned in Belgrade.† It included Bosnian Serb
forces, many of them, but the majority of the special
forces came from this side, special police units,
the so-called Red Berets, special units of State
Security and volunteers from the Serbian Radical
If NATO begins bombing us, if the US aggression
ensues, we Serbs will die in great numbers, but
there wonít be a single Albanian left in Kosovo.
Presenter:† The Serbian Radical Party is the
only political to have been boycotted for period
by the majority of independent media in Serbia after
threats and unfounded allegations that journalists
were accessories to the murder of Defence Minister
Pavle Bulatovic.† Even today the Radicals donít
hesitate to say that they donít regret the death
of publisher Slavko Curuvija, killed in central
Belgrade at Easter, 1999.
Seselj:† The gloves are off.† Everything
has become crystal clear.† He who lives by the sword
shall die by the sword, you need to keep that in
mind.† You surely donít think we will let you kill
us off, one by one, like rabbits, while we caress
you and cherish you like potted plants.† Keep that
in mind.† You from B92 and the other traitor outlets.†
You want to kill off statesmen like rabbits and
keep yourselves safe at the same time.† Well, youíre
mistaken.† Youíre very, very mistaken.† No more
kid gloves.† Anyone who works for the Americans
will have to suffer the consequences.
Interviewer:† Would you take back the sentence
ďI donít regret that Slavko Curuvija was murderedĒ?
Tomislav Nikolic:† No.
Interviewer:† You wouldnít take back the
sentence.† You still stand behind it.† You would
repeat it again.
Tomislav Nikolic:† What about it?
Interviewer:† Nothing, Iím just asking.† Itís
just that Iím a little bit disgusted.
Tomislav Nikolic:† The fact that youíre
disgusted doesnít mean itís not nice.
B92:† Mr Nikolic, how do you comment on this
Nikolic:† I donít know what.
B92:† Everything you have just heard.† Is there
anything in this story weíve just heard that you
would renounce today?
B92:† No?† Thatís it?
Nikolic:† You tell me what.
B92:† For example, what about the list of journalists
which Mr Seselj read out.† He said on a number of
occasions that he was only adding to the list.†
Did he leave it to you as a legacy?
Nikolic:† It is a list of journalists we
donít want to cooperate with.
B92:† So the list still exists?† You havenít
torn it up and thrown away?† You still stick to
Nikolic:† Iím offering you tonight an opportunity
to show Serbia that you are at least to a small
extent a good television, because for you the Radical
Party doesnít exist.† This is a goodwill gesture
from me because I want to cooperate with everyone,
even with you who wish us nothing but ill.
B92:† Youíve changed your rhetoric: you no longer
issue death threats, nor do you threaten the people†
Thatís why youíre here tonight.† And, among other
things, because youíre a presidential candidate.
Nikolic:† Thatís not true.
B92:† Thatís the way it is.
Nikolic:† And tonight of all nights, five
years after we changed our rhetoric.† Come on!
B92:† We have three or four minutes left.† So
you wouldnít take back anything of what weíve shown
Nikolic:† I donít know what you mean.† What
exactly do you want to ask me?† What is wrong there?
B92:† Iíve asked you about the lists.
Nikolic:† You say our political opponents
say we were thieves.† The Radicals say the truth
will be proved in court.† Is that journalism?
B92:† Weíve heard many opinions from Mr Seselj.†
You say you still stand behind them.† I was only
interested in that.
Nikolic:† I knew you were only interested
B92:† Letís go to some of the questions from
our viewers.† As president, will you pardon the
former head of state television, Dragoljub Milanovic?
Nikolic:† First I would have to look into
the case, but Iím not afraid to pardon him if something
is not right.† I wonít pardon notorious criminals,
the ones who sell drugs to kids, rapists, people
sentenced by politics to long prison sentences.†
Iíll look into the case in detail.† Or do you perhaps
think Dragoljub Milanovic is guilty?† Or may he
have been a scapegoat?† In that case thousands of
people should be in prison, because NATO told us
we were collateral damage, everything they hit was
a legitimate target.† They were hitting hospitals.†
So all the heads of hospitals should be in prison.†
Youíve set your sights on Dragoljub Milanovic, heís
the embodiment of evil for you.† He ran a really
bad television station but, believe me, it may not
have been half as bad as yours.
B92:† As ours?
B92:† All right.
Nikolic:† He supported Slobodan Milosevic
and the Yugoslav Left a lot less than you support
B92:† I shanít comment on that, we donít have
time.† Next question: why is Tomislav Nikolic afraid
of a television debate with Boris Tadic.
Nikolic:† Itís not that Iím afraid.† If
he gets through to the second round weíll have that
television debate.† All fourteen candidates can
seek a television debate with me, first they have
to decide who deserves to be in a television debate
with me.† Why Boris Tadic?† What reason is there
for me to accept a debate with Boris Tadic.
B92:† You donít trust the opinion polls?
Nikolic:† When did I ever trust the opinion
polls?† When did you?
B92:† Then how do you know that you will win?†
How many did you say?† A million and a half votes?
Nikolic:† Iím out there, from morning to
evening, every day.
B92:† So you count?
Nikolic:† Look at the rallies.† You avoided
B92:† How many people were there in Kragujevac?
Nikolic:† Ö masses of people.
B92:† How many people were there in Kragujevac?
Nikolic:† All the others put together wouldnít
have that manyÖ
B92:† Tell us, how many were there?
Nikolic:† I donít know, I donít count.
B92:† Well, you must have some kind of estimate.†
You know how it is at the rallies.
Nikolic:† The only bigger rally we had in
Kragujevac was in 1992, and never after that.† But
how many people was that?
B92:† Approximately?† A thousand?† Ten thousand?
Nikolic:† I think it was ten thousand.
B92:† Ten thousand?
Nikolic:† Okay, someone else can say five
hundred, but when you consider the size of the square,
and if people are standing close together three
of them fit into a square metre.† The journalists
who was with us yesterday could have measured the
square and say not more than a thousand.† Thatís
ten thousand, but also fifty thousand.
B92:† When you say more than a thousand, thatís
not ten thousand, not even close.
Nikolic:† How many is over a thousand, tell
me so that I know in the future?
B92:† Okay.† Now, to finish, let me ask you
a question.† Do you watch Mile vs. Transition?
Nikolic:† Not since he announced he was
a member of the Democratic Party.† Up to then I
liked the show.
B92:† Do you identify yourself at all with that
Nikolic:† Well, no.† I appreciate art expressed
in any way, but I donít like political campaigns
on television which are aimed at drawing us into
a particular policy through a likeable actor.† I
donít like it and I steer clear of it.
B92:† All right, and let me ask you, if you
go through to the second round of the election,
and you probably will, all the opinion polls say
you will, will you come to this studio with your
Nikolic:† Let me tell you something.† I
donít think we will have debates every day.† I think
we should have the debate on a much more serious
television station than yours.
B92:† Such as?
Nikolic:† Any other, really, your television
is not in that league.
B92:† Yes, it is the least serious of all.
Nikolic:† Well, itís not among the least
serious ones.† I go to television stations which
are watched only in, for example, Blace, but trust
me, donít underestimate them.† There are a lot more
serious people in small television stations than
in the so-called big ones.
B92: †All right, before we wrap this up, tell
us what kind of television station we are.
Nikolic:† Usually very bad, partial and
biased, and thatís standing in your way.† Take a
look at the number of people who watch you.† Iíll
come whenever you invite me.† I wonít run away from
it, but change the direction a little.† Or maybe
you canít, because you wouldnít be getting any money
B92:† I hope our viewers have gained a little
more insight into what the Serbian Radical Party
is today, and whether you are the former Tomislav
Nikolic or the only you would like to present yourself
Nikolic:† You havenít devoted this show
to presenting me as a presidential candidate, but
I wonít hold that against you.
B92:† Thank you very much for being our guest
tonight.† Good night.