Scotland and Catalonia similar to RS - Dodik
The Serb Republic, RS, should separate from Bosnia-Herzegovina as it cannot get "anything useful" from it, Milorad Dodik has told Newsweek.Source: Beta, Newsweek
The president of the Serb Republic entity cited the secession processes in Scotland and Catalonia as "similar examples."
During the interview he gave to the magazine last week in Banja Luka, Dodik was asked when he expected a referendum in the RS "like that held in Crimea."
“It will happen all of a sudden,” he replied.
"What is not clear is whether Dodik is serious about further Balkanizing the historically war-fraught region or is merely playing politics, and whether fellow Slavs in Moscow, who are now in a confrontational mood, will back him," the article said, and noted that he "sure sounded sincere."
According to Newsweek, "the federation that uneasily wedded Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Serb Republic was created in the Dayton negotiations, which ended Europe’s bloodiest war since the 1940s."
The article quotes Dodik as saying that the union was artificially created by outsiders, is frustrating to the Serbs and is doomed to fail.
“We don’t have anything useful that we can get from Bosnia-Herzegovina,” he said, adding that the RS can do better financially and even integrate with Europe faster on its own.
But Dodik is also described as being "well aware of Western concerns" and is thus "yet to set a date for his referendum":
“We will wait. We don’t want any destabilization or chaos.”
According to Dodik, the West is being selective about the right for self-determination by referendum, said the article, and quoted the RS leader as saying, “Slovenia seceded from Yugoslavia. They had a referendum and declared independence. After a few years, they became a member of the European Union. So why should Crimea be any different?”
Dodik also "waved off any suggestion that (Vladimir) Putin is behind his referendum campaign," and said, “I haven’t discussed that issue with them."
According to him, "he Russians are always more fair to us than the West, but from a civilization perspective, we are European, and Europe is the natural ally of the RS."
Newsweek said that "in Dodik's eyes" the Balkan problems are much older and more complex than those in Crimea, and they can be resolved only by ending "the union with Bosnia’s Muslims."
He is then quoted as saying that "if the region can accommodate two Albanian states, Albania and Kosovo, he says, there can be two Serbian countries as well."
Dodik is described as being "impatient with Western politicians who made a career out of Yugoslavia’s demise, blaming Clinton-era officials for creating an independent state of Bosnia where none had existed before."
The article noted that Dodik "was not always this antagonistic":
"Americans once considered him a moderating voice among extremists, contrasting him with the ultra-nationalist Serb leaders who ended up in war crime tribunals. As then-secretary of state Madeleine Albright once put it, Dodik was a 'breath of fresh air' among Serbian politicians."
“Every mention, even this interview with you at the moment, every mention of the referendum is sensitive,” he is quoted as saying, and then "adding defiantly":
“So what? Should we give up? The RS has all the important elements for establishing an independent country. The only thing we don’t have is international recognition.”
“We don’t need Bosnia,” Dodik said. “It’s not actually only about politics. It’s mentality as well. History. The Serbs had never accepted Bosnia as a state.”
He then "reminded" his interviewer that on June 28 the world will mark the 100th anniversary of the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo "by five Serbs and one Muslim who opposed the Austro-Hungarian empire," an event that "sparked World War I."
“We think it was a pretty heroic act, but the other side thinks it was an act of terrorism. We will mark it in a different way here, and the Muslims in Sarajevo will mark it in a different way there," Dodik said.