A Balkan twofer for you this morning.
The first story comes from Foreign Policy, where they report that Republic Srpska — the ethnic-Serbian portion of Bosnia — is threatening to tear apart the confederation and perhaps even do the Anschluss with Serbia.
Milorad Dodik, president of Republika Srpska, plans to rain on the Dayton anniversary parade by openly violating the agreement on Nov. 15 in a move that many see as a thinly veiled independence referendum.
The scheduled plebiscite has only one question: “Do you support the unconstitutional and unauthorized imposition of laws by the High Representative of the International Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly the imposed laws on the Court and Prosecutor’s Office of [Bosnia-Herzegovina] and the implementation of their decisions on the territory of Republika Srpska?” Such a biased and leading question offers only one right answer. The referendum will give Dodik political and legal cover to order Republika Srpska institutions — from government administrators to tax collectors — to stop obeying state court orders, verdicts, and rulings, and to obstruct the work of the prosecutor’s office. This would undo 20 years of progress and commence the destruction of Bosnia’s legal order. While the referendum only addresses the judiciary, its destructive intentions make it a de facto declaration of independence. Lest anyone doubt Dodik’s intentions, in April he announced that Republika Srpska will hold an independence referendum in 2018.
The referendum threat is unfolding amid a perfect storm generated by Dodik’s strident Serbian nationalism, a demonstrably flawed EU policy of appeasing him, Russian meddling in the Balkans, and the United States’ dangerous unwillingness to override the EU on Bosnia. [Emphasis added]
You’ll understand why I emphasized the bit about Russia when you get to this next report, also from a region of the former Yugoslavia:
Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic has accused Russia of supporting Serbian nationalists in a bid to force a regime change, the RIA Novosti state-run news agency reported Monday.
“There is no doubt that Russia has and continues to play an active role in organizing anti-government protests in Podgorica,” Djukanovic was cited as saying Sunday in an interview with Croatia’s HRT television channel.
Djukanovic referred to three past Russian Foreign Ministry statements to support his claim that Russia opposes the country’s political course, including its bid for accession into the NATO military alliance.
Putin is inside the West’s OODA loop from the Baltics, through Ukraine, to the Balkans, to Syria and on through Iraq to Iran.