Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Bosnia's Dodik Still Loud And Defiant -- But Maybe Nervous, Too

Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik casts his vote in elections for local authorities in Banja Luka in October.
Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik casts his vote in elections for local authorities in Banja Luka in October.
A year ago, Bosnia-Herzegovina's Republika Srpska marked its 20th birthday with a spectacular display of economic potential, political strength, and indications of a bright future for all.

This January 9, the affair was much more modest -- no fireworks and 3-D displays this time around -- reflecting a gloomy economic situation, strikes, and charges of widespread crime, corruption, and nepotism.

Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik has increased the volume of his trademark nationalist rhetoric in recent weeks, but he appears more nervous than confident after almost seven years of undisputed -- and almost absolute -- rule.

In the space of just 10 days, Dodik -- who once looked like the West's preferred Serbian politician in the Balkans and was regarded as a great conciliator and reformer -- has offered to resettle Kosovo's Serbs in Republika Srpska, accused the West of devoting millions of dollars to helping foment a "spring" against him, and once again declared Bosnia a doomed and short-lived project for which Serbs will not shed a tear.

In a New Year's Eve interview with a Belgrade daily, Dodik said he had information that $10 million was to be distributed to the opposition, nongovernmental organizations, and media.

"Of course, there is only one goal," Dodik charged. "Remove Dodik. Bring marionettes. Empty the Republika Srpska. Take away all of its authorities."

But a more likely reason for the president's rhetorical offensive is an attempt to deflect growing public frustration with leadership that failed to deliver the promised economic prosperity and national consolidation, say Bosnian Serb opposition politicians and independent analysts, intellectuals, and commentators.

The first sign of trouble at Dodik's court were the results of local elections in October, when Dodik's Alliance of Independent Social Democrats was squarely beaten in an abrupt shift from the two general polls and one local election that they won overwhelmingly.

Dodik used to boast that Republika Srpska was the stronger and healthier half of Bosnia, in which the Bosniak-Croat federation was the other partner in a poorly functioning union forged as part of the 1995 Dayton peace agreement.

But now he's hard-pressed to make such a case. The economy is in recession, the budget is in deficit for the fourth year in a row, public-sector salaries have been cut, and pension payments are regularly late. Moreover, the private sector is barely alive and 150,000 people are unemployed in a population of about 1.4 million.

Huge investments that were to follow the sale of major state enterprises never materialized, apart from a new government administrative center in Banja Luka that cost a whopping $150 million.

"It is important to compare these two days -- the one last year when everything was glowing and when everything seemed different -- with this one, when we faced reality in the most brutal way possible and realized that Republika Srpska was not, in fact, rock solid but in a catastrophic state," Aleksandar Trifunovic, the head of the independent Buka media project and Internet portal, told RFE/RL's Balkan Service about the anniversary.

More scaremongering is to be expected from Dodik concerning existential dangers that Republika Srpska faces because, as University of Banja Luka professor Djordje Vukovic told RFE/RL, the government has for the first time got something right.

"As it became clear that they cannot maintain single-mindedness...[and] that the people cannot tolerate the situation any more, they chose the old and tested recipe -- the disqualification of real and imagined enemies," Vukovic said.

Confrontational rhetoric has served Dodik well since 2006, when he returned to power on a nationalist ticket. Previously, he had ruled in 1998-2002 thanks to support from Bosniak and Croatian parties, with strong backing from the United States and other Western peace sponsors.

But although he has managed to essentially halt any kind of cooperation with the other part of Bosnia within a joint central government and freeze the country's European integration process, Dodik has failed at his stated goal of rolling back the transfer of authority that paved the way for the creation of the joint army, state courts, an indirect taxation authority, and law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Analysts and opposition politicians predict a hot political year.

"Republika Srpska has become a prisoner of one ideology, one policy, and one man," claims Dragan Cavic, the head of the minor opposition Democratic Party and a former president of Republika Srpska. "And the number of those realizing that it is being ruled by a regime grows by the day."

-- Nedim Dervisbegovic, based on reporting by Maja Bjelajac in Banja Luka
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Abdulmajid
January 14, 2013 22:08
It is, and always has been bankrupt - financially and morally.
In Response

by: Fin Ficaso from: South Antarctica
January 15, 2013 11:41
This is rich coming from a guy who had a name of a terrorist who was told by his imam in Saudi Arabia to go and rape girls in Syria. You needs to go get your life. Just sayin.
In Response

by: Abdulmajid
January 16, 2013 21:17
You approve of genocide committed against Bosniaks. I refuse to discuss withthe declared enemies of my people.
ANd I have used my nick since at least 1995, so YOU Get a life!!!
As for "raping girls in Syria" that probably is a pro_Assad propaganda lie. So you are pro Assad. Then crawl back under that rock and don't come out.
In Response

by: giveyourselfaslap
January 15, 2013 13:42
'Morally bankrupt' ? does that include the whole Bosnian nation? or just maybe people of a certain race, religion... What do you suggest, kick them out like in Sarajevo? Put them in camps?

Thank God the Serbian people in Bosnia have their own institutions protecting them, otherwise there would be no place for them in Bosnia.
In Response

by: Abdulmajid
January 16, 2013 21:21
The Serbs kicked outr all non-Serbs in Eastern Bosnia, what they call "RS" now, whom are you trying to fool, tergiversing the facts, and teh Serbs pof Sarajevo LEFT after KAradzic ORDERED Them to, they moved away a couple of 100 meters to Srpsko Sarajevo so DON'T GIVE ME THAT!
So you say the Serbs did right in committiong genocide??? Then I hope you come around next time when you want to "complete the job" and find all you want for us balije. And yes, there is NO Place in Bosnia for those who want to destroy it! They do not deseve to walk this Earth! The abode of Karadzic and all those who stand for his genoicidal project is Hell!
In Response

by: Abdulmajid
January 17, 2013 19:00
it's just typical of Serbian thought (or is it lack of it?) to ignore historical facts, twist and change things around to suit their own political agenda and then grotesquely glorify themselves as victims in every possible situation.

As [Ed] Vulliamy deliciously puts it, “In Bosnian Serb society there exists an oxymoronic waltz between denial and justification: we did not do it, but we had to do it to ‘ defend our people’.”
In Response

by: ZRK from: USA
February 01, 2013 05:16
Abdulmajid, the only genocide in Bosnia was Srebrenica, and those responsible are facing justice. You cannot accuse genocide for a 3 year war based on the genocide of 11 days. Whatever you claim, the ICTY and ICJ have ruled on this matter. Quit spreading propaganda!
In Response

by: ZRK from: UK
February 01, 2013 05:33
A genocide that left 25,000 civilians killed (ICTY) after 3-years of war? Please, abdulmajid. Genocide is clearly a word you do not understand....
In Response

by: Abdulmajid
February 05, 2013 19:56
Even if fwe assume just "25.000" as you say and we all know it was much more, out of about 1 million people that's quite a lot. And what do ysou mean, "facing justice" Srebrenica has not been rteturned to its original inhabitants, now you Serbs waht to take over. And what is now "rs" jad a population of 40% Bosniaks, now there are almost none. And that already IS genocide. But of course, when you're doing it to somebody else...

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 16, 2013 10:05
In other news on the BALKANS: Serbia is about to become the second state (after Belarus) to issue its sovereign debt bonds denominated in Russian Roubles, as opposed to earlier Serbian bonds issues that were denominated either in Euros or in US Dollars.
In other words, the current Euro-crisis continues undermining the global standing of the Western currencies which are gradually being replaced by currencies of emerging economies, such as the Chinese Yuan or the Russian Rouble.
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
January 16, 2013 13:07
Yeah yeah yeah,this is the end of the bloody $$$ and the western economy as we know it.The whole world and not just the east is turning bloody red.Now the mighty rouble is gonna be the world`s standard.Other choices are the mongol tugrik ,the vietnamese dong and Jack and Eugenia`s dung.We,as socialists are gonna eat,drink and make merry,while them bloody capitalist imperialists are goona do the work for us.Eugenia is gonna be the New World`s emperor,pardon,empress,and Jack Durak will be the best court jester this world has ever seen.Chort vazmiyot,who stole my napkins,you bloody morons,gimme back my napkins,or else!!!!

by: Nash from: Boston Mass
January 22, 2013 12:38
Uh, when this propaganda will stop? Is anything good and fine beyond western nation's borders? Other places are just full of missery and who knows what.......come on........give me a brake from such Goebbels style propaganda.......

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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