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Serbian President Accused Of Promoting His 'Gas Diplomacy' During Crisis

Boris Tadic
Boris Tadic
BELGRADE -- The Serbian capital, Belgrade, has received emergency supplies of natural gas from Hungary and Germany to help it cope with its dependence on Russian gas, which has been cut off for several days.

Belgrade was first sent emergency supplies by Hungary and was later promised additional assistance from Germany as the city tries to keep homes heated during a bout of cold weather.

Belgrade citizens have welcomed the help but have widely criticized the manner in which President Boris Tadic has handled the crisis.

Tadic presented the Hungarian gas assistance on public television as his own personal achievement and, on January 8, Serbia's prime-time news program was interrupted by a statement from Tadic that he had "just secured additional gas from Germany."

Such actions have led many to charge Tadic with using the gas crisis for his own promotion, while his government is seen by some observers as having failed.

Serbia has some gas reserves northeast of Belgrade at Banatski Dvor, but the pumps to release the gas are broken.