Serbian officials have been very active lately in regards of meetings with high representatives of the Russian authorities. Therefore, the announcement of the talks between Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and Russian President Vladimir Putin, to be held on September 11 in Sochi, is not surprising. Let us remind, Moscow has been visited already by Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and his first deputy Aleksandar Vucic. There two basic, practical reasons for the frequent contacts of Serbian politicians with Russia, political analyst Slobodan Antonic has assessed in a statement for our radio. He was interviewed by Suzana Mitic.
The first reason for the recurrent contacts with Russian officials is economic in nature, says Antonic. Namely, according to him, Serbia has a problem of large budgetary deficit, while Russia has already granted earlier the credits and loans that have not been fully drawn, and there are also projects that are yet to be realized. Besides that, at issue is the market that Serbia can further develop its relations with, hence the economic aspect of whole thing, explains Antonic.
The second reason, as he has stressed, is the fact that Russia enjoys high rating among the Serbian citizens. “All public opinion surveys indicate that Russia is equally popular in Serbia as the EU. President Putin is one of most popular foreign presidents among our citizens. Therefore, political contacts with Russia, and particularly with Putin, are helping the rating of Serbian politicians in a way. For that reason they are glad to be maintaining those interactions”, emphasizes Antonic.
Our collocutor has assessed that there is no serious change of foreign policy course at play. The current Serbian Government, parties and politicians that comprise it, are firmly on the pro-European path, heading for the membership in the EU, he reminded. He also adds that it includes tight friendship and ties with Brussels and Washington, as something that stays in power. The contacts with Russian officials are sort of an alternative, a kind of the “Plan B”, but not the indication of changes in the foreign policy trends, concluded professor Slobodan Antonic from the Faculty of Philosophy.