Sunday, May 27, 2007

Djinjdic's Verdict

Recent articles and analysis on Serbia’s political future usually point to Serbia being at a juxtaposition, between the ultra-nationalist past, and a possible inclusive “European” future. This division has taken place both internally between political parties; as well as externally with regards to debates over the capturing of certain fugitives from justice; the issue of Kosovo, and possible admittance into the EU. This week, a street in Belgrade symbolized where Serbia's political future may lie; and perhaps what might have been.

During the week, a member of the SRS made an oh so subtle sign of support for a certain fugitive from justice in the Serbian parliament. The move caused outcries from some pro-democracy MPs. The streets of Belgrade was also the sight of a similar "show of support" as some supporters of the SRS decided "rename" a street after Ratko Mladic.
Yet, even with all of the attention "Ratko Mladic Boulevard" has received in the press; it is hard not to lose sight of the figure for whom the street is actually in the process of being named for; Zoran Djindjic; the Prime Minister who was assassinated in 2003.
This week, the direct organizers of Mr. Djidjic's murder were sentenced to prison terms. Yet, while those directly involved in Djindjic's assassination have been sentenced to prison; lingering questions still remain as to the full scope of the political atmosphere and involvement in Djindjic's death. As well as an even greater question of where Serbia would be politically today had Mr. Djindjic not been killed; and an even greater question of where Serbia's political future lies.
The answer to that verdict; unlike the trial of Mr. Djindjic's killers is far less than certain.


Kirk Johnson said...

Good work, Shaina. The signals coming from Serbia are ambiguous and hard to read.

My understanding is that at least some of the support for the Radicals stems less from a surge in nationalist sentiment and more from the perception that they are less tainted by scandal (and, probably, deference to "the West.")

Shaina said...


That is an interesting point you made about possible reasoning for support of the SRS. I watched the Battle of Algiers; and afterwards they had a documentary on the political situation of Algeria in the 1990s, where an Islamic Fundamentalist political party came to power over the secular nationalist FLN. The major reason for the FIS (I believe) coming into power was that the Algerian people were sick and tired of the corruption and broken promises involved with the FLN; and they wanted different opportunity.
Similarly, the election of Hamas was explained party because Arafat's Fatah party was so corrupt; and Hamas did provide social services and were seen as being clean in comparision.
So, I guess point being, there is a large history of extremist political parties being elected; and sometimes that election might stem as much from (or even more so from) their ability to stay above scandals and corruption.

As far as Serbia goes; maybe someone from Serbia can give me a more clearer picture; but I remember reading one article that mentioned how the Radicals were appealing to people on the economic margins of society; who have been ignored by the mainstream.

oskar said...

"appealing to people on the economic margins of society; who have been ignored by the mainstream" is what got the present govt. in Poland into power, likewise for the strong showing of similar parties in most other European countries. It's classical populism, wether it comes in the form of anti-immigration (Denmark, UK, France), Catholicism (Poland) or 'patriotism' (USA).

In Serbia it just happens to come in the form of the Radicals and 'standing up to the West'. And since Serbia has had more than its fair share of hardships they have been more successful than in other, less unfortunate, countries.