Radovan Višković, Prime Minister of BiH’s entity Republika Srpska, had visited Russia at the beginning of September. The official press releases related to the meetings with the management of the company “SPG Gazprom” and its Nevski Institute, as well as the pharmaceutical company "Biocad". Summarizing the visit, it can be concluded that Višković acted more as a promoter of the possibilities for Russian companies to invest cheaply and profit well in the territory of Republika Srpska. Of course, he did not go to Russia without clear instructions from Milorad Dodik, the leader of the SNSD and current member of the Presidency of BiH.
BLACKMAILS OVER RUSSIAN MEDICINAL PRODUCTS
Representatives of “Biocad” complained to the entity prime minister about the problems in obtaining authorization to distribute medicinal products in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Višković encouraged the management of “Biocad” company to be persistent and to undertake all legal actions and measures as to make the high-quality medicinal products of this company, particularly the medicine for treatment of the most severe malignant lung diseases, available to the patients in BiH, helping treat the citizens and protect their health”, said the RS Government Public Relations Bureau.
Radovan Viskovic with representatives of Biocad
Lobbying for the introduction of Russian medicinal products on the market of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been going on for years, where the main promoter is Milorad Dodik. Eighteen months ago Žurnal wrote about Rituximab and Trastuzumab, oncology medicinal products of the Russian company "Biocad", receiving an illegal authorization for use in BiH at Dodik's order, with a planned profit of more than 22 million marks.
Threats, blackmails and resignations of the Commission for medicinal products of the BiH Agency for Medicinal Products and Medicinal Devices paved the way to having the authorization to market the medical products from Russia in BiH approved contrary to the professional opinion. The director of the BiH Agency for Medicinal Products and Medicinal Devices Aleksandar Zorlak uses the fact that the public attention was directed towards the pandemic and signs the import authorization for the aforementioned Russian medicinal products by interpreting that the decisions of the national Commission are neither binding nor final (!?).
The information that the import authorization for these medicinal products was not granted by Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and the EU countries speaks volumes about their “quality”
“It is obvious that the problem lies in fact that the Russian medicinal products would be far cheaper. We want to ensure that our healthcare institutions and patients have medicinal products that are cheaper than the existing ones”, Dodik commented the situation.
It will turn out that the medicinal products are almost 50% more expensive, but the profit of “brothers Russians” is more important to Dodik and lobbyist like him than the savings made in the entity budget.
FOUR-YEARS OLD NEWS
In the absence of good news, Višković sent another one from the tour, which is essentially only good for Russia. The establishment of a joint venture with Gazprom and the construction of a natural gas liquefaction plant in Zvornik, an investment worth 75 million KM, were announced.
Radovan Viskovic during a visit to Gazprom
The news is four years old! “Gas-Res” and “Gasprom SPG” signed an agreement and letter of intent on establishment of a joint venture in December 2017. Russians had in the meantime purchased the land on which the plant is to be built. One of the reasons for project postponement was the fact that construction of a similar plant was planned in the Oil Refinery Brod, but since the Russian NeftGaziKor had renounced the project pending further notice, the project in Zvornik has been revived.
At the same time Višković offered Russian partners the construction of a gas power plant also in Zvornik area, where a gas pipeline with gas from Russia enters Bosnia and Herzegovina. In return, Gazprom promised to continue activities on the construction of the gas pipeline “Balkan Stream - a branch for Republika Srpska”.
It is unquestionable that Russia has monopoly in the gas sector of the Balkan countries and uses it abundantly to achieve political goals, about which Žurnal wrote. Any attempt to reduce this monopoly through diversification of natural gas sources gets thwarted by political structures that openly advocate for Russian interest in the Balkans. The last example of “Russian players’” activation is the blockage of construction of the gas pipeline “Zagvozd – Novi Travnik”, better known as “Southern interconnection”, which does not come only from Republika Srpska. At the same time Russia controls import, processing and distribution of oil in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia and Herzegovina does not directly or indirectly become a country “captured” by Russia only in the gas and oil distribution sector, but also in other infrastructural segments. Serbia possesses almost half of the telecommunication sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina through the company Mtel, and also plans to expand to the electricity sector by announcing construction of three hydro power plans on Drina together with Elektroprivreda RS. One should not forget still actual construction of airport near Trebinje, which would be owned by Serbia!?
Quite the opposite from what Milorad Dodik has been proclaiming and wishing for many years now is happening, for Republika Srpska to join Serbia. We are witnessing situation where Serbia, through this entity, is entering, conquering and appropriating both resources and the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And wherever Serbia is, the ground is “well prepared” for Russia
Therefore there are views that the amount of Russia's political engagement towards Bosnia and Herzegovina is proportional to the economic interest i.e. the profit, which the local fans and admirers of Russia are denying.
“Of course, the Russian Federation as a great world power, like the United States and China, has its interests and projects them in every part of the world. These interests are economic, political and military, so they cannot be reduced to just one of them, for example, economic ones. When it comes to BiH, the Russian Federation defines its policy as a policy of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of BiH and respecting the Dayton Peace Agreement, as it was signed 26 years ago. Let us not forget that the Russian Federation is one of the guarantors of the Agreement and in that capacity, it not only has the right, but also an international obligation, due to its status of a world power, to monitor its implementation and react if it deems that there are certain deviations to the Agreement.
What can be clearly seen in the public attitudes of the Russian Federation is its assessment that 26 years after signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement the need for foreign interventionism in BiH has ceased, and that it is time for BiH to begin consuming its sovereignty at a full capacity without foreign interference and with an agreement between the internal political actors in BiH,” says Milan Tegeltija, former president of the HJPC who was fired due to numerous judicial scandals. Today, Tegeltija is Milorad Dodik's legal advisor and obviously a great promoter of Russian influence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
As to facilitate realization of the aforesaid it is necessary to maintain destruction of political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Appointment of a new High representative to BiH, who assumed the office on August 1, was an ideal opportunity for the new, that is, old political tensions.
FUSS ABOUT THE HIGH REPRESENTATIVE
“Without the approval of the UN Security Council, Mr. Christian Schmidt cannot be considered High Representative. This view of ours has not undergone any change. His engagement in this capacity, particularly with the use of “extraordinary instruments” (so-called Bonn powers), is illegitimate, creates danger from negative consequences to the post-conflict stabilization in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is cable of undermining everything achieved so far in this direction over a quarter of the century, contradicts the principles of the Dayton agreement and jeopardizes their implementation,” Maria Zakharova, representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated Russia’s view at the beginning of September.
While Russia is somewhat diplomatically denying the mandate of the High Representative, Milorad Dodik does that completely deprived of any political culture. Being ware that his internal political rating is declining, and that Russia is pretty much dissatisfied with the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina is getting closer to the NATO in spite of everything, he tries to please Russia with the final “sale” of the resources even if it entails making concessions to Serbia. It is exactly why it is assumed that Dodik is currently on “a political ice” in Russia and is sending the Prime Minister Višković to “melt” it with economic concessions.
“He could do much more for them in terms of economy, but he is good – making commotion and maintains that geopolitical concept of Russia, which is very simple. Russia does not want to see easy expansion of NATO in the Balkans. It wants to cause as many problems as possible there. Russian authorities are well aware of the fact that ultimately they cannot prevent it, but that they can cause problems, having these confusing situations assisting them at some point to collect something for themselves”, predicted political analyst Dušan Janjić two years ago for portal Inforadar.
President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić plays the card of good relations with both Russa and the European Union, read Germany, in a more intelligent way, and tries to “appease” Dodik to stop both the blockage of denying the Office of the High Representative and the work of state institutions by Republika Srpska. The meeting that Vučić and Dodik held on September 12 resulted, officially at least, in continuation of Dodik’s view.
Dodik and Vučić, meeting in Belgrade on September 12, 2021.
“Schmidt is illegal. He is not high representatives and there is no need to meet him in that capacity and I do not want to give him legitimacy”, said Dodik.
Analysts are warning that one should be careful with Russian support, particularly knowing that it finances the Office of the High Representative that the “Russian player” Dodik does not recognize.
“He uses this campaign against the high representative to consolidate all political forces in RS around himself. It is pretty obvious. The Russian proposal to abolish the institution of high representatives was not even included in the agenda of the UN Security Council’s session”, said Žarko Korać, psychologist and former vice president of the Government of Republika Srpska, in a statement for the local media.
Professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo, dr. Asim Mujkić, had paid special attention to the views presented by Igor Kalabuhov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation in BiH in his article – From Russia “with love”. Kalabuhov said that the decision on BiH must be made by the citizens, just to have that term defined as constituent peoples moments later.
“A contradictory policy – being for the Dayton, but not for the High Representative, having nothing against EU membership – but with a constitutional framework which precludes the membership, that citizens should decide – but in a form of three separate constituent collectives, thus directly opening the space for interference of at least two neighboring countries having claims against BiH, is an integral part of that asymmetrical and indirect method of enforcing political strategy of a power that has been indefinitely maintaining the frozen BiH,” writes Mujkić.
He reminds us that unlike the imperial and Soviet paradigm, which mail relied on military threat, today’s, Putin’s paradigm is much more sophisticated as it relies on development of support networks – ideological, intelligence and financial – with right-wing European parties and movements.
“Putin is an operative and he knows that 15 can be turned into 19, but under certain conditions. The main condition is to divide the enemies and to deal with each one individually. It is a Napoleonic strategy that may yield results at first, but as soon as it faces the impossibility of dividing the Western alliance, it is doomed to failure. These are the methods we see in prisons, intelligence formations, and the constant demands for “Quid pro quo” that all your readers have seen in Cosa Nostra movies. In essence, it is an intelligence strategy and a successful one. And we in BiH see that every day on the examples of obstruction of EU accession, non-acceptance of court rulings, relativization of everything, dancing on the brink of rebellion against the state, minimizing its people and achievements and unprecedented arrogance that can be compared to supremacy,” sociologist Sead Pašić explains the paradigm for Žurnal.
Žurnal had written about different methods used to deepen Russian influence in the region. One of the ways is maintaining religious and cultural ties through the Russian and Serbian Orthodox Church and several associations with Serbian-Russia prefix that “do the work” in the field for some financial support or other kind of assistance. The attempts to influence judicial system and security-intelligence services is BiH are not negligible, all to establish Republika Srpska as Russia’s backup strategic position for which they have an unhidden ally in Milorad Dodik.
A plate of gratitude to Vitaly Churkin, the former Russian ambassador to the UN, was set up four years ago in Istočno Sarajevo. It reads “Thank you for the Russian nyet” because of the veto on Srebrenica Resolution. Milorad Dodik should be aware of one fact, nowhere and never will he get a monument for “nyet” to the appointment of the High Representative in Russia, even if he is to send entity prime ministers to Russia every month to cheaply sell what little resources are left.