"My absence from the city of N. happened exactly," wrote Vislava Šimborska in the song “Železnička stanica” (translation: "Railway Station"). Something similar could be said about the failed visit of the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs: Lavrov's absence in the city of B. happened exactly at the scheduled time. Sergei Lavrov planned to visit the Russian province in the Balkans, everything had already been agreed, and the hosts were happily waiting for the high guest, but it turned out that it was not easy to travel from Moscow to Belgrade.
The Serbian and Russian authorities miraculously overlooked one small, almost imperceptible little thing: Serbia and Russia do not border, so Minister Lavrov has to fly over some other countries to visit the only European country where he is welcome. A small problem is that European countries have wholeheartedly imposed sanctions on Russia due to the aggression against Ukraine, which includes the ban on flights of Russian planes. Thus, Northern Macedonia, Bulgaria and Montenegro banned the plane with precious ministerial cargo from using the airspace of these countries, which made the visit physically impossible, because the famous Russian science has not yet invented a device for teleportation.
Lavrov's visit failed because Russian officials, no matter how much they despised every form of order and legality, still have to respect the laws of physics, whether they want to or not. It is not clear how the agreement on the visit was reached at all, whether Aleksandar Vučić invited the Russian minister to come for a glass of conversation or Lavrov invited himself, and such an offer is not rejected in putinophile Serbia. In all European capitals, Sergei Lavrov is a persona non grata, because he is one of the most prominent officials of the criminal Kremlin regime. The only country he can theoretically visit and where he can feel at home is Serbia, which is still trying to play on the wire between the West and the Kremlin, showing that its heart is still on Putin's side.
Instead of Lavrov, Vucčić met with his official, the ambassador of the Russian Federation to Serbia, Aleksandar Bocan-Kharčenko. Lavrov was not physically present, but he got involved via a video link. The Russian minister lamented that something unimaginable had happened, that the sovereign state of Serbia had been denied the right to practice its foreign policy, but that one should not despair, because no one would destroy Russia's ties with Serbia. In the name of preserving those ties, which are somewhat reminiscent of the shackles around Serbia's neck, Lavrov invited his Serbian counterpart, Nikola Selaković, the foreign minister, to visit Russia, hoping his trip would not be obstructed.
Lavrov also used the opportunity to strike at the European Union, saying that "even an inexperienced observer understands that Brussels has no place not only for sovereign equality of states, but also for freedom of choice, which the West constantly stands for." Evil Brussels restricts Serbia's freedom, asking it to choose between the East or the West. This is how the Russian minister sees it, an important screw of the regime known for its truthfulness, commitment to equality and respect for the freedom of other states, which we see today in the example of Ukraine, and in previous years was visible in Georgia and Moldova.
Lavrov's lamentation and demagoguery were joined by the President of Serbia, who brought lamentation and camps to perfection, and has not done anything else in his public appearances for decades. He complained about how evil Westerners pressured him to cancel Lavrov's visit, how he had not seen such hysteria in a small country like Serbia for a long time, how some mice are not allowed to say anything to Russia and live in Serbia, how it is not easy to hear in Europe today the voice of reason and dialogue.
The longer time passes, the more unbearable Vučić's overdoing becomes, just like his attempts to sit on more chairs. The President of Serbia acts as if someone is forcing him to do something, every now and then he complains about the unprecedented pressures to which he is exposed, he remembers that Serbia wants to pursue an independent foreign policy, but the villains do not allow it, and Lavrov has now joined those cries. However, we should remind ourselves of some notorious facts, in a society where lying is the supreme principle, one must constantly remind that the sky is blue and the water is wet.
Voluntary European path
Serbia volunteered for membership in the European Union, no one put a gun to the head of any representative of the Serbian state in order to force them to do something. European integration and the European path are the choice of the Serbian authorities, both past and present, at least officially so. As part of that process, Serbian officials have voluntarily committed themselves to harmonize their country's foreign policy with the European Union's foreign policy, in this case, it would mean that they should impose sanctions on Russia. Even if that is not the case, imposing sanctions on an occupying country that commits horrific crimes, whose army is aggressing against a neighbouring country - is an elementary moral obligation of every state that sees itself as part of civilization, especially a state that boasts of its libertarian traditions.
So, Serbia is not between the East and West, it is not a tab on the scales, it is not a representative of a third time, but a country that is trying to join the European community of nations. The four pillars of foreign policy (USA, EU, Russia, China) are nonsense invented by Boris Tadić, and Vučić reluctantly accepted and upgraded. This is not politics at all, but another unscrupulous attempt to keep Serbia in its clutches and lair, so that nothing would ever improve here, so that various political brokers, people without any vision, corrupt people and incompetents would rule this country forever, to the detriment of it’s own citizens, looking only at their own interest. Keeping Serbia out of all world processes, out of modernity, modernization and progress, out of the world - that was and remains the imperative of the local political pests.
The process of European integration is not irreversible, at any moment the candidate country can give up and look for its own way to nowhere. And nothing radical will happen, except that it will suffer logical economic and other consequences. But, what happened to Ukraine will certainly not happen to Serbia - the European Union is not Russia to occupy, destroy and kill people who do not want to live in a community with it. There is no denial of freedom of choice, as the hypocritical Lavrov clumsily submits, on the contrary. What the European Union is asking of Serbia is actually the opposite - to respect the choice it already made when it decided to become a member of the European Union of States. If Serbia does not want to be part of the Western world, no one is forcing them, but it would be high time for those who rule the country to say what they want, where to lead their country and its citizens, and what prospects they offer to those who voted for them.
A lost case
For the past ten years, Vučić has been persistently working on capturing the state, destroying institutions and grabbing the entire government for himself, which he has achieved to a surreal extent. When he has taken all the power into his own hands, he does not know what to do with it, except the usual robbery and abuse of his own citizens. It is the job of politicians to make decisions, and this lost case of ours is not able to decide which side to take, pretends to have some political wisdom and independence, goign head first in every direction, flying like a headless fly, pushing the whole country to ruin with its own immaturity and inability.
Since he is not able to break and clearly define in which direction he will lead the country, he turns as the wind blows, and others direct Serbia instead of him. The foreign policy of our country is led by Putin and Lavrov, a little by Brussels and US senators, a little by Montenegro, Bulgaria and Northern Macedonia with the decision to ban Lavrov's flight, our "brother Si" from distant China also gets involved, as well as bystanders that pass us by. Where are we headed, what are we doing, where are we going, what do we want from ourselves and the world, who would we like, what kind of society do we want to live in, on what values would we like to build a political community - almost no one asks such questions, let alone offers some answers.
Our entire political caste behaves like an immature, underage child that is not able to take care of itself. Something good happens to us only by chance, when someone else makes the decision for us, as the example of Lavrov's absence testifies. The fruits of domestic wisdom brought us only to general madness, from the end of the 80s up until today. Still, there is no reason to worry. There is no need to hurry with growing up, the construction of the Serbian state began only two centuries ago, it is still early to enter adulthood.