zloy_odessit (zloy_odessit) wrote,
zloy_odessit
zloy_odessit

GRU's Serbian gambit

The espionage scandal over a bribe to a Serbian officer by a GRU agent in Belgrade reached the very top of Serbian leadership. In one of its recent pieces, Information Navigator reported that the exposure of  Russian intelligence assets could prevent the preparation of the "Montenegrin coup scenario" for this country.

In turn, the developments that have been unfolding over last few days have clearly shown that a rather aggressive and impetuous game is being played at the Serbian bridgehead against the incumbent President, Alexander Vučić. Moreover, the rally is taking place literally on the eve of his visit to Russia's Sochi for negotiations with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

So, to the forefront of media agenda are coming the supplies of Serbian weapons to Ukraine and the alleged use of these weapons by Ukraine Army in Donbas. The "Information Navigator" reported about this spin, also noting the fact that its source was a long-discredited Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaitanjieva, who works under the auspices of the GRU (Russian military intelligence) and has long been spitting out narratives beneficial to Russia.

But, in the current scenario, Dilyana Gaitanjieva was only a match brought to the wick, with the latter being Serbia's opposition and radical, pro-Russian groups.

So, while the Serbian president, despite the recent exposure of an outright anti-Serb nature of Russian intelligence operations, continues to convince the public that he professes the idea of solid friendship with Russia, Serbian opposition figure (pro-Russian, of course,) Marinica Tepic, deputy leader of the Freedom and Justice Party, armed herself with the topic of "arms supplies" to Ukraine. It is she who is now one of the locomotives for spreading the issue in the media space, which is extremely painful for Vučić's reputation in the eyes of the pro-Russian voters.

Chairman of the Serbian Radical Party, who spent 10 years in prison in The Hague, on charges of war crimes during the Balkan conflicts of 1990s, Vojislav Seselj, immediately spoke up in support of Marinica. His task is to cultivate in mass media a narrative claiming the espionage row involving Russian intelligence agents bribing Serbian operatives is nothing but "hype" designed to shift public focus from Serbian arms supplies to, as he put it in one of the interviews, "Ukrainian fascist forces".

Incidentally, it should be recalled that the Kremlin likes Seselj much more than the current leaders trying to maneuver between Russia and the EU.

For example, after Serbia on December 14, 2015, announced the start of EU accession talks and vowed to fulfill Brussels' requirements by 2019, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin came on a visit to warned Serbian leadership about the "wrong direction" the country was heading. However, it was the meeting with leader of Radical Party Vojislav Seselj, which was an important part of that trip.

It all boils down to pro-Russian forces in Serbia massively drowning their head of state in the information field, at the same time diverting attention from the main scandal – Russian spy meddling in the country's internal affairs with the obvious preparation of a "Montenegrin scenario" for a coup. It is just as clear that the main characters beyond the current information wave are directly related to this operation and harboring hope of leading the process of a power change and subsequently occupying vacant posts.

Given Alexander Vučić's obvious confusion amid all this pressure, it's possible that the scenario that failed in Montenegro and Macedonia still has a chance of actually working out in Serbia – even taken into account the fact that it has unearthed prematurely.

And therefore, yes, in Serbia, GRU faced a kind of a gambit. Indeed, their agent was exposed, but this doesn't mean that the final goal will be achieved.
Александр Вучич.jpg
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