Bosnian Serbs Want to Follow Crimea’s Example
The Case of Crimea, and the ease with which it seems to have been resolved, spans other European territories who sympathize with Russia. The Serbian Republic of Bosnia – the so-called Republika Srpska-, forming one country with the region inhabited by Bosniak Muslims and Croats, as they establish the peace accords that ended the war (1992-1995) is now added to the Moldovan region of Transnistria.
The project announced by the Bosnian Serb President, Milorad Dodik, is simple and nothing original because it has been repeatedly said for years. But the events of the Crimean peninsula, occupied and annexed by Russia without bloodshed – and not just reaction from West – give this announcement a new air. The autonomous Serb Republic of Bosnia is said to “open a negotiation process” with the other two communities of the country, the Muslim and the Croat, to transform the current Federation into a Confederation of three states. Reaching that point the open secret is linked somehow with the Russian Federation – with which Bosnia does not share a border.
Negotiating with the weak federal government of the Republic, and especially with the Bosnian-Muslims, enemies of the rupture, it does not constitute the final decision for Bosnian Serbs. Dodik said at the press conference, held in the capital of its region – Banja Luka-, which has the right to a unilateral referendum to decide on secession.
The civil war, in which the Bosnian Muslims put most of the 100,000 dead, ended with a political agreement which guarantees a very weak link between the three communities, but that has worked reasonably well to date. Opposition from the separatist Serbs – nationalist and of the Orthodox religion – to facilitate relations with Western Europe, has made impossible a greater economic engagement of the EU with Bosnia. For its part, the Republic of Serbia does not want to appear as a seeder of this discord in the neighboring country, among other reasons because Belgrade is a candidate for integration into the European Union. So the nationalist Bosnian Serbs of Dodik have no choice but to look to Russia, which now also has political, cultural, and religious linkages.