Is living in Serbia really the thing that is making our lives miserable? Continue reading Toxic Dump, Serbia
In Serbia and most former-Yugoslav republics, May, it seems, was, is and will be, at least for another few decades, the month of Tito. Not only does it start with the International Worker’s Day, but Tito was born, celebrated his official birthday, and died in May. He was born on 7 May 1892 in Kumrovec, Croatia, to a Croat farmer father and a Slovene mother. … Continue reading Escaping Tito’s Long Shadow
Alongside greater political freedoms, Serbs would also really enjoy more freedom from politics. Continue reading Can Political Get Less Personal in Serbia?
In October 2017, I went to Tirana for a conference about relations between Serbia and Albania, jointly organised by the Albanian Institute for International Studies and the European Movement in Serbia. One of the topics of the conference was the public perception of the relationship between the two countries, which made me instinctively shudder. Despite the recent displays of friendship between the Albanian Prime Minister … Continue reading Serbia and Albania: Know Thy Neighbour
From the early days of modern Serbia, and arguably before, Serbian perceptions and expectations of ‘the West’ were in many ways inextricable from how Serbians perceived themselves. Serbian uprisings against the Ottomans were from the outset imagined as a way for Serbia to re-join and catch-up with its Christian brethren from the West, who were expected to embrace it with open hands. After the last … Continue reading “Serbsplaining” the West
I only became aware of inequality and class division once I moved to a country which is almost synonymous with them: the UK. At both university and work, my British friends frequently dissected levels of “posh-ness” in themselves and others, assessing how appropriate it was to play rugby or vote Conservative, given their background. I was, of course, dumbfounded. In Serbia, discussing “class” and inequality … Continue reading Poverty and Politics in Serbia
When pundits look for a culprit for instability in the Balkans, their fingers often point to history, or rather the great fondness the people here have for it. Visitors to Serbia are often baffled by Serbians’ tendency to explain contemporary actions and attitudes by referencing events that happened several centuries ago. For example, it is not uncommon for somebody to explain Serbia’s awkward teetering between … Continue reading Serbia’s paradoxical affair with history
Twenty years ago, while the embers of war in Bosnia and Croatia were still smouldering, Bulgarian historian Maria Todorova published “Imagining the Balkans”. In this seminal work, she detailed the ways in which the Balkans have been perceived and documented for centuries both home and aboard – most often as a somewhat brutal and uncivilised forecourt of Europe. Todorova called this discourse “Balkanism” as homage … Continue reading Westsplaining the Balkans
Although it is 170 years since a simplified Serbian language became the norm, Serbian elites still prefer muddying the rhetorical waters In 1847, after three decades of struggle, Vuk Karadžić and his allies, Petar Petrović Njegoš, Branko Radičević and Đura Daničić, decisively won the battle for the standardisation of Serbian folk language and its literary use. Their victory was achieved by proving that the language … Continue reading Serbian elites’ long war on clarity
Although FDI-driven development strategy is here to stay, Serbian government should focus on boosting innovation Continue reading Tweaks not U-turns: how to future-proof Serbia’s growth?
Appointment of a competent pro-Western openly gay female PM is a good thing, even though Serbia’s democracy is sliding back Today, after a long unwarranted delay Serbia’s president/PM Aleksandar Vučić decided to appoint Ana Brnabić as his successor who is to from the new Serbian government. This function will be almost ceremonial, as Vučić clearly showed intention to keep all the reigns in his hands. … Continue reading Ana Brnabić: the least bad news for Serbia
After a sort of Easter break, the protests for media freedom and democracy continue today. They started on 3 April, after PM Aleksandar Vučić won the Presidential election, and gathered large crowds across Serbia demanding free media, democratic control, fair elections and social justice. In Belgrade, on Saturday 9 April there were a few tens of thousands marching from the main Serbian government building in … Continue reading April in Belgrade: Photos from pro-democracy protests
With hours to go until Obama gives his leaving address in Chicago, it would be prudent to pay attention to Lady Gaga’s most recent hit, “Perfect Illusion”,as it deals with the questions of Obama’s legacy in a very veiled way. I decided to lift the veil and observe Gaga’s well placed criticism. It should be noted that Gaga’s career followed a similar trajectory to Obama’s. … Continue reading Perfect Illusion: Gaga’s take on Obama Legacy
If you are in the UK, sitting in a darkened room looking mournfully at your photos from your Erasmus year and shaking your fist at the electorate that robbed you of an EU future, suppressing your tears of rage because they would spoil the little pattern on your flat white, please take a moment to calm down first, and then think about what just … Continue reading Brexit: So what just happened?
When I first came to the UK to study in 2007, I planned to return to Serbia when it became more like the UK – meaning richer, more stable and less corrupt. Now that I am leaving the UK to move back permanently, the two countries have indeed converged, although in a way somewhat opposite to the one I imagined. Serbian economy has more or … Continue reading The UK: 8.5 years since
As we stand now, at the brink of Grexit, it may be good to think about how the situation escalated so quickly and so disastrously, before we look at the many existential challenges facing the EU, and Europe as a continent in the not too distant future. Although there are many elements to the tragedy, with many of them beyond my knowledge and capability to analyse, … Continue reading Europe on the brink
Last few weeks were probably the most interesting in the recent European political history, as there actually emerged a force that wants to take its country and promises seriously. The greatest value of Syriza are not the rather inflammatory (and somewhat true) invocations of neo-colonial treatment of Southern countries by the Euro-North (read Germany), nor the realisations that the Euro-North has rather profited from the … Continue reading If you don’t want to be treated like a colony maybe you should stop acting like one
I distinctly remeber, two years or so ago, that I was complaining about Peščanik (a recently disrupted indipendent editorial portal) to a friend of mine. I found their commentary on the state of Serbia out of touch with reality, esentially a, crying wolf. They saw Serbia under DS (the main democratic, liberal Party) as if it were still under Milošević – a land of contolled … Continue reading Cry Wolf
I always disliked going back to Belgrade in winter: grayness of the weather usually only exacerbated the decrepit look of the facades around the city. Furthermore, the lack of summer terraces, would not only condemn us to trawling the streets to find anywhere decent to sit, but, a place, once found, would be enveloped in smoke and all conversation would have been drowned in the … Continue reading Belgrade 2014: A winter portrait
“Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” As far as the social sciences and the dark arts of international relations go, this quote of Thucydides’, written some 24 centuries ago, is the closest thing to a law of motion. Thus the recent developments in Kosovo, from the … Continue reading Kosovo and Serbia: The strong, the weak and all that