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