The Russian Consul

Author: Pavle Rak
Uploaded: Wednesday, 17 September, 2008

Sardonic comment, from the Pešcanik (Hourglass) website of Belgrade’s independent Radio B92, on the influence of Russian's ambassador to Belgrade

When Milutin Garašanin was composing his notorious Načertanije according to which Serbia was to become a ‘Balkan Piedmont’, i.e. the centre of a new united power on the European political scene (Serbian megalomania in politics was not simply a product of the Milošević period), he was a minister of a small and semi-independent principality that was formally part of the Ottoman Empire. In the capital of this semi-independent small principality, there was a Russian consul who behaved something like the current Russian ambassador behaves today in Belgrade, drawing up the Serbian parliament’s daily agenda (and not only its agenda, in fact, but also its conclusions). The intrepid Garašanin, who was full of himself - or rather of the future size of his state-to-be - on being faced with the diktat of an ordinary consul, who believed that directing the government of a fraternal Orthodox principality was part of his brief, took the view that it was better to put the glass to his blind eye for a while and seek the protection of the ancient racial enemy: Garašanin wrote to Istanbul, asking Turkey to free him from the Russian consul’s arrogance.

To which of Serbia’s enemies should the present Serbian government turn, in order to protect the elementary dignity of an independent state from the onslaught of the ambassador of the fraternal Orthodox protector? Or will Serbia agree to be as independent as the recently independent South Ossetia (no one now or ever has said anything about the independence of the Northern Ossetia that forms part of Russia, Russia being ready to grant strictly controlled independence to peoples living on foreign rather than its own territory). Those who think that there is something new under the sun are wrong.

Published in the Serbian daily Danas on 3 September 2008, this article has been translated from the Peščanik (Hourglass) website of Belgrade’s independent Radio B92

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