Bosnian Serb leader accused of waiting for Putin’s nod to break up Bosnia

Bosnian Serb leader accused of waiting for Putin’s nod to break up Bosnia
Bosnian MPs warn that Putin-ally Milorad Dodik has intensified his efforts to undermine Bosnia's territorial integrity by challenging state-level institutions.
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia November 16, 2023

Milorad Dodik, president of Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska, will attempt to force the entity’s secession within one or two years, MP Zlatko Miletic said in an interview with N1.

Dodik has been threatening Republika Srpska’s secession for years but in the last few months took steps towards rejection of the authority of the state-level constitutional court and the international community’s high representative Christian Schmidt. Earlier in November, he said he sees himself as the first president of independent Republika Srpska in 2030.

The entity makes up Bosnia along with the Muslim-Croat Federation. Each of them has its own institutions and there are also state-level bodies.

“I believe 99% that he will do it in the coming period. I believe this, based on all the indicators. I also warned the [coalition of Bosniak parties] Troika before the formation of the [state-level] government. When I saw paper – what the intentions of his party are in the state government, to work on derogating state institutions and authorities, his frequent visits to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, playing games with the citizens of Bosnia and Republika Srpska, making Republika Srpska’s citizens hostages of his politics to protect all those activities he was engaged in from ’92 to the present. He has no other way out. He is just waiting for a signal from Russia and a favourable moment,” said Miletic, a Bosnian Croat MP.

He added, however, that he does not expect a military conflict as the international community would not allow it.

“We are in a big trap, and that is one of the problems with which everything is softened, he has been preparing for years and is preparing the euthanasia of BiH citizens. He is making unconstitutional moves, directly destroying the integrity of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia. He called for creating a state union of Montenegro, Serbia and Republika Srpska and there were no consequences. Not to mention the denial of genocide, etc. He has not been prosecuted, and it needed to be done five times so far,” Miletic said.

However, he added he does not believe that the Bosnian state will collapse.

“The disintegration of Bosnia and Herzegovina will not happen. There are people who are paid to stop such activities and believe me there are people who do their job professionally and would not allow it. Ultimately, even if there are not enough EUFOR forces, Nato forces will come to the rescue,” the MP said.

He added he expects that Dodik will end up in prison.

Meanwhile, a group of Bosnian MPs wrote to the US and EU officials, saying that the threat of terrorism in Bosnia is rising.

“Unfortunately, Bosnia & Herzegovina, especially in the last few years, is facing anti-constitutional, secessionist and retrograde policies that are encouraged and promoted by certain officials of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), a political party led by Milorad Dodik. The main determinant of the Dayton Peace Agreement and the foundation for peace, stability and prosperity, which is the territorial integrity, sovereignty, political independence and international legal subjectivity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, are continuously contested,” the MPs wrote.

They noted that the official documents from SNSD’s 2015 congress stated that Dodik and his party’s strategic goal is the secession of the Republika Srpska, “i.e. the completion of the war goals by political means”. 

The MPs warned that Dodik and his SNSD party have intensified activities that undermine the Dayton agreement that ended the Bosnian war, and are provoking constant crises and blockades, while insulting and provoking pro-state political forces and representatives of the international community.

“Milorad Dodik is also the only politician in Europe who, since the beginning of the aggression against Ukraine, has personally visited Vladimir Putin in Moscow twice and has given him full support for all his activities,” they added.

The MPs warned that the facts stated in their letter confirm the fact that prominent SNSD officials represent the extended hand of the Kremlin regime in the Western Balkans and a proxy of Russian interests in Bosnia.

“Following the example of that regime, the Republika Srpska National Assembly adopted a law criminalising defamation, representing a direct attack on freedom of expression and freedom of the press and returns us to the period of censorship and totalitarian and autocratic single-mindedness,” they said.

“After considering all of the above, we can clearly and unequivocally conclude that the biggest threat to peace in Bosnia & Herzegovina is not represented by made-up “religious radicalism” or “foreign interventionism” but the actions and moves of SNSD officials, most of which are headed by Milorad Dodik, who was placed on the US and UK’s black list,” the MPs noted.