Russia already treating Bosnia’s Republika Srpska as an independent state

Russia already treating Bosnia’s Republika Srpska as an independent state
Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik at the first plenary session of the Security Meeting in St Petersburg. /
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia April 25, 2024

Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska was treated as an independent state during a security conference in St Petersburg, with its flag placed alongside those of other countries whose representatives attended the forum, the entity’s President Milorad Dodik said on April 24.

The placement of Republika Srpska’s flag instead of that of Bosnia was seen as a possible green light by Russia for Dodik’s secession plans.

Bosnia comprises two autonomous entities – the Muslim-Croat Federation and Republika Srpska. Each of them has its own institutions and there are also state-level bodies. While the Federation is pushing for closer ties to the West, Republika Srpska is loyal to Russia and is blocking reforms that would secure the country’s progress towards EU membership.

This is Dodik’s second visit to Russia within two months. During his previous trip, he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin whose loyal ally he is.

“Our goal of coming here has been fully achieved. The flag of Republika Srpska is visibly displayed among the flags of the participating countries and we have been given a top priority to address at the beginning of the conference,” Dodik said in a statement on April 24.

He visited the forum with Bosnia’s state-level Security Minister Nenad Nesic who is a member of Dodik’s ruling SNSD party.

The separatist Serb leader said that his entity can no longer share even the same air with the Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) and that the situation will “change dramatically” after May 2. Although he did not elaborate on that, it was seen as a direct threat that Bosnia will initiate secession after this date.

Dodik blamed a planned resolution by the UN on the Srebrenica genocide back in 1995, when more than 8,000 Bosniak boys and men were killed by the Serb army, for the new rift.

“The situation will change dramatically after May 2. Whether we like it or not. In our relationship [with the Bosniaks], there will be the Great Wall of China. We do not want to share air with Bosniaks, let alone other values. For they are putting the label of a genocidal people to an entire nation, and you are aware that it did not exist, more precisely that it did not happen,” Dodik said.

He added that Russia will not support the declaration.

Dodik claimed that Serbia and Republika Srpska are “permanent targets of a special hybrid war of the US-led West with the aim of enslaving and abolishing the entire Serbian people”, accusing the West of seizing the territory of Kosovo from Serbia and not recognising Republika Srpska’s constitutional rights.