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Aleksandar Vucic, the favourite in the west despite Putinmetoder

the 31-year-old musician Aleksandar Stanojkovic takes out his mobile and shows a picture of a page from the loyalist tabloid Informer. The picture depicts him,

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Aleksandar Vucic, the favourite in the west despite Putinmetoder

the 31-year-old musician Aleksandar Stanojkovic takes out his mobile and shows a picture of a page from the loyalist tabloid Informer. The picture depicts him, with the heading:

”this man wants to crack Vucic. He was a junkie, tried to take his life – now he will lead the protests!”

the Demonstrator Aleksandar Stanojkovic hung out as a junkie in regimtrogna media. Photo: Eva Tedesjö

the growing crowds protesting in Belgrade and other Serbian cities against what they themselves do not hesitate to call a dictatorship under president Aleksandar Vucic. The protests, held every Saturday, coordinated by ordinary citizens who Aleksandar Stanojkovic and Jelena Anasonovic, a 24-year-old student in political science.

"I have been hanged out," says Jelena, who have set up in the interviews in the various media and which is a sort of informal leader of the peaceful demonstrations.

" They've cut together hate videos about me that spread on the net. People contact me and threaten with beatings, and worse. It is horrible.

24-year-old Jelena Anasonovic is one of the informal leaders for the protests against president Vucic. Photo: Eva Tedesjö

For the musician Aleksandar Stanojkovic, it was a comment he once wrote on Facebook that another person ought to keep away from haschrökning.

– scanning the social media, and then they find anything about us. Pure lies, " he says.

raised eyebrows last week when they learned that its president Aleksandar Vucic should behave at the World Economic Forum in Davos, in a panel on the topic of ”Media in crisis”, next to the managers from the Washington Post and Reuters news agency.

It is precisely such independent media that the president and his allies are chasing with a blowtorch at home.

During the last two months of street protests against Vucic, he has received the full support of the five state tv channels and the country's largest newspapers – who have devoted great energy to smear his critics and to portray the protesters as criminals, traitors and drug addicts.

at the same time suffer leading critical journalists of mysterious attacks. The well-known tv-profile Ivan Ivanovic sent out a critical tweet, and woke up the same night of his garage was in flames. At about the same time it was announced that the Prva TV, the channel he worked for, had been bought up by a company with links to the Vucics governing party, the SNS.

Another journalist, Milan Jovanovic, had his house burnt to the ground after he accused a local SNS politicians for corruption.

towards the Vucics governance is a very diverse crowd, from lgbtq people with regnbågsflaggor, social democrats and liberals to ultranationalister on the extreme right. It reminds the not-so-little about the large demonstrations against Vladimir Putin in Moscow in the winter of 2011-2012.

The only thing the protesters have in common is precisely the reluctance against the man who controls the and his methods.

Political parties don't join in the demonstrations, but still it was a politician who started them in the late fall. Borko Stefanovic is the leader of a small leftist party. On 23 november he would appear at a meeting in the town of Krusevac, which is known as a loyal mount for maktpartiet SNS.

"I was lucky to be able to speak to an audience of 150 people in such a town," says Stefanovic when the DN hit him at a café in Belgrade.

– But then I saw three men. in the corner of my eye. Everything went very quickly. They beat me unconscious with pipes or brass knuckles. When I woke up, they stood and kicked at me. Did not have a civilian police intervened had I been dead today.

the Leftist Borko Stefanovic was knocked unconscious by masked men – which appeared to be linked to maktpartiet SNS. Photo: Eva Tedesjö

Stefanovic at a press conference with his bloody shirt. It attracted enormous attention and was the start of the protests that have been going on since then.

The culprits were arrested, but then released. They have links to a businessman who in turn can be linked to Vucics party SNS.

"I am not accusing Vucic personally for this," says Borko Stefanovic. But I accuse him of having created an atmosphere of hate that leads to such crimes.

the Attacks on the opposition and the media is only the most visible signs of a regime that is becoming increasingly more authoritarian. Another signal is the increasing intermingling between political and economic power, where oligarchs with SNS-contacts takes over a growing share of the business and where the mafia-like structures, with political protection are acquiring power at the local level.

the organization Freedom House in its annual report the designation of Serbia from ”free” to ”partly free”. The country are no longer considered a full democracy.

Together with Venezuela and a few other countries tops Serbia to the gloomy list of the countries whose ranking is sinking the fastest.

It is about ”the deterioration in the organisation of the elections, the attempts of the government to harm the independence of journalists through legal harassment and smear campaigns, and president Vucics concentration of executive power, in violation of his constitutional role,” writes Freedom House.

In plain language, it is about a regime that is more similar to Putin's Russian or Erdogan's Turkish – for the other two leaders as Vucic looks up to and hits often. A regime which is formally a democracy, but where the media, the courts and the industry are kept in tight rein.

Image 1 of 2 Vladimir Putin is one of Aleksandar Vucics political role models. Last week, he received a fine medal of his Russian counterpart on a visit in Belgrade. Photo: Eva Tedesjö Slide 2 of 2 Vladimir Putin is one of Aleksandar Vucics political role models. Last week, he received a fine medal of his Russian counterpart on a visit in Belgrade. Photo: Eva Tedesjö Slide show

on a cult of personality built up around the 48-year-old, two metres tall leader.

The big Belgradtabloiderna, controlled by loyal oligarchs, Vucic at home every week, always with positive angles. Tv channel RTV Pink, with large state loans, spent during the last presidential election 267 times more time to Vucics campaign than all other candidates together.

A Serbian EU-membership is Vucics stated objectives. Anyway, he started his career as a Serbian ultranationalist and strong opponent to the western world.

On July 20, 1995, held a 25-year-old Vucic a much-publicized speech in the parliament in Belgrade.

– For each veteran they kill we kill a hundred muslims, he said then, and became famous over a night. It was a week after the massacre in Srebrenica where more than 8,000 bosnian muslims were murdered by bosnian serb troops.

to Vojislav Seselj, the radical nationalistledaren, who were later convicted by a UN tribunal for crimes against humanity.

A couple of years later, he became the rekordung minister of information and ran the propaganda for Slobodan Milosevic during the war in Kosovo 1998-99. Among the tasks was to prohibit the media who criticised the dictator and his storserbiska projects.

As the prime minister and later president, Vucic distanced themselves from their former opinions. He calls Srebrenica massacre ”a monstrous crime”. Three years ago, he visited the town and laid down a wreath with white roses on a memorial to those killed.

But at the same time gives his background plus points of many nationalist-minded voters. Same thing with friendship with Putin – the foreign politicians that the serbs have the most confidence that he is a couple of weeks ago was received with great pomp and ceremony in Belgrade.

and despite the growing protest movement, the west continues to keep Vucic under the arms.

Krigshetsandet is forgiven. Instead seen the tall serb as an effective and pragmatic leader. He delivers economic reforms, has brought down the budget deficit and scored up the growth.

the President of the republic has during the past year publicly toyed with the idea of swapping lands with Kosovo, as a way to solve the the infected the conflict once and for all. He pronounces the right words – ”dialogue” and ”reconciliation” – just what Brussels wants to hear.

Vucic likes to be seen with the retired västprofiler as american expresidenten Bill Clinton and former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and has hired former british prime minister Tony Blair as a consultant.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has been a close ally for years, and her austrian colleague Sebastian Kurz calls Vucic ”an anchor of stability”.

the panel discussion on freedom of the media in Davos tweeted the EU for enlargement Johannes Hahn released a picture of himself and a smile Vucic:

”After a successful 2018 in the western Balkans can 2019 be crucial,” noted Hahn.

In the case of Vucic, it is obvious that the west chooses stability over freedom and democracy. Or as the british veteranjournalisten Robert Fish puts it:

”the EU is too tired to play peacemaker, and have decided to tolerate ‘the criminalisation of the elites’, the dirty money and the mafia that once again governs in Belgrade.”

Read more: New frontiers, paving the way for peace or another war

Read more: Belgrade, accepted Putin as a savior,

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