January 10: U.S. State Department warns of risks of “terrorism” and “politically motivated violence” in Kosovo, especially in North Mitrovica. January 16: Kosovo Serb leader Oliver Ivanovic is shot dead in North Mitrovica.
Oliver Ivanovic was an outsider to the new Belgrade-Pristina consensus under EU-NATO umbrella. Recently, he became a more vocal opponent. In one of his last interviews, Ivanovic reproached Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic for not having the guts to stand up to the EU and make it respect its own agreements.
In 2003, Serbian PM Zoran Djindjic was assassinated five days after expressing similar attitudes about Kosovo in his last interview:
-What if the international community says: Kosovo has become de facto independent, you can only harmonize your relations with it?
-We will not accept that.
NATO critic Sasa Markovic, author of the “Manifesto against the Empire”, was killed in Montenegro in 2015, in an ambush similar to that of Ivanovic.
Nebojsa Krstic, an outspoken anti-EU and anti-NATO political leader in Serbia, was killed in suspicious car accident in 2001.
The results of two decades of euro-atlantic violence and corruption in Serbia are twofold:
-In 2016, a Gallup poll found that 64% of Serbs had anti-NATO sentiment (other sources state over 80%)
-At the same time, there had been 0% anti-NATO deputies in Serbian Parliament for the previous four years.
Last February, Oliver Ivanovic was released from detention where he had spent three years as a victim of political process staged by Pristina. He was also victim of several attacks, including a car arson last July, when he commented that Serbian criminals linked to Belgrade are to be feared more than Albanians. He added that the police, which is under Pristina’s control, was afraid to investigate, although the identity of perpetrators was an open secret.
In 1999, Kosovo Serbs were at war against NATO and their Albanian allies. To many of them, the normalization between Belgrade and Pristina boils down to Belgrade passing to the enemy’s side. The rare cases of standing up to EU-NATO among Serbian political elite are short-lived. Literally.