NewsStirrings of discord in the Balkans. The dangerous rhetoric by Russia's ally

Stirrings of discord in the Balkans. The dangerous rhetoric by Russia's ally

Milorad Dodik and Vladimir Putin
Milorad Dodik and Vladimir Putin
2:23 PM EST, December 4, 2023

Milorad Dodik, the president of the Serb-dominated autonomous unit of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the Republic of Srpska, has made a potentially inflammatory statement. He announced that if Donald Trump wins the next U.S. Presidential election in 2024, the Republic of Srpska could move towards secession from BiH.

It appears Dodik had been planning to declare independence during Trump's past term in office. "I intended to declare the independence of the Republic of Srpska when Trump won," Dodik admitted on Sunday. "But, some around me voiced apprehensions and I didn't take the step. I regret that today. If Trump wins again, I wouldn't hesitate," he stated while appearing on Serbian TV Prva.

The Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the war in BiH in the 90s, guarantees BiH's territorial integrity and sovereignty. This Agreement and the BiH constitution, which is part of it, don't allow any entity the right to secession.

Sanctions on politicians

Dodik is currently a member of the three-person BiH Presidency. He, alongside Željka Cvijanović and other senior officials from the Republic of Srpska, face US sanctions due to their threats of violating the agreement that defines the statehood of BiH.

In April 2022, Dodik also found himself on the UK's sanctions list for attempting to undermine the legitimacy and functionality of BiH.

A secessionist in favor of Putin

The President of the Republic of Srpska has consistently questioned the integrity and relevance of the country he represents, even though he occupies significant state positions. In a conversation with the Russian television network Russia Today in early February 2023, Dodik expressed his desire for the Republic of Srpska to become independent.

Notably, Dodik is known for his pro-Russian stance. In January 2023, he awarded President Vladimir Putin the highest honor of the Republic of Srpska, in recognition of his "patriotic attitude and love" for this part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since the Kremlin began the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Dodik has visited Russia twice and has expressed that he would never support Bosnia and Herzegovina joining sanctions against Moscow.

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