The war in Ukraine has worsened the situation in the Balkans. Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) wants to get closer to the European Union (EU), and Russia wants to prevent that and undermine Western influence, writes ZDF.
The most divided country in the Balkans
According to ZDF, BiH is one of the poorest, but certainly the most divided countries in the Balkans.
”Here, 30 years ago, a bloody war began in which three national groups fought against each other – Serbs, Bosniaks, Croats. Only in 1995, the Dayton Peace Agreement ended torture, forced displacement, mass rape, and genocide,” adds ZDF, reports Deutsche Welle (DW).
It was mentioned in the text that Dayton failed to establish peace in BiH, but instead caused a kind of cold war in its own home.
”It never worked well. Also, Bosnian Serb leader Dodik recently further inflamed the situation: he is leading his part of the country to independence, with plans for his own tax administration and army, ” according to the ZDF.
”People‘s knees are shaking here – this is how the current United Nations (UN) High Representative, former German Minister Christian Schmidt, describes the situation,” ZDF writes.
“Dodik is starting a fire, and Russia is giving him a match
German media explained that in the Serb-dominated part of the country, in Banja Luka, some people think Dodik’s actions are just a kind of sabotage maneuver.
”I do not believe in the independence of our part of the country. It should only have a psychological effect. Because politicians have done nothing to protect us from rising prices – says Daria. Cica from the National Kitchen says: “It is only important for them to fill their own pockets. They are not doing anything for us,” ZDF writes and adds that Cica stressed that many thinkcorruption is a much bigger problem, reports DW.
The ZDF article further emphasized that “Dodik is starting a fire and Russia is adding a match to him”.
”The Cold War in BiH has always been the Cold War of the international community: Slavic-Orthodox Serbs in BiH consider Russia a protective force, on the contrary, they feel misunderstood by other parts of the country where Croats and Bosniaks are located, but also by the West. It has always been in Russia’s interest for the conflict in BiH to last and for the EU to stay away. This gives the Russians political influence in the Balkans – and jobs that also allow sanctions to be circumvented and money laundering,” writes ZDF, which estimates that the war in Ukraine is now exacerbating the situation.
Normal people understand each other well
The ZDF reporter adds in the text that all this is far from the people she meets in line for food in the national kitchen.
”Normal people understand each other well here, regardless of whether they are Serbs, Bosniaks, or Croats. Only politicians make problems,” they noted.
Furthermore, ZDF writes that they still know very well how deadly it can be. Almost every week there is a commemoration of the bloody events of 30 years ago.
”Given the war in Ukraine and its elections in the fall, small BiHwill face difficult months,” writes ZDF, and reports Deutsche Welle.