Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)and leader of SNSD, Milorad Dodik, paid another visit to Russia and to that country’s president, Vladimir Putin. It is already his second visit to Putin since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, and the third in the last year.
This time too, Dodik did not fail to declare that he is neutral and that he wants BiH to be neutral regarding the war in Ukraine. The SNSD leader clearly has a distorted view of neutrality, because in practice he did everything to justify Russian aggression against Ukraine, while at the same time he declaratively called for alleged neutrality.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, few politicians from Europe have met with Putin. Dodik managed to do it twice, because he is a direct political pawn of the Kremlin, which he serves as an ideal destabilizing factor in the Balkans.
This time, Dodik managed to visit Moscow at an ideal moment for him – ten days before the elections. He presented the meeting with Putin as an act of his dominance over the opposition and as the direct support of the Russian leader to Dodik’s SNSD.
The SNSD leader did not set out on his way to Moscow empty-handed. He arrived with a story and a promise that he had managed to arrange playing a friendly football match between BiH and Russia in November. He did this through his cousin, who is the head of our country’s football association. It is clear that Dodik needed something concrete to attract Putin’s attention, and any match, especially with a country from Europe, means a lot to Russia at a time when it is almost completely isolated.
It is another example of Dodik’s servility to Putin and direct commitment to Russia, while he talks about how he is in favor of neutrality in the midst of the war in Ukraine. Interestingly, Dodik did not bother to arrange a friendly match with Ukraine so that his story makes a little more sense. Although it has not been confirmed that the match will take place and although there are realistically small chances for that, it was important for Dodik to present that story to Putin.
He wanted to get a confirmation from Russia that that country would not veto the extension of the military mission of EUFOR (Althea) in BiH, even though a year ago he did everything to prevent that mission from being extended. However, the war in Ukraine also changed the West’s attitude towards BiH, so Dodik at one point became aware that if there is no extension of the EUFOR mission, NATO forces will automatically come to BiH, which is an even worse option for the pro-Russian player in BiH. And as Dodik himself relays the details, he managed to get confirmation from Putin that Russia will support the extension of the EUFOR mission.
The public in BiH, and especially in the Republika Srpska (RS)entity, was entertained by Dodik and his story that he will agree on energy cooperation and some other projects with Putin, but no details are known and everything remains up to the interpretation of the SNSD leader.
However, what is perhaps the most dangerous in the whole story is the fact that Putin has sent a message that there is a faithful and obedient pawn in the Balkans, with which he keeps the countries of the Western Balkans in a state of constant tension.
Meanwhile, only verbal condemnations were sent from the West due to Dodik’s servility and clear alignment with the aggressor in Ukraine. The European Union (EU) failed the test a long time ago when it failed to impose sanctions on Dodik, because he was defended by another player of Putin’s in Europe – Viktor Orban. And while the West decides how to stand on this issue, Russia through Dodik continues to develop its influence and announces some new projects, Klix.ba reports.