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An unleashed Serbian minister would create a new political party, he would impose sanctions on Russia

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Új pártot alakítana a kép közepén látható Rade Basta, szerb gazdasági miniszter / new political party in Serbia
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Serbian Economy Minister Rade Basta, whose name became well-known in Serbia for his support of sanctions against Russia, has hinted at the creation of a new political party. Currently a member of the Socialist Party of Serbia under the leadership of Ivica Dačić, Basta caused a stir recently by advocating for the introduction of sanctions against Russia. This even prompted a response from Moscow, but he was not expelled from the government, though almost all members of the cabinet expressed their disapproval, some out of duty, others out of conviction.

“Even the grandmother dreams of what she desires”

According to reports in the Belgrade media, Rade Basta is not ruling out the possibility of creating a new political organization, and will inform the public in due course if he decides to take this step. The Economy Minister also stated that if he decides to go ahead with the plan, the movement will be named “Serbia’s European Path” (Evropski put Srbije).

Basta envisions that the as-yet-non-existent Serbia’s European Path will participate at all levels in the elections if he follows through with his “threat” to create the new party.

He also revealed to the heavily opposition-oriented and often criticized Serbian news portal, Nova, that his proposal for the introduction of sanctions against Russia was met with almost universally negative responses and opposing views from his ministerial colleagues.

– Some, however, remained silent. I don’t know if their silence is support, but time will tell

said Basta, who is currently the only minister within the Serbian government supporting the sanctions against Russia, but that may not be the case for long.

Párt, Basta

A szerb gazdasági miniszter arra emlékeztetett, hogy a kilencvenes években a Kis- Jugoszlávia elleni szankciókra szavazott Julij Voroncov, aki akkortájt az oroszok ENSZ-nagykövete volt, Voroncov balról az első (Forrás: Facebook, Rade Basta)

It should be noted that the Minister of Economy urged for the introduction of sanctions on social media, a call which was also endorsed by Đorđe Milićević, the Minister without Portfolio who is a prominent member of the Serbian Socialist Party.

This could suggest that there are dissonant voices within the two left-wing parties – the Unified Serbia and the Serbian Socialist Party – and perhaps even generational tensions, as both parties are led by relics from the 1990s, socialist Ivica Dačić and “unified” Dragan Marković Palma.

When asked if he considers his public stance in favor of sanctions against Russia a brave move, the minister responded that “courage is sometimes madness, but he is not afraid to make sacrifices for his own people.”

However, he rejected speculation that his proposal was a sham and that the Serbian government, including President Aleksandar Vučić, was behind it, quoting a Serbian proverb in a somewhat cryptic manner: “Even the grandmother dreams of what she desires.”

The unleashed minister – New political party on the horizon

Following the posting of the post on Russia sanctions and the related statements, there was a government meeting, and even the “almighty Serbian president” made reference to Basta’s statement.

During one of his excruciatingly dull media appearances, Vučić urged Basta to focus on the economy rather than engaging in politics through social media.

Párt, Basta, Tolkacs

Rade Basta hétfőn (március 27-én) fogadta hivatalában Volodimir Tolkacsot, Ukrajna belgrádi nagykövetét (Forrás: Facebook, Rade Basta)

They did not replace him, because removing Basta, who is “heading towards the European Union” – putting the phrase in quotes is correct – would have given the political West another opportunity for attack. Therefore, the news is that the “unleashed minister” remained in his position.

As for the political scene in Serbia, the demand for Basta’s removal from the ministerial post was loudest from the so-called Socialist Movement, whose sole purpose is to nurture the political career of Aleksandar Vulin, the “universal minister.”

After previously being an indelible figure on Serbian television – who had started to overshadow President Vučić’s “media glory” – Vulin was removed from the media spotlight when he was appointed head of Serbia’s civilian intelligence agency, the BIA.

It’s a shame, because with his pro- Russian stance and “national clowning,” he often entertained the Serbian public and caused outrage among other Balkan and European leaders who were shocked to see Serbia not following the loudly declared path towards the EU, but rather towards the “Serbian world.”

However, Vulin has found a way to get involved in politics again, even after his appointment to the head of the BIA resulted in his media appearances being revoked. Although he resigned as leader of his movement and even froze his membership in the party, it is suspected that the idea to remove Basta came from him, and his “frozen movement” serves as a mouthpiece to trumpet his political nightmares.

So for now, Rade Basta remains in the government, but it is almost certain that his “expulsion” is only a matter of time, as the prospect of forming a new party brings his removal from the government within reach, especially if it actually happens.

It is not unlikely that the “unleashed minister” will be asked to return when he qualifies with his new party in the upcoming – presumably early – parliamentary elections to enter the government.

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