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Russia Behind EuroPride Cancellation, Abusing Serbian Friendship

Russian military intelligence agency GRU is behind the protests that opposed carrying out this year’s EuroPride event in Belgrade because the protest was led by the Russian Night Wolves bikers’ association, said political analyst Dusan Janjić on Tuesday. 

In an interview with Prva TV, Janjić commented on the protest dubbed “Procession for the Salvation of Serbia” at which Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Banat Nikanor called Russian President Vladimir Putin “the emperor of planet Earth.”

“With the Night Wolves and the bishops, it is obvious that GRU was behind it,” he added.

The war in Ukraine and the consequences it has caused are an opportunity for “making corrections” in our foreign policy and dependence on Russian energy, he added.

“The Russians did not use tanks to force Serbia” into energy dependence, he said, adding that Serbia was in a similar position to countries in the EU.

The Night wolves bikers were involved in the invasion of Crimea in 2014 and their members fight on the Russian side in Ukraine. They have branches in Serbia and in the Republika Srpska, in Bosnia, yet the group’s Russian leaders were banned from entering Bosnia four years ago.

Abusing friendship

Meanwhile, Moscow is not attempting to abuse Serbia’s friendly relations with Russia, said the Russian foreign ministry, denying Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Zorana Mihajlović’s statement about Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The ministry’s statement comes in response to Mihajlović’s recent statement about Lavrov, where she said he was abusing the fact Belgrade had not imposed sanctions against Russia and attempting to show that Serbia was supporting Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

In her comments, Mihajlović also said Serbia had voted in favour of a UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Mihajlović was “obviously poorly informed” about the reality of the two countries’ relations, the statement went on to say.

“The assessments and statements of Russian officials provide neither a cause nor the right to anyone to blame us for insinuation or attempts to ‘abuse’ the traditionally friendly and true relations with Serbia, which are undoubtedly built on equality, respect and mutual understanding,” Lavrov’s ministry added.

Russia and Serbia have an absolute mutual understanding of the current topics on the international agenda, and, in its contacts with Serbian partners, Russia openly presents its views of the situation in Ukraine, the Russian ministry also said.

“We respect Belgrade’s wish to maintain a balanced and, more importantly, independent line in these difficult times. Such a balanced approach is reflected in the Serbian leadership’s reserved stance regarding the western sanctions (against Moscow). Naturally, this is a sovereign choice that the West cannot accept and, unlike us, is attempting to exert pressure on the Serbs,” the Russian foreign ministry added.