Western European and NATO countries are expressing growing concern about Russian influence in Bosnia and Herzegovina as the country enters a pre-election period. A meeting that’s been announced between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Bosnian Serb political leader Milorad Dodik is being perceived in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a direct support for the leader of the ruling party in Republika Srpska to win the elections. Over the past decade Putin’s regime has also developed a number of methods to influence the elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this episode we’ll analyse how the Russian authorities have influenced elections throughout Europe and if there is a real concern that a similar thing could also happen in our country – particularly now, after the invasion of Ukraine, when the Balkans have been identified as one of the key locations in danger from Russian influence.
A ban on a march commemorating victims of wartime persecution by Bosnian Serb forces in the city of Prijedor, which police say was imposed for security reasons, has been criticised as a violation of civil rights.
While Ukrainian and international prosecutors suspect Russian soldiers of possible war crimes, the Russian foreign ministry and embassy in Sarajevo have made great efforts since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine to impose their version of events on the Bosnian public. But in their statements they have offered a series of allegations which independent investigative media and experts say are false. Russia has threatened to respond, just as it did in Ukraine, if Bosnia and Herzegovina tries to get closer to NATO. In this programme, experts analyse the Russian messages and their potential consequences for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Moscow is busy selling its own version of the war in Ukraine to Bosnian citizens – cynically using analogies with the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica to justify its invasion and destabilize Bosnia at the same time.
Sarajevo Canton’s transport minister Adnan Steta said he has asked Chinese companies involved in the renovation of the city’s tramway tracks for details of their past jobs after an investigation by BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina raised competence issues.
Authorities in Bosnia’s Sarajevo canton are refusing to release the contract they signed with a Chinese consortium for the reconstruction of the capital’s tram lines, making public oversight impossible.
Over the last 20 days, two Serbian citizens have been banned from entering Bosnia and one Bosnian citizen has been refused entrance to Serbia, all on security grounds, in what seem to be tit-for-tat gestures.