The Victory of a ‘Pro-Russian’ Candidate in Serbia a Surprise to the West – Lulled by its Own Balkan PRFriday 25 May 2012
‘The unexpected victory at the presidential election in Serbia of Tomislav Nikolic, the former leader of the much reviled Radical party, was a surprise to the world, but not to Serbia.
Since Tomislav Nikolic replaced Vojislav Seselj, now on trial for alleged war crimes in the Hague, in 2003 as the head of the Radical party, he has reinvented himself as a moderate supporter of Serbia’s integration into the EU and rebranded this political force as the Progressive party of Serbia. The country desperately wanted normalcy and some kind of international rehabilitation for the much publicized “crimes of Serb nationalism” of the 1990s.
These developments did not mean, however, that Serbs forgot about the NATO bombings in 1999 or that NATO was as popular as the EU in Serbia. The Western media simply failed to remind its readers of this sentiment in Serbian society, hence the current feeling of bewilderment. A well-oiled NATO PR machine, which specialized on the Balkans since the wars of 1991-1999 can deceive Westerners – but not the locals.’