Milorad Dodik, a pro-Russian politician and the SNSD party leader, made the secession promise at a nationalist gathering attended by up to 30,000 people in Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Dodik’s rally against the recount of the vote
After the Central Election Commission ordered a recount of the votes in the presidential election he claimed to have won in the Republika Srpska entity, Milorad Dodik, the most influential Bosnian Serb politician, held a rally in Banja Luka. He claims that “the recount for the president of Republika Srpska is unacceptable”.
Dodik has been advocating for the separation of the entity from Bosnia for many years. He is currently a member of the state’s tripartite presidency and the front-runner in the contest to become the next president of Republika Srpska.
“I support the goals of a sovereign, independent Republika Srpska. They can’t stop us,” Dodik stated at the gathering, according to N1. M. Dodik reiterated his earlier-stated proposal for the creation of a central electoral body in the Republika Srpska that would take over the role of the state-level organization in the counting of votes during elections. If put into practice, this plan would be against the Dayton peace accord, which ended the brutal 1992–1995 Bosnian war.
Russia might used Dodik to destabilize the Balkans
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s internal political and security situation may worsen as a result of M. Dodik, the pro-Russian candidate for president of Republika Srpska, trying to influence the decision on the election results through rallies.
We cannot rule out the possibility of Russian secret services being involved in inciting a conflict scenario and violent activities by right-wing extreme groups during mass gatherings given M. Dodik’s strong ties to the Russian leadership. This is consistent with Russia’s geopolitical objectives, which include using manipulated politicians and the establishment of unstable areas to stop NATO from expanding into the Balkans.
“Putin’s most loyal client in the Balkans”
Dodik is called by the Foreign Policy Putin’s most loyal Balkan client. In reaction to a vote Dodik organized in the Republika Srpska regarding declaring January 9 as “Republika Srpska Day,” the United States placed sanctions on him at the beginning of 2017. The Bosnian Serb insurgents went on to create their own illicit parallel institutions on that date in 1992, which sparked a conflict and acts of genocidal bloodshed.
Dodik was penalized by the US Treasury Department in January for blocking the 1995 Dayton Accords’ adoption. In particular, he had initiated action to transfer state powers to the Republika Srpska, a move that was rejected by the Office of the High Representative, which is in charge of overseeing the civilian implementation of the Dayton Accords, and that resulted in political impasse. In April, the United Kingdom added its own penalties against Dodik.
Opposition to the Dayton agreement implementation
Dodik, however, insists on implementing the Dayton agreement’s original version because he believes it offers the two bodies greater independence and alleges that the original Dayton Agreement is not being respected. He threatened to quit until the Bosnian and Herzegovina constitution was returned.
Dodik contends that the nation should go back to the “original Dayton Peace Agreement,” undoing all of the changes made over the years, such as creating a national single market, a common currency, a national border police force, and other state-level institutions, such as the judiciary.
Dodik received roughly 48% of the vote in the country with a Serb majority, according to the election commission’s preliminary results, which were made public after the presidential election on October 2. Jelena Trivic, the opposition candidate, received roughly 44% of the vote, running down by about 30,000 votes.
Opposition says that the election was rigged
The opposition, however, alleged that the election was rigged due to a number of irregularities, organizing two protests with thousands of supporters in attendance.
In an effort to prove that more than 180 people were involved in rigging the election, three opposition parties and presidential candidate Trivic have filed criminal complaints with the prosecutor’s office in Bosnia and Herzegovina against them.
The Party of Democratic Progress, PDP, Serb Democratic Party, SDS, and List for Justice and Order leaders Branislav Borenovic, Mirko Sarovic, and Nebojsa Vukanovic, as well as Trivic, who serves as the vice-president of the PDP, filed the accusations.
The official results for all governmental levels are still unknown to Bosnian voters more than three weeks after the election, and the deadline for the recounting was passed on October 22.
Dodik supported Russian phony referendums in occupied territories of Ukraine
Dodik has been pursuing radical ideas and growing his relations to Russia at the same time. To pursue a foreign policy different from that of the official Sarajevo, Dodik launched a Republika Srpska representative office in Moscow. He has traveled to Russia on several occasions over the previous ten years, and reports suggest that he has had seven meetings with Vladimir Putin since 2014.
Bosnian Serb nationalist leader, Milorad Dodik, says he respects Russian ruler Vladimir Putin. The outspoken supporter of Putin backed phony “referendums” in Russia-occupied Ukraine on joining Moscow, which the West has denounced as being forced, illegitimate, and falsified.
Milorad Dodik met with Vladimir Putin on September 20 in Moscow and got the Kremlin’s support for his upcoming reelection campaign.
Largest political crisis in Bosnia since the end of the war in 1995
Dodik publicly proposes separating Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS), which is dominated by Serbs, and uniting it with neighboring Serbia.
The Dayton Peace Accords, the agreement that put an end to Bosnia 1992–1995 war, which claimed an estimated 100,000 lives, resulted in the division of the country into two primary administrative divisions or entities, the RS and the Federation of BiH or FBiH, which has a majority of Bosniaks and Croats.
The country’s three main ethnic groups are able to dominate domestic politics and exercise control over important decision-making processes thanks to the 1995 peace accord, a portion of which acts as the country’s constitution.
Dodik asserts that significant power has been moved from the entities to the state-level government over the past 30 years. He promised to reverse this in 2021 and threatened to withdraw the RS from important state institutions like the tax authority and the nation’s modest professional army.
Dodik’s actions were interpreted as an effort at secession, resulting in the largest political crisis the nation has experienced since the end of the war in 1995.
For his disruptive domestic acts, he has been the target of various US sanctions packages and was most recently added to a UK sanctions list. Despite this, Mr. Dodik continues his efforts which could lead up to a larger destabilization in the Balkans.