Serbia: new intelligence service chief has ties with Moscow

The Serbian government has appointed former Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin as director of the Security Information Agency (BIA) (pictured left).

Photo: Russia Today

BIA (Security and Information Agency) is responsible for national security and is part of the overall state security and intelligence system of Serbia.

Who is Oleksandr Vulin?

Aleksandar Vulin is the leader of the Socialist Movement, a coalition partner of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party of President Aleksandar Vučić. Over the past 10 years, he has held several important government positions – he was the director of the Administration for Kosovo and Metohija, the head of three ministries – labor, defense and internal affairs.

In the nineties, Vulin was a member of the government – he is one of the founders of the Yugoslav Left Party (YUL), which is headed by the wife of the then president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic.

As the head of the security agencies, Vulin demonstrated a clear pro-Russian orientation and Great Serbian chauvinism.

He regularly visited Russia, meeting with the heads of Russian ministries and agencies, negotiating various types of cooperation.

Vulin not only became one of the few European politicians who visited Russia after the start of the invasion of Ukraine, but also assured the Russian leadership of exclusive support from Belgrade.

In particular, as the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Vulin visited Moscow in August of this year, he had a meeting in Moscow with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, reminds The Associated Press

“Serbia is the only country in Europe that did not impose sanctions and was not part of the anti-Russian hysteria,” Vulin said in Moscow in August 2022.

Serbia, which formally claims membership in the European Union, has for many years been turning away from the European path towards its traditional Slavic ally — Russia, as well as China.

In the region, Vulin is known for promoting the idea of a “Serbian world”. He used the term for the first time in his position as Minister of Defense in September 2020. In his addresses to the public, Vulin explained that “the task of politicians is to create a Serbian world and unite Serbs wherever they live.”

Vulin repeatedly demonstrated his support for war criminals and denied the crimes committed.

When Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic was sentenced to life in prison by the Hague Tribunal in June 2021 for the Srebrenica genocide and terror against civilians during the siege of Sarajevo, Vulin declared that it was “revenge”, not “justice”.

Disparaging towards Albanians and Croats

In December 2021, as Minister of the Interior, Vulin called the massacre of local Albanians in Racak (Kosovo) by Serbian units “a big lie and a terrible fake”. Even in the official statements of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, he contemptuously called the Kosovar Albanians “Shiptari”.

Vulin described neighboring Croatia as an “Ustasha state” after Croatia advocated limiting the supply of Russian oil to Serbia in line with EU sanctions against Russia.

In matters of domestic politics, Vulin has proven himself as a fighter against “conspiracies” against President Vučić. For this, he actively used the “help” of Russia.

Last year, Vulin allegedly created a “working group” together with the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Mykola Patrushev, to combat “color revolutions” in Serbia. In exchange for help in the fight against the Serbian opposition, Vulin gave Patrushev recordings of a meeting of representatives of the Russian opposition in Belgrade. Some of the participants of this meeting were soon arrested in Russia.

The opposition Movement of Free Citizens (PSG) believes that the appointment of Aleksandar Vulin as the head of the security agency is another personnel decision of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), “which destroys the institutions of the Republic of Serbia.”

“Aleksandar Vulin, as the Minister of Internal Affairs, had the task of creating instability in the region, insulting Croats, Albanians and Bosniaks, … and now he is moving to a position where he will be a direct threat to all citizens who oppose the regime of Aleksandar Vučić,” it said. in a PSG statement.

In their opinion, the appointment of Vulin “will completely stop cooperation with the special services of the European Union and the United States and contribute to the additional isolation of Serbia.”

The League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina (LSV) stated that the Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko had the last word in the election of Vulin as the head of the BIA.

“It is clear that the authorities are unequivocally giving the security sector over to Russian interests,” LSV said.

In the Serbian leadership, Vulin is considered a “man from Moscow”. His new appointment is seen as another attack on the West, which is calling on Belgrade to bring its foreign policy in line with EU norms.

This move also outraged Serbia’s pro-Western opposition

“The appointment will completely stop the cooperation of the BIA (intelligence agency of Serbia) with Western special services and will contribute to the additional international isolation of Serbia,” the PSG opposition party said in a statement.

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Photo: Official BIA logo

It notes that Vulin “openly defends pro-Putin positions” and emphasizes that the appointment of this politician to the post of intelligence chief makes Serbia Russia’s only ally in Europe.

Former communist Vulin calls to abandon the goal of joining the EU and turn to Moscow. It is reported that last year Vulin created a working group with the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Patrushev to fight against “color revolutions”.

Serbian independent media wrote that at the meeting, Vulin gave Patrushev recordings of conversations from a meeting of representatives of the Russian opposition in Belgrade, but the politician himself denies this. Soon some participants of the meeting were detained in Russia.

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