Balkans Sitrep: Orange Revolution in Bosnia Gains Modest Traction
After two spectacular failures, the foreign-directed opposition in the Republic of Srpska is not a sure bet to triumph this time around.
It seems that our initial assessment that the post Sunday October 2 elections Orange Revolution unleashed in the Republic of Srpska was floundering was a bit premature, as much as was the opposition’s triumphant parade on election night, before the votes were even counted. Realistically, had it depended entirely on the political resources and acumen of the locals the affair very likely would indeed have fizzled out. The important component of the larger picture that we did not fully credit, however, was the crucial input of the foreign factor, to which the opposition in the Republic of Srpska is beholden. It seems that the aggrieved opposition parties’ leaders who presented themselves at the British Embassy in Sarajevo the morning after the polls closed were not merely paying a courtesy call on their sponsors. As subsequent events strongly suggest, they went there to talk orange revolution logistics.
After a few days of inaction, the Western backed opposition organized two protest rallies in Banja Luka, Republic of Srpska’s largest city, announcing its intention to challenge alleged voting irregularities and demand a recount. Curiously, throughout most of the post-election week, Bosnia’s Central Electoral Commission [CIK] did not just maintain radio silence on the alleged fraud but was even issuing calming statements that vote counting was in progress and everything seemed regular. Then, on Monday October 10, it dropped a bombshell: it ordered a recount, the very step that throughout the previous week it was claiming was not a viable option.
Oddly, or perhaps not, the recount order affected only balloting for President and Vice-President of the Republic of Srpska, the voting for all other offices, in CIK’s opinion, presumably being squeaky clean.
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the target and the beneficiary of this selectively formulated remedial measure. The target is the dominant Bosnian Serb political leader Milorad Dodik. His public sympathy for Russia has earned him over the years the furious enmity of the collective West and its regime change detachments, particularly now, in the context of the geopolitical exigencies generated by the Ukrainian conflict. The none too discretely designated beneficiary is Jelena Trivić, Dodik’s opponent in the race for President of the Republic of Srpska, the candidate of the Western-sponsored opposition.
Admittedly, in our previous analysis we erred in projecting Mrs. Trivić’s assigned role as that of the Bosnian Juan Guaido. As the Republic of Srpska color revolution operational script becomes more intelligible to us, it is clear that her assigned role model is not Guaido but Belorussia’s Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, for all that may be worth, and probably not much.
Evidently, it had taken several days for the practical details of the 2022 orange revolution scenario to be worked out. If the initial bet was that electoral fraud allegations alone, without evidence, would motivate large numbers of angry protesters to pour into the streets and overthrow the government, that soon proved insufficient to provoke a major commotion. Opposition rallies turned out to be disappointingly anaemic. Emphasis therefore had to be shifted from rhetorical incitement in the streets to an attempt to obtain some institutional backing for Mrs. Trivić’s electoral fraud case.
The initially reticent CIK, with its seat in Sarajevo – a venue notoriously unfavourable to anything to do with the Republic of Srpska – was therefore activated to lend much needed credence to the fraud allegations.
The result, obtained with helpful pressure exerted by major Western embassies and the disputed High Representative Christian Schmidt, who had just recently meddled in Bosnia’s electoral regulations and intimated he might even use his bogus “Bonn powers,” was the extraordinary electoral commission order on 10 October for the targeted vote recount. That was exactly what the Western-sponsored opposition thought would do the trick to give additional impetus to its faltering street agitation.
CIK’s abrupt and under the circumstances politically suspicious decision to order a recount was sharply criticised on legal grounds by Banja Luka constitutional law professor Milan Blagojević. Prof. Blagojević pointed out glaring anomalies in CIK’s accommodating decision. Contrary to what Bosnia’s law provides, it did not wait for the vote counting process to be completed before considering remedial measures. Nor did it, as the law also requires, wait to receive documented allegations of voting irregularities before proceeding to act. In fact, the oddly worded electoral commission order makes no pretence of being based on any serious proof of alleged irregularities, relying rather on “media reports” that they might have occurred. This extraordinary approach to the gathering of probative evidence mirrors a technique frequently employed by the Hague Tribunal, which in several judgments similarly cited media sources as reliable proof in convicting various defendants.
The controversial vote recount promptly commenced on 13 October in a sharply polarised political atmosphere. Electoral commission chairman Suad Arnautović reframed his narrative to suit the occasion. As the recount proceeded, with minimal discrepancies of less than 1% compared to the original count that the opposition had hotly disputed, instead of laying the matter to rest Arnautović seemed bent on exacerbating political tensions. On October 19, he announced that he and his commission colleagues were considering annulling polling results in the Republic of Srpska and ordering new elections.
On what authority and based on what factual foundation are questions that are left unanswered.
Speaking through its local mouthpieces, the foreign factor which is calling the shots in Bosnia and Herzegovina is signalling its determination to overturn the October 2 elections by hook or by crook and to impose results that are in line with its Balkan agenda. As we know from past experience, according to those paragons of the rule of law and democratic process, voting is to be repeated as many times as necessary until the dumb masses get it right.
We shall soon find out whether CIK’s hasty turn-around will suffice to galvanise the required level of outrage to make a real political difference.
But the larger picture must always be borne in mind. Regime change in the Republic of Srpska has been for the West a continuous political project for at least the last ten years. The immediate objective, of course, is simply to drive Dodik out of office, but the more fundamental goals are to eviscerate the pesky Serbian entity and then to subsume it under a fully subservient central government in Sarajevo, undermining in the process clear provisions of the Dayton peace agreement which grant broad autonomy to Bosnian entities.
While there is nothing essentially novel in these machinations aimed specifically against the Serb Bosnian entity, the Ukrainian conflict and the theoretical prospect of a direct clash involving NATO powers has given them additional urgency, and for roughly the same strategic reasons that animated Hitler immediately prior to the attack on the USSR in 1941. The aggressor must secure his rear if the plan to open an Eastern front is to have a reasonable chance of success. Viewed from that angle, it is difficult to imagine that Serbia’s turn is not coming to in the form of an ultimatum (similar to Hitler’s in March of 1941) to become fully integrated within the NATO axis, or else. Serbia is already comparatively much further along that road than Bosnia, the latter’s “progress” in this regard being impeded only by the recalcitrant Republic of Srpska. But in a serious global conflict much more would be required of Serbia than what its current psychotic elite, more kleptomaniacal than maturely focused on reliably fulfilling its Western-assigned geopolitical tasks, is capable of delivering. That is why, just as in the Republic of Srpska, in Serbia also a reserve team of subservient toadies is waiting in the wings, virtue signalling its fealty by advocating the immediate imposition of sanctions on Russia, and chomping at the bit for their paymasters to install them.
After two rather spectacular failures, in 2014 and 2018, to successfully exploit favourable conditions to seize power, and still plagued by incompetence and total lack of charisma, the foreign-directed opposition in the Republic of Srpska is not a sure bet to triumph this time around. But while these clownish characters may safely be underestimated, the determination of the collective West to settle matters in Bosnia before moving on to “finish the job” on the other side of the Drina River in Serbia proper, and to rearrange matters there to its complete satisfaction, should not be.