Dodik's 'dance with the wolves'

Dodik's 'dance with the wolves'
BiH Ministry of Security declared that several associations and individuals are a "danger to state security" in its official report to relevant institutions in the joint BiH Parliament. With this report, both the ministry and relevant minister Dragan Mektic caused negative reactions in Republika Srpska, since most of the organisations and individuals on the list are from this BiH entity.

On the list are the leaders of the Russian Motorcycle Club "Night wolves", the Russian Alexander Zaldostanov, nicknamed "the Surgeon" and Saša Savić from Serbia. A few days ago, the "Night wolves" announced their plan to make a tour through several countries, including Serbia and the BiH entity of Republika Srpska. This announcement was not accepted with enthusiasm in Sarajevo, and the Ministry of Security declared Zaldostanov and Savić as "personae non gratae" in BiH, banning them from entering state territory. Savić later explained to Media in Belgrade that "the Surgeon" himself did not plan to come in BiH, so the ban was unneeded.

The Club members are under pressure from security institutions in BiH since, in January this year, the alleged connection with the Republika Srpska's Association "Serbian Honour" has been dug up. The link has never been officially confirmed, but, as it was claimed, both organisations support the Russian Humanitarian Centre in the Serbian city of Niš, which is allegedly a Russian intelligence base. "Serbian honour" members, wearing military uniforms, said that they are real humanitarians who are helping the people in need regardless of nationality. Also, their leaders refused any connection with the world of crime and, especially, "military training for kids" as some Media in BiH have reported.

Nobody in Bosnia and Herzegovina is able to confirm that the "Night wolves" have committed any kind of crime in the country's territory. Several times in the last few years, members of this Club have visited Republika Srpska, have organised humanitarian actions and promoted Orthodoxy and the Christian faith. Despite this fact, after the tour was announced, the U.S. Embassy in BiH, issued a press release where it said that "visits like this, that negatively affect stability, are not helpful and should be not supported.

We appeal to the authorities of BiH to seriously understand all possible security threats."

This statement caused the reaction of the Russian Federation Embassy in BiH, that replied with another press release, saying that "pilgrimage with visits to monasteries, churches and historical places" cannot represent any kind of security threat." The embassy stressed that the "Night wolves", as a social and patriotic organisation, is absolutely legitimate and, as of the beginning of 2018, they "have chapters in Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Australia, Slovakia, Belarus, Philippines, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia".

So, what is the problem with the "Night wolves"?

As it seems, their greatest "sin" is the strong link with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who is their "honorary president". That gave them the political background and, as the media in Sarajevo accused them of, the chance to go wherever "Russian and Orthodox interests are jeopardised" to show support to various separatist movements, including Republika Srpska. In the past two decades, the RS President, Milorad Dodik has been transformed into a Russian puppet from an American pet that he used to be, something that has enabled him to show that the "Night Wolves" are welcome in this BiH entity.

The Russian Club has even participated in the parade on the RS Day anniversary, on January 9, in Banja Luka. Dodik obviously feels that supporting the "Night wolves" equals support (straight) from the Kremlin, but analysts agree that he is just one of Putin's best "toys" in preventing BiH from entering NATO right now. When Putin decides that the issue is not of Russian interest any more, he will just leave Dodik without unsupported.

Until then, Dodik can enjoy his "dance with the wolves".... / IBNA

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