Folk singer’s ‘heli’ flight causes the first political dispute of the year

Folk singer’s ‘heli’ flight causes the first political dispute of the year

The beginning of the year in Republika Srpska is marked with the first major dispute between opposition parties and the RS president, Milorad Dodik. The famous Serbian folk singer, Svetlana Ražnatović – ‘Ceca’ is, one could say, the apple of discord.

She was a guest singer in one of Banja Luka’s night clubs, singing on the New Year Eve. But, in the first days of new year she published an Instagram post with a photo from a helicopter. That would not be a problem if she had paid some agency for a private flight. However, she and her son are pictured inside the official Republika Srpska helicopter. The RS Helicopter Service is under the direct management of the RS President, Milorad Dodik. Evidently, he approved the flight, but the mystery lies as to what kind of the flight it was. The opposition claims that Dodik sent a helicopter to the city of Bijeljina, where Ceca drove to in a private car, to transfer her and her son to Banja Luka, so as to sing at the club. Ceca at the social networks tried to repare the damage, saying that she did not fly from Bijeljina to Banja Luka. That was a flight (only) over Banja Luka. Ceca’s words managed only to add fuel to the already heated debate. Opposition “welcomed” this statement with a new set of questions, asking who has the right to use the official RS helicopter for a short sky adventure.

“We are demanding RS Ministry of Interior Affairs (MUP RS) to investigate who gave the flight the ‘go ahead’, how long the flight lasted for, and whether it was reported to the competent institutions. We think that you can get a lot of answers from the President of Republika Srpska, under whose direct responsibility this helicopter is, and by pure coincidence, the singer was invited to a show at a nightclub owned by people close to Milorad Dodik.”

It is especially interesting that, after the helicopter affair reached the public eye, the singer denied all the statements she had originally made published herself. “Obviously, in the case of a helicopter, there are unclear bits and we hope that the MUP RS will investigate it and will announce the results as soon as possible,” said opposition Party of Democratic Progress in a press release.

The Serb Democratic Party (SDS), also one of the opposition parties at RS level, had even more details about the “heli affair”. SDS high official and BiH Minister of Security, Dragan Mektić, said to media in Sarajevo that the RS Government hosted Ceca to the apartment owed by the government. The apartment is situated in the Government building, in Banja Luka downtown, and Mektić asked when he will be allowed to spend a night there himself.

“Ceca earned 100,000 euros from the concert at the night club. But she slept in the official apartment, flew on the governmental helicopter and had -as most of times- the VIP status. Why?” asked Mektić.

His party colleagues who did the math, came to the conclusion that even if the flight was from Bijeljina to Banja Luka, it costed RS citizens about 800 BAM (about 400 euros). Her later move to donate 5,000 to a Fund for ill children did not manage to distract the public from the “affair”../IBNA