Vojislav Nikolic is creating a new party, following the implosion of the radical party.
Distorting the meaning of words and concepts is nothing new to the serbs nationalists (and to nationalists in general). Still, I find the name of the new party particularly ironic. After the heavy defeat that they faced with the ‘betrayal’ of SPS, the serbian nationalist forces are reconfiguring themselves and Nikolic is trying to carve himself an image as a ‘moderate’. This was clear in the move which lead to the final blow that provoked the implosion of the radical party: Nikolic’s willingness to vote in favour of the Association and Stabilization Agreement with the EU. ´
The use of words always carries a meaning. In 1990, when multipartidarism was reintroduced in Serbia, both the radical party and the democratic party chose names of previous serbian parties, claiming thus to be their inheritors. The same happened when DSS was created.
So, the message that is being sent to the public is that Nikolic is a man that evolved, abandoned his previous radicalism, stopped being a radical to become a progressive, a task for which he is getting some tacit support from the Democratic Party, that after having been gifted with the defection of SPS from the nationalist camp, is now benefited by the dismemberment of the radicals.
I am finding this process of reconfiguration of the nationalist forces in Serbia fascinating.
But nobody changes so radically overnight, even less dogmatic people, so it is only natural that Nikolic carries some of the radicals’ ideology into the progressive party. Maybe he woke up, learned his lessons and became radically progressive instead of merely radical, we could say if we considered that Nikolic deserved the credit of doubt, but since it was not ideology but a fight for supremacy among factions within the Radical Party that made him leave, it is more likely that he has become progressively radical.
The first symptoms of his newly acquired progressiveness can easily be recognized on the formulation of one of the major goals of the Serb Progressive Party: to be “a bridge between East and West, with the goal to, in the future, form a union with the Republic of Srpska“.
His progressiveness is patent in the use of the expression ‘in the future’.
Above, Belgrade, September 2008: An old photo left behind from the last elections… The couple was already de facto separated, but not yet divorced.
Second photo: Belgrade, July 2008. There is some degree of change between my last visit in July and now. There are hardly any graffittis, and i haven’t yet seen any that wasn’t there already in July. That is also a sign that the nationalists are recomposing. They redrew to rething their tactics and to enjoy summer. Now Automn is there, I have just arrived and i am already curious to see what changes will I spot the next time I come.