Aleksandar Vulin, Serbian Security and Information Agency (BIA) chief and close advisor to President Aleksandar Vucic, resigned Nov. 3, with Vulin stating in his resignation letter that the move was to protect Vucic and Serbia from “blackmail” from the West.
Vulin, who was sanctioned by the US for alleged links to organized crime and his support of Russian policy, specifically noted “threats and blackmail” from the west, with his resignation coming shortly after Vucic’s decision to dissolve Parliament and hold snap elections on Dec. 17 of this year.
Vulin has long been seen as a staunch Vucic ally, and paradoxically, he stepped in to hit various organized crimes groups, including that of Darko S. and Veljko B.—both allegedly directly or indirectly tied to the Montenegrin Kavac narco-crime gang—in the wake of perceived physical threats to Vucic and gang infiltration in the police and Ministry of the Interior.
Vulin sharply criticized the West in his resignation letter, noting that the West wants Serbia to recognize Kosovo, abandon Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, sanction Russia and lose sovereignty. He also noted that the West does not want Chinese investment in Serbia and that Western values undermine the traditional family.
He also openly wrote that if he remained the US and EU would use his presence as a pretext to sanction Serbia.
His departure, however, is unlikely to influence current negotiations—or lack thereof—between Kosovo and Serbia, as Kosovo appears to have no intention of fulfilling a 2013 agreement to create a community of Serb municipalities in Kosovo (CSM) and Serbia has no plans to recognize Kosovo as an independent state. Both sides have escalated rhetoric in the wake of a paramilitary raid in North Kosovo’s Banjska that saw one ethnic-Albanian Kosovo police officer killed as well s three Serbs.
Vulin has years of government experience and will likely be sorely missed by Vucic, as he has in the past also served as minister of the interior and minister of defense.
Photo by Medija centar Beograd, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.