BELGRADE, November 25 (Itar-Tass) —— The Belgrade authorities do not believe that the submitting of applications for getting Russian citizenship is an effective way of resolving problems of the Serb population of Kosovo. The getting of Russian citizenship for Serbs living in Kosovo and Metohija is not a way out of the current situation, Goran Bogdanovic, minister for the affairs of Kosovo and Metohija in the Serb government, told Itar-Tass.
In his opinion, it is dangerous to raise the question, because it is doing great damage to the process of a political settlement of the situation. Bogdanovic lives permanently in Kosovo together with his family, and he is sure that Serbia will never give up its claim for the region, which is its native land.
“The Republic of Serbia is responsible for all that is going on in Kosovo and Metohija. In cooperation with the world community we should help the people, who remained in Kosovo after riots of 1999-2004. Serbs living in Kosovo and Metohija realize that they have no other country but Serbia. Serbia is the only country that could help them and uphold their interests,” he said.
Commenting on the situation with the submitting of applications for Russian citizenship, Bogdanovic said that “there is nothing bad in the idea itself, because every individual has the right to submit an application for the citizenship of any country, but, unfortunately, not in this particular case. We have a common state, its name is Serbia, and it is exerting enormous efforts for protecting the Serb community in Kosovo and Metohija. We are deeply grateful to the Russian nation and the Russian Federation for the principled stand they assumed in upholding lawful rights, primarily those of the Serbs living in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as for their refusal to recognize the proclamation of Kosovo as an independent state. We have been stressing it all the time. On the one hand, one could certainly wait for Russia or some other country to help protect those people. On the other hand, however, Serbia is really doing all it can for helping them. I think the problem of citizenship has been overly politicized. There is nothing good in the fact that our compatriots are humiliated and despised in Kosovo, but the submitting of applications for Russian citizenship is not the way to resolve the problem.”
At the same time, the Serb minister said he did not know how many applications had been submitted. “I did not see any centres in Kosovo, where signatures are collected. I think it is hardly probable that thousands of applications have been signed already,” he said. According to Bogdanovic, it is true that Serbs do not recognize the Pristina government, but he does not believe they are disappointed with actions taken by the Belgrade officials. He believes disinformation is coming from those areas. “There are many political forces there, and each force wishes to show the situation in a certain light, using for its purposes the difficult situation of the Serb community. I am almost sure, however, that 99 per cent of Serbs have confidence in the Serb government. They would have not survived without its help. Every year we allocate 250 million euros for the Kosovo enclaves for financing local government bodies, public organizations, social payments, allowances for children and pensions. No one has reasons to say that Serbia abandoned Kosovo and Metohija,” Bogdanovic said.