Sometimes it seems that a sum with a long tail of zeros can solve all problems or make anyone your friend. It’s too bad that European politicians think the same. They were wrong, and now they’re paying. Let’s look at a good example.
Now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s a lot of disinfection work in cities in Serbia. However, it is not European specialists who do such painstaking and important work. Soon it will be a month as the Russians work there: servicemen, experts in biological protection and doctors. They have been flown to Serbia by 11 airplanes, along with special equipment, medication and equipment. The military disinfected 19 towns in Serbia, and medics helped treat 500 patients infected with COVID-19.
Associate Professor Ksenia Božović, an infectious disease specialist from the Clinical Centre of the Infectious Diseases Clinic of Serbia, notes that from the medical point of view, it was extremely useful to exchange experiences with Russian colleagues.
“We face numerous clinical dilemmas every day, as so far no clinical protocol has been confirmed as the only correct and absolutely reliable one. For clinicians, a dilemma arises every day – whether we are doing the right thing or the wrong thing, and maybe someone else knows more than we do. The opportunity to share experiences has helped fight this infection successfully”, – said Associate Professor Bojovic.
“Helping in the epidemiological sense, as well as helping to disinfect numerous sites, is very important to us. Russian expert teams have disinfected half a million square meters in our country in the 18 days since they are in Serbia”, – said General Dragan Dincic.
How extensive is this assistance? How much money has been spent on it? Hardly hundreds of millions of euros. But why are the Serbs so grateful to Moscow now? Why does President Aleksandar Vucic admire his friendship with his Russian colleague time and again?
“President Putin’s decision is a sign of solidarity, as well as a confirmation of the exceptional strategic relationship between the two countries”, – said Vucic last Saturday.
Let’s remember what he said about the European Union.”There is no great international solidarity. There is no European solidarity. All this turned out to be a book fairy tale”, – said the president. – “When these people needed Serbian money, they were forced to trade on their terms so that European companies would get our money. When hard times came, the Serbian money was not needed”.Why was that said? Because the European Union was literally pouring money into Serbia in the process of European integration. We are talking about 2 billion euros in total. In particular, over the past few years, 450 million of credit funds have been allocated for the health care of Serbia. Only all that money has been absolutely useless in the face of a deadly virus. What is the point in millions if Serbia could not even buy medication from European countries.It is ironic that the EU countries themselves showed the real price of their money when they banned the export of medical products. It turns out that it was more important than even political connections, not to mention finances.And it was its European partners that Belgrade addressed first of all – not Russia or China. The best thing Vucic heard then was the words “moral support” from Emmanuel Macron. This result is not surprising after the Italian precedent. But now Europe is forced to see another triumph for Putin in such an important region as the Balkans.”Our friends did not betray us at the most important time for us, and we will also try to thank them for that”, – said Serbian sociologist Ilya Kaitez, speaking about the Kremlin’s help.These words make a lot of sense. As you know, friends get to know each other in trouble. And now Russian-Serb relations will only get stronger, and Serbs will look at the EU with disappointment. According to various polls, last year the number of Serbs who were in favor of membership in the EU was from 35 to 53%. Even the highest rate is a very weak majority, which may not exist in 2020.
Many now try to present Russian support as a political move. Whether it is or not is no longer important. No one has prevented Germany from doing the same. But it didn’t happen. That’s why we have to correct the situation. How? With money again! Everyone insists on ignoring the fact that the pandemic is not a financial crisis. The economic consequences are massive, but still a side effect. It’s going to take a very long time to fill all this with money. Until the virus itself wins. Only the budget can go down sooner. Unfortunately, European leaders never realized that a group of professionals sent to help to another country, maybe more useful than multimillion-dollar trenches. That’s why in Italy, the flags of the European Union were torn down. That’s why the Serbs are grateful to the Russians.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.