SNSD leader Milorad Dodik, a member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina BiH and the president of Bosnia and Herzegovina BiH, paid another visit to Russia and to that country's president Vladimir Putin. It is the second visit to Putin since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, and the third visit in the last year.
Dodik did not fail to declare that he is neutral and that he wants BiH to be neutral regarding the war in Ukraine. The SNSD leader has a distorted view of neutrality because he did everything to justify Russian aggression against Ukraine, while at the same time he declared himself a spokesman for alleged neutrality.
Few politicians from Europe have met Putin since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Dodik managed to do it twice, because he is a political pawn of the Kremlin and serves as an ideal destabilizing factor in the Balkans.
Dodik managed to visit Moscow at an ideal moment for him ten days before the elections. He presented the meeting with Putin as an act of his dominance over the opposition and the direct support of the Russian leader to Dodik's SNSD.
The SNSD leader did not set out on his way to Moscow empty-handed. He arrived with a story and a promise that he had managed to arrange a friendly football match between BiH and Russia in November. He did this through his cousin, who is the head of the country's football association. It is clear that Dodik needed something concrete to attract Putin's attention, and a match with a country from Europe means a lot to Russia at a time when it is almost completely isolated.
It is another example of Dodik's servility to Putin and his direct commitment to Russia, while he talks about how he is in favor of neutrality in the midst of the war in Ukraine. Dodik did not bother to arrange a friendly match with Ukraine so that his story makes sense. Although it has not been confirmed that the match will take place, it was important for Dodik to present that story to Putin, because there are realistically small chances that the match will take place.
He wanted to get a confirmation from Russia that the country would not veto the extension of the military mission of EUFOR Althea in BiH, even though he did everything to prevent that mission from being extended. The war in Ukraine also changed the West's attitude towards BiH, so Dodik became aware that if there is no extension of the EUFOR mission, NATO forces will automatically come to BiH, which is an even worse option for the pro-Russian player in BiH. As Dodik himself relays the details, he managed to get confirmation from Putin that Russia will support the extension of the EUFOR mission.
The public in BiH, and especially in the Republika Srpska RS entity, was entertained by Dodik and his story that he will agree on energy cooperation and some other projects with Putin, but no details are known and everything remains up to the interpretation of the SNSD leader.
The fact that Putin sent a message that he is a faithful and obedient pawn in the Balkans is the most dangerous thing in the whole story, and it keeps the countries of the Western Balkans in a state of constant tension.
Only verbal condemnations were sent from the West due to Dodik's servility and clear alignment with the aggressor in Ukraine. The European Union EU failed a long time ago when it failed to impose sanctions on Dodik because he was defended by another player of Putin's in Europe Viktor Orban.