Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 193

Borislav Milosevic, brother of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, arrived in Moscow yesterday to take up his post as Belgrade’s new ambassador to Russia. “We hope for the closest cooperation with Russia,” Borislav Milosevic was quoted as saying. “Russia has thus far played a major role in the peaceful solution of the Kosovo crisis… [and] we expect Russia to participate massively in the group of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observers in Kosovo” (Itar-Tass, October 19). Russian officials have indicated that Moscow is prepared to dispatch two hundred observers to Yugoslavia to work as part of the planned 2,000-strong OSCE mission there.

The appointment of Borislav Milosevic has generally been interpreted as an effort by Belgrade to cement its close ties to Moscow. It has also been seen as a means to help ensure continued Russian support for Belgrade authorities as international diplomatic maneuvering over Kosovo continues. Borislav Milosevic rather unconvincingly denied yesterday that his new appointment has anything to do with Kosovo. He suggested that his posting amounted to nothing more than a normal rotation of diplomatic personnel. Milosevic’s predecessor had served only six months in the Moscow post, however. Prior to his latest appointment Milosevic himself had been serving–in Moscow–as chief representative of the Yugoslav state trading company, Interexport.

Milosevic arrived in Moscow one day after a delegation of Russian lawmakers had themselves returned from Belgrade to the Russian capital. Like Milosevic, they too made clear their interest in promoting closer relations between Russia and Yugoslavia. Sergei Baburin, the ultranationalist who headed the Russian Duma delegation, told reporters that the group intended to make a series of recommendations to the Russian government. These included, he said, that Russia play a more active role in the work of the OSCE mission to monitor the recent peace agreement in Kosovo, that Russia broaden its military-technical cooperation with Yugoslavia and that Moscow intensify its diplomatic efforts both to win the lifting of sanctions on Yugoslavia and to restore Yugoslavia’s membership in the OSCE (Russian agencies, October 19).

While in Belgrade, Baburin reportedly reacted positively to a proposal voiced by Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj which calls for Yugoslavia to join the Russia-Belarus Union. Baburin was reported to have said that closer relations between Belgrade and the Union would be the most effective way of protecting Yugoslavia from NATO military threats. He also was said to have assured Seselj that “Russia would not hesitate” to discuss the new proposal (Itar-Tass, October 19).