Diplomacy & Commerce Magazine / #92 / February 2024

Page 1





by Žikica Milošević


by Ljiljana Vujić








Director of the Museum of Genocide Victims




Ambassador of India to Serbia





Minister of Tourism and Youth


INTERVIEW H. E. MOHAMMED AMINE BELHAJ The Ambassador of Morocco to Serbia

Communication Manager of the Belgrade Philharmonic










H.E. MRS. SHUBHDARSHINI TRIPATHI Ambassador of India to Serbia

JELENA MILAŠINOVIĆ Communication Manager of the Belgrade Philharmonic


FEATURED INTERVIEW ROBERT ČOBAN Director robert.coban@color.rs


DEJAN RISTIĆ Director of the Museum of Genocide Victims

DRAGAN NIKOLIĆ Editor in Chief dragan.nikolic@color.rs Journalists Žikica Milošević Nikola Gudelj Duška Jovanić Mijat Kontić Ljiljana Vujić Advertising DRAGAN VUČEVIĆ dragan.vucevic@color.rs JELENA JAHURA jelena.jahura@color.rs



Photos Goran Zlatković Mladen Sekulić Nebojša Babić Shutterstock


by Duška Jovanić

Translation Snežana Bjelotomić Prepress Studio Lončar Contributors: Ljiljana Vujić Angelina Čakširan Prof. Dr. Vladislava Gordić Petković Print Birograf Zemun Distribution PRETPLATA doo office@pretplata.rs +381 11 314 99 21





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White Lotus & the New White Russians


hen the Balkan migrant route was opened, Serbia proved to be the most humane country towards migrants compared to other neighbouring countries. We have also welcomed tens of thousands of migrants from Russia and Ukraine with open arms in the past two years, just as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes did exactly a century ago. Recently, we have staged the exhibition called „White Russians and the Renaissance of Serbian Theatre”, which depicts the influence of Russian emigrants between the two wars on the development of theatre in our country, especially ballet, opera, drama, set and costume design. The exhibition travelled to four cities which were the centres of the White Russian emigration - Novi Sad,

In the play „Once Upon a Time in Novi Sad”, Urban Andras reveals that the „biggest national minority in the city” is no longer Hungarians but Russians, which is followed by a hilarious performance of the Russian song Katyusha in Hungarian language. New White Russians occupy every other table in Novi Sad cafes and restaurants, Serbian and Russian can be heard equally on the Novi Sad-Belgrade train and Russians are opening pubs, cocktail bars, restaurants and their own cultural centres. Russian language pub quizzes and karaoke parties take place frequently.

Illustration: © John Broadley

This is why the case of Elena Koposova, a woman who has been living here with her family for four years and works as a translator and whose only ‚sin’ is that she signed a petition against the war in Ukraine on April 5, 2022, is a very bad exception to this rule. I hope that her complaint against deportation will be resolved positively. Namely, the Serbian police refused to extend her residence permit and ordered her to leave the country within 30 days.

Bela Crkva, Belgrade and Novi Bečej. I have already spoken about this topic in detail. Recently, I stated that the arrival of Russians and Ukrainians in Novi Sad in the past two years was the best thing that has happened to our city since 1990 to date. They benefitted Novi Sad and the other cities they came to and they regularly visit cultural events regardless of their reli-


gious affiliation. In the Synagogue, at the concert of the Hashira Jewish Community Choir in Novi Sad, Russian families sat to my left and my right and thoroughly enjoyed the repertoire. At the Christmas concert in the Cathedral, at least a third of the visitors were Russians. Today, they make up a significant part of the ballet and opera audiences in our theatres.

This would be tantamount to King Alexander deporting a White Russian opera singer or ballerina to the Soviet Union, Stalin and Beria. If we are rightly angry about HBO’s cancel culture, which fired Serbian actor Miloš Biković from filming the 3rd season of the series White Lotus, we should be angry about this case also.

Robert Čoban



MARCH 2024



Proclamation of Independence 1992



















Liberation Day

© Shutterstock

1848 Revolution Day

St. Patrick’s Day

Independence Day

Top 10 countries with the Highest Tobacco Smoking Rates


obacco use remains a leading preventable cause of death despite a fall in global smoking rates over recent decades, killing more than 8 million people annually, according to the World Health Organization. Well, it does not stop people from smoking, especially not in the Balkans or Oceania. Globally, 20.1% of the people smoke. More than 80% of the world’s tobacco users live in low- to middle-income countries. Here’s where the prevalence of tobacco smoking is highest. The leader is an Oceanian coun-

try, the tiny island of Nauru, with 48.5% smokers, followed by Myanmar or Burma, with 44.1%. Serbia is a European champion with a staggering 39.8% of smokers, followed by another Oceanian country, Papua New Guinea, with 39.3%, and we are not moving too far from here to find the No. 5 – East Timor or Timor Leste with 39.2%. If we are not in this part of the world, we are surely in the Balkans, where Bulgaria sits easily in the 6th position – 39% of the Bulgarians smoke. Lebanon follows with 38.2%, and it is

the Arabic country where people smoke most. We go back to the far Southeast of our planet, where Indonesians occupy the 8th place with 37.6% of the population that smoke. Surprisingly, Latvia is 9th, with 37%, and not so surprisingly, Croatia completes the “Balkan Three,” with 36.9% of the population using tobacco. Generally, one in 3 men and 1 in 12 women smoke, while in Serbia, women smoke more than men, which is rare. There is a proverb “smokes like a Turk”, but it is not

Independence Day

Declaration Day

Independence Day

Independence Day

Freedom Day

so true nowadays; the percentage of Turks who smoke is 30.7%, and they occupy 26th place globally, while, for instance, the French are much more addicted to tobacco – 33.4% and they are on the 17th place. 22% of Germans, 27.7% of Spaniards, 24% of Swedes, 23% of the Americans, and 23.1% of the Italians also smoke.

NOTE Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases the risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis



by Dragan Nikolić


Serbia Has Always Been an Important Partner for India H.E. MRS. SHUBHDARSHINI TRIPATHI Ambassador of India to Serbia

Our bilateral relations are based on mutual respect for each other


erbia and India have a longtime partnership that resulted in exceptional bilateral relations. The best indicator of this is the fact that in 2023 both countries celebrated the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Recently, in September 2023, H.E. Mrs. Shubhdarshini Tripathi assumed charge as the Ambassador of India to Serbia. H.E. Mrs. Shubhdarshini Tripathi took her time to sit down with us for an interview and discuss topics such as her arrival to Serbia, the Indian position on Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but the future and possible potential of their cooperation as well. First, we would like to wish you a warm welcome to Serbia as the


Ambassador of India. Is this your first time visiting our country? Yes, this is for the first time that I visited this beautiful country in September 2023 to take up my assignment as the Ambassador of the Republic of India to the Republic of Serbia. What is the Indian position on Serbia, especially regarding Serbia being a small and far country? Well, Serbia has all along been an important partner for India and there has been long standing and

time-tested friendship between the two countries. As founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement, both the countries hold converging views on many global issues. I think geographical distance hardly matters between friendly countries with similar world views. There is immense goodwill and mutual respect between our leadership and people. Before Serbia re-introduced visa to Indian citizens, there were many Indian tourists here and we even planned to connect our


countries with a direct air link. But now, it seems unfeasible. What is your stand on that? The decision to re-introduce visa for Indian citizens last year has indeed impacted the flow of tourists and business persons from India. We have been taking up the issue with the Serbian authorities for fast-tracking the visa applications from Indian nationals so that tourists and business persons do not face any hardship and inordinate delay in getting Serbian visa. Hopefully, the issue would be resolved soon. How can you see the future of our relations? Do you have some goals to be reached in the near future?


in the Belgrade Building Expo. This year also, we are expecting a delegation from FIEO for this Expo. Do you see more potential for investments and is the Serbian market interesting enough for India? Due to its strategic location, business-friendly environment, competitive labor costs, English speaking labor force, Free Trade Agreements with the EU and other key markets, Serbia remains attractive for Indian businesses. There is a lot of goodwill between the two sides. There is also a perpetual flow of trade enquiries indicating interest on both sides to improve trade relations. As I said earlier, our bilateral relations are based on historic goodwill and mutual respect for each other. The State visit of our President Mrs. Droupadi Murmu to Serbia in June last year reaffirmed the strong relations between the two countries. Areas of mutual interest to deepen our bilateral relations were deliberated upon. In November 2023, President Aleksandar Vucic participated in the 2nd Voice of Global South summit,

The BRICS bloc represents about 41% of the global population with a primary focus on economic cooperation. These countries contribute 26% to the global GDP. It provides a very important forum for taking a collective and constructive approach to the contemporary global challenges. It is emerging as a symbol of change that appears to be moving more towards multipolarity. New members also bring their

AS OF NOW, BILATERAL TRADE BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES STANDS AT ABOUT USD 300 MILLION hosted virtually by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After about three weeks, the two leaders again met in Dubai, on the sidelines of COP28 in December 2023 [UN Climate Summit]. Currently, we are focusing on expanding our business relations where there is untapped potential. Can you tell us more regarding Serbia’s territorial dispute with the separatist region of Kosovo? Does India have a plan to recognize Kosovo as an independent country? Our position on Serbia’s territorial dispute with Kosovo has been consistent. India respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia. What do you think about BRICS? With expanding that with many new member countries, do we see some new world order?

vision of the prevailing situation and contribute towards reforming the existing process of global decision making. Global South calls for an inclusive multilateral cooperation. How can you describe actual business relations between India and Serbia? As of now, bilateral trade between the two countries stands at about USD 300 million, which can be improved. During the visit of our President to Serbia in June last year, enhancing economic ties, cooperation in IT sector, were identified as major areas to focus on. We are facilitating greater interaction between business organizations on both sides. In April 2023, the Federation of Indian Export Organization [FIEO] sponsored a delegation of construction companies from India to participate



by Dragan Nikolić


Fighting Oblivion With Knowledge DEJAN RISTIĆ

Director of the Museum of Genocide Victims

The testimony of our suffering should be grounded in knowledge and devoid of any need for bad memories, hatred and revenge because minds that seek revenge destroy countries and those that strive for reconciliation create nations


e spoke with the Director of the Museum of Genocide Victims, Dejan Ristić, about the culture of remembering the victims and the struggle of the Serbian society and institutions to discover the truth and prevent it from falling into oblivion. In this interview, Mr. Ristić underlined the importance of nurturing the culture of remembrance and its exceptionally important identity, educational and civilizational function.

Does Serbian society understand the concept of genocide? As a nation, do we know what genocide is and are we aware that our people were also victims? The tragic and painful historical experience of our people, unfortu-


nately, recognizes genocide as the most brutal and dramatic form of war crime that is systematically perpetrated against members of a certain nation. In the period between 1941 and 1945, genocide was committed against Serbs on the entire territory of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). This genocide encompassed a decades-long genesis, a terrible fouryear manifestation and terrifying consequences that we feel even in our time, decades after. On the other hand, during the past few decades, but currently, we have witnessed several attempts

to misuse the term genocide, which carries with it long-term very dangerous and potentially tragic consequences. The definition of the term genocide was given in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin and historical science does not deviate from that definition. Therefore, all decision-makers with a heightened awareness of responsibility for what is said and done must weigh very carefully the context in which the term genocide can be used. Everything else (un)conscious abuse of the context, which cannot bring anyone good. Bearing this in


mind, the Museum systematically and professionally approaches the fulfilment of its numerous responsibilities related to the implementation of programmes related to culture, education, scientific research, art, publishing and information. ​ This unique institution, not only in Serbia, but also in the whole of Southeast Europe, pays special attention to the continuous expansion of its abundant collections and funds, bearing in mind that this material is not exclusively museum-related, but above all, it is an unequivocal proof of the genocide committed by the Croatian state against the Serbs during World War II. At the same time, the challenges that the Museum faces on a daily www.diplomacyandcommerce.rs

basis are many and complex. First and foremost, I would like to single out with regret the devastating and tragic ignorance of the majority of Serbs about the genocide that their ancestors survived in the NDH. Serbs are insufficiently aware of their greatest trauma and tragedy which is this genocide. Due to the historical experience of being a victim of genocide, Serbs are one of those rare nations who experienced and survived genocide. Therefore, precisely those people must testify in a noble and dignified way to the whole world about what genocide is, what it entails, what are its consequences and why it must never happen to anyone. In parallel with this challenge, the Museum observes and opposes attempts to distort the past, which is reflected in the denial of the genocidal character, scope, systematicity and terrible consequences of

who accommodated the children in the Institute for the Education of Deaf and Mute Children, based in Zagreb, a collection of original telegrams sent by the Ustashas, and Directive no. 25 by which Hitler ordered the attack on the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and on March 28, 1941. With its abundant collections and the diversity of its programmes, the Museum is one of the global centres of knowledge about the suffering of civilians in the Second World War.

turn our heads to the other side and remain silent on many cases of inappropriate and anti-civilizational behaviour of some of our irresponsible fellow citizens. It is justified to ask to what extent is our present based on ignorance or, at best, on insufficient knowledge of the most glorious or tragic

WITH ITS ABUNDANT COLLECTIONS AND THE DIVERSITY OF ITS PROGRAMMES, THE MUSEUM IS ONE OF THE GLOBAL CENTRES OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE SUFFERING OF CIVILIANS IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR the crime committed by the Croatian state against the Serbs during the Second World War. Does the international community sufficiently recognize the genocide against Serbs in the NDH? Do we as a people know enough about it? One gets the impression that we have condemned ourselves to historical oblivion, thus opening the door to falsification and relativization of what happened in those periods. There are few individuals, in our country as well as in the world, who show the necessary level of knowledge and awareness of the need to cultivate a culture of remembrance based on historical facts. In the institutional sense, the current situation is not much better either. Maybe your readers will get the impression that I am hypercritical, but if we bear in mind the increasingly frequent incidents that take place on many killing grounds from the Second World War and public monuments that bear witness to that period, the question arises whether we are allowed to

most valuable among the several hundred thousand items of historical material stored in the Museum. However, in response to your question, I would like to note certain exceptional artefacts that we have at our disposal. The most significant material stored in the Museum is certainly the material related to the first state commemoration of the Kragujevac victims, organized by the Ministerial Council of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on November 25, 1942, in London, the artwork of Serbian children rescued from Croatian death camps during the second half of 1942 thanks to the wonderful Diana Budisavljević

Each victim has a name. Why is it important to identify each victim by name and how dangerous is the relativization of crimes by speculating on the number of victims? The issue of the total determined or total estimated number of victims of a particular war crime, crime against humanity or genocide naturally generates public interest. This data represents one of the particularly important indicators of the character and essence of the specific crime. At the same time, it is extremely important to underline that the total current number of identified victims can by no means be the

periods of the national past from the previous century. Since its foundation, the Museum has been engaged in scientific research. What have you revealed to the public and what historically valuable documentation have you collected? Since its establishment in 1992, museum experts and collaborators have published more than 150 monographic scientific publications and over 400 scientific papers. At the same time, our teams work daily to enrich the museum’s collections and funds, which currently number more than 200,000 items of historical material about the suffering of Serbs in World War II. If you add to that dozens of exhibitions, documentaries and documentary films, age-appropriate educational programmes, and strong cooperation with leading contemporary artists in the country and abroad, we can conclude that the Museum of Genocide Victims is one of the leading institutions of its type in the world. On the other hand, it would be very ungrateful to single out the


total estimated number of victims of the genocide committed against Serbs on the NDH’s territory. We can cite the total estimated number of victims of the genocide that was systematically and indescribably brutally carried out by the Croatian state against the Serbs during the Second World War if we comprehensively and objectively evaluate the facts of Yugoslav and Serbian historiography in connection with the investigation of the crime of genocide committed against members of our people on the territory of the entire Independent State of Croatia (NDH).

in the public space. That may be true, but experts, especially those gathered in and around the Museum, will stress with concern that the accentuation of this topic in the public space, unfortunately, is not accompanied by more scientific research, that is, systematic

Second World War can and should be the exclusive competence and responsibility of a small group of top experts gathered in this cultural institution of national importance, then we are in great danger of delegating the rights and the obligation of each of us, as

History gave the Serbs the task of witnessing the historical phenomenon of their own suffering in the Second World War. That testimony of our suffering should be grounded in knowledge and devoid of any need for bad memories, hatred and revenge because minds that seek revenge destroy countries and those that strive for reconciliation create nations.

If we point to the fact that during the period of socialist Yugoslavia, the attitude towards the victims of the genocide committed against the Serbian people in the NDH was ideological, selective and insufficiently objective, since our compatriots, victims of the Croatian Ustasha, were declared nameless „victims of fascism,” we have to analyse the results of Serbian historiography from the previous thirty years. ​ It would be useful to see how many people wrote their doctoral thesis in our country in the past few decades on the suffering of members of our people in the NDH or which scientific and research projects were implemented. Knowing this could be devastating for all of us. Hence, on the analysis of scientific works, studies and monographs published under the auspices of Serbian historiography during the past few decades, we can conclude that they mostly failed to provide a complete and final judgment on the causes, course, scope, character and terrifying consequences of the genocide committed against the members of the Serbian people in the NDH. Why does Serbian society not cherish the memory of its victims with more respect? We have numerous examples, one of which is the Novi Sad raid, which is always only briefly mentioned in the news. We are under the impression that in our time, the historical phenomenon of the suffering of members of the Serbian people in the Second World War is being talked about to a much greater extent


World War. No one can take that right away from them and no one can impose this obligation. Therefore, we need to re-arm ourselves with the knowledge and skills of knowing, analyzing and evaluating historical events, personalities and processes that largely shape our modern national identity.

Did the Museum launch interesting initiatives recently? What novelties will you show us in the coming period? Our audience is used to the Museum revealing great discoveries, having many diverse programmes and being present and vigilant in the entire former Yugoslavia, but also beyond. We continue to search for historical materials and, in this sense, I will not speak in detail about the current activities, since I could jeopardize their expected results. However, the Serbian public will be able to see a large, new collection of historical materials soon, for which our Museum’s Foundation deserves special credit in terms of providing the necessary funds. activities related to the culture of remembrance, education, art, culture and publishing. In other words, our country and our society immediately need to find a systematic and scientifically based definition of the basic

members of the Serbian society, to know and remember, in order to relieve ourselves of a heavy, burdensome, and for some, „unwanted” memories. ​ The Museum, the umbrella institution responsible for nurturing

THE DEFINITION OF THE TERM GENOCIDE WAS GIVEN IN 1944 BY RAPHAEL LEMKIN principles of the culture and policy of remembrance, to which the team from the Museum of Genocide Victims can make a significant contribution. If someone believes that such an important topic that entails scientific research and public memorialization of Serbian victims of the

the culture of remembrance, continuously and strongly opposes such anachronistic, anti-civilizational and anti-democratic trends and will continue to do so even more in the time ahead. Modern Serbian generations have the right and obligation to remember their victims from the Second

The International Holocaust Remembrance Day was marked at the end of January. What can we learn from the way Jews treat their victims and the international community’s attitude towards the Holocaust? There is certainly a need, but also an obligation, to learn from many good examples internationally. However, this need should be based on the awareness of the necessity to enrich and objectify our knowledge, boost the democratic capacities of our entire society and show responsibility for our ancestors who suffered brutally during the Second World War. Therefore, we should facilitate work, knowledge, responsibility and piety, while not abusing the culture of remembrance for the sake of achieving personal goals and ambitions. www.diplomacyandcommerce.rs


MATEJA NORČIČ – ŠTAMCAR former deputy chief of mission of the Slovenian Embassy and former deputy chief of EU Delegation in Serbia

Every Experience is Connected With People

While she was in Belgrade, Mateja Norčič-Štamcar was not only the deputy chief of EU Delegation in Serbia but also a very important member of Belgrade’s social life. One and a half years after she left Serbia, We find her in her homeland, Slovenia, where she works as Director General for political affairs in the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia (MFEA).

What have you been doing since you left Belgrade? When I got back to Ljubljana, I took up the post of Director General for political affairs as well as Political director in MFEA. In my portfolio, we cover bilateral relations with the countries of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, and Oceania, meaning that my directorate has no notion of sunset. Bled Strategic Forum Team is also in my portfolio. Together with my colleagues, we are responsible for the preparation of positions on key international issues, presenting Slovenian positions in the European Union, and offering support and advice to the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs at EU meetings related to foreign and security, as well as defense policy. In January 2024, Slovenia became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, which means another layer of responsibility. All this implies a lot of traveling, reg-

ularly to Brussels, Luxembourg, New York, and other destinations that are part of my portfolio.

What (and who) do you miss the most from Serbia? Every experience is connected with people, so it is not surprising that after eight beautiful years spent in Serbia, I especially miss people dear to my heart. But then also the melos, my special destinations in Belgrade, listening to radio Naxi while driving my car, the beauty of Kopaonik, Subotica, or Bač, wonders of Rtanj, etc. It goes without saying that Belgrade, in particular, has a special place in the hearts of my family, and for the time being, we manage to return regularly.




From Atlantic to Gulf – A Spotlight on Arab Culture The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in the Republic of Serbia organised a conference on Moroccan culture on Wednesday, February 7th, as part of a series of discussions on the cultures of Arab countries, entitled “From Atlantic to Gulf” in the Youth Center of Belgrade, in the “Amerikana” hall. Participants: Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, His Excellency Mr. Mohammed Amine Belhaj and Asst. Dr. Marko Gagić, Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade. Moderated by: Miljana Šurlan Vićentić, Arabic Cultural Center. The topic of the opening forum of the new cycle, entitled “ARAB STATES AND PEOPLE”, is an overview of the modern Arab world, culture in modern Arab states, art, life, contemporary thinking, and trends in society. His Excellency the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, Mohammed Amine Belhaj, will speak about contemporary life in his country and the relations of Arab nations and countries with Serbia. Asst. Dr. Marko Gagić will speak about modern Arab culture and the modern Arabic language, its importance and its use worldwide. A cycle of discussions “Arab States and Nations”

will be organised by the Youth Center of Belgrade and the Arabic Cultural Center. Do you know what algebra has to do with the Arabic language and what is dimiskia? The answers to these and many other questions about things we know but are not sure where they come from and what they mean are hidden in the immense cultural wealth of the Arab world. Through the lecture series ARAB PEOPLES AND COUNTRIES, we will get acquainted with the geographically close, colourful landscape of Arab peoples and countries. We will learn hitherto unknown facts about the identity, spirituality, and daily life of Arabs. Diplomatic representatives of Arab countries and domestic researchers will introduce us to the peoples of the glorious past and the equally rich and interesting present.

29 JANUARY 2024

India Celebrates 75 Years of Republic The Embassy of India in Belgrade celebrated the 75th Republic Day of India on 26 January 2024 to commemorate the coming into force of the Constitution of India on 26 January 1950 On the occasion, Ambassador of India H.E. Ms. Shubhdarshini Tripathi unfurled the national flag of India at an event held in the morning of 26 January 2024 at the Embassy premises and read out the address of Hon’ble President of India. Members of the Indian community in Serbia and Serbian friends of India joined the celebration. In the afternoon of the same day, a reception for about 150 guests was held at Hotel Hyatt, Belgrade where Hon’ble Minister for Internal and Foreign Trade, Mr. Tomislav Momirovic was the Guest of Honour. Apart from the prominent members of the local Indian community, members of the diplomatic corps, top officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and other Government agencies, Serbian friends of India from diverse fields including business, culture and media were invit-

ed. A cultural program featuring classical Indian dance by students of Panna Dance School, Belgrade was presented during the reception. In her address, the Ambassador highlighted the traditional and historical relations between India and Serbia which are getting further strengthened with the passage of time. Currently, we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. India chose 26 January as the official date of the Constitution’s promulgation in recognition of the Purna Swaraj (complete self-rule) declaration of Independence. With the enactment of the Constitution, India was officially known as the Republic of India — a “sovereign socialist secular democratic republic” that “secures to all its citizens justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity,” according to its Preamble. The main event of Republic Day was held today in New Delhi with parade by our armed forces showcasing India’s Defense capabilities including display of India’s rich cultural & historical heritage. Women empowerment and military prowess of India were central to the parade at New Delhi.




24 JANUARY 2024

The Anniversary of the Elysée Treaty Marked With the Film „More Than Ever“


CDP Expands Reach – Inaugural Office Opens in Belgrade

The anniversary of the signing of the Elysée treaty was marked at the Yugoslav Cinematheque on January 22 with the screening of the film „More than ever“ by director Emili Atef. The screening of the film was preceded by speeches by Mr. Jugoslav Pantelić, director of the Yugoslav Cinematheque, H. E. Mrs. Anke Konrad, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Serbia and H.E. Mr. Pierre Cochard, Ambassador of the Republic of France in Serbia. The anniversary of the signing of the Elysée Agreement was marked tonight at the Yugoslav Cinematheque with the screening of the film „More Than Ever“ directed by Emili Atef. H. E. Mr. Pierre Cochard, Ambasador of France, said in his speech before the film that Germany and France cooperate in Serbia in many fields. “Together, we strongly support Serbia’s accession to the European Union, that is really the main driver of our activity here,” he said, adding that they also support regional cooperation, primarily through the Berlin process. German Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Mrs. Anke Konrad stated that German-French cooperation was never just a bilateral partnership. “A strong European Union is one of the common goals, and its expansion must go hand in hand with reforms that strengthen the EU’s capacity and ability to act in a difficult geopolitical context,” she said. The Elysée Agreement, signed on January 22, 1963, was the foundation for the permanent reconciliation of France and Germany, which were opponents in World War II, and had a decisive influence on the values​​ of peace and stability that Europe promotes today.

The Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) marked a significant milestone in its expansion strategy on Thursday, February 1st, with the grand opening of its first office outside the European Union, located at Milentija Popovića 7b, New Belgrade The opening ceremony, held at 10:30 a.m., was a notable event, graced by the presence of key figures including CDP’s Executive Director, Dario Scannapieco, and the Italian Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Luka Gori. Adding to the diplomatic gravitas of the occasion, Goran Aleksić, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former Serbian Ambassador to Rome, was also in attendance. Positioned in Serbia’s capital, the new CDP office is set to become a pivotal hub for the Western Balkans region. This strategic location is aligned with CDP’s broader objectives of enhancing its presence in regions with rapidly evolving economies. Establishing this office in Belgrade not only signifies a new chapter in Italian-Serbian relations but also paves the way for increased bilateral cooperation in sustainable economic development. The move is expected to foster a conducive environment for Italian companies eyeing expansion in the Western Balkans, strengthening economic ties between Italy and the region. With this significant step, CDP reiterates its role as a key player in international development and cooperation, particularly in supporting the growth of Italian enterprises abroad. The new office in Belgrade is more than just a physical expansion; it symbolises the growing economic and diplomatic connections between Italy and the Western Balkans, promising a future of mutual growth and collaboration.



by Dragan Nikolić


Words Can Hide as Much as They Can Reveal


If a journalist is surrounded by a good team of people with whom he will safeguard, be brave, research and think about topics together and share the good and the bad, the chance of him faltering becomes incomparably less


here are very few media in Serbia for which a journalist can write whatever they want, provided their reporting doesn’t violate the Code of Journalists of Serbia and that what they write can be argued. NIN weekly was among the few remaining oases of journalistic professionalism and Stefan Slavković has been a member of its editorial team since 2012. As the author of the political and foreign policy column, he followed how global events are reflected in the local context, i.e. Balkan and Serbian, while at the same time, trying to analyze and comment on them independently of daily political tensions and transient interpretative frameworks. „When you put away piles and piles of fake news,


semi-information and unimportant events that often only serve to contribute to the media noise, you will be left with the constant struggle of big capital and its exponents on the one hand and a fragile society that is not yet sure what democracy should be on the others”, says Stefan Slavković. You handed in your resignation in early January together with the editorial team and almost the entire editorial staff of NIN weekly and announced the launch of a new weekly, published by the United Media Group (UMG). It seems that this act was quite expected, but what does it actually mean? Has our society lost yet another of the very few independent media?

Let’s be clear, there are no independent media. NIN is a good example of this. It was privatized back in 2009 when it was bought by the conglomerate Ringier Axel Springer (RAS). Last year, under unclear circumstances, it was bought by the director of RAS, Jelena Drakulić Petrović. The media regulation in Serbia quite clearly stipulates that a public broadcaster can be only publicly owned media and anyone can easily notice that the public broadcaster Radio and Television of Serbia often does not broadcast in accordance with the public interest. Back in the day, it took NIN three full weeks to just mention the Brioni Plenum (the infamous 1966 meeting of the top Yugoslav Communist Party officials on the Brioni Islands – translator’s note). In other words, whoever does not depend on a political party will depend on the state, advertisers,


or projects. Anyone who looks at journalism outside of a socio-political context will be sorely disappointed; whoever views it in that context, just like everything else, will understand that the media is not divided into dependent and independent, but into those who do their work professionally and those who act obediently. After fifteen years of strained relations with the management of RAS, NIN’s editors concluded that they would probably no longer be able to do their job professionally and therefore decided to resign. The offer from UMG came later and gave the editors an opportunity to continue working as a group in another place. Just as we left NIN, we will also leave UMG if they exert pressure on the editorial policy. Are there any independent media outlets today or is everything

LET’S BE CLEAR, THERE ARE NO INDEPENDENT MEDIA www.diplomacyandcommerce.rs

just a farce and propaganda from one of the two sides? I am not only referring to Serbia but also globally. To follow up on my previous answer - no working community operates completely independently of funding sources; there are only those communities that will allow funding sources to influence their work and those that will not be subject to censorship or self-censorship. There is another issue here and that is whether journalists are a kind of „useful idiots” in the hands of the ruling political and business structures. This is somewhat a false dilemma too as the only real doubt is whether the media will use their resources to distinguish truth from lies, sell lies for truth or, which is often the most disastrous, muddy the water to such an extent that people don’t care who lies to them and who doesn’t and how they do it. The situation is the same everywhere you look. Has the importance of journalism for society declined due to the dumbing down influence of social networks, artificial intelligence and the general apathy and disinterest of young people in the world around them?

If we look at the current state of the media in Serbia, it seems that the sole purpose of journalism is to disseminate propaganda of the ruling regime. In such a constellation of powers, how can one fight for the truth and reach a larger number of people?

In the 21st century, journalism experienced two fundamental paradigm shifts. The first is the transformation of reporting into an all-day news reproducing cycle that came to life after the collapse of the Twin Towers when the tragedy was turned into a profitable spectacle. The second is the transfer of information to the digital plane, which further accelerates its flow, but reduces the space for its processing and absorption. I would not say that young people are apathetic - rather their interest in socio-political reality has become impossible to measure by traditional standards. The legitimacy of the journalistic profession has not become questionable because of

imminent changes, but because it has not yet managed to adapt to them, also because of journalists who agree to be PR branches of political parties, companies and individuals. We should not, of course, minimize the harmful effects of algorithms and clicks as a measure of quality. We should not forget the almost complete absence of a serious editorial policy as a concept. Still, we should not frame the changes as necessarily bad either, especially those that are proven imminent.

With tireless insistence on the truth and agility, which are often lacking in our climate. The only thing a journalist can rely on in the long run is the integrity of the facts, which in a hundred years will be the same as it was a century ago. I’d be lying if I said that that didn’t seem like a chore at times, but it’s still a job someone’s got to do. All societies are resistant to untruths and reducing this resistance is a long and uncertain process. The investigative journalist Gary Webb’s reputation was destroyed when he reported on the CIA’s involvement in the distribution of crack cocaine. Today, everyone knows that he was right. There are many similar examples, not all of them


are equally dramatic, and there will be more of them. How significant is the role of the media in reporting about election fraud in Serbia? Would election fraud even be possible if people in Serbia could see the other side? Election fraud in Serbia and elsewhere stands on two legs: abuse of finances and state institutions on the one hand, and media reporting on the other. Irregularities do not take place only on the day of the plebiscite, but during the entire pre-election period, which in our circumstances, can last throughout the entire calendar year. If the technology of fraud itself is the machinery, the media serves as the lubricant without which the machinery cannot operate. I am not one of those people who believe that with a


more open media scene, political deliberation would be flawless, because that’s not the only thing it depends on. I believe that everyone with good intentions will admit that the shortcomings in the process would be more visible and easier to solve if all journalists approached their work with elementary honesty. And here we circle back to the same issue - it is not about looking at one, the other or a third party, but about identifying the truth and conveying it. How difficult is it to be a journalist in Serbia today? How does a journalist differ from a so-called journalist?

It depends on what that difficulty is measured against. Journalist salaries can be miserable, some months even non-existent, or they can be astronomical, depending on the structure of ownership and the nature of relations with business and political elites. Respect for labour rights is selective and sporadic, sources of information are not equally accessible to everyone, and investigative journalists


often face existential threats. On the other hand, many media are now full of people whose jobs are neither new nor unknown but have been elevated to a higher level - namely, conveying the announcements that come from one or two political/ media –‘kitchens’ in Belgrade. Sometimes I wonder why these people even went into journalism and not PR - the stress is smaller, the income is higher and the situation is much more transparent. At the same time, we

and become dependent on the other side? By definition, journalism should rest on professional, objective and timely reporting on events of public importance. Words can hide as much as they can reveal, so the term „professional journalism” was coined to establish a difference in relation to its antithesis - docile PR journalism. I am not inclined to essentialize the term, but I believe that it is in the mental structure


should not live under the burden of the illusion that previous generations of journalists did not encounter similar problems. Whoever entered journalism counting on boredom was duped. Why is the phrase „independent journalism” used more and more frequently, when journalism should be independent by default? How can an „independent” journalist not fall into the trap

of a person if and how he will deal with it. There are those of us who are more resistant to dishonest offers and those who are less resistant. However, a prerequisite for serious journalism is a good working community. If a journalist is surrounded by a good team of people with whom he will safeguard, be brave, research and think about topics together and share the good and the bad, the chance of him faltering

becomes incomparably less. An additional plus is if the news office is unionized. Where do you get the motivation to fight for the truth, when society is clearly not searching for it? We had so many serious journalistic stories and obvious affairs that did not bring any changes. Why should we think anything can change? What motivates you to keep going? I run on adrenaline and the belief that it is important to get the job done right while protecting the integrity of the facts to inform future generations about how people lived before them and what they should not do wrong. Protecting

the weaker, the less represented, the quieter and the marginalized. Indeed, many journalists have not changed the social reality, but, frankly, changing the social fabric is not in the job description of a journalist. This is the job of other actors, from the police and the judiciary to various political organizations.That being said, sometimes real results are not visible right away. www.diplomacyandcommerce.rs


15 JANUARY 2024

Air Serbia Carried 4.19 Million Passengers in 2023 In the year it celebrated its first decade of operation under the current name, Air Serbia achieved record results. In 2023, the Serbian national airline carried a total of 4.19 million passengers in scheduled and charter traffic, making it the third-best result in its nearly 97 years-long history. Operating from three international airports in Serbia – its main hub in Belgrade, as well as airports in Niš and Kraljevo – Air Serbia completed over 45,000 flights, representing a 44 percent increase compared to 2022. The previous year, Air Serbia hired several hundred employees and promoted 23 new captains. In the previous year, the Serbian national airline operated scheduled flights on a total of 87 routes to 34 countries across Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa. Compared to 2022, direct flights to 23 new destinations were established, including Lisbon, Porto, Hamburg, Cairo, Catania, Palermo, Naples, and others. Starting from 17 May, after more than 30 years of hiatus, the national airline resumed flights to Chicago. In the first six months, more than 25,000 passengers flew between Belgrade and Chicago, indicating

the significance and success of that route. During the summer season of 2023, Air Serbia operated seven weekly flights to New York, i.e., a daily service. By increasing the number of flights between Belgrade and New York, as well as introducing flights to Chicago, the Serbian national airline offered up to 10 weekly flights between the capital of Serbia and North America during the summer season.


Delta Holding – Record Revenues in 2023 In 2023, Delta Holding achieved revenues of 860 million euros, 12% more than the previous year, and EBITDA (operating profit before taxes) is 88 million euros (an increase of 18%). In 2024, Delta Holding aims for 1,065 million euros in revenue and an EBITDA of 110 million. “We are very pleased to share with you another record-breaking success in the Sava Centre, which is the crown of a very successful year behind us,” said Milka Vojvodić, CEO and senior vice president for economics and finance of Delta Holding at the annual press conference. “The key to our success is a motivated team, knowledge and investments as a significant driver of future strong development and sustainability. In 2023, we invested more than 140 million euros, while by 2027 we are planning over 900 million euros.

19 JANUARY 2024

Christos Harpantidis (PMI): a New Chapter of Business in Serbia is Starting The Philip Morris company welcomes the new year, 2024, with optimism, with the realization of the investment in the factory in Niš, which was announced on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the company’s business in Serbia.

The investment of 100 million dollars in a new production facility and the creation of 200 new jobs in order to produce non-burning tobacco cartridges in Serbia, intended primarily for export, represents a big step towards the realization of the company’s vision of a future without tobacco smoke. Philip Morris has an ambitious goal to be part of the solution to the global smoking problem by offering science-based smokeless alternatives to cigarettes. The company’s mission is clear – to reduce the number of smokers by switching to less harmful alternatives that represent a better choice compared to traditional cigarettes. Philip Morris Vice President for Southeast Europe, Christos Harpantidis, in a kind of review of the business year 2023, emphasizes the importance of mutual regional cooperation between the company’s branches, the development of professional skills among employees, as well as the importance of the investment in the Niš factory itself, which strengthens Serbia’s position on the path of complete transformation business, with the aim of consigning traditional cigarettes to the past.



by Nikola Gudelj


Synergy Beyond Borders


Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Co-owner

Exploring the Potential of Serbia-Israel Collaborations


n this exclusive interview, we engage with Mr. Oudi Recanati, a distinguished figure in international finance and one of the owners of Maccabi Tel Aviv. Mr. Recanati shares his unique insights on the evolving partnership between Serbia and Israel, with a focus on technology and academic collaborations. Considering your extensive experience in international finance and investments, how do you perceive the current state of business relations between Serbia and Israel, and where do you see the most promising areas for future collaboration? I’m not completely familiar with the numbers between the two countries. I do see today that there’s a lot more cooperation. I understand that Israel invests quite a bit here in real estate and has been building, so there is cooperation and quite a bit of cooperation going on. I see the future more in cooperation on the technology side, the high-tech side, and the academic side. I met to-


day with the Minister of Science Ms Begović, who made a wonderful impression on me. They made a presentation showing me the new centre that they’re building, that the government is building, to put together, I’d say, a lot of biofields together, and to bring to Serbia an international flavour, bringing in 1,000 PhDs, about 3,000, 4,000 students, and about another 1,500 employees who would work in other things. As far as that’s concerned, I am also the Chancellor of the University, Reichman University in Israel. We helped establish it. We have a school, it’s called the Rafael Recanati, my father’s name, Rafael Recanati International School, where we have from 90 countries, we have people coming in. We also have Serbs, who study in English and who get a bachelor’s degree. The university has been around for 27 years. We

are now establishing a school of medicine in my mother’s name. My mother passed away a few years ago. The School of Medicine is going to be the first school of medicine in a private university. We are also involved in a private hospital called Raphael in Israel. It’s a private hospital that mainly deals in surgeries, but very advanced surgeries, where the idea is not to keep a patient for two weeks in the hospital. For instance, to replace a knee, you come in in the morning, they replace the knee, and by afternoon, four or five o’clock, you go home. So, it’s new concepts and new ways of doing things, and it’s a state-of-the-art hospital. So, we spoke about the possibility of Serbian and Israeli cooperation, one, in the academic field, and to see what we could do together. We have in that school also, for instance, a lot of research.


We have a centre of research, brain research, which is one of the most advanced in the world, with a professor by the name of Amir Amedi, who is one of the top people in the world. We were talking about the possibility to join forces and see how we can how we can work together with a new project and see how we can contribute and do things together. Considering the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, what are the most significant challenges and adaptations Israeli businesses have faced, particularly in sectors where you have expertise? Let’s start that firstly, naturally, it interrupted the economy terribly. We have about 300,000 reservists who were called up. We also have between close to 160 to 200,000 Israeli refugees who left their homes and went to live in hotels because they were too close to the border in the south and in the north. So, this also interrupted their businesses. It interruptwww.diplomacyandcommerce.rs

ed their life, and their livelihood, which made it very difficult for them to function. Now, also, when you have so many reservists called up, naturally, those who work in companies or have their businesses are also affected quite a bit. There has been a reduction of close to 35% in consumption in Israel. I’m saying not food products and things like that, but also in food products, but in general, 35% more or less. The same applies to a certain extent to the technology industry. But the technology industry, I must say, was hit much less than the rest of the economy, because first, you slow down a little bit. There’s no question that when the war finishes, people will return home, and it’ll take time to recover from all of this. It’s not going to be a one-day finish and that’s it, everything is fine. A lot of small businesses will be left out of business, such as restaurants. In reality, nobody wants to go out. People, you know, stay more at home. Nobody’s in a rejoiceful mood to go and enjoy themselves. A lot of industries are going to be affected, but we’ve seen Israel is a very resilient people in general. Israelis jump back into things quite quickly. And, you know, the same thing happened after COVID, although COVID was a world story. But COVID after that, it’s, oh, it’ll take an awfully long time to get back. Didn’t take an awfully long time. We got back. We have to rebuild. Sure. Just to give you an example, Maccabi Tel Aviv has three doctors. Each time one comes with us on the trips. The three of them had to stay in Israel working at the hospitals. So, none of them came. Now they were released, and others were taken. So, they’ll be now they’ll be coming here again. But it interrupts life terribly. And the thing is, is how fast we’re going to rebound, and I think it’ll be fast. Just let’s hope that this thing finishes relatively quickly. I mean, relatively, we know it’s going to go on for months, but when it does what Israel is trying to do at this point is to change between the reservists. In other words, to let those who have businesses go out, others to come in. And in that way, the businesses will be affected, but much less. You mentioned the tech industry is less effective. But do you

think that they could shift their businesses from Israel to another country like maybe Serbia and do you think other industries also can do something like that? Look, in general, I know that there’s a lot of cooperation going on and there’s no question that, let’s say, if we can’t manufacture something because we don’t have the manpower to do it, etc., it goes out. Now, Serbia definitely is a good partner. So, I mean, there is cooperation today already, and I think, it will be more and not less. How can Israel control the challenges posed by the current geo-

political situation to foster economic resilience or open new avenues for trade and investment? Is it possible at all? I doubt that very much. I think that what we are good at, we continue to be good at. In other words, more in technology and high-tech situations and things of that type. Tourism is dead for the moment. And unfortunately, all the hotels are full of refugees, Israeli refugees. I don’t think that we’re going to be shifting and looking in new directions. Things can also always happen. It’s a question of possibilities. We’re working more with the Arab countries, as you know, with the Emirates today. We


have a good relationship. The same applies to other countries in the region. And it seems that in the not-too-far future, we’ll have a good relationship also with Saudi Arabia. When that happens, there will be new venues of cooperation. I’m not sure exactly in which way, but there will be. Having spent time in Belgrade with Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club, what are your impressions of the city’s cultural and sports environment? How does it compare to Tel Aviv? Serbia is a basketball country and above all, Israel is more of a football country. But Maccabi Tel Aviv, you know, we have a stadium of eleven thousand and we’re full all the time in general when we play there at home. I think it’s comparable. I think that there’s a possibility to compare the way it is. I don’t know enough about the social culture of life in Serbia or Belgrade. But I do know that we’ve been playing against Serbian teams for many years, and there’s a rapport. There is a good relationship. I think that it’s the type of economy that is similar to a certain extent where naturally each of us tries to do a little bit more with what we have. Also, I think today you’re also going into new realms and new things that have to do with academics and technology. Is there any possibility of making a parallel between Serbian people and Israeli people, and how they face difficult challenges upon? There’s a similarity. The only thing that I’ll tell you is, you know, while we’re sitting here, my phone is off. But I’m sure if I open my phone, I’ll see that there’s a red alert and it’ll show the missiles that fell on Israel during the time we’re talking. That’s something that we live with, not that we’ve accepted. So, I think the situation is similar, as you said, because of the question of how we’re portrayed in the press. The media can turn things around 180 degrees, and in the end, you don’t know what to believe. Hamas is very strong with fake news, and they come out with it all the time. It’s an ongoing thing that’s been ongoing for the past almost 20 years.




by Žikica Milošević

Two Tribes Two narratives, two ways of life, two truths


t’s been exactly 40 years since the British band Frankie Goes to Hollywood released their single „Two Tribes”, warning of the possibility of a great war between the West and the East, although the borders of the West and the East were much different back then. Today, there are ideological wars even in the Western countries, while the great conflict between the „New West” and the „New East” seems more certain than ever.



the world. Hence, the Americans decided to impose light sanctions on China and force their allies to move away from it. Although it was too late to stop China, that didn’t mean much to the Germans, who were suddenly impoverished and faced with either stagnation or weak development and strikes which paralyzed the country. But that’s not a problem here - the problem is that Germany has been „one” since the fall of the Berlin Wall (except for „Ostalgie” in the eastern part, which was more of a folklore type and good for movies like „Goodbye Lenin”). Now, we can see the formation of „two Germanys” taking place. In Serbia, we have long been accustomed to „First Serbia” and „Second Serbia”, but to have a „first Germany”, in which the Greens are now somewhat suicidally making an energy transition and sanctioning Russia and China, and a „second

Germany” in which the AfD and Sara Wagenknecht they openly take the other side and use the justified anger of citizens - that is new. As a result of all that, the government organizes protests against the opposition, which we haven’t seen since the rally in support of Slobodan Milošević in Serbia, instead of solving the problem citizens face, while the Alternative for Germany (AfD) is being banned. Germans today unwaveringly believe in two different truths and this gap should somehow be healed and not deepened because when Germany coughs, the rest of Europe falls into bed with a fever. Extremism of any kind is quickly punished as we live in a causal universe. The traditionally cool German head is much needed now and it seems that there are fewer and fewer of them. This internal ideological conflict is nowhere near as


harmless as Poland’s division into conservative and liberal, or the Brexit referendum (not that Brexit was harmless, but Great Britain was a peripheral country of the EU, while Germany is in the heart of Europe). It is time to simmer down passions and calm down the two narratives - one in which there is green energy, the transition from Russian gas, insistence on Western values and sanctions against Russia and China and the other which favours the rapprochement with Russia and China, returning to Russian energy sources, aversion to immigration (Germans are very „linear” here, unlike the British who did not like Eastern Europeans too much and preferred Commonwealth citizens as immigrants). Another narrative is not even in sight.


In one of these worlds, that is the Global West, Russia is the main villain and its president is the „New Hitler”, with the coin „Putler” often encountered on social networks. In the second world, in the „Global South”, Putin is the „leader of the Free World” and a fighter against the „Evil Empire”. Let’s www.diplomacyandcommerce.rs

Photos: © Shutterstock

Germany was perhaps the most successful story of the post-WWII and post-Cold War eras - the Marshall Plan made West Germany prosperous and the Germans learned to be grateful by not going to war anymore, but working for peace. The same happened in the East in the GDR but with worse economic results and greater social equality. When unification took place, under „Mutti Merkel”, Germany decided to be 1) the quiet but steadfast leader of the EU, 2) part of the West, i.e. NATO, and non-aggressive, 3) reliant on Russian energy sources, which enabled rapid and large growth thanks to which millions of Europeans and people from other countries wanted to immigrate and be part of that new Germany, and 4) produce a huge quantity of products, which in the meantime became synonymous with top quality, and export them to China. Today, NATO is forcing them not to be so peaceful and to be ready for war, Germany’s access to Russian energy sources has been prevented by the sanctions they introduced themselves, but also by the diversion on Nord Stream I and II, while the Americans no longer like China, which is not perceived as a „friendly and cheap global factory”, but has emerged as a new giant that wants to redefine

note that in this part of the world, phrases like „The Free World”, which the West used to describe itself in the Cold War, and „Empire of the Evil”, which it applied to the USSR, are used only in the completely opposite context and that is perfectly intentional. On social networks, you can see thousands of citizens of the „Global South” passionately commenting on any news in an anti-Western way and no, they are not bots, while the phrase „propaganda” is meaningless here. Simply, there is a point of view that Putin wanted to return Ukraine to the time before the Euromaidan in 72 hours with „minimal action” which he failed to do and that he then started a massive reshaping of the world, imposing himself, together with other forces that are dissatisfied with the current order, as the leader the „Global South”. Three countries of the Sahel (Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso) have already separated from ECOWAS and their citizens carry Russian flags on the streets as a symbol of resistance to the West and hope for a better future, far from it. I very vividly remember how we carried American flags during protest marches in 1996 and 1997. Now, that scene is unimaginable in Serbia, but we see it spreading in Africa. Maybe Putin initially wanted to be integrated into Europe, with Ukraine on his side, but now it seems that Russia has set itself a much bigger and more confrontational goal - not only to be the leader of Eurasia but with the other „rebels”, become the leader of „Euraso-Africa”, the triple continent of the future, as Asia is not the continent of the future - it is already the continent of the present and a leader in many things. Africa is the continent of the future and it seems that the politics

of non-Western countries, which absolutely do not care about democracy or the free market, have a better foothold in Africa. Since the 2007 Munich Conference, the West seems to have created an inadvertent and unplanned great enemy that has fallen into the arms of not-so-hidden Dragon, to paraphrase the name of the hit movie.


Ideological wars have already become exhausting and social networks make them even more unbearable. Every little thing causes discord and everyone watches and listens only to the news that suits them, creating their own bubbles and echo chambers. The real conversation between dissenters is diminishing. The stron-

gest polarization is happening in the USA, where now, in 2024, everything revolves around the two candidates who, barring some miracle, will be on the ballot in November - Trump and Biden. Behind them are cohorts and legions of people who think it’s the end of the world or the end of America if the other side wins. Some believe that Trump was robbed of victory in the 2020 election and that the storming of the Capitol was equal to the storming of the Bastille or at least the expulsion of British rule from the 13 colonies. Others believe that Trump deserved life in prison. Those in between are very few and it was on these people that American democracy and discussion, dialogue, checks and balances and everything else was based.


It’s not new that Texas and several other southern states are sort of rebelling on the southern borders with Mexico, due to illegal immigration that has reached record levels. Someone interestingly compared the situation to the creation of the Confederacy, because all the states that supported the Texas governor were from the former CSA. It is an understatement to say how dangerous this is for America, but also the rest of the

world. At the same time, opinions are rife that the choice between autocracy and democracy is as important as the choice between war and peace in the Taiwan Strait. Anyone with common sense can see that the choice between war and peace is a priority. As Darko Rundek would say, „time in us is changing and everyone is ready to fight for the dream again” and that is dangerous, because that line of thought leads to bombs falling and „the streets filled with holes.”


Therefore, let’s re-learn how to listen to dissenters again. Let’s discuss, respecting other people’s opinions. Let’s not ban other opinions, because if we resort to cancelling and de-platforming some-

one, that person only becomes more offended and stubborn and people start developing conspiracy theories about such person being intentionally removed (or them, if it’s a party) because they were „righteous and discovered the conspiracy of the system”. Eight years ago, I wrote about the danger of echo chambers. Today, I can only say that the situation is getting worse. People take offence at every little thing, they demand the banning of everything and anything, and there are more wars, while quarrels and censorship are driving people off social networks. We can expect to see only a greater escalation which is something we don’t need. We don’t need to fight for a dream. We need a fight for reason, now more than ever.




by Ljiljana Vujić

Chainsaw Policy Buenos Aires, Argentina / 12 December 2023 / First protest against President Milei’s reform in Buenos Aires / © Photo: Mattia Fossati / Shutterstock

Will Argentina survive the risky „operation” carried out by a president with the experience of a beginner and the ambition of a great visionary?


n the war, faced with no choice, the legs and arms of the wounded would be cut off. Better to be alive without an arm than buried whole. Drastic measures are sometimes the only thing left. Javier Milei, the new Argentine president, thinks that his country is such a wounded man. A once proud soldier, now on his deathbed, with a chainsaw towering over him. Milei, as he promised, will „cut” the Argentinian body part by part and even worse, he is fulfilling his promises. He plans to deregulate the economy, switch to the U.S. dollar, reduce the state apparatus, stop public spending on advertising, reduce financial support to the provinces and subsidies for energy and transport and stop public construction. In the first month of his mandate, since the announced economic shock therapy, he has already halved the value of the peso, sent nine ministries to the ashes of history, dismissed 5,000 civil servants and initiated the privatiza-


tion of state-owned companies. He announces the abolition of the Central Bank, will make it impossible for politicians to print money and will „plant a bomb” under the main cause of inflation. Upon taking office in December, he said he would take a path unlike any of his predecessors to avoid hyperinflation.

It is clear that Argentina is fighting a kind of war, the most difficult one, with itself. The country is fighting for bare survival. There is no doubt that Javier Milei it is an all-or-nothing © Photo: Facundo Florit / Shutterstock game. The only question is whether, once one of the richest countries in the extreme move would pass without „The bottom line is that there is no world, will survive this interven- protest? Traditionally strong trade alternative to savings and there is tion, the crusade against „creeping unions will respond to austerity no alternative to shock therapy. It socialism” or it will bleed to death. plans with strikes. Whether invesis clear that in the short term, the Virtually all non-Peronist presi- tors will trust him and maintain situation will worsen, but then we dents since Argentina’s return to the markets will depend precisewill see the fruits of our efforts. democracy in 1983 have been re- ly on the degree of social conflict, Argentina will regain its position moved from office due to protests because society will face a huge in the world that it should never against economic reforms. While temptation. The struggle of one have lost. We will work side by the president is working with of the ten richest nations in the side with all the nations of the extreme measures to reduce the world, which half a century ago free world to help build a better fiscal deficit, all eyes are on the had three percent of the poor, with planet,” Milei promised. people. Did anyone think that this now 40 percent of citizens living in poverty, will be fought on the crust of bread. Aware of this, the president has increased the amount of child benefits and food stamp subDRASTIC MEASURES ARE SOMETIMES sidies used by the country’s poorTHE ONLY THING LEFT est to help them not starve. www.diplomacyandcommerce.rs

Long affected by galloping inflation and with the new government in place, Argentinians are faced with a new sudden increase in the prices of food, fuel and medicines. The consumer price index rose by 25.5 percent last month, making the inflation rate, according to official statistics, more than 200 percent. However, the International Monetary Fund, to which Argentina owes 44 billion dollars, called these measures „courageous” and promised to help create an environment for the recovery of the private sector. The president is also congratulated by the architects of the world’s right, led by Donald Trump, from whom he took the mantra „Make America Great Again” turning it into „Make Argentina Great Again”. For them, the victory in Argentina is just the beginning because, as they say, Trump will win the presidential elections this year and Jair Bolsonaro in two years.

two decades, and Javier Milei, the sworn enemy of the political caste, self-proclaimed anarcho-capitalist, Trumpian and Bolsonarian, who has entered history as the first libertarian at the head of a country. Analysts debate whether he is a madman or a genius. Some consider him the harbinger of a new strong economy. Others claim that Argentina will be swallowed up by the abyss. They say that it exists in the people’s despair and that the citizens are in such a state of delirium that they would agree to be led by a blind doctor, let alone a populist, if he told them he knew the way to salvation. However, it

employment, while endangering small and medium-sized enterprises. Clearly, this will lead to an unstable political situation characterized by social conflicts and state repression against protests which in turn, repels foreign investors. Inflation will not stop rising until extensive fiscal reforms are implemented, which will entail even greater cuts in public spending. Meanwhile, the prices of various products and services in Argentina will go up. This has been happening since December. The experiences with economic crises and reforms of fiscally inefficient economic systems, from


The others agree that Milei is a „suicidal lunatic.” They mourn the horn of South America because it has not remained immune to the right-wing spring. And last year they were convinced that Latin America is an impenetrable shield to the ultra-right arrow. When their footballers won the world championship and brought the trophy, Argentinians were also Buenos Aires, Argentina / 12 December 2023 / convinced that they rose Libertarian supporters at the inauguration above poverty. Intoxicatof the new Argentine president Javier Milei / © Photo: Facundo Florit / Shutterstock ed by a sporting victory, they forgot how hungry they were. And then Messi and the should be noted that Milei did apother footballers, none of whom pear as a populist in the campaign, live in Argentina, returned to their but his economic plan is the least mansions. The bubble burst and populist. Unlike the variations of the people returned to reality, even Peronism that preceded it, Kirchmore desperate. Elections followed nerism and its rival federalist Persoon after. Milei, who bases his onism, his economic strategy is recovery strategy on a chainsaw not based on the failed policies of (which he literally wielded during subsidies in the production sector the election campaign), became that have produced major probthe president of the democratic lems for Argentina’s fiscal stabilelections exactly 40 years after the ity. He is focusing on the deficit, overthrow of the dictatorship. while being aware that there are no painless alternatives. It’s not just Messi and Che Guevara who are Argentina’s trade- Inflation is now accelerating, marks. This country is today as- which, before it starts declining, sociated with state bankruptcies, will further weaken the majority as many as three times in the last of the population and increase un-

Eastern European to Latin American, lead to the conclusion that the introduction of fiscal order is the first thing that must be done in order to avoid economic collapse. That is the basis. Otherwise, reforms cannot bear fruit. Practice tells us that even a short-term improvement in the standard of living due to an increase in public spending soon plunges the state into bankruptcy. The budget reform is ahead of the market reform and the budget deficit is the main obstacle that the new government must overcome. Shock therapy in practice is always painful for the citizens,

especially because the profit is a long way off. The one who implements unpopular reforms immediately suffers damage and needs to survive politically until the fruits are harvested. The announcement of austerity upon assuming office is political suicide. Interestingly, he won a convincing victory in the elections with such a campaign. His bitter pill was swallowed with gusto. On election night, his supporters cheered by raising chainsaws in the air, telling him that he should cut down the state apparatus. They are ready for painful cuts, aware that they have nothing to lose. Economic collapse is certainly guaranteed for them. However, Milei’s strategy is not without obstacles. Apart from the fact that the people’s endurance is questionable, the question remains to what extent the parliament will oppose, which is why we should not rule out the option that after the elections are won, the government lowers its tone and becomes moderate. No president has had such little support in parliament in the last 40 years. In the upper house of the Argentine parliament, Milei has 7 out of 72 mandates and in the lower house of the parliament 38 out of a total of 257 seats. No provincial governor is his supporter. Even though Argentina is a presidential republic, it will be extremely difficult for him to push legislation for extensive economic reforms through parliament. On the other hand, the opposing camp might realize that without reforms Argentina is headed for another bankruptcy and that, if Milei loses, they will bear the political consequences for such an outcome. Therefore, a compromise between the libertarian and his rivals is an option. There is a fine line between fame and fortune. Whoever tames one of the highest inflation rates in the world will experience enormous fame and secure two mandates. Javier Milei came on the scene as the first doctrinal libertarian as the head of the state. Whether he will be perceived as a genius or a madman depends on his success.




One&Only Has Never Been Closer Discover the Hidden Gem of Boka Bay


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fully designed rooms, spacious apartments, and magnificent villas, each day of your vacation will begin with a breath of fresh sea air and panoramic views of Boka Bay. Whether you want to dive into the crystal-clear depths of the Adriatic or enjoy a cocktail on the fine white sand, our private beach is the perfect place for beautiful moments that will become unforgettable memories. In addition to the stunning private beach, you also have access to six pools that you can choose according to your current mood – from relaxing family pools to a 26-meter indoor pool.

At One&Only Portonovi, we believe that a vacation is for both the body and the soul. Chenot Espace represents the first wellness concept of its kind, a transformative journey of detoxing and resetting the body based on the renowned Chenot Method®, combining the latest achievements of Western medicine with the best practices of alternative therapy. The enchanting ambiance of our restaurants and healthy, delicious

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ONE&ONLY CORPORATE RETREAT OFFER BRINGS A RANGE OF BENEFITS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM our hotel gym, sauna, and indoor pool, along with an array of delightful perks. One&Only has never been closer. Seize the opportunity to provide your team with an unforgettable experience that will boost team spirit to the highest level.

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Top50 Celebrates the Best Websites, Pages and Applications Awarding Ceremony honors and recognizes remarkable content that marked the online world in 2023


THE TOP50 RECOGNITION HAS BEEN AWARDED BY PC PRESS SINCE 1997 tographer as well as Andrija Jović, YouTuber. PC Press announces the best online things within the categories: News and media, eCommerce, Business and social services, Education and culture, Home and family, Sports and tourism, Social networks (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok), Mobile applications, and special awards. The PC Press Top50 awards ceremony was opened by Vesna Charknajev, director of PC Press.

„The Internet has this super power to connect people and to somehow get into all segments of our lives, and PC Press has this little super power to bring together creators of the best internet content in our country in one place every year. There are different formats and topics that you deal with on your websites and profiles, but what you all have in common is that you communicate with your audience and followers in a quality, polite, up-to-date and technically superior manner. Today, 27 years later, there are more than 100,000 websites on the nation-

al domain, at least three times as many websites on international domains and over half a million accounts on social networks. It is clear that we can no longer choose the winners of the Top50 by ourselves, so we invited our audience and the expert jury to help,” said Vesna Charknaev. The Minister of Information and Telecommunications, Dr. Mihailo Jovanović, gave a welcoming speech on the occasion of the opening ceremony. The special award Digital Biz - for business excellence in social media, was awarded to DM Drogerie Markt and the award was received by Sofija Radenković, marketing and communications specialist, and Novak www.diplomacyandcommerce.rs

All Photos: © PC Press


he awarding ceremony for the winners of the Top50 best online things for 2023 was held on the 5th of February, in Belgrade, at the National Museum. Namely, the editorial office of PC Press is organizing the Top50 for the 27th time this year, which is the only official selection of the best websites, pages on social networks and applications in Serbia. The awards are chosen by a jury made up of the editorial board of PC Press, and an expert jury, which this year consists of Marija Matić, Strategy&Clients Director, Direct Media; Nataša Kažić, CMO Ananas E-commerce; Tanja Vasojević, owner of Tadaaa Agency; Dušan Petrović, pho-

Guslov, marketing and communications specialist. The special award for Digital Health Innovation was awarded to Roche Serbia for the campaign „Your view of the world”, and the award was received by Dragana Nikolić, Government Affairs and Policy Lead and Ivan Pavlović, Scientific and Digital Excellence Lead. The special award Digital Experience was awarded to the company Forma Ideale for the exceptional quality of online communications, and the award was accepted by Tamara Pantelić Jeremić, marketing manager.

drmax.rs, bazzar.rs and mi-srbija.rs, which is also the holder of the statue. Within the Business and social services category, the winners of the award are the following sites: gigstix.com, esanduce.rs, eparking.rs, and itks.rs, which is also the holder of the statue. In the Education and Culture category, the winners of

the award are the following sites: zuov.gov.rs, pretraziva. rs, doskete.rs and cpn.edu.rs, which is also the holder of the statue. Within the Home and Family category, the winners of the award are the following websites: tdiradio.com, maxidom. rs, kreni-promeni.org and decjesrce.rs, which is also the holder of the statue.


The Digital Safety special award was awarded to Addiko Bank for the „Don’t get caught” campaign, and the award was accepted by Vanessa Marchetta, senior specialist for corporate affairs. The recognition for the creation of quality and responsible internet content was awarded to the YouTube channel Two and a Half Psychiatrists, and the recognition was taken by Dr. Olivera Vuković, Dr. Roberto Grujičić and Dr. Mihajlo Ilić, podcast creators and presenters. The award for the best online supermarket in Serbia was awarded to Maxi Online, and the award was received by Nikola Radosavljević, an expert for shopping experience at Maxi Online.

The recognition for the quality of the digital platform for marketing automation was awarded to sales-snap.com, and the recognition was received by Ivan Košutić, director of the New Look Entertainment agency. In the News and media category, the following sites won awards: vreme.com, cenzolovka.rs, biznis.kurir.rs, bif.rs and forbes. n1info.rs, which is also the holder of the statue. Within the category of eCommerce, the winners of the recognition are the following websites: zara.com/rs, herbalia.rs,

Within the Sport and tourism category, the winners of the award are the following websites: fitpass.rs, crnobelanostalgija.com, bookaweb.com and tovjanaiturizam.com, which is also the holder of the statue. Within the category of Mobile applications, the winners of the award are the following applications: Yandex Go: taxi and delivery, Wolt Delivery, Moja mBank and Moj SBB, which is also the holder of the statue. Within the Facebook category, the winners of the award are the following pages: ABBA Real Tribute Band and the Association of Accountants and Bookkeepers of Serbia URIKS, which is also the holder of the statue. Within the Instagram category, the winners of the award are the following profiles: Patient dogs, Katarina Bajec, Jana Dačović, Ana Mihajlovski and Mint Vidi Dalje, who is also the bearer of the statue.

Portal diplomacyandcommerce.rs winner of the Digital Connect special award The web portal diplomacyandcommerce.rs is one of the winners of the PC Press awards for the best websites, pages on social networks and applications in Serbia. The diplomacyandcommerce.rs portal was awarded in the “Digital Connect” category Welcoming those present at the National Museum, Vesna Čarknajev, director of PC Press, reminded us that the “Top 50 PC Press recognition” has been awarded since 1997. “Then, as in all previous years, as now, our goal is to promote the useful use of the Internet. In our internet sky, there are more than 100,000 sites on the national domain, at least three times as many sites on international domains and over half a million accounts on social networks.” “We present a news site in English, intended for foreigners living and working in Serbia. The site regularly and impartially informs them about economic and political topics. It is part of the Color Press Group and, together with the printed edition of the magazine of the same name and the dozens of events they organise, strongly integrate foreigners into our cultural space. They received the award because of the quality and importance of their broadcast content. Because of the TOP50 requirements, they could not participate in the regular categories, but they deserve recognition for their quality”, it is written in the explanation of the special award “Digital Connect”, received by Mijat Kontić, a journalist at the D&C web portal, on behalf of the editorial staff at the awarding ceremony at the National Museum in Belgrade.

Within the LinkedIn category, the winners of the recognition are the following pages: BIZLife and Delta Auto, which is also the holder of the statue. In the Twitter category, the winners of the award are the following accounts: Safe Balkan Forum and the National Theater in Belgrade, which is also the bearer of the statue. Within the YouTube category, the winners of the award are the following channels: Serbian Battles, Professor Zec, Mama Buba, Anastasija Grujić and Mudja, who is also the bearer of the statue. Within the TikTok category, the winners of the award are the following accounts: Tararistic4, Laganosp, Halomilice and Dr. Cosmic Ray, who is also the holder of the statue. Recognition The Audience Award is unique in that it is in the hands of the audience from start to finish, who first suggest their favorite sites and then vote for them, and this year the recognition went to the Facebook page of Eko Straža.




Smells Like Art

by Nikola Gudelj have the freedom to shape my ideas and passions, with access to a rich source of raw materials for perfume creation - a resource that is essential to my work. In addition, I use my skills in collaboration with different brands, creating perfumes according to their specifications. Transferring my experience and knowledge in the field of risk management from Great Britain to Serbia was a challenging, but at the same time inspiring process. Adapting to a new business and cultural environment required flexibility, openness to learning and understanding the specifics of the local market. What inspires you when you create new fragrances and how does that process differ from traditional perfume making? I find my creative inspiration in nature, and my approach is aimed at expressing deep human emotions through the fragrance notes that I carry in the bottle - they are like the soul and the heart. My creative process starts with an idea that gradually evolves into a formulation and then into the perfume itself. Essentially, I create a fragrance in my imagination before I start choosing a range of fragrance notes. This creative process can last from several months to several years. Sometimes it’s simple and sometimes challenging, but each time it’s filled with dedication and passion for the art of fragrance creation.

From London to Belgrade: a journey through fragrant notes ZAGA ČOLOVIĆ – RAIČEVIĆ The Perfume Atelier


eek into the world of Zaga Čolović - Raičević, a prominent perfumer whose story connects continents and professions. From childhood memories related to fragrances to her pioneering work in the perfume industry, Čolović - Raičević shares her inspiring story. The conversation reveals her artistic view of perfume creation, the influence of the British experience on work in Serbia and her commitment to sustainability in the world of perfumery. Can you describe to us how your childhood and early interest in fragrances influenced your career as a perfumer? My passion for perfumes started in my early childhood, when I smelled my grandfather’s perfume for the


first time - and today I keep that precious bottle as a symbol of memory. Also, I can’t forget the smell of the Magic Noir perfume my mother wore, nor the sweet smell of the lilacs in my grandmother’s garden. All those fragrant notes have deeply inspired me since the earliest days. It fascinates me how fragrances can express emotions and personality in such a subtle way. I often like to tell people that I am in the business of creating happiness, because the essence of perfume lies in its power to make us happy and fill us with joy. How did you manage to transfer your experience and knowledge about risk management from Great Britain to Serbia and how does it affect your work today?

After completing my master’s studies in risk management in London, I started my career working for a renowned corporation in the City of London. However, even a steady corporate job over many years was not enough to make my dreams come true. I decided to sell my flat in London so that I could invest in my own education and become a perfumer. During that process, I had the privilege of learning from the best, including an English perfumer who worked for the Royal Family. Mentored by the industry’s foremost experts, I have gained knowledge and skills that are rare and valuable. Although that education came at a high price, I believe that every moment invested was worth the effort. In my own laboratory and studio in London, I


How do you see the future of the perfume industry, especially in the context of sustainability and environmental awareness? The future of the perfume industry will increasingly depend on the sustainability and environmental awareness of consumers. There is an increasing demand for natural and organic ingredients, as well as for products that are produced in a sustainable way. Perfume manufacturers will have to adapt their production processes to reduce the negative impact on the environment, using recycled and biodegradable materials, as well as to support fair trade and local communities. At The Perfume Atelier, we engage in several sustainable initiatives: refillable bottles and packaging (refill service); we use recyclable materials like glass and wood instead of plastic for our packaging; our perfume boxes are designed to be multi-purpose; we source our ingredients from sustainable and ethical suppliers, preferring natural and biodegradable materials; we produce our perfumes in limited series. www.diplomacyandcommerce.rs




The Belgrade Philharmonic is not only a World-Class Orchestra but also a Movement in Itself

by Mijat Kontić


Communication Manager of the Belgrade Philharmonic


s an iconic Serbian orchestra, with its inventive artistic concepts and creative marketing, the Belgrade Philharmonic has positioned itself as a true breath of fresh air on the international concert scene. Their unique image attracted a lot of attention, including many famous names in classical music. After the Philharmonic recently celebrated its centenary, we met with Jelena Milašinović, Communications Manager of the Belgrade Philharmonic, to talk about her experience working with the orchestra, their most important awards and engagements, as well as the current situation in the Serbian culture and the legacy of Ivan Tasovac’s work. What marked a decade of your career as the communications manager of the Belgrade Philharmonic? It’s the love for the job, thanks to which I don’t view the Belgrade Philharmonic as my employer, but as my second home. As the communications manager, I got the opportunity to consolidate my knowledge, considering that I graduated from the Academy of Music and received a master’s degree in Cultural Management with professional training in the field of communications at the London School of Public Rela-


tions. For me, the Philharmonic is an eternal inspiration, so crafting creative communication strategies and developing innovative projects is extremely exciting and fun. After all this time with the Philharmonic, I still enjoy walking the tightrope between tradition and whimsy, exercising wit over formality as the Belgrade Philharmonic has profiled itself. In addition to cultivating artistic excellence, the Philharmonic is a brave, daring and lucid social actor, which is why it stands out as a „love brand”. The Belgrade Philharmonic has a unique character and I am proud to have contributed to its refinement. During your career, you received numerous awards and recognitions for your work. Which would you single out as your favourite and why? I would like to single out the last award that I am very proud of, which is the PRO PR Globe Award because it is an international award that re-

© M. Djokovic

We experienced our new renaissance with Ivan Tasovac and thus became what we are today wards individuals for their personal contribution to the profession. It is common to single out and award projects in the field of communications and much less often to summarize the results of an individual’s continuous work. That is why it is a special honour to be nominated and then awarded by colleagues and excellent communications professionals. Also, this award is a good indicator of the placement of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, because the award puts it on the same plane as London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, along with numerous prestigious global corporations.

beginning we integrated it into an event that was visited by more than 30,000 people who enjoyed listening to classical music. The open-air concert is one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had in the Philharmonic. I will not forget the river of beaming people who walked back across the Branko Bridge after the concert and cheered when our buses passed by. After a long time, I felt proud to be a citizen of Belgrade, because the Philharmonic restored rightful dignity to our city.

Another favourite is certainly the one that came first - the Public Relations Society of Serbia awarded the Belgrade Philharmonic for the communications of the first openair concert that we organized in 2017 as a music picnic. We invited the audience to choose the compositions they wanted to listen to outdoors and thanks to a campaign designed in this way, from the very

It’s stuck in the gap between program potential and numerous infrastructural problems, which I hope will be solved more systematically, especially when it comes to the cultural scenes of Serbia. For example, our orchestra has almost nowhere to perform in Serbia at full capacity, not only because of the cramped stages of multipurpose cultural centres but also because of inadequate conditions for performing symphonic music.


How would you rate the current state of the Serbian culture?

Although the cultural offer is dynamic, I would like to see more top-production events that are globally relevant. It was wonderful to live in Belgrade during the Marina www.diplomacyandcommerce.rs

Would you say that nowadays it is easier or harder to attract people to come to cultural events, taking into account digitalization and social networks? The Philharmonic was among the first cultural institutions to understand the essence of social networks in connecting its audience and reaching for new ones. Creative use of all communication channels is an absolute imperative in building relationships with the audience because modern trends put the user in focus. Innovative but also functional communication is important and social networks give us space to develop and strengthen ties with the community. The pandemic showed us the importance of digitization, bearing in mind the huge advantages that the digital market offers as a space for internationalizing one’s own activity. I believe that one world does not exclude the other- on the contrary, they are very compatible and complement each other. Which international performances of the Belgrade Philharmonic would you single out as the most important? It is certainly the American tour that we embarked on in 2014 in Chicago, Cleveland, Washington and Carnegie Hall in New York City. The current generation of musicians was the first to present an orchestra on the American continent. It is a special feeling to perform in venues that are the pivots of musical history. The Belgrade Philharmonic captivates with its charisma and energy on tours. Our ensemble is homogeneous in the context of national identity, but diverse in the playing practices of the musicians, who come from different schools such as German, French and Russian. The result is an authentic symbiosis of unity and diversity. These are the qualities that make the Orchestra special and the top performance level makes it comparable to the world’s A-class orchestras. The same thing happened on the tour of China that took place in November 2023, on the occasion of the international promotion of the Orchestra’s centenary. Today’s Chi-

na is the future of classical music. We performed in the gigantic and most important music venues in Asia, which in many respects dominate the classical music market through advanced infrastructure, huge budgets for visiting artists and education. Investing in culture is one of China’s strategic goals, which makes it exceptional but, unfortunately, also an exception. The Belgrade Philharmonic recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. What do you think is the key to success that has helped the Belgrade Philharmonic’s tradition to survive for so long?

of that time was marked by a clear vision not only for Belgrade to be like other world metropolises of that time but also to facilitate its potential as a multicultural crossroads. Throughout the Philharmonic’s history, various political and social circumstances directly impacted the orchestra’s status, so golden periods alternated with dim periods during which the Philharmonic survived on pure enthusiasm. In the last 20 years, with Ivan Tasovac at its helm, the Philharmonic experienced its new renaissance and stability thanks to enormous work and investment in the quality


It seems that the word „enthusiasm”, which is interwoven into the very beginnings of the Belgrade Philharmonic, took root along with its duration. 100 years ago, a group of enthusiasts led by Stevan Hristić, founded this orchestra. The zeitgeist

of communication and marketing, today the Belgrade Philharmonic is not only a world-class orchestra but it has become a movement that has personal importance and significance for people. As the Belgrade Philharmonic director for many years, Ivan Tasovac did a lot for the Serbian culture. What do you think is the most important legacy of Ivan Tasovac’s work? Ivan Tasovac was such a gorgeous and authentic personality that it is impossible to define his merits in one answer. In my opinion, Tasovac was a visionary and a reformer and these are the characteristics of the greatest people. He was the first to see and then to find a way to turn his vision into sustainable ideas and to persevere in their realization. Furthermore, his lucidity, flammability and sense of the game made him the most charismatic leader and figure on our cultural scene. In addition to the reconstruction and rebranding of the institution, his unique vision saw the Belgrade Philharmonic in a new building required for further progress, as a new symbol of Belgrade, the country and the region in the exchange of artistic excellence. His vision was embodied in the project of Amanda Levete and the London-based architects AL_A. I hope that our time will demonstrate perseverance in the realization of Tasovac’s legacy and that the endeavours of Stevan Hristić from the last century will not be the only example in the realization of progressive ideas that make up the history of the Philharmonic.

© Nebojsa Babic

Abramović exhibition, for which the whole world came to the Museum of Modern Art. Even those people who had no direct interest in the exhibition had the feeling that something big was happening around them. Significant projects create an atmosphere that draws you in even if you are not part of them.

of the orchestra, instrumentation and constant elevation of playing through programme policy and the selection of chief conductors. With the improvement of working conditions, creative programmes, advances in concert formats, methods

„Even after more than two years since the death of Ivan Tasovac, the Belgrade Philharmonic is in acting-director status, celebrating its centenary with the lowest salaries of orchestral musicians in the region, with a shamefully small budget year after year, without a director, without advertising, without a renewed concert hall uniforms for ten years, and without firm convictions that our new hall will be built.” This was read last week on the „Kolarda” stage as part of the announcement by the musicians of the Belgrade Philharmonic. Please give us a short comment. I absolutely share the same concern and dissatisfaction of musicians. I believe that the most important thing is the systematic and long-term solution to the problem of the status of musicians, and I hope that the first constructive solutions will be reached soon, as well as that we will take even bigger strides through the new century towards the new concert hall of the Belgrade Philharmonic.

What are the plans of the Belgrade Philharmonic for 2024? What can audiences expect in the coming period? We are celebrating the jubilee throughout this season, until June 2024. With the same enthusiasm when we represent Belgrade and Serbia to the world, every Friday at Kolarac, we bring the world to Belgrade, so the audiences will have the opportunity to listen to famous artists such as violinist Sergei Krylov, pianist Aleksei Volodin and many others. The audience will also enjoy large-scale endeavours, such as the Brahms marathon. The Philharmonic will give a very convincing answer to the famous question „Do you like Brahms?” by performing all 4 symphonies in one evening together with chief conductor Gabriel Feltz. And for the end of the season, we are preparing a true gala event - Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, when the Philharmonic will once again turn Kolarac into an opera stage, with its skill and constant pushing of boundaries.



Women Behind the Scenes Who Nurture Theatre

hey are the women behind the scenes, whose job it is to take care of the details that others may not know anything about, but which these ladies deal with on a daily basis. These are five women who appear in front of the audience, but in the theatre foyer, to check whether the audience is greeted as it should be, whether everything is in order and if journalists can report the news from the event as easily as possible. For many, the term PR is nothing but a buzzword that you hear about more and more, but hardly anyone really knows the true nature of their work. They fight with knowledge and different tools to keep Belgrade’s cultural scene alive. This is why we dedicate this story to them. What does their working day look like? Do they collaborate with colleagues from other cultural institutions? How do they communicate with the audience? We talked about these topics with Biljana Šego (Atelje 212), Svetlana Paroški (Yugoslav Drama Theatre), Ivana Medigović (Terazije Theatre), Slobodanka Latinović (Boško Buha Theatre) and Tatijana Rapp (Madlenianum Opera and Theatre).

EVERY DAY IS UNPREDICTABLE According to Svetlana Paroški, from the Yugoslav Drama Theatre, a typical working day involves thirty different tasks and challenges that she has to face. „My working day usually starts by first checking incoming emails, then going through the press and video clippings. But, often the day starts differently. The first rehearsal in the theater means that you announce the news that you have started doing a play. That’s why I go to the rehearsal first, take photos that I send later with the news. If the premiere is approaching, there

What does the working day look like, their cooperation and activities that the five PRs of Belgrade-based theatres do SVETLANA PAROŠKI

Yugoslav Drama Theatre

Photo: © Nebojša Babić


are already activities related to promotion, photography, printing of posters, backlights... Social networks are also an important part of my working day, and if it is the part of the month when the repertoire is published, that is primary. In general, the days are different, the most important thing is to know what the priorities are and then everything is achieved and done on time.” Slobodanka Latinović is an actress in the theater Boško Buha. According to her, not only she deals with PR, but also all their actors, employees, as well as their marketing team. Unlike the previous example, Slobodanka Latinović’s working day begins outside the office: „My working day starts first with taking my child to school, then I walk the dogs and then I slowly embark on my working day with a sense of peace. If a play is in the process of being staged, I go to the theatre and do that play. In terms of new plays, we have ongoing rehearsals which usually take place after children’s plays. Then I stay for the rehearsal and once that is finished, I go home.” It is interesting to note that Slobodanka Latinović actually started



by Mijat Kontić


her career at the Boško Buha, playing Gerda in „The Snow Queen” in 1997, directed by Milan Karadžić. „I played Gerda. That was my beginning at Boško Buha Theatre. When it was first staged, this play had its own special kind of magic and won various awards at many festivals. We won the hearts of the audience wherever we went and the play, believe it or not, is still staged to this day, with somewhat different actors. OK, with totally different actors. We’ll see how long it will last.“

It’s always stressful in the morning because I also have a child who goes to school. Somehow walking the dog relaxes me and that’s when the creative part of my day starts. I am most myself in the morning, wbut when I get to the theatre, I’m in a tailspin. There are always unexpected situations for which have you little to no time to solve.” At the Terazije Theatre, Ivana Medigović and her colleague Jovana Šuleić say that, although it is important to use all communication channels, none are as effective as word of mouth. „We need to invest in all channels, but one-on-one communication with people is the most important. Those comments that you hear right after the play are the best reflection of the play so that you can

Tatijana Rapp from the Opera and Theater Madlenianum also starts her working day by walking her dog. She says that her creative process begins there and then. „My working day starts at six in the morning and my brain thinks about work even when I’m not at work. As I’m walking the dog, I think about what I need to do that day.


Terazije Theatre


Photo: © Zoran Šrbić


Opera and Theater Madlenianum

really see everything right away, i.e. what is the dominant emotion that the audience felt. You are selling emotions. We all care about our education and mental and physical health, but who cares about the soul? You know, theatre cares about the soul.” Svetlana Paroški from the Yugoslav Drama Theatre (JDP) agrees with this statement. „I think that the interaction with the audience, apart of course, from the JDP having the good repertoire and long tradition, is very important, and that’s why we are thorough and careful. There is a saying that goes „Theatre is like a home“. In the theatre, we see family-like relationships and we are all one big family.”


Tatijana Rapp from the Opera and Theatre Madlenianum shares the same opinion:

As for the connection between Bel- „We are very happy to meet up with grade’s theatres, it does exist and is our colleagues. This is a difficult propresent, as PRs communicate daily fession, there is a crisis everywhere so that premieres and other import- and the same goes for the media toant events do not coincide and that day. The number of TV stations and the interested media outlets can media outlets is growing and yet the number of journalists who can procover each of them with the same dose of attention and effort. SLOBODANKA „Through e-mails, we make a schedule of conferences and all media events so that it does not happen that on the same day at the same time two theaters have an event to which they invite journalists. We are trying to make it a nice and decent collaboration “, says Svetlana Paroški from JDP.


Ivana Medigović from Terazije Theatre confirms that that type of cooperation does exist and that it fans out much wider, bearing in mind that colleagues from other Belgrade theatres share the same problems and are available to each other for any kind of help. „When a different kind of cooperation is needed, whether it’s contacts, actors or some resources that they or we need, we absolutely comple-

mote something that is top-notch art, like opera, is declining.“ However, Atelje 212 has a slightly different approach compared to colleagues from other Belgrade theatres. Since the COVID-induced health crisis, traditional press con-


ferences have been completely stopped in this theatre. „Atelje 212 has not been holding press conferences since the coronavirus pandemic. This is still an important media and strategic matter, but we have noticed that many journalists are more comfortable with the way we work now. Those who couldn’t come to our press conferences in the past were okay with us sending them a press release and relevant photographs, so we introduced the practice of not doing press conferences. This gave us better results,” says Biljana Šego.

Biljana Šego from Atelje 212 believes that the monthly repertoire is „the alphabet for every PR” and that it represents the main guideline that dictates how their working day will unfold. „When the repertoire comes out, you know what will transpire that month in your theatre. When we have a regular repertoire, then we consult the sales organizers. We have various mechanisms for how we promote plays that are not premiering and how we can get the media to report about them again, which is either by handing out tickets or via special campaigns that we devise ourselves during the month.”

Boško Buha Theatre

ment each other, even though everyone has their own repertoire policy and way of functioning.”

The pandemic is something that all the interlocutors have touched upon. Due to the health crisis, theatres developed new practices that

have survived to this day. Apart from Atelje 212, the Madlenianum Theatre did the same. Tatijana Rapp explains: „When everything stopped during the pandemic, it was a big challenge to keep the theatre working. When I proposed an online season, my colleagues looked at me as if I had lost all my marbles, but thankfully Mrs. Zepter had an ear for my idea. The journalists were grateful to me, because they had something to publish in the cultural sections. I also started doing interviews with artists for our website. It is our main channel where the audience can find out everything about our programs. Another channel is social networks, which we especially cherish.” Boško Buha Theatre cooperates with schools in the production and preparation of the play „The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole”: „The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole is a great play for the school-age because Adrian Mole is also of school age and the whole story is about life through the lens of a 13-and-a-halfyear-old boy. There is falling in love, parents’ divorce and bullying at school. Thanks to this play, children have the opportunity to experience all of that together with him.” After talking with several women from the public relations world, who dedicated their professional and personal lives to the theatre, one thing is certain – all of them are committed workers to the extent that they invest every last ounce of energy in what they say is their second home. Maybe there are similarities between PR professionals in various segments of society, but building a relationship with theatre audiences is definitely not an ordinary job. It is a daily battle for survival of the cultural scene in Belgrade and this is also our take and the strongest impression after talking to these five fantastic women.



The List: People who change Belgrade



© Goran Popovski

Belgrade a city with a soul, where every street and every person tells their own story. Throughout this city’s history, people have left their mark and influenced its appearance, architecture, gastronomic offer, and the habits of the people of Belgrade. But here’s the thing about being influential: it’s not for everyone. It takes a certain kind of person to stand out in a crowd and be heard. Let’s take a look at some of the men and women who have made their mark on Belgrade in a feature column by Duška Jovanić, which is out each month. Urban guerrilla man



Fashion photographer

One of the world’s best fashion photographers was born in Dorćol. This is what made him an irresistible and unsurpassed hero of the local documentary pastiche. He is still unwilling to brag about his successes and persistently continues to feed on the better past, which also includes consuming the well-known Belgrade chestnut puree. His talent suffers from excessive consumption of Belgrade aromas, like hot coffee and burek. For a long time, as a Norwegian citizen, he lived and worked in New York City. Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Rimmel, Gucci, Helmut Lang, Nike and Sephora are all his long-standing clients. Every single Vogue waited impatiently for Reljin’s photos. As for other fashion magazines, his photographic memory doesn’t serve him very well. Otherwise, he is the majority owner of the precious conceptual time of his models, including the invaluable Marina


fessional recognition and my second disappointment in love”. For years he threatened to write a good novel. The genre took serious revenge on him, given that he is a mechanical engineer by profession. At the moment, he is the author of three excellent books: “A tako je dobro počelo” (2015), “Za sutra najavljuju konačno razvedravanje” (2018) and “Dolazak matadora” (2022). „In two of my novels, the heroes move around the Belgrade of my childhood and adulthood. Some streets of Senjak and Cerak Vinogradi made their debut in Serbian literature, precisely through my books”. Although he is the biggest Sopranos fan in this part of the world, he is intravenously connected to England, which has also affected his character. King Charles called him a prince, and he was introduced to the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as „a punk masked as a journalist”. Queen Elizabeth II awarded him the Medal of the British Empire for his outstanding contribution to the promotion and improvement of cultural ties between Britain and Serbia. Rosić lives up to his awards. Because London is always a good idea!

© Nebojsa Babic

„You know him for sure, I mean one hundred per cent. The man is a legend, played in Urban Guerrilla and Berliner Strasse, back in the day. Later he formed that great band called Wilbor Dallas, but the times were already a disaster. He wrote for a bunch of magazines, he also worked on that nostalgic Yu-encyclopedia. A terribly funny guy! He supports Chelsea. Rosić is a renegade. He knows a lot, has an infectious smile, and can describe anything he wants in two sentences. We need more people like Rosić in this city and this country. The silent type, rough at first glance, but polite and gentle, like a character from a good old English movie”. This is how Branko Rosić, journalist, columnist and writer is perceived by everyone who knows him well. And they are not wrong. Rosić is very important for this city. The emotional connection is mutual. „I divide Belgrade according to the coordinates where I played, had promotions, dates, engaged in living life, run away from classes and today from obligations. It is also the auxiliary pitch for the FC Partizan stadium where I received my first pro-

Abramović, for whom he always has to a new dirty joke ready. He often worked with Kate Moss, calling her “fantastic” – a type of the girl next door who instantly transforms into a real goddess. There is always this or that paradox taking place in front of Reljin’s camera - model Irina Shayk put high heel shoes on her butt, while philosopher Slavoj Žižek put a finger on his forehead. Although he is not one of those photographers who are the best snitches of someone’s weaknesses, he admits that actresses are the most difficult to deal with. Mostly because they don’t know what they want and they are quite spoiled. Despite the much sought-after eye, Reljin is always dressed in Rick-Owensblack. He is a top analogue acquirer and the best teacher of Serbian sentimental education. He still adores Belgrade, which smells of linden and coal and his heart will always beat for his children, new love and photography.

© private archive


NOTE: The list is made in alphabetical order




reflect her perfectly. Ivana Rašić is a ticking time bomb who seems totally cool, even when she’s uttering obscene lines. In the meantime she grew up, got married and gave birth to a child, Sajsi bursts into tears heavy as stones from time to time, after which she doesn’t get any better. What makes her happy is that Belgrade, like her, is in its best years. Maybe she romanticizes the city a little bit, but it is important to her that the city and she follow in step. At the risk of sounding too cocky, she is aware of how much she has changed the Belgrade music scene with her insistence that a female voice be heard. And for Belgrade women, she recommends satin and lace, feigned helplessness, the lust of Marlene Dietrich and being relaxed like Marilyn Monroe as a recipe for irresistibility.


MARIJA NIKOLIĆ Awesome woman

© Marko Krunic

Pardon, my French! That’s the first thought that comes to mind when you meet this exceptional woman. Pharmacist, fashion rebel, lady boss and someone who plays her role of a Parisian woman in Belgrade with a joyful mood and perceives it as a way of thinking, rather than a profession. After all, the most famous Parisian women weren’t even French - they just acted like it. Marija was born in Čačak and got her university diploma in Belgrade, where she began to pursue her main occupation. However, she never gave up on fashion. On the contrary! The way she carries herself and looks, inspires courage to challenge the balance of comfort of the white work coat. The adjective “cool” fits her perfectly. She never plays the card of the classic beauty, although she is one. Due to circumstances, she became the unofficial Belgrade ambassador of the YSL philosophy, although she is a regular guest at Celine’s fashion


© Goran Popovski

Punk by origin, rapper by profession, feminist, activist and LGBT icon, she was once just an ordinary girl from Nevesinjska Street. Then she regularly went out to the Dolar club, where she started bursting out with hip-hop rhymes, although her post-puberty search for herself took place while she was studying political science. After that, she presented herself as a new star of Serbian hip-hop, who imbued her verses and concert performances with seductive sexiness. Despite the accusations that her choruses are a heinous crime against morality, she managed to become the heroine of a musical genre in which the main roles were previously occupied exclusively by shameless boys. Sajsi was as furious as they were, if not more so. Her sharp tongue has created an army of fans, who regularly consume her sassy choruses, which

show and after-party. This is a subtle play for a serious businesswoman – balancing between New York glamour, French casualness and bohemian milieu. Maybe that’s why her voice is not girly, but a little hoarse and melancholic, despite the humour that embellishes the time she spends with her friends. Her messy hair and (im)perfect styling reflect unreserved confidence in life. She lives and works in Belgrade with her curly, irresistible pet Vida, dividing time between pharmacies and the unusual project that is Koncept 45, which opened the doors to niche fashion brands to demonstrate that Belgrade women can be cool too. „Among others, the messages of Koncept 45 are being always authentic and never letting go of yourself. They are inspired by Belgrade, which encourages me to follow and present the spirit of this city in the best possible way in what I do.” Yes, live big, but with style!

MILA TURAJLIĆ Film director

„My films not only tell stories but make a record of various places in Belgrade. I filmed the last three days of the closing of the Metropol Hotel and the emptying of its basement. I did the same with the Avala Film Depot and the last days of the Film City before it was privatized. I also filmed the demolition of the old house of my French teacher, whose beautiful garden was spilling over at the corner of Čuburska and Stojan Protić streets. I filmed spaces that are disappearing, forgotten monuments. That’s how I participated in recording the city’s memories”. The laureate of the world’s biggest award for documentary film is an eternal seeker of a better world. She’s someone who knows how to transform things that are abnormal into normal and believes that global truths are only found in local stories. This is why she makes excellent documentaries out of them… Her now famous film Cinema Komunisto evoked strong emo-

tions in the audience, thanks to the authentic heroes who carry the film’s story, such as the legendary cinematographer Josip Broz Tito. The film Druga Strana Svega (The Other Side of Everything) is the testimony of the professor and activist Srbijanka Turajlić, otherwise also known as the director’s mother, about „the years eaten by locusts”. With the diptych Nesvrstani i Filmske Gerile, she brought us the story of the Filmske Novosti cameraman Stefan Labudović, who participated in the Algerian War of Independence. Documentary film became her way of life, as well as her obsession with Yugoslavia, a country that does not exist anywhere, except on film. The same goes for Belgrade. „My anchors are the taverns where my grandparents spent time with their friends, the school where my father went and the raft on the Ada where generations of people swam around.” You are right, Mila. It’s all about people.

© Benjain Geminel




by Dragan Nikolić


View from San Elmo Castle



“Charlie’s Destiny”, a children’s novel by Aleksandar Popović, is the first book I read without help as a child and I still remember it very vividly today. The book talks about a mother cat, who leads a difficult life hunting mice for a very inconvenient owner, who decides to provide for her offspring, the little www.diplomacyandcommerce.rs

All photos: © D. Nikolić


ella Napoli! One of the oldest cities in the world is located in a geographically exciting place. On one side, the sleeping Vesuvius, and the bay with the giant volcanic caldera are a literal sign that you are in the cradle of civilization. Everything is bustling with life here - from the colours on the baroque facades to the locals on Vespas and the adoring tourists. This is a city where a random female passenger will sing a traditional Neapolitan song with a beautiful lyrical soprano in the subway, accompanied by a busker. There are also images of Naples that cannot be captured by a camera, like the aroma of basil from the warm dough of a freshly made pizza Margherita in an old furnace, the sound of seagulls in the harbour, the clatter of cobblestones under the rush of the river of people and Vespa horns.

On one side, the dormant Mount Vesuvius, and the bay in which there is a giant volcanic caldera are a literal sign that you are in the cradle of civilization

cat called Charlie, a better life. She leaves him somewhere in a Dalmatian port in the hope that he will travel to a better world on one of the ships. Charlie is picked up by a girl named Violeta, the daughter of the captain of a large ship sailing to Naples, and he soon finds himself on the exciting and dangerous streets of this Southern Italian city. It may be hard to believe, but ever since I was a very small kid, I have dreamed of visiting Naples. As I have never forced anything in my life, I let Naples invite me to itself at some point, and this happened recently at a perhaps not-so-ideal time to visit this city. However, if I have learned anything, it is that

when an invitation to have a good time comes from such a badass like Naples, one never refuses. It is no longer that special and crazy city as it was described to me. In fact, it is quite ordinary and in no way different from any European city, except perhaps for the amount of rubbish in the streets. The former chaos on the streets, which the city was known for, does not exist today, at least not in that form. The crowd is no longer made up of Neapolitan kids who curiously peek under the skirts of Neapolitan ladies and gentlemen, pinch them as they pass or steal their latest-fashion purses. There is no more arguing in the rough but me-

Maradona is the latest Naepolitan Saint

MUSIC HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN INTEGRAL PART OF NEAPOLITAN LIFE, EVEN TODAY lodious Neapolitan dialect that the housewives in aprons shoot out of the windows of the narrow streets while their colourful laundry flutters like flags bearing the image of Maradona today.

Typical Naepolitan patio

Kids today are chasing Pokemon on their phones and Vespas have Polish license plates because that’s how Neapolitans cheat the state by avoiding paying high taxes and of course fines for traffic violations,

which they still traditionally commit in large numbers. American pop blares from the pub, while streams of adoring tourists scurry through the streets. aroma of basil from the warm dough of a freshly made pizza Margherita still intoxicates the air, while some new Charlie cats chase fast food scraps on the streets instead of mice. Back in 1898, the director of the Naples newspaper wrote a love poem,


today one of the most famous in the world: „Your windowpanes shine, a washerwoman sings and brags… But another sun, even more beauteous, oh my sweetheart, my own sun, shines from your face! This sun, my own sun, shines from your face.” That’s the chorus of the famous song «O Sole Mio». Music has always been an integral part of Neapolitan life, even today. That is why it is not surprising that the first opera house in the world was opened in this city. The Royal The-

San Genarro catacombs

Home Fresco in Pomepii

atre of San Carlo (Il Real Teatro di San Carlo) was founded in 1737, almost half a century before today’s far more famous Milan’s Scala. One cannot talk about Naples without mentioning St. Januarius (San Gennaro) and of course, St. Maradona, but more about him another time. Martyr Januarius is also celebrated by the Orthodox Church and in Naples he is considered the patron saint of the city. After the Romans tried unsuccessfully to kill him several times and finally beheaded him, the Neapolitans secretly took his body to the caves of the Capodimonte Hill. Later they would become places of pilgrimage because people believed that his relics had healing powers and could even bring the dead back to life. The catacombs later served as a cemetery, but in recent times they were abandoned and neglected. Until a group of five young people from the neighbourhood of Sanita, which was considered very dangerous and poor, came up with the idea to revive the neighbourhood and employ young people. They founded a cooperative and began to clean the catacombs, which are today one of the largest and most visited sights of the city. Naples has always functioned according to its own system, which


implies no system at all. The mafia capital of the world is still struggling with this problem, but since numerous vehicles of the

The bars on all the windows up to the second floor date back from that period, but the danger is now gone. The local population self-organized, managed to expel drug dealers from the streets and conducted revitalization campaigns. They organized communes that used the common spaces in the buildings to make apartments for rent to tourists and then used the money earned to clean up their own areas. So my rent on the last day of my stay paid for mowing the savannah-like grass in front of the building. Everyone approached me on the street and in the store and it seemed to me that everyone knew


Colourful Proccida

the famous eruption that cremated Pompeii and Herculaneum. At that time, east of Naples was home to elite settlements with wealthy merchant houses, the remains of which can be visited today. Pompeii, a city over 2,000 years old, was destroyed in the eruption of the nearby Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Most of the residents evacuated when, after a series of earthquakes, smoke started billowing from the top of a nearby mountain. Thousands of people died, mostly slaves, but also rich people who Spanish Quarter

financial police parade through the streets, which, let’s say for the argument’s sake, successfully fight against the mafia, the situation is somewhat better. The city is safe, despite the claims of terrified American tourists, but caution is never out of the question. My apartment was located in the seedy eastern suburbs just beyond the apocalyptic industrial zone. In front of my building was a training ground for mafia-run pit bull fights, homeless people slept on my doorstep, rat traps hung on every flagpole and buses passed by less often than the eruptions of the nearby Mount Vesuvius, but despite this, the area gave the impression of safety. No suspicious characters were lurking about and the people here are actually very gentle, hardworking and hospitable. I learned from the conversation with the apartment owner that until a few years ago it was impossible to live here and almost impossible to survive after dark. One did not leave the house even if a fire broke out.

that as a seldom tourist, I was somehow their saviour. They did everything possible for me to leave good ratings on the online rental platform because it is important for them for people to know how hard they worked to clean up this area. My apartment also had a view of Vesuvius, which shyly hid behind the clouds every day. Not far from there, two villas from the Roman period were discovered, which were buried by lava during

Pizza Margherita


PROCIDA, A QUIET AND SMALL ISLAND IN THE GULF OF NAPLES, IS THE PERFECT ESCAPE FROM THE CITY’S HUSTLE AND BUSTLE could not say goodbye to their wealth, so after 17 centuries they were found crouched hugging jars of gold. Covered in lava, Pompeii has preserved an unreal depiction of life in the Roman Empire at that time and by walking through its streets, we realize that absolutely everything in the modern world is based on the knowledge, skills and

customs of Ancient Rome - streets, sidewalks, water pipes, bathrooms, shops and public buildings, landscaping, houses, advertisements, lifestyle, work, entertainment, habits... The bizarre irony is that the city was paved with stone obtained from volcanic rocks during its construction. It’s as if the roads were paved with lava streams that would melt them away a little more than a century later.

Naples is a very popular tourist destination. Not only does its baroque and sumptuous architecture attract attention, but there are also hundreds of churches, some of which date back to the early Christian period. There are as many as seven fortresses in the city itself. Castel dell’Ovo, the first and oldest, is located on the fishing promontory from where the city began to expand towards the oldest city district of Pizzofalcone, then San’Elmo, perched on top of the hill from

Museum of Archeology

which there is a view of the entire city, Vesuvius, the islands of Capri, Ischia and Proccida, then Castel Nuovo, in the very centre, next to the royal palace, at the begin-

Streets in Pompeii

ning of the Spanish quarter. Castel Capuano is in the very centre of the city, while the other three are located outside the city area but administratively belong to Naples. The city’s turbulent history is also reflected in its architecture and urbanism. The Spanish quarter, as one of the oldest, is quite reminiscent of Spanish towns, which is not surprising considering that the Spanish ruled this city for two centuries (16th and 17th). After the Spanish, the city was conquered by the Bourbons, who built the magnificent royal palace and the royal opera and designed its centre towards the harbour in the style of Central European cities. The museums are proudly helmed by the Archaeological Museum, which houses objects found in Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as numerous statues of impressive dimensions from the Greek and Roman periods. Naples is especially attractive to tourists in the summer as the centre of the Amalfi Coast. From

there you can take the Circumvesuviana train to all the beautiful towns on the coast such as Sorrento and Positano. I should also mention the magnificent archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The most famous island of Capri is a real luxurious paradise for the rich, where even Roman emperors came to rest. Due to its natural features and volcanic origin, the island of Ischia has spa status and is becoming increasingly popular among tourists looking for spa treatments at numerous hot and healing springs. Procida, a quiet and small island in the Gulf of Naples, is the perfect escape from the city’s hysteria. Pablo Neruda also went into exile here, which prompted the beautiful movie Il Postino (The Postman) to be made, in which the mayor has to hire a postman because of the amount of letters Neruda receives. The Talented Mr. Ripley was also filmed on Procida. The island is so picturesque and the houses are of different colours so that fishermen would be able to recognize each house from the sea.





Disabled Icons and Their Global Influence Exploring a project that aims to raise awareness about social inclusion of people with disabilities


he project „Redefining Boundaries: Disabled Icons and Their Global Influence”, co-financed by the European Delegation in the Republic of Serbia and implemented by the Best Fest from Novi Sad, deals with creating conditions for the social inclusion of people with disabilities through activities that promote the achievements and abilities of people with disabilities through a series of exhibitions, awareness campaigns and training initiatives in Serbian cities. Project activities were implemented in four cities, Požarevac, Šabac, Inđija, and the first event and opening of the project was held in Novi Sad on Tuesday, November 7, 2023. During the opening of the first event, the accompanying project activity was a panel discussion on the topic of inclusion of persons with disabilities, in which experts from this field and people


for whom this is a priority topic participated. The participants of the panel discussion in Novi Sad were Vesna Paušić, master dermatologist; Tamara Mladenović, graduate special education teacher; Senka Nenadov, a graduate student at the Faculty of Philosophy, philosophy and French language - cerebral palsy; and Zorica Petrović, mother of a disabled person. At the panel, it was discussed about inclusion, first of all, through education, social environment, but also the employment of persons with disabilities. The challenges that need to be worked on today were an indispensable topic, but nevertheless, the participants of

the panel spoke affirmatively about improving the position of persons with disabilities, the prohibition of discrimination, and various good examples from practice that encourage equality. The second event was marked with a panel discussion entitled „Inclusion or illusion?” and with the opening of the exhibition „Persons with disabilities who changed the World.” The Association of Paraplegics of the Mačva District and the Association of Citizens, „The Best Fest” from Novi Sad, marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 4 in the Library Hall of Šabac Gymnasium. The main message of the panel discussion was that in order for inclusion not to be an illusion, it is necessary to take concrete steps and measures to ensure that all people have equal opportunities and rights.

The third event was held in Požarevac, in the Home for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Workshops and activities of the association’s users were held, which show a good example of the starting point for improving the quality of life of those who live with certain types of difficulties.


The position of persons with developmental disabilities and disabilities is particularly sensitive, and they are at a much greater risk of being exposed to various forms and types of neglect and discrimination. That is why it is very important to create a safe and stimulating environment for persons with developmental disabilities and disabilities,” - said Vladan Bošković, secretary of the Inter-municipal Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Požarevac. Members of the association presented their works at the creative workshops. There was also a stage performance - a pantomime, „New Youth,” directed by Vladislav Velkovski, which was prepared on the occasion of celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The final event was held on Monday, January 29, in Indjija, at the Multiple Sclerosis Association „Moj Srem,” and on this occasion, a workshop was presented. Emilija Mihajlović, the president of the „Moj Srem” Association, emphasized the importance of such workshops, but also the importance of the new premises that the Association received for use. After the workshop, a photo exhibition was presented with a text about disabled people from all over the world who, despite the difficulties, managed to achieve results in their professions. With the realization of the project activities, the main goal was to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities by understanding their needs and raising awareness about the importance of inclusion and equality in order to decrease prejudice and discrimination within our society. www.diplomacyandcommerce.rs


Denis Kolundžija (1972-2024)


t was a Saturday when we spoke on the phone to set a date for our usual coffee at the Skver bar. Denis said that this time, we would have to skip our weekly routine as he had too much work, complex topics to cover, and short deadlines... He was also tired because the day before, he had a guest appearance at the Nova S news program, where he spoke about provincial and local elections. As always, he was com-

petent, clear, and witty, just as his books are. Who could have guessed that in those two days, I heard from him for the last time that the best journalist I know, my favorite colleague and friend, would leave us forever in just a few hours? He worked until he drew his last breath. Literally! Death found him while he was typing an article, one of his many contributions to top journalism, which is slowly but surely disappearing.

Goran Petrović (1961-2024)


ne of the most notable Serbian writers and the award-winning author, Goran Petrović (born in Kraljevo on 1st July 1961), died on 26 January 2024. The news of his sudden death after a short illness was met with shock and sorrow among his friends, colleagues, and devoted readers. As one of those fiction writers who skillfully embarked on the

imaginative reinvention of their homeland’s historical and cultural reality, Petrović was the most sensitive figure of his generation and perhaps the most unassuming artist Serbian literature has ever had. He spent years in an ardent exploration of the blurry border between real life and the territories of imagination, trespassing into a particular kind of metafiction that aimed to delineate a delicate world of a recluse

I met Denis Kolundžija when he was working for Kibic Fenster magazine. We met again in the editorial office of the legendary Gradjanski List, where his talent and dedication gained full momentum. His brilliant analyses of parliamentarism in Vojvodina, drawing parallels between then and now, interviews with former and current officials, but also intriguing topics and mysteries that (apparently) had no direct connection with politics were his pattern of investigative journalism. Yes, Dennis was very popular. Behind a slightly arrogant attitude and sharp cynicism, there was a brave man, infinitely honest, justice-loving, noble, and open-minded, who simply captivated everyone with positive energy and attitude.

who rejects the promise of consumerism in favor of a wholly spiritual world. Goran Petrović studied Yugoslav and Serbian literature at the University of Belgrade’s Faculty of Philology. His first job was at the Žiča branch of the Public Library, after which he became editor-in-chief of Povelja literary magazine (2003-2010), as well as the director of publishing activities at the Stefan Prvovenčani Public Library. He also worked as the editor of the JP Službeni Glasnik (The Official Gazette). His most important books are the novels Atlas Opisan Nebom (An Atlas Traced by the Sky), Opsada crkve Svetog Spasa (The Siege of the Church of St. Salvation), and Sitničarnica kod ’Srećne

He was also boyishly happy after the last concert of his favourite band, the Rolling Stones, in Vienna, the third in a row he attended. He described that day in detail, starting with a morning coffee on the terrace of a baroque building in the centre of ancient Vienna, an incredible joy of life and a hedonism that was reflected in everything he did and that emanated from his every word. His heart failed him at the moment when he was at the peak of his journalistic maturity. Novi Sad and Vojvodina have lost a great professional, an uncompromising fighter for a life worthy of a human being, and a better and more beautiful Serbia.

by Angelina Čakširan

ruke’ (At the Lucky Hand: aka The Sixty-Nine Drawers), which won the NIN Award. His last two novels titled Papir sa vodenim znakom (Watermarked Paper) and Ikonostas sveg poznatog sveta (Iconostasis), brought him several awards, such as Belgrade Victor and Vladan Desnica Awards. His fiction has been translated into French, Russian, Spanish, German, Italian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Polish, Ukrainian, Macedonian, English, Dutch, Arab and Farsi. Goran Petrović was a true giant of Serbian literature who devoted his life to reconstructing a distant but ever-present glorious past and its transposition into an everlasting art.

by Prof. Dr. Vladislava Gordić Petković





22-25 FEBRUARY BELGRADE, SERBIA The Belgrade Tourism


Fair is the largest tourist event in Serbia and Southeast



more than 40 years, it has met the world’s business standards, creating partnerships



hibitors and attracting an increasing number of visitors every year. Since 2003, he has been a member of the Association of European Tourist Fairs. Its quality made this event a member of another prestigious organization - the International Association of Trade Fairs in Tourism.

THREE Festival (3FEST) is an international contemporary theater festival that explores new horizons in theater art and encourages the exchange of ideas and experiences. Through artistic performances,


and discussions, the THREE Festival provides a platform for inspiring encounters and opening dialogue on important issues of contemporary society. This special edition of 3FEST promises to be the ultimate artistic experience that will provide the audience with unforgettable


moments. The performances will take place on March 6 and 7, 2024, on the stage of Pero Dobrinović of the Serbian National Theater,

The international film festival FEST will be held for the 52nd time from February 23 to March 3,

starting at 8:00 p.m. Tickets

2024. Conceived as an annual selection of the best films of the season, the Belgrade Internation-

are available through the of-

al Film Festival FEST grew into one of the most important film festivals and became one of the

ficial website of the Serbian

main events in the cultural life of Belgrade, with which many young generations grew up. The

National Theater.

festival will be opened with the premiere of the film „Burton’s Academy”, directed by two-time Oscar winner Alexander Payne. The realization of Alexander Payne’s „Barton Academy” (The Holdovers) is this year’s candidate for the Oscar in several categories, including: best film, leading male role (Paul Giamatti), supporting female role, original screenplay.






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