Issue No. 119 Friday, July 13, 2012 - Thursday, July 26, 2012
Pages 6 - 7
Mystery lingers over why the City held a semi-secret bidding process for a hugely profitable public transport job - effectively leaving only one company in the race.
be headed by Ivica Dačić, leader of the Socialist Party and once the righthand man of Serbia’s former strongman, Slobodan Milošević. The government is expected to have 15 ministries, two less than the former one, and ministerial posts will be divided among the parties on an 8-5-2 formula. Continued on page 3
Continued on page 8
Friday • June 13 • 2008
Belgrade Mayor Dragan Đilas tests out the city’s new BusPlus system.
the right to charge for tickets that previously belonged to a municipalowned company, GSP. All investment, meanwhile, must be secured by the private company. Equipment costs alone are expcted
to exceed €12 million minus VAT, as gleaned from the consortium’s bidding documents. Still, the deal was a highly lucrative one for the company, as the consortium gets the right to keep 8.53 per
Photo by Beoinfo
cent of the total amount passengers pay for tickets. The deal was signed for ten years, after which the system reverts to the City of Belgrade. Continued on pages 4 - 5
Party that topped the election is having obvious difficulties finding people of the right calibre to fill top jobs.
Post-election Serbia seeks more trade with Russia
rade and economic cooperation is on the upswing, major projects are underway and possibilities of bilateral cooperation between Serbia and Russia are practically limitless.” These recent words from Alexander Konuzin, Russia’s Ambassador to Serbia, came as music to the ears of that part of the Serbian public who believe that Serbia’s chances of economic progress lie in closer links with Moscow. In the May general election campaign, one opposition nationalist party, the Democratic Party of Serbia, DSS, actively advocated much closer economic ties to Russia as a pillar of future policy. But since then other parties have jumped on the same bandwagon. In the midst of post-election coalition talks with the pro-EU Democratic Party, Ivica Dačić, leader of the Serbian Socialist Party - now Prime Minister designate - hurried to Moscow for a number of official meetings. Soon after his return, Dačić opted to form a coalition government with the more nationalist and pro-Russian Serbian Progressive Party, SNS, whose former leader, Tomislav Nikolić, is now Serbia’s President. The biggest concern of any new government will be securing money for welfare bills and debt servicing - at a time when interest rates on Serbian loans are increasing.
Serbia’s victorious Progressives struggle to fill ministries
wo months after general elections in Serbia, the victorious Progressives are finally the largest force in a new government. But while enjoying the novel taste of power, they are having problems
With nationalists and Socialists in the political ascendancy, champions of closer economic ties to Russia feel the wind is in their sails.
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Ticket deal may leave Belgrade short-changed
he City of Belgrade will never know if it had the chance to generate more profits from ticket fares had it not selected the consortium led by Apex Solution Technology to introduce a new ticketing system, BusPlus. The rules for the bidding process drawn up by the City in June 2010 were in accord with Serbia’s Public Procurement Law. As a result, the chances of genuine competition were seriously limited, legal experts and other potential bidders maintain. The joint venture between the City and Apex Solution Technology is a rare example of a public-private partnership in Serbia. The City has given the consortium
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finding candidates of the right calibre to run key ministries. Short of real experts, the party is visibly struggling to find the right people and may have to borrow some candidates from their reviled and defeated centrist rivals. “Several ministries, especially those belonging to the Progressives, will have
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no ministers due to the lack of professional personnel,” noted Serbia’s satirical Njuz.net site on July 11th, one day after leaders of three parties, the Progressives, Socialists and United Regions of Serbia, signed an agreement to form a government. The government, which is supposed to be formed by July 23rd, will
Issue No. 1 / Friday, June 13, 2008
Getting perked up in the park
Unbearable heat easier by the pool
Albanians who saved Jews from Nazis honoured in film
Belgrade Insight, Friday, July 13, 2012 - Thursday, July 26, 2012
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Coming up xt
Belgrade Insight, Friday, July 13, 2012 - Thursday, July 26, 2012
serbia Continued from page 1
Serbia’s victorious Progressives struggle to fill ministries
Coalition partners Aleksandar Vučić, SNS, and Ivica Dačić, SPS, could struggle to muster the necessary expertise required to run the country.
That means eight posts for the Progressives, five for the Socialist-led coalition and two for the United Regions of Serbia. The future leaders have outlined their priorities, including Serbia’s EU integration and continued dialogue with the unrecognised government of Kosovo. But they have raised eyebrows by declining to disclose the full list of future ministers - maintaining that personnel choices are less important than the government’s future agenda. Analysts feel that eight ministries is a large number for the Progressives to fill, given that the party, although the most popular in Serbia, is short of the kind of experts who can head some of the more complex ministries properly. As a result, the government is likely either to appoint some relatively inexperienced ministers, or it may have to loan key staff from the ranks of the defeated Democrats, who headed the previous government and are not short of technical know-how. Aleksandar Vučić, acting head of the Progressives, said the party’s main board will announce its candidates for the eight ministries on July 17th. He insisted that the public will be surprised in a positive sense by the choices. “They will be people who have energy and with whom you [the Serbian people] are not fed up,” Vučić promised on July 10th. A youthful Nikola Selaković is expected to be one of those fresh faces. Aged just 29, he is due to take over
the Ministry of Justice and hit the ground running with initiatives dealing with some of the country’s most pressing issues – the fight against corruption and organised crime, as well as judicial reform. Selaković was born in the western town of Užice but soon moved to nearby Nova Varoš and then Belgrade, where he finished primary and secondary school before attending Belgrade University’s Faculty of Law. “He was a whizz-kid, winning every competition he took part in,” one of his school colleagues told BIRN. However, Selaković may have difficulty repeating his winning streak in his future ministerial post, given his lack of experience of anything but law courses. Political science professor Predrag Simić told BIRN that he feared Serbia was continuing its old, bad habit of appointing inexperienced people to important positions in the country. “Our future Prime Minister [Dačić] came to power in his early twenties,“ Simić recalled, noting that at the tender age of 24 in 1990, Dačić had become the first president of the youth wing of the then ruling Serbian Socialist Party and served as the party spokesperson during the Nineties. At the time Milošević was whipping up Serbian nationalism in a drive to carve out a “Greater Serbia” from the ruins of Yugoslavia. Simić puts the lack of suitable candidates for important positions in the Progressives down to the fact, firstly, that it is a young party and, secondly, it
is a party that has built its identity on negative opposition to the Democrats. “Experts specialised in certain fields will be joining them one by one, as was the case in the past,“ Simić told BIRN. He noted that the DOS coalition, which toppled the Milošević regime in 2000, also came to power with relatively little experience of government - but experts soon flocked to join them. The backgrounds of the Democrats who were in DOS and the Progressives today differ considerably, however, some say. The Democratic Party, which was set up in 1989 as the first opposition party in Serbia, contained an intellectual elite that had been waiting to wrench Serbia out of Milošević’s grasp for more than a decade. The Serbian Progressive Party, SNS, was formed in October 2008 by a group of MPs who broke away from Vojislav Šešelj’s ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party, SRS. Tomislav Nikolić resigned as deputy leader of the Radicals over disagreements with Šešelj - on trial in The Hague - over calls for the Radicals to moderate their nationalist image a little and embrace the EU. Political analyst Dejan Vuk Stanković notes that the Progressives and Democrats have always appealed to different constituencies. The Progressives have always been “orientated towards the poorer people and towards the masses, so there was not much room for the intellectual elite,” he told BIRN.
Photo by Beta
According to Stanković, the second reason for the paucity of talent in the party lies in the overall political culture in Serbia. He believes that the political and intellectual climate has been in decline for much of the last 20 years. The governments that took power immediately after Milošević’s fall in 2000 had real experts in finance, economics and EU integration, Stanković says, because many talented people, driven abroad under Milošević, had returned home. In a mood of patriotic enthusiasm, many were keen to join the government. “Now the situation has changed,” he notes. “Intellectual elites no longer wish to take part in the political arena, regardless of the government,” he adds.
Meanwhile, admitting a lack of experts in their own ranks, the Progressives have shyly turned to some of the Democrats who were deemed to have done a decent job in the previous government. One such official is Milica Delević, head of the Serbian office for EU integration, who has been told that she can keep her post, or even move up the ranks as Foreign Minister. Another mooted candidate for the post of Foreign Minister is Leon Kojen, a former advisor to Boris Tadić, Serbia’s former president and the leader of the Democrats. Another Democratic candidate who is negotiating with the Progressives over keeping a post in the new government is Rasim Ljajić, the outgoing Labour Minister.
Belgrade Insight, Friday, July 13, 2012 - Thursday, July 26, 2012
Without a Season
Continued from page 1
Ticket deal may leave
s it summer? Really? As our collective Belgrade blood continues to boil under the blistering heat, there is a secret underclass which is entirely immune to the changing of the seasons, the rise and fall of the mercury, and perhaps even the difference between day and night. We never see them. They pass their days and nights in their underwear and t-shirts. They may or may not wear slippers. The fact is that very few humans have witnessed them in their natural habitats and all of our “facts” are only conjecture, myth and legend. They are the Middle-Aged Gamers and they are all around us. Some of the Gamers will hold down normal jobs and, therefore, can pass among us without notice. What we cannot know is that while they are away from their monitors, online game forums and pitched digital battles, they spend their time thinking of stratagems and tactics to deploy upon their return from the physical to the virtual. In this way, they are protected from the real world worries of being too hot, too cold, or hungry. Once reengaged, they remain (apparently) motionless for hours on end. Only a highly trained eye can detect the minute movements of a finger or thumb with which a larger-than-life avatar is animated. This trance-like state is interrupted occasionally for a foray into the bathroom or a surgical strike against an unwitting refrigerator. The gait of choice is called the Shuffle. As a keen observer of human behaviour, I am increasingly convinced that the Gamers have actually conquered the world, leaving the rest of the human race to gripe and complain about the heat. The heat will only affect the Gamer if the relentlessly turning computer fan begins to smoulder. In such cases, the Gamer will selflessly use an air conditioner on the machine. Younger Gamers, still unused to substituting one realm for another, can make the mistake of allowing the outside world to influence them. They may want to socialise with others. They may want to go out. This is anathema to the MiddleAged Gamer – they know the perils of admitting any distraction. It could lead to their getting dressed. Many have tried to emulate the Gamers through use of Facebook and other social media, but these are doomed to failure since on the other side of the Wall are real people, posting pictures and lying about their holidays. The risk is that people will begin talking about real life, noticing the passage of time, and giving up on the virtual altogether. With no end of this appalling heat wave in sight, I have decided to create an avatar and slip into an interactive arctic environment. I do not fancy my chances of survival. Christen Bradley Farmer is founder and president of MACH IV Consulting. Farmer also regularly shares his observations on life Serbia in Politika daily, LivingIn Belgrade.com, and in his B92.net VIP blog.
Mayor Đilas discussing the pros of implementing the new Bus Plus system.
If the City wants to take over the system before then, it has the right to buy it from consortium after four years at a set price of €5.6 million. Collecting ticket fares currently generates around €4.6 million a month, so the consortium can expect to earn just under €400,000 a month from ticket sales. Given the scale of the potential profits, many international and local companies aimed to compete for the job, but the conditions pushed most of them out of the contest. A competition of such significance was also expected to be published prominently in local and international media, to attract the best possible candidates. Surprisingly, it was published only in the local media, Serbia’s Official Gazette and on the City’s website. Although City’s Secretariat of Traffic, the body that ran the bidding procedure, called it “international”, the several hundred pages of forms and templates that applicants for the job had to complete were only in the Serbian language and in the Cyrillic alphabet. Applicants also had to appear in person to get hold of bidding documentation, as it was not available in electronic form. This additionally deterred many international companies who were initially eager to apply.
Collecting ticket fares currently generates around €4.6 million a month, so the consortium led by Apex Solution Technology can expect to earn just under €400,000 a month from ticket sales.
T Hidden Belgrade
Photo by Beta
At least five international companies sought an extension of the deadline, so that they could translate back and forth the numerous pages and prepare their proposals, but the Secretariat of Traffic rejected their requests, sticking to the deadline of 60 days. Finally, three offers were submitted, of which only one was complete. This was a consortium of three Istanbul-based companies from the Kentkart group, Lanus from Belgrade and project leader Apex Solution Technology, also from Belgrade. Lanus owns 90 per cent of Apex, while one of the companies from the Kentkart group owns the rest of Apex. At the time the deal was signed with the government, in September 2010, Apex, notably, had only one employee and €500 in equity.
A ‘not entirely regular’ process Belgrade’s public transport network has long been a financial burden on the City. The old-fashioned style of collecting fares was especially unsatisfactory and, according to Mayor Dragan Đilas, the company required a subsidy of €100 million a year, eating up 15 per cent of the Belgrade budget. This was the background to the Directorate for Public Transport’s decision five years ago to opt for a new
he signposts erected just next to Hotel Moskva on Terazije and Knez Mihailova direct Belgraders and Belgrade visitors to explore one of the city’s oldest quarters, Savamala. Stretching along the right bank of the River Sava, Savamala was the first settlement built just beyond the walls of Kalemegdan Fortress in the 19th century. Some of Belgrade’s most beautiful buildings, such as the Geozavod building, are located there. Though new clubs and cafes, such as Čorba cafe, Brakow Bar and KC Grad Culture Centre, have more recently started attracting people to visit the area, it remains one of the most neglected areas of the city’s central core.
ticketing system. It began compiling documentation and three years later, on June 4th 2010, the Directorate got a green light from the mayor’s office to issue a bidding process for a “System of fare collection and fleet management in public transport”. A public-private partnership did not require any municipal investment and would increase revenue, it was felt. However, when the call for the process was announced, Serbia did not yet have in place the Law on PublicPrivate Partnership, which was only adopted in November 2012, a year after the partnership was made. The City could have opted for the closest legal solution, based on the Law on Public Procurement, adopted in 2008. Instead, the procedure was carried out on the basis of a “Decision on the public transportation of passengers on the territory of the City of Belgrade”, dating back to 2009. The Directorate for Public Transport had no strict legal obligation to organise bidding in line with the Law on Public Procurement. However, Rade Đurić, from the watchdog organisation Transparency Serbia, says it would have been best. “The bidding process was not entirely regular,” he said. “The problem is that the  Decision on public transport lacks the elements required to implement this
Belgrade Insight, Friday, July 13, 2012 - Thursday, July 26, 2012
Belgrade short-changed complex process and doesn’t stipulate the conditions governing the bidding process.” According to him, when the procurement of such a service is envisaged, the legal requirements need be closely specified, especially on how a bidding call is defined, the deadlines for implementation, the criteria and the applicants. “These rules are all contained in the Law on Public Procurement. But in this case the  Decision was used, which is an inadequate and insufficient legal document, of lesser legal power than the [procurement] Law. “The entire documentation was, thus, compiled without legal grounds, so there was room for improvisation of the rules,” he added. “When there is a public procurement process we have a Commission for the Protection of Rights in Public Procurement Procedures, which oversees the regularity of the process and can annul a procurement,” he went on to explain. “But in this case the irregularities were not even subject to criticism because there was no one to turn to. A small City committee, appointed by the Mayor, was not authorised to annul the process.” The Directorate for Public Transport has insisted that the decision on bidding was based on several laws, namely the Law of Communal Affairs and the Law on Road Traffic, as well as the Statute of Belgrade. However, none of those acts, according to Đurić, specifies how bidding procedures should be conducted. Asked why the bidding process was
conducted in this manner, the Directorate answered that “there is no systemic law governing the procedure of a public bidding process for awarding jobs under this project.” The Public Procurement Office has declined to comment on this case, noting that the bidding process was based on the city’s own decision, not the Public Procurement Law. Đurić believes that the City authorities should either have awaited parliament’s adoption of the Law of PublicPrivate Partnership, or used the only legal act that prescribes such rules, namely the Public Procurement Law. “Clearly established rules attract bidders and influence bids, which could have resulted in bigger profits for the City,” he says.
Knowledge of Cyrillic essential The Law on Public Procurement envisages that in jobs worth over 150 million dinars (€1.3 million), which fits the case of BusPlus, the bidding documentation must be translated into a language used in international trade. In the BusPlus case the public invitation to submit bids was released in Serbian, in Cyrillic letters, and in English. However, all the extra documentation and bidding requirements were only in Serbian and only in Cyrillic. Equally surprisingly, applicants were obliged to submit their bids in Serbian Cyrillic. The deadline to submit applica-
Corporate transformation L
anus founded Apex Solution Technology in March 2009, which was called Apex Marketing at the time. When taking on the BusPlus project, Apex had one employee and just €500 in capital assets. Four days before the signing of the contract with the Directorate for Public Transport, Kentkart of Turkey purchased a 10 per cent stake in Apex from Lanus. There is no mention of the price of the stake in this agreement. At the time of the signing of the agreement with the City, Apex was registered as a consultancy. Only in August 2011, almost a year after it was awarded the public transport
fare collection job, did it change its activity to “service work in land transport”. Apex and Lanus are located at the same Belgrade address, 2 Knjeginje Zorke Street. Lanus was set up in 2007 by the company Roaming Electronics. The Business Registers Agency shows that Lanus is now its own majority owner. The rest of the stake in the company belongs to the company WP TIM Sistem, owned by the company Procescom. Procescom is owned by Vojislav Krstić, Miroslav Petrović and Aleksandar Đorđević. Lanus’s main activity is collecting mobile telephony credit payments.
Bus Plus generates around €4.6 million in ticket fares in Belgrade per month.
tions, set at 60 days, was also extremely short, some companies felt. While the application process was ongoing, ten companies from Serbia and other European countries asked the Directorate to clarify the documentation and extend the deadline to submit applications. These companies included Siemens, Asecco SEE, IXXI, Pay Up, ACS Solutions, Telefonija and MapSoft. Foreign companies said the fact that the extensive documentation was only available in Serbian was their main problem. They said two months was too brief for them first to translate the bidding requirements into English, so they could understand them, then formulate their bids and translate them back into Serbian. The companies asked for the deadline to be extended by another 60 days, explaining that their bids would add to the competitiveness and quality of the overall selection process because of their experience in the field of public transport. They also explained that it would be possible to make up for any lost time in the project implementation phase, so the City of Belgrade would not suffer because of this delay. The City’s committee in charge of the bidding process gave a brief reply: “The proposal for the extension of the deadline has not been accepted,” it said. “The Committee assessed that a 60-day deadline was sufficient for the submission of applications. “In line with the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, the official language is Serbian and Cyrillic is the official script, thus the bidding documentation was produced in Cyrillic,” the Committee explained, when asked why they had insisted on those conditions. The bidding procedure documentation was not even available in Latin letters or in electronic form. A bidder had to personally show up at the Directorate and ask for a hard copy.
Interested companies also asked the Directorate why the bidding procedure was launched during the international summer holidays and why it wasn’t published in widely-read reputable newspapers, such as the Herald Tribune and Financial Times, this being the usual procedure. The Directorate still maintains that the job was meant for an international market.
“The bidding process was not entirely regular.” Rade Đurić, Transparency Serbia
“The mere fact of publication in the republic’s Official Gazette and on the internet, which implies a flow of information at the international level, means everyone had access to the information,” it said. A representative of one of the European companies, who wished to remain anonymous and who complained about the deadline, told the investigative team that they only learnt about the bidding by accident. His company then prepared a bid but decided against submission after receiving an “unclear answer” from Belgrade to its questions regarding the application procedure. The same company also asked the Directorate for an extension of the deadline, which, as mentioned earlier, was rejected. The same source is convinced that the City of Belgrade missed a key opportunity to attract more bids, making the bid more competitive.
Photo by Jelena Vasić
Only one faultless bid Of the 51 companies from Serbia and other countries that initially expressed interest in the competition by purchasing the bidding documentation, by the opening of bids, the Committee established that only three remained. These were Dialog d.o.o. from Belgrade, Novatronic d.o.o. from Novi Sad and Apex Solution Technology from Belgrade. But two of the bids were blatantly faulty. Dialog, which also sought an extension to the deadline, failed to submit a single form, but instead handed in just a few company documents. Dialog’s owner and director, Milan Crvenkov, later said by phone that he did not remember details of the company’s participation in the bidding because his then employee, Milan Bjelanović, had been in charge of it – but now lives in Canada and cannot be reached. Mystery also remains over Novatronic’s application, which consisted of an unsealed envelope containing only company promotional material. Novatronic’s majority owner and director, Novak Krstić, gave a statement saying that “a dispatch error” was made and that the bid ended up “at a different address”, in response to queries from the investigative team. “When we saw just how big a job it was and how much documentation there was, just before the bidding we quit,” he recalled. “But if you purchase the bidding documentation then the proper thing to do is to offer what you can,” he added. As a result, the Committee could not be said to have chosen the “best” offer, as only one came without obvious, glaring faults and omissions. In spite of that, Mayor Dragan Đilas told weekly TV Show Utisak nedelje on February 5th that the City had indeed picked the best offer. This article has been jointly produced by the Centre for Investigative Journalism in Serbia, CINS, and BIRN. Journalists Vladimir Kostić and Slobodan Georgijev also contributed to this article.
Belgrade Insight, Friday, July 13, 2012 - Thursday, July 26, 2012
Court intervenes in battle over Romanian president
he Romanian Constitutional Court ruled on July 10th that more than half the electorate must turn out in July’s planned referendum on the removal of the country’s president, Traian Basescu, if the vote is to be considered valid. Romania’s Parliament previously voted to suspend Basescu for 30 days pending an impeachment referendum, scheduled for July 29th. The right-leaning Basescu, who was elected to a five-year term in 2009, has been politically isolated since Victor Ponta’s left-of-centre coalition replaced a government of Basescu allies in May.
Region in brief
Albanians who saved from Nazis honoured
Macedonia to start building rail link to Bulgaria
acedonia should complete its long-awaited rail link to the Bulgarian border by 2022, with work set to commence in 2013, Transport Minister Mile Janakieski said on July 10th. The tender for a construction company will be announced in September and, according to Janakieski, talks with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD, are underway regarding a loan of €46.4 million required to complete the line. He said the government had already received written notification from the European Investment Bank, EIB, confirming its readiness to help build the second stretch of the line, estimated to cost €145 million.
Croatia pays tribute to Srebrenica victims
hile Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović attended a commemoration in Potočari on July 11th, the Croatian Parliament, the Sabor, paid tribute to the victims of the Srebrenica massacre on July 10th with a minute’s silence and a speech by a representative of the Bosniak community in Croatia. “The Srebrenica tragedy is a warning from history, and we have to cry: ‘Never again’”, said Josip Leko, deputy Speaker of the Sabor, speaking at a plenary session marking the Day of remembrance of the Srebrenica victims, instigated by the European Parliament three years ago. Croatia’s parliament has marked the Day of remembrance of Srebrenica victims since 2009.
Albania eyes new markets as Greek crisis hits home
Award-winning U.S. director Rachel Goslins is rewriting the history of Jewish-Muslim relations with her latest documentary set in Albania.
New film challenges hoary clichés about Muslims by recalling the heroic Albanians who kept 2,000 Jews safe during the Holocaust.
exhep Hoxha still vividly recalls the day in 1967 when his father shared a family secret that he would go on to guard for nearly half-a-century. Then under the grip of the Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha, Albania had just declared itself the world’s first atheist state. Hoxha’s Communists banned any public expression of religion and burned holy books and objects.
Photo courtesy of JWM Productions, LLC
Thousands of mosques and churches were either destroyed or turned into cultural centres, barns, gyms and warehouses. A Jewish family that had found shelter in Rexhep Hoxha’s house during the Second World War had left behind three prayer books and Rexhep’s father had promised to keep them safe until they returned to collect them. “When the purges against religion happened these books became dangerous materials and we had to find a way to hide them,” Rexhep recalls. “They were beautiful books and
we were afraid to keep them in plain view, because a curious visitor could reach for them and discover that they were religious books,” he explains. Rexhep and his father first hid the books in a wooden box, with holes on top, to hide them under the bed. Then, fearing that they would suffer from mould, they removed the books from the box and hid them behind a bookshelf. Rexhep kept the secret books until Albania’s Communist regime collapsed in 1991 and then started searching for the owners.
‘Making a better future by Denis Džidić
usinesses affected by the economic downturn in Greece are seeking new markets in the West, hoping that a cheap and qualified workforce will lure fresh clients. The debt crisis has strongly affected industrial output in southern Albania, where the local economy is closely interlinked to that of Greece. Data recently published by the Albanian National Institute of Statistics, INSTAT, shows that the Albanian economy contracted in the first quarter of this year - a downturn blamed mainly on the eurozone crisis. The worst performing sector of the economy was industry, where activity shrank by 19.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2011.
In four years working as a forensic anthropologist, Esma Aličehajić has taken part in dozens of Srebrenica exhumations and says she never allows herself to feel emotional while working on a mass grave.
ličehajić has taken part in 50 exhumations of mass graves in Bosnia and Herzegovina since she started working for the International Commission on Missing Persons, ICMP, in 2008. She still recalls the first time she worked on a mass grave in the village of Pusmilići, just south of Srebrenica. “Before I got there I remember worrying about whether I would cope with the emotional side of what I was about to embark upon”, says Aličehajić. “After all, I had spent the previous five months of my job at the ICMP building up to that moment. However, it soon became apparent that once I immersed myself in the work, my desire to do a professional job was the priority”.
Aličehajić reveals that her resolve to be professional is so strong that emotions play no part in her work, even while recovering children’s bones found in mass graves near Srebrenica. “It is only when the families come to visit the graves and the pain-filled eyes of a woman searching for her son, father, husband or brother are looking at me, that I allow myself to empathise with the harrowing events of Srebrenica, but only for a split second. Then I am back into forensic anthropologist and archaeologist mode. Not letting emotions influence my work is the most effective way that I can help the families”, she says. The ICMP has taken part in the exhumation of over 50 large mass grave sites linked to the fall of Srebrenica. Through a carefully devised approach involving the archaeological excava-
Belgrade Insight, Friday, July 13, 2012 - Thursday, July 26, 2012
Jews in film Despite contacting several people through the Albania-Israeli Friendship Foundation, he had no success until one day US photographer Norman Gersham showed up at his door. Gersham had visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington and noticed a rare white spot on the map of Europe, where it seems that Jews had not been persecuted. Enthralled by the story, Gersham came to Tirana to document the untold story of men and women who had saved the lives of nearly 2,000 Jews who moved to Albania in the war to escape persecution.
“To keep one’s given word is a show of responsibility and is something that should be cultivated by all of us.” Rexhep Hoxha “This promise that was made was very important for the principles of my family, it’s been a foundation for my life,” Rexhep said. “To keep one’s given word is a show of responsibility and is something that should be cultivated by all of us,” he added. When Rexhep and Gersham met, an extraordinary and unexpected drama was set in motion, which is now part of cinematic documentary, Besa: The Promise, directed by award-winning US director Rachel Goslins. The two men joined together in a remarkable quest to find the Jewish family that had owned the books and return them. With its well-researched history and emotional storytelling style, Besa: The Promise
challenges some fundamental assumptions about the presumed enmity between Islam and Judaism, reminding viewers of the power of good people to transform the way we view the world. More than seven years in the making, the film reveals the untold story of the men and women of Albania – almost all of them Muslims – who faced down the Nazis armed only with their traditional honour code, the besa and saved the lives of nearly 2,000 Jews. “Working on this film for the past five years has been a journey that has affirmed my faith in human decency and courage,” Goslins said in a statement accompanying the film. “The fact that Rexhep’s story not only really happened, but that we had the privilege to discover and document it, is one of those rare gifts from the documentary gods for which I will be forever grateful,” she added. Now under restricted release, the documentary premiered in a ceremony held at the Holocaust Museum in Washington in April attended by Albania’s Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, Congressmen and dignitaries. Berisha described the documentary “as one of the most impressive movies that he had seen in his lifetime.” The Albanian premier was so impressed with the documentary that last week he asked his cabinet to support its distribution costs in Europe, as part of the celebration of Albania’s centennial anniversary. “This documentary is irreplaceable in order to show the values and virtues of our nation,” Berisha said. Although the documentary has not yet premiered in Albania, it has already set off a debate in the media on whether the history of the Albanian families who saved Jews during the Holocaust is being mythologised. But Rexhep, whose family history is intertwined with the project, says that what happened cannot be deflated. “This is a story about human values and they cannot be demystified,” he concluded. This article is funded under the BICCED project, supported by the Swiss Cultural Programme.
resolving the past’ tion of graves, the anthropological analysis of remains and DNA sampling, the ICMP has established the identity of over 6,704 individuals reported missing from the 1995 fall of Srebrenica. According to verdicts by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the International Court of Justice, Bosnian Serb forces committed an act of genocide in July 1995, when they attacked the UN safe haven of Srebrenica and subsequently killed more than 7,000 men and boys. On a typical grave site, Aličehajić says, her job is to enable best practice in forensic archaeology, forensic anthropology and crime scene management, through such tasks as site reconnaissance, mapping the location of graves and defining grave boundaries. According to Aličehajić, a distinguishing feature of the Srebrenica mass graves is the fact that many are secondary graves, where bodies were moved months after their initial
burial in primary mass graves. She explains that the attempt by perpetrators to conceal the location of the remains gave rise to extensive fragmentation of the bodies. The mixing together of skeletal elements from different individuals makes this a tremendous forensic challenge for the ICMP. “The identification process requires the reassociation of an individual’s separated body parts, often from different secondary graves, as well as family matching of DNA to establish identity”, says Aličehajić. In her interview for BIRN, Alicehajic says that she is proud that her work involves locating missing persons and helping families. “We are making a better future by resolving the past. My hope is that the families of those who have died will at long last find some comfort in knowing the fate of their loved ones and that our work will prevent something similar ever being repeated again anywhere in the world,” she adds.
Belgrade Insight, Friday, July 13, 2012 - Thursday, July 26, 2012
business Continued from page 1
Post-election Serbia seeks more trade with Russia The main options are strict austerity, to which Dačić’s Socialist Party is strongly opposed, and secondly, securing financial support from abroad, with Russia being one of the more likely sources. Some projects with Russia have already been negotiated, such as the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline and a loan worth €650 million to modernise Serbia’s outdated railways. Other possible ventures could include a Russian purchase of a minority stake in Serbia’s two most valuable remaining state companies, the power company Elektroprivreda Srbije, EPS, and Telekom, the national telecommunications operator. Dušan Bajatović, vice president of the Socialist Party, insists that the new government does not intend to sell off either EPS or Telekom, saying the media have in general “overestimated the role of Russia” in shaping future government policy. Some experts have also greeted reports about the sale of major enterprises to Russia with a pinch of salt, noting that past experience has shown that “brotherly feelings” between Christian Orthodox, Slavic Serbs and Russians tend to get pushed aside when it comes to business. Serbia, for example, buys Russian gas for “European” prices, much higher than the former republics of the Soviet Union, they point out. There is also discontent over the advantageous price Russians paid for the deal to purchase oil company NIS. In one year NIS earned almost the same amount in profit for Rus-
neglected its industry for more than a decade. “The result is that now we don’t have the products to sell on a market where we have a significant competitive advantage,” he laments. “If Serbia used the Free Trade Agreement to its full potential, we would have annual exports to Russia worth €8.13 billion and €813 million would come back to us as a present - from the customs that we don’t have to pay to Russia,” Pavičić calculates.
Following Cyprus’s footsteps
Good relations between Ambassador Konuzin (left) and President Nikolić might help boost trade between Russia and Serbia.
sian Gazprom as Gazprom paid for the majority stake in the company in 2008 (€400 million), leading some to suggest that the company was undersold. The privatisation of NIS was one of three segments of a 2008 energy agreement signed between the two countries.
The other two were completion of the regional gas storage facility at Banatski Dvor and Serbia’s involvement in the South Stream gas pipeline, which will bring Serbia additional gas transit revenue. The two then presidents, Boris Tadić and Dmitry Medvedev, agreed in 2009 a €813 million loan to Serbia, a fifth of which was already spent as direct budget support. Use of the remaining €650 million, awaiting ratification by the Serbian Parliament, is earmarked for the reconstruction of Serbia’s rail network. One of the main features of the two countries’ economic relationship, however, is the free trade agreement signed in August 2000. This gives Serbia privileged access to Russian markets for 99 per cent of its products. Until now, however, only a small number of Serbian exporters have used this provision to secure a place on this highly competitive market. But Serbia could benefit from this deal much more if its exports to Russia continue to grow in the coming years, while the potential also exists to attract more investors from Russia. Meanwhile, most economists oppose selling the most profitable state companies to Russia in order to finance con-
Photo by Beta
sumption and welfare bills, insisting that root problems in Serbia’s economy, such as the widening budget deficit, must be tackled through internal reforms, not one-off sales. Some analysts also believe that handing over such a big chunk of the public sector to Russian companies would leave Serbia more vulnerable to Russian political influence, prompting a hostile reaction from the United States and EU countries.
Missed opportunity Total trade between Serbia and Russia was valued at €2,81 billion in 2011, with a deficit of €1.52 billion on the Serbian side. The deficit was created mostly by imports of oil and gas, which are responsible for around 70 per cent of Serbia’s total imports from Russia. Of the total sum, Serbian exports were worth nearly €650 million in 2011, a strong growth of nearly 50 per cent compared to 2010, but starting from a low base. Mihailo Vesović, vice president of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, PKS, expects Serbian exports to Russia to grow in future, as Serbian companies begun to combine their offers to secure better quantity, quality and continuity of supply. “It is the fragmentation of supply that makes it difficult for us to get to the Russian market and our companies have started to realise that,” he said. “But even our present structure of exports shows that we are able to sell more than just fresh apples, but also products like copper tubes, batteries, rubber and floor tiles,” Vesović added. With total Russian investment in Serbia reaching €1.13 billion in the 2003-2010 period, Vesović adds that there is huge untapped potential to attract more Russian companies to Serbia. Nikola Pavičić of Tarkett Sintelon, the biggest domestic exporter to Russia, says that responsibility for Serbia’s “shameful” level of exports to Russia lies with the Serbian side, which has
Commenting on talk of direct Russian financial assistance, Pavičić believes that Serbia should neither take more loans to fix the budget, nor is he convinced that anyone will want to lend more money to a government that is not willing to change its profligate spending habits. “We have to reduce consumption and use whatever financial assistance comes to us to increase production and exports, which are now more important than improving infrastructure,” Pavičić says. However, Nenad Popović, DSS vice president, says that with increasing problems in the eurozone, only Russia has the potential to help Serbia out of its financial troubles – and Serbia should not shy away from seeking direct loans. He notes that Cyprus, despite being an EU member, turned to Russia for financial help and, after borrowing €2.5 billion, is now trying to get another five billion in loans from Russia. “Many attacked our ideas [about the Russian connection], but now they are turning to Russia, too,” says Popović, speaking of his party’s election pledge that, if victorious, it would secure €10 billion from loans, joint ventures with the Russian state and private companies, as well as direct investment in infrastructure from Russia. Predrag Simić, professor at the Faculty of Political Science, agrees that Russia is an important economic partner for Serbia, especially in the long term. But he doesn’t believe that increased trade with Russia alone can resolve Serbia’s short-term economic imbalances, such as the yawning budget deficit. “I have no doubt that after buying NIS, Russia would be interested in getting involved in Telekom and EPS - but it’s a question of at what price,” he said. “Let’s not forget that we are dealing with capitalist Russia, not with the Russia of [Soviet era leader] Leonid Brezhnev, who ruined the country by selling energy at unrealistic prices,” Simić added. Simić adds that, in principle, no country should hand over a large portion of its public sector to any one single foreign state, adding that political considerations also make this scenario unlikely. “If this sort of privatisation was attempted, both the United states and the EU would react,” he predicted. “In that case, we wouldn’t just have [Philip] Ricker [US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State], but the whole State Department coming to Belgrade,” Simić added.
Belgrade Insight, Friday, July 13, 2012 - Thursday, July 26, 2012
Out and About Photo by Plamen Agov
Serbian dragon trail awaits discovery Serbian mythology is teeming with dragon tales, but tourism buffs have yet to link the many sites connected to these mysterious creatures into a visitors’ trail.
The old Momčilo’s fortress (Momčilov grad) commonly known as Pirot Fortress, was built in 14th century by reputed dragon Duke Momčilo.
ehind the legend of the downfall of medieval Serbia lie fairytales about a good dragon who failed to save his people from the hands of the malevolent Ala, or Aždaha. Thus, the Ottoman conquest and the famous Kosovo Battle of 1389 resulted in a battle not only fought by people, but by dragons as well. According to oral tradition, the participants of the bloody battle became demi-gods, mythical creatures whose dragon origins often appear in folk tales and epic poems. Serbian cultural expert Sreten Petrović, through his books, has attempted to prove the existence of a dragons “pantheon” in Serbian medieval culture, called the “Jastrebački panteon”. This Pantheon was crowned by the Jastrebac Dragon, Zmaj od Jastrepca, and included various heroes from Serbia’s medieval epic poetry. Many legends and folk tales in Serbia feature these lusty and brave dragons, which defended Serbia’s skies and lands from the Ottomans and from bad weather as well. But, despite this rich heritage and the many sites connected with it, a “cultural trail” has yet to be constructed that would enable visitors to learn more about Serbia’s dragons through the form of a journey.
Myths and facts intertwined Various heroes, historical or fictional, mainly from the Kosovo epic cycle, were presumed to be sons of dragons. Some of the highest in this genealogy were Despot Stefan Lazarević, Zmaj Ognjeni Vuk [Fiery dragon wolf], Vasa Čarapić, Zmaj od Avale [Dragon of Avala], and Stojan Čupić, Zmaj od Noćaja, [Dragon of Noćaj]. Other heroes bestowed with dragonlike attributes included Miloš Obilić, Banović Strahinja, Ljutica Bogdan and King Marko. Despot Stefan Lazarević (1377-1427) was the son of the famous Knez, or Prince, Lazar, the man who led the Serbian army into the fateful battle with the Ottomans in 1389 at the Battle of Kosovo. However, the popular belief was that his actual origins were from the dragon of Jastrebac. The legend of his origin morphed into an epic poem, featuring the dragon child, Zmaj Ognjeni Vuk, who kills the dragon of Jastrebac because of Vuk’s relationship with Milica, the wife of Prince Lazar. Zmaj Ognjeni Vuk, in reality, was Despot Vuk Branković (1471-1485), believed to be descended from a dragon. As Zmaj Ognjeni Vuk lived some 50 years after the death of Stefan Lazarević, it is evident that the folk tales frequently altered historical facts for their own agendas.
These folk tales also presented Stefan Lazarević as a unique personality, a traveller who disguised himself as a beggar to monitor how people lived, punishing evil and rewarding righteousness. When the Hungarian King, Sigismund, renewed an old chivalric order called the “Order of the Dragon”, the Societas Draconistrarum, Stefan was the first to sign up. This might be one of the reasons for his mythical dragon status in the imaginations of the Serbian people. Stefan’s battles against the Turks are described as fearsome victories, while his failure to win the final battle to drive the Ottoman’s out of Serbia was widely attributed to the withdrawal of divine help. All his children and heirs became dragons in Serbian folklore and copious tales about their mythical powers survive to this day, notably in Bosnia and Herzegovina and along the Adriatic coast. Although not historically factual, these legends thus turned many locations in Serbia into dwellings of new, benign breeds of dragon. These dragons were unlike the malign dragons featured in many legends across Europe, where Christian tradition commonly identified dragons with Satan. In Serbian folk tradition dragons are mostly good creatures that have an obligation to help people and can assume human form. On the other hand, Ala or Aždaja, was the dragons’ worst enemy. In Serbian folklore it brought storms, wind and other inclement weather that could ruin crops. The dragon responsible for stopping Ala, or Aždaja, with his fiery beams was often imagined as a long-tailed bird that left traces of light emanating from its tail on the night sky, as it ascended to perform its mission. Ala’s opponent was also thought to be a large fish in some parts of Serbia. It was usually depicted as an old carp, which was never able to be seen by man, who would over the years transform into a dragon. Thus, in some parts of Serbia the carp became honoured as a sacred beast. The natural habitat of Serbian dragons was typically considered to be on mountaintops, such as Jastrebac near Kruševac, rivers, mountain streams or in woods. Many of these places still bear the name “Zmajevac”. Dragons were also known for their busy love lives. Sometimes the blame for bad weather was placed on a dragon being detained in some fair lady’s chamber. People often demanded that these ladies end their relationships with the dragon so they could get back to fighting malevolent dragons and black birds. However, love affairs between dragons and ladies were allowed and even encouraged, because of the dragon children that would subsequently be born from the affairs.
These children were called “zmajeviti”, and possessed magical powers. During storms, according to legend, they would fall asleep and their souls would fly up to the clouds to scare off demons. During their trances, family or friends would gather around their sleeping bodies and wave swords over them, in an attempt to defend them from Aždaja. They would later wake up, tired and often wounded, completely unaware of the great battle that they had fought.
that links all of the sites where dragons lived, fought and had love affairs. According to the State Institute for Monitoring Cultural Development, such a route may include castles, fortresses on the Danube and other cities mostly in eastern and southern Serbia. Churches and other landmarks that
still preserve these legends would be included in the trail. However, the topic still remains largely unexplored. For now it serves mostly as a starting topic for the study of Serbian folklore. Hopefully, in the near future, it might turn into an actual tourist reality. house of relaxation
Unexploited potential Historians note that rituals related to dragons were performed in Serbia even up until the first half of the 20th century. On several occasions villagers gathered to expel dragons from the houses of local women after bad weather had destroyed all of their crops. This custom was then known as “mugajale”. Despite its rich dragon heritage, Serbia has yet to design a route or trail
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The first Best Western Plus hotel in Serbia Ruma, July 3, 2012. – The new and modern FourStar Hotel Park is located in Ruma, at the foothills of Fruska Gora. It is located only 45 minutes from Belgrade’s centre and 30 minutes from the Nikola Tesla airport. In the immediate vicinity of the charming town of Ruma is Fruska Gora National Park, with its monasteries and wineries and the famous Zasavica Nature Preserve. Hotel Park is the first Best Western Plus hotel in Serbia. The Plus connotation means that the hotel is of higher luxury than your average Best Western hotels. There are four Best Western hotels in total in Serbia (two in Belgrade and one in each Novi Sad and Nis), but hotel Park is the only Best Western hotel in Serbia which has the higher Plus category. With high quality and exceptionally affordable prices, hotel Park quickly earned the reputation as a “Pearl of a hotel”. Hotel Park is an ideal venue for business meetings, seminars, team building activities, promotions, celebrations and a great alternative to the expensive hotels in Belgrade. In the first few months of its opening (Hotel Park opened on March 1, 2012), numerous renowned companies and institutions choose Hotel Park as the venue of choice for their important events,
including: Mercedes Benz, Solidar Suisse, Miross, Naled to name a few. Hotel Park has 73 rooms and suites, an elegant restaurant, and a modern multi-functional conference & banquet hall suitable for up to 300 persons, of which have the functionality of being divided into smaller rooms. See details on www. hotelpark.rs The owner of Hotel Park is Mr. Serba Ilich, a prosperous American businessman who is originally from Serbia. Mr. Ilich is also the owner of Srbija-Turist in Nis, which has three hotels and is currently building an additional fourth – Grand Hotel Nis. The new hotel, scheduled to open on March 1, 2013, will be of even higher quality than Hotel Park. It will consist of 125 rooms and suites and a conference hall suitable for up to 500 persons.
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10 Belgrade Insight, Friday, July 13, 2012 - Thursday, July 26, 2012
Man on mission to bring Brazil to Belgrade
Predrag Dragosavac has made it his mission to reveal the mysteries of Brazil to Serbia.
Predrag Dragosavac, whose radio show ‘Brazilska čorba’ ran from 2006 to 2011 and who is now lecturing about Brazil while preparing a book, is astonished how little Serbs know about this huge Latin American country. Andrej Klemenčič
thought Brazil was only carnivals, dance and music before I heard your lecture,” an elderly lady tells Dragosavac, as she stops him on the street. Predrag Dragosavac, 40, a journalist from Belgrade, is fast gaining prominence on the subject after his lectures at Kolarac and Dom kulture Studentski grad drew over a hundred listeners at a time. “The sudden interest in Brazil comes partly from the fact that Brazil is the new wonder of the global economy,” he says. “It grew incredibly fast from relative obscurity to being the sixth biggest economy in the world.”
In 2006, when there were only hints of Brazil’s coming rise, Dragosavac and his Brazilian friend, Thiago Silman, started a talk show on Beograd 202 state radio called Brazilska čorba, literally Brazilian stew. It ran for five years every Saturday at noon and Dragosavac believes that they used the 60-minute slot well. “What we did combined pleasure and work. We started off slowly, since the public had virtually no in-depth knowledge of Brazil,” he recalls. “The show was a breath of fresh air for Serbian radio for a couple of reasons,” he says. “First, the vibes were optimistic and you could enjoy them, without knowing what the song was about. Secondly, it was a joyful contrast to the overly serious mood of the national radio shows.
“Perhaps most importantly, this was the first international radio product in Serbia since the break-up of Yugoslavia, as the presenters spoke a mixture of Serbian and English and the music was all Brazilian.” After Silman left, Dragosavac was joined by Andre de Lima and the pair of them soon launched another radio show, Globalno selo (Global Village), on the same radio station. It ran on Sundays and featured guests from all over the world, mainly Belgraders who lived abroad or foreigners who had moved to Belgrade. Dragosavac grew to love Brazil from a distance through its music and culture and in 2011 he decided to spend time in Brazil and get to know the country up close. “My relatives were part of the Yugoslav emigration to Brazil,” Dragosavac says, explaining that in the early 20th century the first povertydriven wave of Yugoslavs sailed for the Brazilian town of Santos. Two generations later, those people’s grandchildren accepted relatives who fled from the Yugoslav conflict of the 1990s. “I stayed mostly in middle-class homes and had the opportunity to explore the cities of Campinas and
Sao Paulo in some depth,” he says. “Some 15 years ago Brazil was a country of two parallel societies with 1 per cent having more money than the 50 per cent of the so-called middle class. “Brazil is still a country of two societies, but its economic expansion is now being felt by all social classes,” he says. While in Brazil, Dragosavac published articles on the world’s fifth largest country in Serbian dailies and magazines. “After going to Brazil I realised how little many people here know about this great country,” he says. What Dragosavac also finds surprising is the fact that knowledge of Latin America in general is incredibly low in Serbia. “Lecturing in Belgrade and around Serbia I feel like Pedro Cabral, who discovered Brazil,” he says. He notes that during the past two decades there were a total of three Brazilian films at FEST, Serbia’s largest film festival. There were many films about Brazil at various documentary film festivals in Belgrade - but none were made by a Brazilian. “Brazilian cinema is gaining strength since oil company Petroras
decided to invest in local film-makers,” he notes. Dragosavac, who would like to expand his lectures to other countries in Southeast Europe, says that, apart from the book, he would like to set up a festival of Brazilian film in Belgrade, as well as different events involving Brazilian music. He believes Belgrade would be a good host for a conference of intellectuals and culture workers from Latin America. “Brazil today has stronger diplomatic representation in the countries of the former Yugoslavia than it did in the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of Yugoslav-Brazil relations in the 1960s and 1970s, with embassies in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.“ Dragosavac says this places Brazil in good stead to strengthen its position in the region. He believes, however, that Brazil is not making full use of this. One such example is the visa situation between Serbia and Brazil. “Two years ago the countries signed a visaabolition agreement, which should have enabled Serbian citizens to enter Brazil without a visa,” he recalls. “Serbia has ratified the agreement - but two years on, Brazil still hasn’t.”
Belgrade Insight, Friday, July 13, 2012 - Thursday, July 26, 2012 11
health and family
Unbearable heat easier by the pool As the summer heat melts the asphalt, Belgraders seek shelter at some of the aqua parks that offer a lot of fun besides cooling water. Nemanja Čabrić
lthough Belgrade still hasn’t built its first aqua park, which has been on the cards since 2007, there are still places where one can escape the city’s asphyxiating heat. Heading on a one- or two-hour drive from Belgrade, and paying some €10-€15, can take you out of the city’s summer hell and provide pleasure by the poolside. Aqua parks in Serbia have a lot of rides adapted for the use of children as well as adults, so these attractions are for the whole family. While some provide more of an adrenalin rush, others are more for relaxation and cooling down. The biggest in Serbia, indeed in the Balkans, is in Vojvodina’s Bački Petrovac. Referring to its size many joke that the Pannonian Sea has returned to the Vojvodina plain. Other big aqua parks are in Jagodina and Aranđelovac, while there are smaller ones in Stara Pazova, Niška Banja, Soko Banja and Vrnjačka Banja.
Bački Petrovac Aqua Park Petroland in Bački Petrovac lies on seven hectares of landand comes with high rides, grass beaches and sports facilities. During weekends the park is packed with visitors queuing to try out some of the wildest attractions that parks of this kind can offer, including wave pools, relax pools, a Kids Paradise and the “Wild River”. While the wave pool offers simulated sea waves, reaching as high as 1.5 metres, the relax pool provides several kinds of hydro massage. That’s why there are
so many tourists coming mostly from neighbouring Croatia and Hungary. One of the top attractions is also the Wild River, which is a simulated 200-metre-long stream through which visitors travel on a raft. Water slides at Bački Petrovac reach from 12 to 18 metres in height, and they are between 80 and 130 metres long. The longest and highest of them is King Tower. At 18 metres high and 120 metres long, it is one of the most visited attractions at Petroland. The kids section is adjusted to the needs of the youngest visitors, with water slides and all other contents.
Aranđelovac Just an hour’s drive from Belgrade, in the middle of the Bukovička banja spa, lies a most interesting aqua park with diverse ways to cool down and have fun. The Aranđelovac Aqua Park is a favourite among visitors, both because of the adrenaline rides that one can experience and the healing waters of the nearby Bukovička banja spa. The Aqua Park covers 5.5 hectares, with a 22 metre-high water slide that has six levelsand is the tallest, and most extreme, in Serbia. The name of the water slide is Turbo lance and visitors fall and rise up the steep cliff several times before reaching the end of the ride. Another one, Black Hole, is a closed tube decorated with various lighting effects. It is 120 metres long and is not for the faint hearted. Other water slides, like Free Fall, Twister, and Body Slide, speak for themselves. Twister is a legendary water slide, made out of two tunnels that are 50 metres long and start from a
Aqua parks like this one in Aranđelovac are sprouting up across Serbia.
height of nine metres. In total this shrine of summer relaxing has 12 water slides for adults and three for kids.
Jagodina The aqua park in this eastern Serbian town has become a major tour-
ist attraction over the past few years. Tourists come here all the way from Russia and Poland to take a swim or ride on its 600 metres of water slides. It comprises several water slides for adults and a system of water slides for kids, large swimming pools and more. The temperature of its seven pools is
Photos courtesy of Aqua Park Izvor (Aranđelovac)
a constant 27 degrees Celsius. The park also stays open for visitors during the evening, making it an interesting alternative for going out. Concerts of famous Serbian bands and singers are held here often, as well as sporting events. Last summer more than 220,000 visitors came here to enjoy the water.
12 Belgrade Insight, Friday, July 13, 2012 - Thursday, July 26, 2012
what’s on Jovanović, Time Out, Ada Ciganlija bb, 10pm Monday July 16th
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Cinemas Belgrade’s cinemas only publish their schedules one week in advance. Listings for future weeks are available from the cinemas. All provide information in English. _________________________________ RODA CINEPLEX / Požeška 83A, tel: + 381 11 2545260 Ice Age. Continental Drift (synchronised) – 3.45pm, 8.15pm Ice Age. Continental Drift (3D) – 4.14pm, 6.15pm The Amazing Spider-Man (3D) – 5.30pm, 8pm, 10.30pm The Intouchables – 8.10pm, 10.15pm The Amazing Spider-Man – 10
_________________________________ KOLOSEJ CINEMA / Usce Shopping Centre, Bulevar Mihaila Pupina 4, tel: + 381 11 2854495 M adagascar 3. Europe’s Most Wanted (subtitles) – 12.15pm, 2.15pm, 4.15pm, 6.15pm, 8.15pm Ice Age. Continental Drift (3D) – 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9pm, 11pm The Dictator – 11.10am, 1.05pm, 7.25pm, 9.15pm L OL – 12.20pm, 2.20pm, 4.20pm _______ __________________________ Ice Age. Continental Drift (subtitles) CINEPLEXX / – 12.30pm, 2.30pm, 4.30pm, 6.30pm, Delta City, Jurija Gagarina 16, 8.30pm, 10.30pm tel: + 381 11 2203400 Madagascar 3. Europe’s Most Wanted P rometheus (3D) – 9.20 – 1.30pm, 3.30pm, 5.20pm, 7.10pm 2 1 Jump Street – 3.05pm, 5.15pm The Dictator – 9.10pm M adagascar 3. Europe’s Most Wanted (synchronised) – 11.45am, 1.45pm, Prometheus (3D) – 2.50pm, 10.50pm 3.45pm, 5.45pm, 7.45pm Ice Age. Continental Drift (synchronised) – 3pm, 7pm Ice Age. Continental Drift (synchronised) – 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, 8pm, 21 Jump Street – 12.50pm 10pm Ice Age. Continental Drift (3D) – 1pm, 2pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 8pm, 9pm The Amazing Spider-Man (3D) – 12.10pm, 1.10pm, 2.50pm, 5.30pm, Friends with Kids – 1.20pm 6.40pm, 8.10pm, 10.50pm Snow White and the Huntsman – 1.20pm, 10.20pm The Intouchables – 9.40pm The Amazing Spider-Man (3D) – D ark Shadows – 11pm 12.30pm, 3.10pm, 5.40pm, 8.20pm, P rometheus –10.15pm 9.50pm, 11pm The Intouchables (VIP Hall) – 11.20am, 1.50pm, 4.45pm, 7.20pm The Intouchables – 3.20pm Ice Age. Continental Drift (subtitles) – The Amazing Spider-Man – 11.30am, 5.30pm, 7.30pm, 9.30pm 2.10pm, 4.50pm, 7.30pm, 10.10pm The Amazing Spider-Man – 7.40pm P iranha 3DD – 11.15am _________________________________ What to Expect When You’re ExpectTUCKWOOD CINEPLEX / ing – 6.20pm, 8.40pm, 10.50pm Kneza Miloša 7, tel: + 381 11 3236517 _________________________________ DOM SINDIKATA The Intouchables – 10.10pm Trg Nikole Pašića 5, Ice Age. Continental Drift (3D) – tel: + 381 11 3234849 3.30pm 21 Jump Street – 4.15pm, 6.30pm, Ice Age. Continental Drift (3D) – 8.45pm 4.15pm The Amazing Spider-Man – 4.30pm, Ice Age. Continental Drift (synchronised) 7.10pm, 9.50pm – 4.45pm, 6.30pm, 8.10pm, 10pm Ice Age. Continental Drift (synchroP rometheus – 8.15om nised) – 4.30pm, 6.30pm, 8.30pm, F riends with Kids – 10.30pm 10.30pm M en in Black 3 – 6.15pm The Amazing Spider-Man (3D) – The Amazing Spider-Man (3D) – 8pm, 5.30pm, 8.10pm, 10.50pm 10.30pm Dark Shadows – 3.40pm, 5.50pm, 8pm S now White and the Huntsman – 5.45pm, 8pm, 10.15pm Clip – 11pm
Friday July 13th Clubbing: J ust Friday, Freestyler, Brodarska bb, 11pm B ack to the Sound, Sound, Brodarska bb, 11pm R e: Motion, Republika, bar-club, Pariska 1, 10pm Dj Groovyman/Most wanted, Central Park, Pariska 20, 10pm D j’s Kiza, Bane Paunovicn & Dj Marko, Magacin, Karađorđeva 2-4, 10pm D j Ann D Summer LineUp, Brankow Bar, Crnogorska 10, 10pm C lub – house, Plastic Light, Brodarska bb, 12am Live music: B alkan Express, Reka restoran, Kej oslobođenja 73bb Tamburaši, Kod Bake, Sinđelićeva 31, 9pm M arko Zujovic, Akapulko splav, Kej oslobođenja bb, 10pm B lah Blah Bend, Cantina De Frida, Karađorđeva 2-4, 10pm Vesko, Iguana, Karađorđeva 2 – 4, 10pm Vučković, Sindikat, Brodarska bb, 11pm L ive Jazz, Iguana, Karađorđeva, 10pm Saturday July 14th Clubbing: Igranka, Povetarac, Brodarska bb, 11pm C lub House DJ Mirko & DJ Meex, Freestyler, Brodarska bb, 12am S oundilicious, Sound, Brodarska bb, 12am R e: Load, Republika, bar-club, Pariska 1, 10pm D j Đura – Impossible night, Central Park, Pariska 20, 10pm D j’s Kiza, Bane Paunovicn & Dj Marko, Magacin, Karađorđeva 2-4, 10pm Live Music: B ojan Jevtić & Silver Bend, Akapulko splav, Kej Oslobođenja bb, 11pm L ive Jazz, Iguana, Karađorđeva 2-4, 10pm Vesko Vučković Bend, Cantina De Frida, Karađorđeva 2-4 10pm Tamburaši, Kod Bake Kafana, Sinđelićeva 31, 10pm P erpetuum Mobile, Bitef Summer Stage, Kalemegdan, 10pm S alsa Y Punto, Café Buena Vista, Turgenjeva 5, 11pm Sunday July 15th Clubbing: S uprise Party DJ Mirko & DJ Meex, Freestyler, Brodarska bb, 12am F uckin’ famous night, River, Brodarska bb, 11pm F unk’d, Disco Bar Mladost, Karađorđeva 44, 10pm Live music: L ive Jazz, Iguana, Karađorđeva 2-4, 9pm L ive Serbian Folk, Acapulco, Kej oslobođenja bb, 11pm M ia Borisavljević & Davor
Clubbing: S weet and Rough, BlowUp Barka, Savski Kej, 9pm R e:Lax, Republika bar – club, Pariska 1, 10pm Live Music: D ie Beste, Cantina de Frida, Karađorđeva 2-4, 9pm K araoke, Danguba, Ćirila i Metodija 2, 10pm Ž eljko Šašić, Serbian Folk, Acapulco, Kej Oslobođenja bb, 11pm That’s it band, Principal, Ušće bb, 9pm S ensation Party, River, Brodarska bb, 10pm Tuesday July 17th Clubbing: 9 0’s Night DJ Playa, Freestyler, Brodarska bb, 12am C entral Park Week, Central Park, Pariska 20, 9pm R e:Tro, Republika bar – club, Pariska 1, 10pm M alinada, Mladost, Karađorđeva 44, 10pm Live music: L ive Jazz, Iguana, Karađorđeva 2-4, 9pm D enis & Obule, pop rock, Cantina de Frida, Karađorđeva 2-4, 9pm S alsa Night, Abra café, Resavska 76, 9pm Wednesday July 18th Clubbing: B uzzin’ R’n’B & Hip-Hop DJ Ike & DJ Prema, Freestyler, Brodarska bb, 12am D j Sale Funkin’ Blue, Central Park, Pariska 20, 9pm R e:Action, Republika, Pariska 1, 10pm D isco Sound, Sound, Brodarska bb, 11pm M arko Gangbanger, Povetarac, Brodarska bb, 11pm Live Music: L ive Jazz, Iguana, Karađorđeva 2-4, 9pm L ibertango Band, Cantina de Frida, Karađorđeva 2-4, 9pm M arina Visković & Željko Šašić, Time Out, Ada Ciganlija bb, 10pm I vana Selakov, Acapulko, Kej Oslobođenja bb, 11pm Thursday July 19th Clubbing: 1 -1 Party DJ Yabba & DJ Nikola, Freestyler, Brodarska bb, 12am 8 0’s night, Sound, Brodarska bb, 11.30pm D j Gagi Kabadajić, Central Park, Pariska 20, 9pm R e:Make, Republika bar – club, Pariska 1, 10pm Live Music: S erbian Folk, Blaywatch, Brodarska bb, 12am
Publisher: BIRN d.o.o. Gospodar Jevremova 47, 11 000 Belgrade Phone/Fax: +381 11 334 62 09 Editor in Chief: Gordana Igrić BIRN editorial team: Ana Petruševa, Marcus Tanner, Gordana Andrić, Mark Pullen
G itarsi, Cantina de Frida, Karađorđeva 2-4, 9pm L ive Jazz, Iguana, Karađorđeva 2-4, 9pm Friday July 20th Clubbing: J ust Friday, Freestyler, Brodarska bb, 11pm B ack to the Sound, Sound, Brodarska bb, 11pm R e: Motion, Republika, bar-club, Pariska 1, 10pm Dj Groovyman/Most wanted, Central Park, Pariska 20, 10pm D j’s Kiza, Bane Paunovicn & Dj Marko, Magacin, Karađorđeva 2-4, 10pm D j Ann D Summer LineUp, Brankow Bar, Crnogorska 10, 10pm C lub – house, Plastic Light, Brodarska bb, 12am Live music: B alkan Express, Reka restoran, Kej oslobođenja 73bb Tamburaši, Kod Bake, Sinđelićeva 31, 9pm M arko Zujović, Akapulko splav, Kej oslobođenja bb, 10pm B lah Blah Bend, Cantina De Frida, Karađorđeva 2-4, 10pm Vesko Vučković, Sindikat, Brodarska bb, 11pm Saturday July 21st
Clubbing: Igranka, Povetarac, Brodarska bb, 11pm C lub House DJ Mirko & DJ Meex, Freestyler, Brodarska bb, 12am S oundilicious, Sound, Brodarska bb, 12am R e: Load, Republika, bar-club, Pariska 1, 10pm D j Đura – Impossible night, Central Park, Pariska 20, 10pm D j’s Kiza, Bane Paunovicn & Dj Marko, Magacin, Karađorđeva 2-4, 10pm
Live Music: B ojan Jevtic & Silver Bend, Akapulko splav, Kej Oslobođenja bb, 11pm L ive Jazz, Iguana, Karađorđeva 2-4, 10pm Vesko Vučković Bend, Cantina De Frida, Karađorđeva 2-4, 10pm Tamburaši, Kod Bake Kafana, Sinđelićeva 31, 10pm P erpetuum Mobile, Bitef Summer Stage, Kalemegdan, 10pm S alsa Y Punto, Café Buena Vista, Turgenjeva 5, 11pm Sunday July 22nd Clubbing: S uprise Party DJ Mirko & DJ Meex, Freestyler, Brodarska bb, 12am F uckin’ famous night, River, Brodarska bb, 11pm F unk’d, Disco Bar Mladost, Karađorđeva 44, 10pm Live music: L ive Jazz, Iguana, Karađorđeva firstname.lastname@example.org Sales & Marketing: Marija Petrović Phone: +381 11 6 5555 86 email@example.com Subscription & Distribution: BEOKOLP D.O.O. firstname.lastname@example.org Printing: POLITIKA štamparija d.o.o. ISSN 1820-8339 = Belgrade Insight COBISS.SR-ID: 149132556 Circulation: 4,000
Belgrade Insight, Friday, July 13, 2012 - Thursday, July 26, 2012 13
what’s on 2-4, 9pm L ive Serbian Folk, Acapulco, Kej oslobođenja bb, 11pm Mia Borisavljević & Davor Jovanović, Time Out, Ada Ciganlija bb, 10pm Monday July 23rd Clubbing: Sweet and Rough, BlowUp Barka, Savski Kej bb, 9pm Re:Lax, Republika bar – club, Pariska 1, 10pm
Live Music: Die Beste, Cantina de Frida, Karađorđeva 2-4, 9pm Karaoke, Danguba, Ćirila i Metodija 2, 10pm Željko Šašić, Serbian Folk, Acapulco, Kej Oslobođenja bb, 11pm That’s it band, Principal, Ušće bb, 9pm Sensation Party, River, Brodarska bb, 10pm
Tuesday July 24th
Clubbing: 90’s Night DJ Playa, Freestyler, Brodarska bb, 12am Central Park Week, Central Park, Pariska 20, 9pm Re:Tro, Republika bar – club, Pariska 1, 10pm Malinada, Mladost, Karađorđeva 44, 10pm
Live music: L ive Jazz, Iguana, Karađorđeva 2-4, 9pm Denis & Obule, pop rock, Cantina de Frida, Karađorđeva 2-4, 9pm Salsa Night, Abra café, Resavska 76, 9pm Wednesday July 25th Clubbing: Buzzin’ R’n’B & Hip-Hop DJ Ike & DJ Prema, Freestyler, Brodarska bb, 12am Dj Sale Funkin’ Blue, Central Park, Pariska 20, 9pm Re:Action, Republika, Pariska 1, 10pm Live Music: L ive Jazz, Iguana, Karađorđeva 2-4, 9pm Libertango Band, Cantina de Frida, Karađorđeva 2-4, 9pm Marina Visković & Željko Šašić, Time Out, Ada Ciganlija bb, 10pm Ivana Selakov, Acapulko, Kej oslobođenja bb, 11pm Thursday July 26th Clubbing: 1-1 Party DJ Yabba & DJ Nikola, Freestyler, Brodarska bb, 12am 80’s night, Sound, Brodarska bb, 11.30pm Dj Gagi Kabadajić, Central Park, Pariska 20, 9pm Re:Make, Republika bar – club, Pariska 1, 10pm Live Music: S erbian Folk, Blaywatch, Brodarska bb, 12am Gitarsi, Cantina de Frida, Karađorđeva 2-4, 9pm L ive Jazz, Iguana, Karađorđeva 2-4, 9pm Programmes may be subject to change. Please check online for more information at http://www.hot-spot.rs/
Gallery, Uzun Mirkova 12, 7pm
JULY 13 Romantic Fools, Gardoš, Zemun, 9 pm SATURDAY JULY 14 Life in Tight Shoes, Bojčin Forest, Progar, 9pm
Exhibitions and Events FRIDAY JULY 13 Exhibition. Aleksandar Anđić, photography, Artget Gallery, Trg Republike 5, 8pm SUNDAY JULY 15 BELEF/Design Film. Columns on Scene in Bilbao, Chico&Rita, Military Museum Trench, Kalemegdan, 9pm
THURSDAY JULY 19 Exhibition. Mosaic, group of authors, Gallery 73, Požeška 83, 8pm SATURDAY JULY 21 Exhibition. The World Press Photo Exhibition, Dom Omladine, Makedonska 22, 7pm Exhibition. Marko Marković, Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts, Knez Mihajlova 53, 8pm TUESDAY JULY 24 Exhibition. Snežana Pešić-Rančić, Singidunum Gallery, Knez Mihajlova 40, 7pm
MONDAY JULY 16 BELEF/Design Film. Objectified, Helvetica, Military Museum Trench, Kalemegdan, 9pm
FRIDAY JULY 13 Sergej Trifunović Band, Military Museum Trench, Kalemegdan Park, 9.30pm Vitamin X, Helltard, Technicolor Lies, Fest, Gradski Park 2, Zemun, 10pm
TUESDAY JULY 17 Exhibition. Bojana Bojović, ULUPUDS
SATURDAY JULY 14 RioBand, Gardoš, Zemun, 9pm
Sevdah Baby, Flamingosi, Military Museum Trench, Kalemegdan Park, 9.30pm FRIDAY JULY 20 Neverne Bebe Unplugged, Military Museum Trench, Kalemegdan Park, 9.30pm Jinx, BitefArtVafe, Kalemegdan Park, 8pm SATURDAY JULY 21 Maja Volk and Abantu Ubale Orchestra, Gardoš, Zemun, 9pm
Body treatments and rituals... Kneginje Kneginje Zorke Zorke 66, 66, Vračar Vračar +381 11 3860224; +381 +381 11 3860224; +381 69 69 3860224 3860224
SUNDAY JULY 22 Vlatko Stefanovski Trio, Bojčin Forest, Progar, 8pm MONDAY JULY 23 Graf Orlock, Helltard, Ladja boat on Sava, 10pm WEDNESDAY JULY 25 Nemanja Aćimović, Vukašin Marković, Boris Mladenović, Dom Omladine, Dečanska 22, 8pm THURSDAY JULY 26 KimGordon and Ikue Mori, Dom Omladine, Dečanska 22, 9.30pm
Welcome to Event Club! All events in Serbia are now available on www.eventclub.rs. Event categories include culture, sport, music, business, performance, fashion, festivals and so on. Our website is available in Serbian and English and you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We hope you enjoy our site!
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14 Belgrade Insight, Friday, July 13, 2012 - Thursday, July 26, 2012
Getting perked up in the park
With its handy location and good design, Central Park has quickly established itself as the city’s new night haunt of choice.
ith a great location, cuttingedge design and owners who already have experience of success on the Belgrade nightclub scene, it’s easy to see why Central Park is the most popular new nightspot in the Serbian capital this summer. The new bar comes from the managers of the Ander Bar, which has been a popular nightclub for years in Belgrade. Central Park is located where the old Park Restaurant once stood, but, once you step inside, you will barely recognise what’s left. The entire interior and exterior of the old delapidated restaurant have been revamped and modernised. The old Park Restaurant was a locale that time seemed to pass by. Although the location was exceptional, across the street from Kalemegdan Park and one street over from Belgrade’s most populous pedestrian zone, Knez Mihailova, the restaurant was only ever crowded when someone threw a wedding reception or when organised groups of senior
citizens came to the restaurant for a weekly social event. Central Park’s owners gutted the old restaurant and gave it a complete facelift, but thankfully kept the old restaurant’s best asset – the large trees located in the yard area and the fantastic shade that they provide. One thing that might not be clear to many has to do with the branding of the bar itself. Before Central Park opened up as a summer attraction, the restaurant portion of the old Park Restaurant was renovated to look cutting-edge and modern, and the new venue was given the name Promet. At the time of this new café/restaurant’s opening, the outdoor area that is now Central Park’s primary venue was turned into a parking lot for Promet. Thankfully, the managers of the bar realised that they were wasting a fantastic piece of property by turning it into a parking lot, and finally in the first week of June, the new Central Park concept bar was introduced. Since its opening, Central Park has become one of the most talked about and frequented bars in the
Since its opening, Central Park has become one of the most talked about and frequented bars in the city.
city. Advertised as a clubbing and barhopping experience akin to the best such venues in the world, Central Park claims to offer all of the best in entertainment services. The best thing about the bar is that the space has been used exceptionally well and every metre of the bar’s design was thought out. The rectangular outside area has large bars lining it on two sides and the rest of the outer area is covered with seating. This is good because it opens up the middle of the bar for more tables and seats; it also gives people walking by the bar an immediate glimpse of the atmosphere. If you are walking by Central Park it will appear to be at capacity just because all of the seating along the sides of the bar have been filled up and it looks like a very enticing place to check out when you are on the outside looking in. And the notion that the bar has reached capacity is usually not an illusion; Central Park has been flooded with patrons almost every day since its opening in early June. There is nothing turly that spectacular about the bar, but the fact is that it looks good, its location is
phenomenal and it’s something new for the summer in Belgrade where people might be tired of having to choose between going to the river for some dancing and music, or sitting in a café in the city centre for drinks and conversation. Central Park is a place where these two worlds meet and merge. Thanks to the shade provided by the natural greenery of the bar, it is a fine place to have drinks or even lunch during the day, while at night it is a great place to go out and be seen, have drinks and converse, or even listen to loud music and dance - all without leaving the city centre. If you are planning on going over the weekend this summer, and this includes Thursday and Sunday, you are best off making a reservation or coming early if you want to get a table. While Central Park has already cemented itself as a tremendous success this summer, it will be interesting to see if the indoor section of the bar, which was earlier called Promet, will be just as popular during the colder seasons and, of course, whether Central Park’s summer success has a repeat performance in 2013.
Free music from Šabac band 11
Young bands get chance to play Beer Fest
Serbian-Cuban documentary wins award
Culture Centre GRAD coming to Exit Fest
BBC documentary to examine ex-Yugoslav rock scene
abac-based band “11” is giving away its new studio album “Težina Okova” for free via the official “eleven” website. The alternative rock band’s new album features a guest performance by Alen Jovanović, of legendary Serbian punk group Goblini. The album can be downloaded at http://www. elevenmusic.net/.
oung bands that have yet to release an official album can send their music to the organisers of the Belgrade Beer Fest if they hope to earn a spot on stage this year. All interested groups should send their music to belgradebeerfest@gmail. com for consideration.
he Serbian-Cuban documentary film “With Fidel to the End”, written and directed by Goran Radovanović, has won the Grand Prix at the International Documentary Film Festival in Ismailia, Egypt. The film has already been shown at over twenty international festivals and has received much critical acclaim this year.
opular alternative cultural nightspot, Culture Centre GRAD, will be setting up headquarters at the Exit Festival, more specifically, on the Suba Stage. Interior designer Aleksandra Stratimorivić, who is responsible for the club’s current look in Belgrade, will design the club’s festival presence as well, which will include interactive video installations and many more surprises.
BC reporters and producers are due in Belgrade in late August to film a documentary about the rock and punk scene of the former Yugoslavia, focusing on the ‘80s. The film will be about the influence of this music on political change in Eastern Europe. Members of legendary Serbian rockers Električni Orgazam are rumoured to be making an appearance in the film.
Belgrade Insight, Friday, July 13, 2012 - Thursday, July 26, 2012 15
Olympians set for London Games Gordana Andrić
The Serbian Olympic Team’s hopefuls will be vying to bring medals back to Belgrade, but who are the country’s top contenders?
Photo by Beta
ennis player Novak Đoković will carry the Serbian flag and lead the Serbian Olympic Team at the opening ceremony in London. Although the final lists of countries’ contestants are only due to be submitted by July 18th, the Serbian team is already formed and includes 115 competitors. Serbia’s 2012 Olympians will compete in 15 disciplines – athletics, swimming, shoot-
ing, rowing, kayaking, cycling, taekwondo, table tennis, tennis, judo, boxing, wrestling, volleyball, water polo and handball. The 30th Summer Olympic Games will be held in London from July 27th to August 12th and the UK capital will become the first city in history to host the
Olympics three times, as the Games have already been hosted by London in 1908 and 1948. This year Serbia will compete at the Olympics for the third time as an independent state. The country first took part at the Stockholm Games of 1912. Then, until 2008, Serbian athletes performed as representatives of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. The country once again joined the Olympics independently in 2008, in Beijing. Although Serbian athletes won numerous medals as representatives of
Yugoslavia, so far only three medals have been won under the Serbian flag, all at the Olympics in Beijing, where Serbian swimmer Milorad Čavić won silver, while Novak Đoković and the Serbian men’s water polo team won bronzes. Following Đoković’s enormous success, tennis has become the most popular sport in the country. The Serbian Olympic tennis team includes, alongside Đoković, Janko Tipsarević, Viktor Troicki, Nenad Zimonjić, Ana Ivanović and Jelena Janković. As team sports are also among the most popular in Serbia, the country’s hand ball, water polo and volleyball teams will also be among the most watched. London 2012 will be the first time in 12 years that the national hand ball team has competed at the Olympics. After the Serbian handball team won silver at the European Championships held in Belgrade in January and qualified for the Olympics in Madrid this April, they have shown that they are back in the game. Although it might not be a popular
sport around the globe, water polo has always been among Serbia’s favourites. Many believe it’s because Serbs are good at it. While in Beijing the team secured bronze, in 2004 in Athens the men’s water polo team came second. The team has since won a gold medal at the World Championships in Rome in 2009 and a silver in Shanghai in 2011. The country’s volleyball team won a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics, but since then has crashed out at the quarterfinal stage. However, in recent years they have started climbing back up the world rankings, having won a World Championship bronze in Italy in 2010 and gold at last year’s European Championships. While tennis and team sports are undoubtedly the most popular, the Serbian Olympic team also has some other names that the country count on. Swimmer Nadja Higl finished a lowly 33rd in the 200-metre breaststroke at the Beijing Olympics, but
just a year later she won gold at the World Championships. Although she has not repeated that kind of success since, neither at European nor World championships, Higl has remained in the world top 10 since 2009. Another swimmer that Serbia is bound to watch closely is 18-year-old Velimir Stjepanović, who won European Junior Championships gold in 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly in 2011. Experts consider Stjepanović the brightest young hope, while sports lovers like compare him with Milorad Čavić. Čavić was born in California, but decided to represent the national team of his country of origin – Serbia. Stjepanović was born in Dubai, but also had little doubt when deciding which national team he wants to perform for. Thought Stjepanović might be an emerging starlet, the 2012 Olympics will also see some Serbian veterans perform. Serbia’s 41-year-old high jumper, Dragutin Topić, has competed at every Olympic Games since 1992, meaning that the London Games will be his sixth Olympics. Although Topić has never won an Olympic medal, he is one of Serbia’s most popular athletes. Topić has held the national high jump record since 1993, when he jumped 2.38m. This record also placed him on the list of the best jumpers of all time. His first international gold medal was at the World Junior Championships in Plovdiv in 1990, when he jumped 2.37 metres. His jump in Plovdiv still holds the record for the World Junior Championships. Along with Topić, another beloved veteran set to perform in London is 35-year-old long distance runner Olivera Jevtić. Jevtić ran at the Olympics only once, in Athens in 2004, where she finished sixth place and was the best ranked European runner. However, Serbian Olympics Committee has declared her twice the best female athlete in the country, in 1998 and 1999. In last ten years, Jevtic run numerous marathons and often managed to be among first ten. One of the most experienced athletes heading to London is Olympic shooter Jasna Sekarić. Born in 1965, Sekarić has been part of the Serbian Olympic team since 1988. She came back to Belgrade with a medal almost every time. In her first Olympics, Seoul 1988, she won two: gold (air pistol) and bronze (small-bore pistol). She came back from Barcelona in 1992 with silver (air pistol), while the Atlanta Olympics of 1996 proved barren for this otherwise prolific markswoman. Shooting from the air rifle, Sekarić won silver at Sydney 2000, as well as Athens 2004. In Beijing she came a disappointing sixth.
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Bookstore, Tearoom and Coffee Shop Cara Lazara 10 +381 11 2625839 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.apropo.co.rs
Hand-made homeware design from vintage to provocative FOOD, FRIENDS & FUN Kralja Petra 20 tel: +381 11 3285656 Milutina MIlankovica 134 tel: +381 11 2026004 www.tribeca.rs
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CAFE BAR LIVING ON THE EDGE... BETWEEN PEACE&WAR... BETWEEN PAST&PRESENT Simina 22, 11000 Beograd tel: +381 11 3341322
REMAKE SHOP Cumicevo sokache bb, Lokal no. 15 Mon-Fri 12-20h; Sat 12-16h tel: +381 11 3344905 www.remakehome.net
COCO Chocolate, coffee and jazz bar
GO-GO DANCERS & BELLY DANCERS EVERY DAY EXCEPT SUNDAY Zmaj Jovina 4 tel: +381 600 227227 email@example.com facebook.com/lotosclub
Skadarska 34 Tel: + 381 11 3035353 Fax: + 381 v11 3035858 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.petitpiaf.com
Rajićeva 14, +381 60 6860614 www.coco.rs facebook.com/ cocochocolatebar