A conversation with Mr. Goran Igić, a member of the Presidency of the Serbian Party Zavetnici (parliamentary party in Serbia).
Goran Igić is a Serbian journalist, translator and member of the nationalist Serbian Party Oathkeepers. He is also a graduate of Philology for the Serbian language. Igić is known to the public as the translator of a notable doctoral thesis of Teodora Toleva, a Bulgarian academic who had access to the Vienna Imperial Archives and subsequently published her research for her doctoral thesis The Impact of the Austro-Hungarian Empire on the Creation of the Albanian Nation 1896 – 1908. Igić has also translated Sava Vasilev’s book Nepokorni Luka into Croatian. He speaks Serbian, Bulgarian, Greek and English, with an understanding of Hungarian and Russian also.
1. Hello, Goran, and thank you for making time to join us for this interview with Europa Terra Nostra. Now, just to begin with, could you please give us a short description of the Serbian Party Oathkeepers, with whom you belong to, as well as your respective role within the party? What are the core issues outlined within your manifesto and what are you responsible for within the party?
I am honored to be interviewed by Europa Terra Nostra. The Serbian Party Zavetnici (Oathkeepers), the name of our party, Zavetnici, was not chosen by chance. It is difficult to correctly translate the name of the party. Zavet – that word can mean oath, but can mean pledge. In any case, it is about responsibility towards one’s own nation. The party defines itself as a conservative political party. It participated in the 2022 Serbian Parliamentary Election with 10 Members of Parliament of the Republic of Serbia. The Serbian party Zavetnici also looks at the strategic position of Serbia, as a point where the interests of the East and the West have been intersecting for centuries. We believe that the national identity is important in defining politics. It is important to preserve our value system and culture, and especially to connect with countries in Europe dominated by those political forces that recognize that the process of globalist unification and suppression of sovereign states is dangerous for the entire European civilization. We want good relations with European countries, but we cannot tie our fate to uncertain and unstable projects. The current situation in the EU has shown that the existing concept of Brussels’ centralization and encroachment on the most important issues of the member states is completely unsustainable. Оur party does not see Serbia in the European Union, but as an independent sovereign country. My role in the party is related to defining the ideology, and above all, I have obligations in communication with foreign entities. I am a member of the Party Presidency and an adviser to our President, Mrs. Milica Đurđević-Stamenkovski, on matters of education and diplomacy. Also, I am a journalist and philologist.
2. Earlier on this year in April saw the 2022 Serbian General Elections. What is the current situation surrounding the Serbian nationalist scene following the results of the General Election, which saw the Oathkeepers gain 10 seats in Parliament – to become the largest represented nationalist party in Serbia now – and a significant growth in the popularity of your party president, Milica Djurdjević-Stamenkovski, who came in 5th in the presidential race?
The elections were held in April, and the Government has not yet been formed, although it is already mid-October as we speak. On the evening of April 3rd, it was clear who received how much support from the citizens, and many expected that the government would be formed quickly, taking into account the situation in the world, the economic situation, trends in inflation and price shocks, and a whole series of other issues. However, half a year has passed in the technical mandate, and the people are more and more bitter and more and more silent, because the concern is growing. A new government has not been formed, and the ruling group is thinking about new elections in the spring, that is no secret. The goal of all these delays is to reach a “Bulgarian scenario” after the next elections, and maybe even before them, where Boyko Borisov (that’s the Bulgarian version of Serbian Vucic) was tied up with Kirill Petkov (that’s the Bulgarian Djilas) to form a government with the Democrats (those are their Greens) and to form a Euro-Atlantic government in a package with the Turkish party that will do everything the globalists want. In order for that to happen in Serbia, it is necessary to increase the number of abstainers, and thereby reduce the number of potential voters for the Serbian Party Zavetnici and the right in general. That’s why they’re muddying the waters now, and the goal is for the majority of citizens to say “they’re all the same, so that Milica is like all the others…” And you know what happened in Bulgaria in the elections on October 2nd, actually? As many as 63% of Bulgarians did not vote at all, because either they think that the country is not important to them, or they think that the country is not theirs. Serbia has a way out to rise, to be on the path of restoration of sovereignty, like Orban’s Hungary, but the condition for that is to punish the regime and to give confidence to the real alternative, the real opposition — above all, the Serbian Party Zavetnici. If the Italians have Meloni and the Hungarians have Victor, we Serbs have something incomparably better – we have our Milica! Support for our party is growing.
3. Serbia is an official candidate for membership of the European Union. What is the Oathkeepers’ stance on the EU and overall aims of the bloc, especially in light of the culture war that member states such as Poland and Hungary are waging against the EU regarding issues such as abortion, liberalism, LGBT propaganda, national sovereignty and mass migration from African and Middle-Eastern countries?
It is especially important to understand the issue of migrants. As we speak, about 200 illegal migrants were found on the banks of the Tisa River in a special police operation conducted in the municipality of Novi Kneževac. Members of the Gendarmerie and the operational strike group also confiscated weapons and a certain amount of money. It is not only about “migrants”, but about the invasion of Europe. We can see among them more than 90% of men of military age. There are almost no children, women and elderly people. The question is how to defend the safety of the local population. I do not believe in the possibility of integrating migrants into Serbian society, in most cases. When it comes to LGBT propaganda, there is not much to say. There are principles that have lasted for centuries in all of Christian Europe, and this phenomenon was definitely imposed by the neoliberals.
4. What are the main challenges regarding domestic issues in Serbia? How is the country dealing with issues such as crime, the economic situation, education system, etc.?
Recomposition of forces into a multipolar order is in progress. Serbia is still facing big problems since 1999. Our territorial integrity and constitutional order, as well as our economic interests, are threatened due to the fact that the IMF enslaved Serbian finances. Serbia’s relations with important countries of the world are burdened by the view of those countries on the issue of the integrity of the Serbian territory. They appear as protectors of the so-called statehood of Kosovo* and, in the most direct way, condition Serbia to recognize the secession of our southern province. Therefore, one of the key aspects of Serbian foreign policy is an active diplomatic offensive aimed at promoting our interests in accordance with international law and Resolution 1244. The country is in a catastrophic economic state and neoliberal circles ineptly disguised as populists are in power. Education is falling. Demographic trends are worrying. Crime has increased. A paradigm shift is needed. More precisely, a change of government.
5. How do you view the recent developments surrounding the Kosovo Question? Could you please explain to our readers who may not be so familiar with Kosovo as to what has been going on the region recently?
Belgrade leads a policy of concessions towards the Kosovo Albanians. There was a lot of vague things, noise, uproar about the Brussels agreements, so we see in the end that Serbia did not gain anything, and quite a few institutions were extinguished, so the current situation with Kosovo* is even worse. Now, we have a similar thing, when it comes to the clamor and noisy drums of media propaganda, but it should be emphasized that the long-announced “legally binding agreement on the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, or Serbia and Kosovo” is far more dangerous than the previous Brussels agreements. Why? Because the Brussels agreements, even though they are harmful to state interests in many ways, and in terms of consequences on the ground, can still be revised, annulled or suspended with the supposed change of government in Belgrade, while the story with the “legally binding agreement” is a little more complicated. That is if that happens, we will have a serious problem. The legally binding agreement between Serbia and Kosovo* is essentially a peace treaty, which would end the 1999 ceasefire, whereby the state of Serbia would recognize the independence of Kosovo*, and such a decision would be difficult to reverse, even though it would be a precedent. After the October 5th coup, the West imposed its own model for solving the Kosovo crisis, and Serbia’s statehood gradually narrowed. For example, Prime Minister Ana Brnabić said when announcing the legally binding agreement, i.e. the “Peace Treaty with Pristina”, that it is under the exclusive competence of the Government of Serbia. “We have to conclude a legally binding agreement with Pristina if we want to be part of the European Union,” Vučić said. Kosovo* will not get a seat in the UN right away, but with that legally binding agreement, which Vučić announced, it would become a state. The fact that Kosovo* would not join the UN does not mean much, because it would be recognized as a country (even one Switzerland only joined the UN in 2002, and has been a country for centuries already). Such a long-announced “legally binding agreement with Pristina” is actually a peace treaty between two equal parties, it is a model of two Germanys in a way. Consequently, according to international law, Resolution 1244 and the Kumanovo Agreement from 1999 cease to be valid. Resolution 1244 does not end automatically, but is abolished by the person who passed it, which is the UN Security Council. To be more precise, neither China nor Russia would be able to defend the survival and validity of Resolution 1244 if the state of Serbia signs the amputation of its territory (it is not realistic to expect that). If that is so, and it is so, it will not be worth anything to us to topple Vučić after such a signature, because the legally binding agreement would be valid, it would be above the domestic legislation, even the highest domestic legislative acts, because they do not apply to him, Vienna Conventions, but the Law of War or the International Law of Armed Conflict. Peace treaties have absolute supremacy in the legal order, both domestically and, especially, internationally. He will never be able to withdraw such a signature again, because of the other parties in the negotiations, because of the legality of the procedure. Peace treaties are not ratified in parliaments, because of the authority that the EU has from the UN General Assembly (including the Security Council) to be the official negotiator in the negotiations and guarantor of what was agreed and signed. We will repeat once again, the upcoming agreement should not be interpreted according to the Vienna Agreements, but according to the International Law of Armed Conflict, better known as the Law of War – and there are also the Hague Conventions from 1907, then the Geneva Conventions and numerous others, as well as according to the UN Charter, and dozens of resolutions , declarations and conventions that ensure peace in the world. Why interpret it that way? Due to NATO aggression and the war in 1999, when Title VII Article 51 was applied, and a year before that on several occasions and Chapter VI of the Charter. This would end the truce from 1999 with our capitulation in the sense of relinquishing part of the territory. Of course, there are still Articles 305, 307 and 308 of the Criminal Code – destruction of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia. Especially important is Article 308 of the Criminal Code on the violent change of the Constitutional Order of the Republic of Serbia. There are not too many defenders of the Constitution, the work of the Constitutional Court has shown its worth, and the governing structures have alienated themselves from the interests of their own people. What can the people do? He can express his disagreement with the surrender of Kosovo and Metohija.
6. Serbia has historically strong relations with Russia, the latter country now being ostracised and sanctioned by the West. Is the current geopolitical crisis between the West and Russia proving to be a burden for Serbia as well, or is Serbia’s official position of neutrality within the United Nations a potential source of opportunity for Europe as a whole if Serbia was given a role as an intermediary between East and West?
I have the impression that the main goal of prolonging the war in Ukraine is the deindustrialization of Europe. Why would capital stay in an unstable area? I hear that even such a giant as Volkswagen is thinking about moving out of Europe. Cutting the gas pipeline to Germany can only mean the humiliation of the German economy. I think the test of intelligence is who had an interest in cutting off the Russian-German gas pipeline. I think that Moscow is a more logical long-term partner for Berlin than Washington. Unfortunately, it is not realistic for Serbia to be a mediator in this problem, in my opinion. Serbia should be out of any conflict, but that should not mean passivity. The perception of Serbs is not the best in the West, but it is actually the result of an earlier crisis period and long-term propaganda. Serbophobia is a phenomenon, which has its similarity with Russophobia, and I think it was induced from non-continental circles. Serbs and Russians belong to one civilization, but the culture in Serbia is more Westernized. Personally, I am in many respects a Germanophile, and I do not hide it, but I am also aware of the limits in the existing paradigm of communication between the Serbs and the German world. Let’s say, my favorite authors of the books on my shelf are Novalis, Spengler, Goethe, Karl Schmidt. I also read Heidegger, Hegel, Kant. I highly appreciate German science and statecraft. However, this great thought of the German collective genius falls before the temptations of real politics, because today’s Germany is more Americanized, unfortunately. Ideally, Belgrade would have good relations with both Berlin and Moscow. Unfortunately, I think it is in the interest of the globalists to prevent the co-operation of Germans and Slavs. I’m a good connoisseur of Western culture and I don’t have any complexes, because I’m from the Balkans. After all, my wife is Hungarian, and, to some extent, has a German upbringing. I think that Berlin is wrong in that it recognizes Zagreb as more important than Belgrade. I believe in the possibility of Serbian-German co-operation in the future. Likewise, any underestimation of Russia is out of the question.
7. Now, this next question may be of a sensitive nature, given the history of the Balkans, but it is an important question nonetheless, in light of the ongoing geopolitical situation in the world. Many countries in Europe continue to harbour historical grievances against their respective neighbours – for example, Germany and Poland – which can sometimes complicate necessary co-operation. Serbia and Croatia have had several issues between each other for decades now, but there appears to be little to no sign of significant hostilities erupting between the two nations anytime soon. Regarding the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, do you envision any scenario in which these two nations could lower their weapons and instead attempt to resolve the conflict via diplomacy, with the potential for even the slightest reconciliation in the future? What approach do you think could work?
I would not interfere in the bilateral relations of other countries. Germany and Poland are neighboring countries with serious ambitions, but apart from conflicting competition, a scenario of systemic co-operation is also possible. Regarding the conflict in Ukraine, it is important that the armed actions stop, and that will not happen if weapons are constantly being sent there. Croatia is in a demographic crisis just like Serbia, and we have a common Yugoslav heritage. Unfortunately, Zagreb was often an instrument of other powers to put pressure on the Serbs. Personally, as a philologist, I believe that linguistically, the Croatian language is actually the Zagreb variant of the Serbian language. We don’t need a translator. Serbs and Croatians who go to work in Austria, Germany, Scandinavia very quickly adapt to the new environment, and that says a lot. The phenomenon of southern Yugonostalgia will continue to exist throughout the entire territory of the former state, regardless of the wars. Relations between Serbs and Croats are strained, but with a little goodwill, they can be mended. Let’s say Croats and Serbs in Bosnia co-operate, because they are threatened by Islamization and unitarization. I think it is important for old wounds to heal and for the entire former Yugoslav space to be a place of co-operation. That is exactly why we must not forget Jasenovac, for example. Croatia forbade our party to visit that place. I think that Zagreb does not want reconciliation. After almost three decades since Operation Storm, which was carried out in Croatia in August 1995, it can be seen that these events are an increasing stumbling block in the relations between Belgrade and Zagreb. At that time, more than 200,000 Serbs left the territory of Croatia. For some, it was a cause for celebration, for others, sadness. The atomization of the Balkans did no one any good. The area of Slavonia in Croatia is half-empty today. Croatia has fewer inhabitants today than in Yugoslavia when it was.
8. Finally, is the Serbian Party Oathkeepers engaged in connecting with other nationalist groups in other countries, in order to build a cross-border network against globalist regimes, the latter of which seek to threaten and even dismantle nationalist groups and nationalism itself as an ideology? Principally, how important do you feel communication and co-operation are when it comes to relations between nationalist groups on a European scale?
That question is very important. We had the most contacts with people of similar beliefs from the Czech Republic and Hungary. Despite numerous problems, Serbia is a country of significant geopolitical authority and a desirable strategic partner for numerous countries in Europe and the world. We oppose Serbia’s membership in the NATO pact, as well as any forms of rapprochement with this military alliance that encroach on the security and military sovereignty of the Republic of Serbia. We stand for a “Europe of Nations”, more precisely for a Europe of co-operation between sovereign and independent countries. The ideals of Charles de Gaulle are very close to us. Europe should belong to Europeans. Europe was born in the Balkans. Catena mundi is an old toponym used on geographical maps. Jovan Cvijić, a well-known Serbian geographer, wrote at the beginning of the 20th century, “In the time of Strabo and Ptolemy, a mountain range was drawn on maps and described in geographical works, which stretched without interruption from East to West, from the Black Sea to the Alps. In the Renaissance, it was called Catena Mundi or Catena del Mondo.” That term meant Chains of the World. The Balkans are still the center of geopolitical turmoil. These are long-term processes. Without Serbs in the Balkans, in a radically orientalized Balkan, let’s say, Europe cannot hope for happiness. It is important that you understand Serbian interests and that we respect each other, and after that, we will come to trust. I am aware of the danger of an undeclared World War III, which is gradually sliding towards escalation. Serbia, if under the leadership of the Covenanters, will be a factor of peace and co-operation, especially with European countries. Finally, I would like to say that we would be glad if the patriotic forces in Germany asked their government for Berlin to withdraw the recognition of Kosovo’s independence. That would be a great gesture for the Serbs, and we would be able to appreciate it.
Goran, thank you very much for this most interesting and insightful interview for Europa Terra Nostra.
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