The head of Bosnia's Republika Srpska attended a meeting with Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev and Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica on Feb. 25. His attendance indicates that Srpska's secession from Bosnia could be on the table.
STRATFOR has learned that Milorad Dodik, the head of Bosnia-Herzegovina's Republika Srpska, attended an interesting meeting Feb. 25 between Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev and Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica. Dodik's presence fuels speculation that a possible split of Srpska from the rest of Bosnia is on the table. Medvedev's trip to Serbia comes just two weeks after the former Serbian province of Kosovo declared independence, much to Moscow's and Belgrade's fury. Speaking with Medvedev present, Kostunica declared that Serbia still intends to rule parts of Kosovo where "loyal citizens" reside, hinting to the West that a partition of Kosovo is possible. At the time, STRATFOR said that Kostunica's remarks possibly also were directed at other Serbs in the region, mainly those next door in Republika Srpska. Dodik's official reason for meeting Medvedev and Kostunica was to discuss energy matters with Serbia and Russia. Medvedev vowed to include Srpska in Russia's plans to buy up most of Serbia's energy sector and in Russia's proposed South Stream natural gas pipeline. In actuality, Srpska has little interest in energy deals with Serbia or Russia, since Srpska not only is self-sufficient in energy, it is a net exporter of electricity to the region. The real reason for Dodik's trip was to discuss the possibility of Srpska's breaking from the rest of Bosnia (which is mostly Muslim and Croat) and reunifying with its fellow Serbs in Serbia. The Bosnian Serbs have threatened for years to split from Bosnia proper, especially as the Kosovo issue heated up. But Dodik has waited for a cue from Belgrade and Moscow before making the leap. Now, we know the matter is being discussed fully by all three. The United Nations — which oversees Bosnia — is watching carefully, too. Knowing that a breakup of the country was possible, it has been pushing through any legislation it can in Sarajevo to pacify Dodik and those within Srpska. Even though Dodik is taking full advantage of having the United Nations bend to keep the peace, he has made it clear he has other deals on the table, too.