ANALYTICAL STUDY 03

‘Our brothers’, ‘our saviours’: The importance of Chinese investment for the Serbian government’s narrative of economic rebound

By Tena Prelec

Published by the Prague Security Studies Institute
October 2020

To read the paper, click HERE.

ABSTRACT

This study traces the way the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) has used the topic of economic assistance from abroad to build and consolidate its dominance on the Serbian  political scene from 2012 to 2020. Through the analysis of domestic and international
media coverage, this study argues that the construction of a narrative of economic renaissance has gone hand-in-hand with a narrative depicting economic salvation in the form of foreign friends coming to the rescue. It is shown that this role, initially played by the United Arab Emirates, was later assumed by China. It is argued that the conduit of this ‘foreign’ assistance activity is, in fact, the Serbian political leadership itself (in the person of current Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić), which seeks to present itself as 
able to offer stability and reassurance to the population, thus preserving the ‘ontological security’ of the Serbian nation. The findings of the study provide insights into why Serbian foreign policy has been, seemingly, so erratic: narrative-wise, the Serbian leadership has picked the actor that was most useful in highlighting their own nation-saving activity at any given moment.

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