Around 21,000 Serbs from Kosovo have appealed to Russia’s lower house of parliament for help in obtaining Russian citizenship.
“They named protection of their security as the main motive,” says Counsellor Oleg Buldakov of the Russian Embassy in Serbia, adding that the petition was signed by Serbs residing in Kosovo, as well as refugees from the region.
“Since the arrival of the peacekeeping forces, who are supposed to protect us, more than one thousand Serbs have been killed,” states the initiator of the petition. Zlatibor Djordjevic is a former attorney for the Democratic Party of Kosovo and Metohija. “We are completely without rights, we risk elimination. Even in Serbia there are parties calling for recognition of Kosovo’s independence.”
He also said that the amount of people willing to obtain dual citizenship is constantly increasing.
It is not the first time Serbs have appealed to Russia for protection. Last year, a similar initiative was put forward by a group of Serbian leaders.
Serbian State Secretary for Kosovo and Metohija, Oliver Ivanovic believes such steps are wrong.
“It would be much wiser to take part in the coming parliamentary elections, and cast a ballot for those who would protect their interests better,” he noted.
Opposition New Serbia leader Velimir Ilic said the very fact that Serbs are asking for citizenship in another country is “a shame for all of us”.
“The authorities are unable to even agree on a declaration on Kosovo, not to mention doing anything more serious. People from Kosovo say they feel Russia is now protecting them better than Serbia, and that is why they decided to apply for Russian citizenship.”