SREBRENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Less than two weeks before the Srebrenica massacre’s 20th anniversary, Muslims and Eastern Orthodox Serbs in the Bosnian town are as divided as ever.
Serbs put up anti-European Union posters on Sunday with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s portrait on them and the words “Eastern alternative” and “Republika Srpska,” or “Serb Republic.” Most of them were plastered on the bullet-riddled walls of a warehouse in the nearby village of Kravica, where Serb forces executed Muslim Bosnians during the 1995 genocide.
Bosnia’s Muslims want the country to join the EU, while Serbs would like their half — called Republika Srpska — to secede and stay close to Russia as an independent country.
Muslims in Srebrenica are outraged by the posters and believe the postwar division of Bosnia is a product of genocide.
“I am hurt and disappointed,” said Sabra Mujic, 50, who lost her husband in the massacre. She said the posters are taking Srebrenica backward.
NATO air raids against the Serbs stopped the 1992-95 Bosnian war shortly after more than 8,000 Muslim Bosnians from Srebrenica were killed in Europe’s worse massacre since the Holocaust.
More than 100,000 people died during the Bosnian war. The Dayton Peace Accords, which ended the war, divided the country into two political entities, one for the Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats, and the other for the Christian Orthodox Serbs. Each has state-like institutions, with the central government above them.
The Serbs say the posters are meant as an anti-EU protest and to call for Russia to veto a British-drafted U.N. resolution that honors the Srebrenica victims and suggests July 11 should be a memorial day. The Srebrenica massacre happened on July 11-13, 1995.
“Serbs expect Russian support because Russia promotes justice. The world would be much better if there were more Putins,” said Ranko Cvjetkovic, 64, from nearby Bratunac where such posters also decorate walls.
Radomir Ostojic, 38, said “Europe is no good. Look at the crisis there while Russia is rich. I hope Russia will help us and I live for that day.”