The first ever visit by a Russian President to Serbia has yielded another ‘strategic partnership’, this time soldered with a $1.5 billion loan to the debt-hit nation. A certain diplomatic interdependence between the two countries seems to be a de facto necessity, as the Balkan state relies upon Moscow for backing in the U.N. Security Council to counter the secession of Kosovo. For Russia, on the other hand, who vociferously opposed the bombing of Serbia by NATO in 1999, the area is ‘an arena for Moscow’s effort to resurrect its former status as a world power’, the Washington Post suggests.
A deal in Eastern Europe wouldn’t be a deal without some whiff of gas. Gazprom Neft has reason to be gleeful – it has been agreed that Serbia’s oil monopoly NIS will receive a $100 million loan from the Bank of Moscow…Serbia’s oil monopoly, that is, in which Gazprom Neft already owns a majority stake.
To see more about how the fate of Serbia’s energy assets may lie in Russian hands, read here.