Russia Sees a Western Hand Behind Serbian Street Protests

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Fishing in Serbia’s troubled waters after a contested general election, Russia on Monday accused the West of orchestrating anti-government street protests in Belgrade, the Serbian capital, that flared into violence on Sunday evening.

Claims of a Western plot by Russia’s ambassador to Serbia, Alexander Botsan-Harchenko, were the latest efforts by Moscow to thwart a so far mostly fruitless diplomatic campaign by the United States and Europe to lure Serbia out of Russia’s orbit and break traditionally strong ties between the two Slavic and Orthodox Christian nations.

Previously peaceful street protests in Belgrade over what the opposition says was a rigged general election on Dec. 17 turned ugly on Sunday after protesters tried to storm the capital’s City Council building and were met by volleys of tear gas from riot police officers.

The Russian ambassador, in a television interview, said there was “irrefutable evidence” that the “riot” had been incited by the West. This echoed claims by Serbia’s strongman leader, President Aleksandar Vucic, that his government had come under attack from outside forces seeking a “color revolution,” a term coined by Russia to describe popular revolts that it invariably dismisses as Western conspiracies.

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Russia Sees a Western Hand Behind Serbian Street Protests

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