We asked Nenada Peicha, deputy director of our radio, to share his thoughts with us in connection with yesterday's statements of world famous film director Emir Kusturica in Minsk.
Nenad Peich, who began working in radio as our Director of South Slavic and Albanian service in 1993, before that, in a very dramatic period of disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, has worked on television as a byalgradki Sarajevo correspondent, then as the head of the news department, and finally as a program director. Peich personally acquainted with Emir Kusturica and says he has repeatedly asked to give up public support for the regime of Slobodan Milosevic.
Maksimyuk: Tell us, please, how public life of Emir Kusturica is perceived in Serbia and, in general, on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. Let's start with his conversion to Orthodoxy in 2005. How often do happen to people with a Muslim background to Orthodoxy in the former Yugoslavia?
Peich: In fact, this is a very rare practice. Very rare. And Kusturica — one of the few who made it public. I know him very well acquainted. He — a genius with regard to cinema. But as for the policy — it is the exact opposite of genius. He — one of those who supported Milosevic's famous' Balkan butcher ", the man who was responsible for the resolution of the war and for the defeat in the war. Currently Kusturica supports radical nationalists in Serbia. They often visit his private ranch in southern Serbia. Locals raise protests against Kusturica, saying that he took their land without their consent. The independent Serbian newspaper also claimed that he acquired this ranch illegally. I do not know whether it's true or not. Kusturica says that's not true. As for the perception of Kusturica's radical nationalist circles, for them it is something of a hero. For people who think otherwise, it is just a political ignoramus. In Bosnia, Serbs, tending to his conversion to Orthodoxy, treated him very favorably, but among the Muslims and the Croats no sympathy for him there.
Maksimyuk: You said that Kusturica supported Milosevic. He made public statements to that effect?
Peich: Many times.
Maksimyuk: What are Kusturica's political views now? Is it true that he further regrets the breakup of Yugoslavia?
Peich: I think so, although it is safe to say I can not. Many people regret the breakup of Yugoslavia, for various reasons. Kusturica is part of a radical nationalist movement in Serbia. He participates in their meetings, he makes public statements on their behalf, he meets, in public and private, with the leading Serb nationalists. So from a political point of view — it is a Serbian nationalist. As they say in Serbia, the man some fresh faces in the faith is more jealous than the old faithful.
Maksimyuk: How would you comment on the statement made by Kusturica in Minsk yesterday during a meeting with Alexander Lukashenko? Kusturica said, in effect, that Belarus is the only country that did not allow to stretch their national good international corporations …
Peich (laughs) The Emir is likely to have some private interest to say that.