Both Russia and Serbia share historic and cultural ties. There is fairly pro-Russian attitude within the government and among the population.

Russian Economic Footprint

In 2009, Serbia signed a free trade agreement with Russia. In 2013, Serbia and Russia signed a strategic partnership agreement that deepened economic and political cooperation, including coordination in international organizations. Serbia was the only EU-candidate country that failed to support the sanctions on Russia and that abstained from the UN statement condemning Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Serbia is currently in talks to create a free trade agreement with the EAEU.

There are about 30 Russian companies in Serbia. 90% of Russian investments are in the energy sector. Only 10% of the Russian investments in Serbia are in other sectors like finance or food.

  1. Gazprom Neft acquired a controlling state in Nafta Industrija Srbije (NIS) and turned a loss-making company in the Serbian economic power house and one of the country’s major taxpayers. Gazprom Neft plans to continue investing in Serbia focusing on exploration, mining and retail sales development projects.
  2. Serbia plans to significantly increase its gas imports with Russia. The existing gas contract with Gazprom Export provides for the annual supplies of 1.5 billion cubic meters, but Serbia needs to raise gas consumption to 6 billion cubic meters in order to provide an effective incentive for higher industrial output.
  3. Lukoil holds the majority of shares in the state-owned Beopetrol.
  4. The strategic location of Serbia at the crossroads of South Europe makes its road and transport infrastructure an attractive investment target for Russian businesses. RZD International, a subsidiary of Russian Railways has acquired 50% share in the Serbian company that modernizes transport infrastructure. RZD International is working on building and revitalizing railway infrastructure, which is funded by Russia through an $ 800 million loan given to the Serbian government.
  5. Sberbank, VTB Bank, Marfin Bank have a notable presence in Serbia.
  6. There are high-potential production projects in mechanical engineering, agriculture and pharmaceuticals with an eye to exporting the manufactured goods to third countries.

Trade Facts

  1. Serbia was unwavering in its decision not to join the Western sanctions against Russia.
  2. Russia is the third biggest foreign trade partner of Serbia after Italy and Germany.
  3. Serbia exports US $ 795 billion worth of goods and services to Russia, while importing US$ 1.51 billion.
  4. In 2016 Serbia made it to the top of Russia’s fruit suppliers, with fruits now accounting for 26.9 percent of Serbian exports to Russia.
  5. Russian exports to Serbia are oil and petroleum (35%) and rolling stock (11.5%)

Media Influence

There are 110 registered nongovernmental organizations, associations and media outlets that appeared to be directly connected to the Russian lobby in Serbia.

  1. Sputnik and RT (formerly Russia Today) are present in Serbia and offer television programming, online news and radio broadcast in the Serb language.
  2. Russian state newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta prints Nedeljnik, a widely read weekly in Serbia.

Political Structures Influence

Russia’s influence on the political structures of Serbia is difficult to assess. Moscow supports several of the Serb political parties, politically and financially and in 2016, three Serbian political parties, the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), the Dveri Movement, and the Serb People’s Party (SNP) signed a declaration with Russia’s ruling United Russia Party, supporting a neutral military area in the Balkans


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