What do Serbs think of Azerbaijan?

Corruption and Illegal Exports Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Serbia's dubious arms trade

Corruption and nepotism in the armaments sector

But in recent years Serbia under President Aleksandar Vučić has tried to rebuild the once flourishing arms industry - with dubious means. An affair in 2019 testifies to this. The focus was on the state arms company Krušik, which manufactures artillery shells, mines and rockets.

An employee of the company, Aleksandar Obradović, published evidence that Krušik of the private arms trading company GIM had been selling arms and ammunition at dumping prices since 2017 and even making losses - at the expense of the state treasury. The private company then sold the state-produced weapons abroad at a high profit. The case became even more spicy when it turned out that the father of the Serbian Interior Minister Branko Stefanović works for GIM.

Whistleblower accused, affair buried

The suspicion: "Private arms dealers who belong to or are closely related to SNS politicians or officials would act as intermediaries for state-owned companies. They received products at very low prices, sold them at high prices and shared the resulting profits among those involved", summarized the news magazine Der Spiegel at the time in a report on the affair.

But instead of clearing up the machinations of the arms dealers and members of the government, the Serbian police arrested the whistleblower Obradović for "treason". After public pressure, he was released into house arrest, but the trial against him is ongoing. Today, the opposition sees Obradović as a hero in the fight against the Serbian "state mafia".

Arms exports at any price

The far-reaching connections between members of the government, the state arms manufacturer Krušik and the dubious arms dealer GIM, however, have not yet been clarified.

On the contrary: Serbian media recently reported on illegal arms exports. For example, Serbian weapons and ammunition reached areas via Saudi Arabia to which they were not allowed to be exported according to the applicable regulations: for example in the civil war countries of Yemen and Syria. Here, too, dubious arms dealers close to the government were involved.

If Serbia wanted to rebuild a successful arms industry, products would also have to be sold, said President Aleksandar Vučić in an interview. Even if this offends "someone", he adds: "I'm only interested in our factories and our armaments industry."