The spread of protests against corruption and bad governance has now affected Bosnia, as there is a spring of political turmoil. Again, protest marches have moved on to become the source of fire and violence and as corruption moves on, the country loses millions of euros each year. However, whereas the Venezuelan revolution is aiming at the corruption of its socialist government, the Bosnian spring is aiming for the corruption of the privatization of the economy, as well as a corrupt democracy. All of this has been given light to, as the student protests began to be supported by middle class families affected by the high unemployment and corruption of Bosnia. Since the end of the Bosnian War in 1995, Bosnian citizens have felt the crisis at hand as Emin Eminagic, an activist in Tuzla states: “We have been lied to for 20 years. We have been oppressed for 20 years, people are hungry, people are starving. We do not have job prospects here, we will not have a future here unless we change something.”
One of the protest leaders, Aldin Siranovic describes the corruption experienced by he and his wife in the following way: “The Social Services Minister in the government told her [Aldin Siranovic’s wife]: ‘If you want to work in healthcare, you need to pay 25,000 Bosnian marks [approximately 13,000 euros] to the director of that institution’. I got a job in Telecom Bosnia, in the normal way. I was working over there for three months, after three months my supervisor said: ‘Hey, you didn’t pay 25,000 marks to get employed here, so if you do not pay, you will get fired and my cousin will come here to work here’.” So, it is in this manner that Bosnia loses millions of euros every year.
Aside from personal experiences, the inefficient corrupt privatization of the economy in Bosnia is described to have a “mafia privatization.” Sakib Kopic, a man who worked at a power plant for 33 years explained: “Someone comes to buy a company for almost nothing, they get one, two, three bank loans, then they destroy the company, they close it down, and the privatisation-mafia put the money into their own pockets.”
In addition, the protesters argue that the political structure of Bosnia is unable to lead the country as it needs to be led. Political Science student, Aldin Alic said: “The state structure is too complicated. In Bosnia-Herzegovina we have 13 regional governments, more than 130 ministries and ministers, and on the top of that we have five presidents. We have a whole bunch of leaders but they don’t lead.”
As a reminiscent aspect of the break-off of Yugoslavia (which Bosnia used to be a part of), ethnic and nationalistic pressures affect the political environment of the Bosnian spring. When conflicts arise, these pressures are used as tactics to manipulate the population in inaction, but distraction in the clashes between the vast diversity of ethnic groups in the state. Thus, one of the main progressive movements that the protest aims to gain is social justice and national equality within the state.
These aims have been a key aspect of the other revolutions going on. It begs the question, is this Bosnian spring reminiscent of the Cold War, with the effects of spheres of influences? The Venezuelan Revolution with Cuban and American involvement clearly display some of those qualities, as so does the Ukrainian Revolution with the invasion of Russian troops and its interactions with the West. However, in a different manner, the Bosnian revolution reflects this reminiscence through its direct connection with Yugoslavia (also a prior Soviet state, afterwards part of the non-aligned movement) and also its interactions with the Western influence of the European Union. The current state of affairs is Bosnia is concerned with the leftover ethnic and nationalistic conflicts which Yugoslavia once suffered, but it is also looking to make sense of its ideology and following without corruption. In addition, Bosnia seems to be looking into gaining membership into the European Union. So, as events are continuing to happen, it is clear that history is still being written, and history is still among us.