Impression of the week

Following up on the preceding unclear story, another unclear story. The activist Nataša Kandić was waiting for a taxi after appearing as a guest on the popular TV program Utisak nedelje, on the sidewalk outside the B92 studio. Three explosions were heard. The chief of B92, Veran Matić, claims that the explosions are part of an effort to intimidate some public figures. The police say that some fireworks went off in the area, and it is no big deal. The police version seems to be supported by the host of the show, Olja Bećković, who was seeing off Kandić and another guest, the former philosopher and full-time unusual person Svetozar Stojanović. Bećković says that Kandić had already got into the taxi when the explosions were heard, and that she and Stojanović more or less paid them no mind. So, maybe a tempest in a teapot, and maybe not.

What adds (or maybe does not add) another dimension to the story is an item in the provocative tabloid Kurir (which I have not found -- feel free to have some fun in their archive), in which the blaster from the past Siniša Vučinić claims that there is a plan to murder three prominent human rights activists. As much as this sort of thing leads to all types of responses, there are few conclusions to be drawn. Although Kurir hardly falls in the "reliable source" category, it is a popular place to plant stories. And although Vučinić is known for his tendency to threaten violence, he is also known for being something less than sincere in his statements. So there are a lot of reasons to raise suggestions about last night's incident, if there was one, but not a lot of reasons to draw conclusions.

Except for one conclusion: there is a genuine atmosphere of intimidation, which makes all sorts of interpretations, even ones that might turn out not to be warranted, seem plausible. Most interesting of all may be the statement by police that they station plainclothes officers around the studios where programs are filmed that involve "exceptional risk," a category into which publicly discussing issues of general concern would seem to fall.

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