No, this isn't an article about staged wrestling, but rather about the (somewhat) surprising triumph of Tomislav Nikolić in yesterday's presidential election in Serbia. Contrary to "journalist" fantasies, his graveyard-related moniker has nothing to do with the phantom "gruesome reputation... organising recruitment to Serbian paramilitaries to fight in Croatia and Bosnia" [sic], and everything to do with the fact that he once held a job as manager of a cemetery.
His enemies - who generally never held honest jobs in their lives, but had really good spin doctors - used this to smear him as a man who'd "bury" Serbia if elected. Meanwhile, they did "everything they could" (in the favorite phrase of the now ex-President) to destroy Serbia and salt the earth in their wake. They even resorted to wholesale fraud to ensure their continued rule. Yesterday's vote brought those plans to a halt.
Or did it? For all the bleating of Western "journalists", spoon-fed sordid political pornography by their well-paid Serbian (or rather, Serbophobic) sources, Nikolić is not the same man he was four years ago.
Having lost the second presidential election to Boris Tadić, and seeing his party once again left out of the cabinet - cobbled together in a mockery of electoral results by Western ambassadors - Nikolić snapped. He left the Radical Party, whose caretaker leader he'd been, and founded the Progressives. He also hired former American ambassador William Montgomery as a consultant, went to Brussels and Washington to pledge fealty, changed his tune on Serbia getting annexed by the EU, and offering a platform filled with nothing but fluff. His criticism of the Tadić regime boiled down to, "We'd do the same thing, only better."
Especially interesting was his choice of party name. It is possible it was chosen for him by Montgomery or some other foreign consultant, since progressivisim is all the rage in the West right now. But to the few who still have a working knowledge of Serbian history, the choice was very symbolic: the Progressives used to be the ruling party under the corrupt, Austrophile King Milan Obrenović, and were famously defeated by the Radicals in 1887. They were so hated by the people, that their final convention in 1889 was dispersed by an angry mob throwing stones and wielding clubs. For over a hundred years, their name was mud - until Nikolić resurrected it.
Wouldn't it be par for the course if the "nationalist" Nikolić was really an Imperial agent? It is a distinct possibility. What is certain, however, is that the Empire will now try to pressure him to continue Tadić's policy of unconditional surrender in order to prove he's not a "nationalist." It is, of course, an impossible quest: the moment Nikolić gives them an inch, they will move the goalposts and demand more, just as they've done with Tadić.
But while Tadić was ideologically committed to Imperial supremacy and even ran his mouth about the need to "transform society" and "change the mentality" of the Serbian people so they would fit better into the Brave New World of EUtopia, Nikolić's principal support comes from the frustrated, disenfranchised Serbs who still care about their identity, tradition, culture, history and nation. He wasn't their ideal candidate by any stretch, but they voted for him because Tadić was worse.
By the virtue of that victory, Nikolić is in the unenviable position of having many expectations to meet and very little room to maneuver. If he defies the Empire, expect the storm of abuse to increase. But if he chooses to be another Tadić, he will quickly draw the wrath of the Serbians - without having Tadić's media machinery and direct foreign backing to shield him. The question then remains who will Nikolić fear more, the foreign overlords or his own folk.
If this really turns out to be a ploy to replace a worn-out puppet with a fresh one (while fooling the Serbs they had a choice in the matter), it may well explode in its authors' faces. The fall of Tadić has opened the floodgates of frustration. No amount of marketing tricks will close them again.