The delegation met with representatives of the President of the Republic and members of Banja Luka University’s Faculty of Political Sciences. As a result of the state of emergency declared in Republic Srpska in connection with the devastating floods, RISS’ delegation amended its program. Instead of participating in “Mlada Bisna and the Idea of National Liberation” conference, which, like so many other similar events, had to be cancelled, the RISS delegation noted the consequences of the floods, which effectively paralysed all social and cultural activity in the country.

In his discussion with the RISS delegation, A. Vraneš, Assistant to the President of Republika Srpska, noted that “in the rampant disaster befalling the Western Balkans, Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia suffered damage, but of all the Balkan regions affected by the flooding, none has suffered such irreparable damage as Republika Srpska. The Vrbas River on whose banks Banja Luka stands swelled extensively, as did Sava. Sava is as the Danube, and the Danube is as the Volga. Dozens of villages were flooded, nearly half of all cultivated areas were washed away, Bijeljina, the Republic’s second largest city, was entirely flooded, the city of Doboj, will probably never be recovered…” At this stage, there are no precise statistics of casualties but, according to Vraneš, the death toll could be in the hundreds or even thousands (40 people were killed in Doboj alone).

Although staff from Banja Luka University’s Faculty of Political Sciences is actively involved in flood relief, Associate Dean Professor Poplasen and Vice-Chancellor Trninič took the time to meet with the RISS delegation. Duško Trninič arrived directly from flooded Doboj. Professor Poplasen assured the delegation that cooperation between RISS and the University of Banja Luka will continue, and  enthusiastically endorsed the idea of an international round table on the occasion of the centenary of the assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the beginning of the first World War (most likely on 20 June). The June opening of a monument dedicated to Nicholas II and the soldiers of the Serbian Volunteer Corps, established by order of the Russian Emperor, was also discussed. The Faculty is actively participating on the academic side in preparation for the unveiling ceremony. It was also agreed that 3-4 graduate and postgraduate students from the University should intern at RISS as part of the International Congress of Young Balkan Intellectuals to be held in September 2014. The RISS delegation concluded its visit in Banja Luka with a tour of the monument site.

To provide assistance to flood victims in Republika Srpska, contact the Republic’s representative office in Moscow:

Office 35, Building 1, 4/17 Pokrovskiy Boulevard

Moscow, 101000, Russia

Tel: +7 (495) 626-57-0000, fax: +7 (495) 626-57-01

E-mail: info@office-rs.ru

http://rsmoscowoffice.ru/serbska/

You can transfer donations in roubles, dollars or euros to the Republika Srpska Mission or via PayPal. For more information (in Serbian and English) about providing assistance, see http://floodrelief.vladars.net