Serbia’s Mayor: Rudy Giuliani’s authoritarian clients
EVERY WEEK, thousands of Serbians bundle up in bed and flip on their televisions for their fix of “Evening with Ivan Ivanovic,” a cheesy “Late Show” knockoff complete with a live studio audience, a rock band, and an eager host clasping a coffee mug in front of a fake Belgrade skyline.
One evening this spring, Ivanovic proudly announced that his guest would be the first American ever to appear on the show. With gusto, the band struck up a brassy rendition of “New York, New York” and Rudy Giuliani, wearing his familiar toothy grin, descended a bright, glowing staircase to wild cheers. Ivanovic appeared starstruck, hitting Giuliani up for help landing a guest spot on Letterman. But he also seemed rather perplexed about what America’s Mayor was doing there. “We’re here to give Mr. Vucic, who is running for mayor, advice about economic development,” Giuliani explained.
Mr. Vucic—his first name is Aleksandar—is well-known to Ivanovic’s viewers. As Slobodan Milosevic’s minister of information, the former ultranationalist radical authored the notorious Information Law banning criticism of the government. Now he had brought Giuliani to Serbia to boost his campaign for the mayoralty of Belgrade. Vucic was running on the same ticket as presidential candidate Tomislav Nikolic—also known as “The Undertaker.” Like Vucic, Nikolic is a former member of the murderous Milosevic regime and an ex-acolyte of Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj, who was recently convicted on contempt charges by a war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Earlier in the day, both men appeared with Giuliani at a news conference and introduced him as their “economic development adviser.”