TODAY, Republika Srpska celebrates Entity Day, marking 26 years of the proclamation of the state from its assembly.
Republika Srpska is one of two constitutional and legal entities of the sovereign federal nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the other being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina); its administrative center (i.e. de facto) is Banja Luka, despite its constitutional stipulation (de jure) of Sarajevo.
Its name is Serbo-Croatian means “the Serb Republic,” which is not to be confused with an independent sovereign state of the Republic of Serbia that is recognized more than a decade after Srpska.
Modern history of Republika Srpska
The geopolitical entity was born in the breakup process in the former Yugoslavia at the end of the Cold War.
In a session on October 14-15 1991, the People’s Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, then part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, approved the “Memorandum on Sovereignty”, as had already been done by Slovenia and Croatia. The memorandum was adopted despite opposition from 83 Serb deputies belonging to the Serb Democratic Party, Serbian Renewal Movement and the Union of Reform Forces, regarded the move as illegal.
On October 24, the renegade Serb deputies formed their own assembly to be the highest representative and legislative body of the Bosnian Serb population. On January 9, 1992, the renegade assembly proclaimed the Republic of the Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina, declaring it part of Yugoslavia.
On February 28, the assembly adopted its Constitution, which would include districts, municipalities, and regions where Serbs were the majority and those where they had allegedly become a minority due to persecution during World War II. The following day, an independence referendum from its rival, Bosnia and Herzegovina resulted in independence despite the Serbs’ boycott.
On April 6, the European Community (now the European Union) recognized the republic’s independence and the United States the following day. The severance of ties with Bosnia and Herzegovina escalated into the Bosnia War lasting a bit more than three years.
The war ceased when the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, reached at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio (hence the short title, Dayton Agreement) on November 21, 1995, and formally signed in Paris on December 14, officialy recognizing the entity.
The flag of the Republic
The flag (pictured above of the article) of this entity is the red, blue and white horizontal tricolor — simply put turn the Russian flag upside down — while its parent country and its similar namesake and rival autonomous entity with a gold triangle and stars on a blue background.
Geographic and Tourist Attractions
Banja Luka is the de facto capital of Republika Srpska.
Republika Srpska is a majestic panoramic place; the Dinaric Alps dominate the scenery on its western border. That aside, other mountains include Kozara, Romanija, Jahorina, Bjelašnica, Motajica and Treskavica. The highest point of the entity is peak Maglić at 2,386 m, near the border with Montenegro.
Most rivers of this entity belong to the Black Sea drainage basin. The principal rivers are the Sava, a tributary of the Danube that forms the northern boundary with Croatia; the Bosna, Vrbas, Sana and Una, which flow north and empty into the Sava; the Drina, which flows north, forms part of the eastern boundary with Serbia and is also a tributary of the Sava. Trebišnjica is one of the longest sinking rivers in the world, belonging to the Adriatic Sea drainage basin. Skakavac Waterfall on the Perućica is one of the highest waterfalls in the country, at about 75 meters (246 feet) in height. The most important lakes are Bileća, Bardača and Balkana.
The Mehmed Pasa Sokolvic Bridge is located in Visegrad.
It’s the home to Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which crosses over the Drina river since 1577. It is also home to two national parks, Sutjeska National Park and Kozara National Park, and one protected nature park, Bardača. Perućica is one of the last remaining primeval (virgin) forests in Europe.
Indeed, it’s a splendid scene but to get there, you might need a visa from the parent country; on that note…
Current State of External Relations
In February 2009, Republika Srpska opened a representative office in Brussels. While EU representatives were not present at the ceremony, top Republika Srpska officials attended the event, saying it would advance their economic, political and cultural relations. The Republic maintains official representatives’ offices in Belgrade, Moscow, Stuttgart, Jerusalem, Thessaloniki, Washington D.C., Brussels and Vienna.
The Republic of the Philippines so far has yet to foster formal relations (and establishing reciprocal embassies) with either Republika Srpska or its parent country.
PERSONAL NOTE: Should the bilateral relations be established, the requester (Jenine Shiongshu) might become one of the future ambassadors someday. However, I remind requesters that this blog, despite the lax policies, is not always highlighting your interests — and thus, in the case, is not a travel blog.
Like Timow’s Turf on Facebook
All photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons