FINAL UPDATE: I can’t really say it any better than the Guardian does here.
Belgrade’s Vreme ran this story today. There was a rather choice photo of masked Ivan Bogdanov burning an Albanian flag; it’s since been replaced so I leave you with this video that tells the story even better.
Clearly burning the Albanian flag has everything to do with winning a match against Italy. The message is hardly hidden, though — the t-shirt reads “Northern Chetniks” — which I’d wager refers more to the looting murderers of the 1990s wars than to the WW2-era Royalists. And this Ultra would probably be proud to tell you that, if he weren’t currently in jail in Genoa and pathetically blaming this ugly nationalism on his sick mother. Please.
To all those naive enough to say, “politics aside, what a cool Ultra!”, I say, you are deeply mistaken if you think you can de-politicize this. These “Ultras” hung up signs comparing Kosovo to Palestine, and Bogdanov is a member of a group named after the year that the Serbs lost the Battle of Kosovo — ushering in over 600 years of victimhood that opportunistic leaders in their recent past have used to fuel toxic nationalism that, guess what, led to the first wars on the European continent since the Second World War. If you want to be boneheaded enough to glamorize pointless violence and destruction, and forcing the cancellation of a normal sporting event, be my guest. But please don’t suggest that there is an apolitical dimension to this. There isn’t; suggesting otherwise is an unwelcome parade of ignorance.