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News 29 Nov 12

Serbian Embassies Told to Show President's Picture

Order to place picture of President Nikolic on embassy walls draws mocking response from some at home.

Bojana Barlovac
BIRN
Belgrade

Serbia's Foreign Ministry has told embassies and diplomatic missions across the world to place a photograph of President Tomislav Nikolic on an appropriate wall.

"We inform you that it is necessary that in appropriate premises (Head Office, reception lounge, or other suitable places), a framed photograph of the President is featured, size 30 x 45 inches," reads the message sent to diplomatic missions.

The order has caused some irony at home, however.

Serbian users of social network Twitter have started putting up photos of the President as their profile picture. 

"Be good citizens who respect the laws and regulations of the Republic of Serbia and put a picture of our dear comrade as your avatar," one mocking Twitter post reads.

Facebook users in Serbia have posted photoshoped images of Nikolic in unusual places, such as on an American flag, on the moon or in the cabinet of the US President Barack Obama.

The Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that putting up the head of state's portrait is normal practice. "All the countries do that," the statement said.

However, putting up pictures of the head of state has not been common practice in Serbia and did not apply to presidents Boris Tadic, Milan Milutinovic, Zoran Lilic, Dobrica Cosic or Slobodan Milosevic.

The only president whose photograph graced Yugoslav embassies for decades was that of Josip Broz Tito.

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