From Bulgarian To Kosovo Syndrome

By Nodar Mosaki – senior research associate – Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS)
The Kosovo issue turned into one of the main issues in the international relations over the last years. Moreover it turned into an inexhaustible source of disagreements between Russia and the West. It is worthwhile to mention that Russia seems more pro Serbian oriented than Serbians themselves in the frame of the negotiations about the Kosovo problem.
It seems Kosovo is rather an exercise in internal political rhetoric for Serbians. Moreover neither Russia nor Serbia offers conditions that would solve the problem in a satisfactory way for all parties. And this means the issue for the Kosovo statute could be solved even without their participation.
The most painful outcome of the situation for Russia would be if Serbia succumbs to the pressure of the West and accept certain bonuses as economic aid from the EU or promises for joining the union in the near future against agreement with conditions set by the USA. This variant should not be excluded, as it would mean full defeat for the Russian diplomacy. The best variant for Russia would be it to make use of its discordances with the West about the Kosovo statute.
Russia criticized the USA time and again at the level of diplomatic rhetoric as it warned for possible “strategic mistakes” in the policy towards the Balkans. Russia traditionally gave as an example Yugoslavia where “NATO’s variant for solving the Kosovo crisis led to Albanian separatism provocation and put the region under the thread of permanent instability”. Compared to many “anti-Albanian” and “anti-Western” statements, Russia traditionally was perceived as “a defender of Serbians and Slav brothers as a whole”. But is this really so?

Together with the West

In the early 90-ties of 20th century “the passiveness, negligence and the carelessness towards national interests” was explained with the lack of experience of the Russian diplomacy, with the undefined foreign policy direction and pro Western attitudes of former Russian foreign minister Andrey Kozirev and president Boris Eltsin. The policy towards Serbians that the West developed was explained the same way. Russia supported all decisions and resolutions of the USA and NATO in the UN, though it acknowledged and criticized their anti-Serbian attitudes. Then Russia explained its solidarity with the West with the urge “the consent not to be disturbed and the complicated Yugoslavian crisis to be regarded”. The contradictory statements of Russian diplomats from this period are known.
Thus for example Russian politicians in Moscow showed their principal support for the Serbians whereas the Russian diplomacy in Belgrade played the role of a Trojan horse of the West. Moreover it persuaded Serbians to acknowledge several “illegal decisions”. Meanwhile Russian diplomats approved USA’s policy in Washington and New York and did not make a stand against passing “anti-Serbian resolutions”. The Russian foreign ministry was “definitely” against any NATO operations conducting in the post Yugoslavian area. Anyway Russia did not put a veto on USA’s decisions during discussions of these issues in the UN Security Council, though it boycotted them sometimes but this still did not mean their approval. Thus Russia apparently was pro Serbian whereas in the UN Security Council and in different negotiations (e.g. the Contact Group) it was completely solidary with the West as a state that “understands the meaning of international mediators’ consent”.
Primakov’s and Ivanov’s diplomacy towards the Balkans continued the policy from the first half of the 90-ties in fact. The authorities and the media in Russia fiercely criticized USA’s policy towards Belgrade but somehow nobody asked the question why Russia took part in passing the “anti Serbian” resolutions in the UN Security Council. In addition to this Russian representatives frequently criticized USA’s actions as the policy of the USA was based in a natural way on adopted (including by Russia) resolutions. All this might seem strange on first sight. The sources of such policy originate from the second half of 19th century, from the age of Eastern crisis that shook Europe.

More: http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=a643       (Focus Agency-Bulgaria)

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