Monday, March 17, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Kosovo No Precedent for Moscow’s Actions in Crimea, Krasheninnikov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 17 – Russian nationalists claim that what the West did in the former Yugoslavia represents a precedent for what Moscow is doing in Ukraine now, but in fact, Yekaterinburg analyst Fedor Krasheninnikov says, there is no basis for such an analogy because “Crimea is not Kosovo” and Russia’s actions are in no way like those of the West earlier.

            In a Facebook post that has been reposted on today, Krasheninnikov says that Kosovo does not provide the precedent Russian nationalists seek to invoke but rather highlights just how different the behavior of Moscow in Crimea has been from that of the West in the case of Kosovo (

            In addition to the obvious fact that “Kosovo was not joined to Albania (or even more to the US, Germany, or Great Britain) but remained a separate state recognized by a quite solid number” of states and thus “not like some kind of Abkhazia,” he suggests, there are four reasons for this conclusion.

            First, in the case of Kosovo,” there was an entire coalition of countries on the side of the separatists (and not just one country that had come to defend the interests of its compatriots.”

            Second, “the history of Kosovo separatism ... was [both] long and bloody.  In Crimea until the very most recent time, everything was peaceful and it was completely integrated into the Ukrainian polity, there was no partisan warfare [or] anything else.”

            Third, Krasheninnikov points out that “the Kosovar Albanians judging from everything hardly wanted to make their land part of Albania.”  In Crimea, on the other hand, many Russians from the outset began talking about unifying that Ukrainian peninsula with the Russian Federation.

And fourth, in the Balkans, “Albania in general in all this history did not represent the main player. At most, it was [simply] one of the participants.” Consequently, citing Kosovo as a precedent for what Moscow is doing in Crimea is something that should not be taken seriously by anyone.

Moreover, if one consider the Kosovo case more closely, one sees, the Yekaterinburg analyst concludes, that those who refer to it when talking about Crimea are engaged in an act of “betray toward the very Serbs” about whom Russian nationalists “so love to cry about.”

Unfortunately, as Krasheninnikov does not point out here, Moscow’s propaganda effort in this regard has had an impact on the thinking of many in Russia and elsewhere, an example of the ways in which, as the Nazis showed, the repetition of a lie often enough has an impact even if it is entirely at odds with the facts. 

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