Thursday, March 6, 2014

Crimea and Kosovo - what's the difference?

Crimea and Kosovo have much in common: an autonomous status, military bases of other countries on their territories, and a longing for independence among the majority of the population. But there are distinctions, too, - different patrons.
Of late, many people compare the events in Crimea with the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999. And they interpret the events according to everyone’s liking. For example, former US Ambassador in Moscow, Michael McFaul, claimed on CNN that military intervention on the part of Russia was unacceptable, because there was a big difference between the situation in Crimea and in Kosovo in 1999.

We should not compare Crimea and Ukraine with Kosovo and Serbia. Serbia threatened the Kosovars, and Ukraine does not threaten anyone.

But can a state threaten a part of its own territory? Serbs, Albanians, Turks, and others nationalities live in the autonomous region of Kosovo. There is no such nation as “the Kosovars”. Whom did the US protect there? There is not a single American in Kosovo, and there are 1.5 million of Russians in Crimea. It makes a big difference. For the Western media, however, there is much in common between Crimea and Kosovo. Here is what Ian Traynor wrote in The Guardian:

  • “The tactics and methodology used by Milosevic during the wars in the former Yugoslavia and Kosovo, are obvious. If Putin has decided to become a new Milosevic, the West will see a new split in Europe.”

Slobodan Milosevic wanted things to get better, but it turned out the wrong way. He had no strength to resist NATO’s expansion to the East. The US wanted to expand its forces from the West to the East of Europe and chose the Serbian autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija to create its strategic base. With this purpose they even used the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which was included in the American list of terrorist organizations.

  • The anti-terrorist operation of the Serbian special ops units against the KLA in the village of Račak in January, 1999, was used as a pretext for the bombings of Yugoslavia without permission of the United Nations. 

  • Western media presented the operation in the village of Račak as a mass murder of civilian population and urged the US to act and protect innocent people. And ten years later, Helena Ranta, Finnish forensic doctor, wrote in her autobiography that she had written the report about this incident under pressure from the then head of the OSCE mission in Kosovo, William Walker, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, and that there had been corpses of Albanian terrorists, and not civilians.

After the NATO forces entered Kosovo, the US built the second largest base in Europe there - Bondsteel. It allows US to control the area of the Mediterranean and Black Sea, and also the routes to the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus as well as the energy transit from the Caspian region and Central Asia. According to them, stationing in Serbia is perfectly legitimate and it is also very profitable for them. Americans do not pay for the use of state lands in Kosovo. 

  • In contrast to the Americans in Kosovo, Russia pays for its base 100 million dollars a year. And it is for 230 years already that the Russian Black Sea Fleet is stationed in Crimea. “The Black Sea Fleet is not homeless. Its home is in Sevastopol,” - Vice-Premier of the RF Dmitry Rogozin said. 50 years ago, Crimea was a part of the USSR, whereas the US simply occupied a part of the Serbian territory by means of aggression and is doing everything in order to create its puppet state there.

Historical, economic and cultural relations with Ukraine give Russia the full right to interfere in order to protect its people. And what is the US doing in Serbia?
Milena Tsmilyanich

 [6 March 2014, 02:00]


  1. Crimea: From Ottoman era to Russia referendum....

    Crimea's status is one of the hottest topics on the international agenda in the wake of the four month political crisis in Ukraine which saw the flight of pro-Russian ex-President Viktor Yanukovych.

    Crimea’s parliament voted last Thursday in favor of joining Russia, and calls for a referendum on the region’s future with Ukraine on March 16. Its decision comes as Russian armed forces continue to maintain their presence on the peninsula.

    Crimea has been under the control of many states during its history including the Huns, Khazars and the Byzantine Empire during the early and Middle Ages until it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1475.

    Crimea was first given independence in 1774 with the Treaty of Kucuk Kaynarca between the Ottoman Empire and Russia, and then occupied by the Russians in 1783. Following Russia's occupation, the Turkish population in the city was forced to migrate and left for Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria.

    - Expulsion of Crimean Tatars under Stalin

    The Crimean Soviet Socialist Republic was created in November 1921 following the 1917 Russian Revolution. Germany occupied Crimea in 1941 during the Second World War and Russian Soviet Republic took it back in 1944, but not without deporting some 300,000 Crimean Tatars (a Turkic ethnic group), in the territory upon collaborating with Germans during the world war.

    The Soviet administration under Stalin then eliminated the Crimean Soviet Socialist Republic and gave provincial status to the region under the name 'Soviet Socialist Republic'.

    - Integration with Ukraine in Khrushchev era

    In 1954 Crimea was transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by the USSR as a “gift” by the then Soviet Russian leader, Nikita Khrushchev.

    In September 1967, Russia officially recognised the unfair treatment of Crimean Tatars during the Stalin era, but the return of Crimean Tatars to their homeland was not allowed at the time.

    Only after a Supreme Soviet decree on the recognition of the illegality of the indigenous population's forced resettlement and in recognition of their rights, Crimean Tatars began to return to their homeland in large numbers. The Tatar population reached 150,000 by 1991, representing half the total Tatar population before Stalin managed to return their homeland.................

  2. ¿Qué hay en común en el interés de Occidente en Ucrania y Kosovo?...

    ¿A qué se debe el interés del Occidente en Ucrania? Una de las principales razones es el acceso a recursos naturales. Se puede comparar a Ucrania con Kosovo, donde EE.UU. tiene el dominio sobre la tercera cuenca 'hullera' en importancia de Europa.

    La cantidad de carbón en Kosovo y Metojia ronda los 15.000 millones de toneladas, yacimientos tan enormes que serían capaces de abastecer con energía eléctrica a todos los países balcánicos durante varios siglos. Además de carbón, Kosovo posee cadmio, zinc, bauxita, magnesio, cromo, estaño, níquel, plata y oro.

    La base de Camp Bondsteel, con 10.000 efectivos de Estados Unidos acuartelados, sirve también como 'perro guardián' de un corredor energético que atraviesa la antigua Yugoslavia: el petróleo y el gas del Cáucaso y Asia Central a Occidente pasa por ese territorio.

    Desde 2000, Estados Unidos tiene una influencia decisiva en todo lo que ocurre en Kosovo. Sin la aprobación suya no se puede cerrar ni un contrato más o menos importante en el sector energético, en la minería, en el área de las telecomunicaciones. No es casual que el magnate George Soros y el multimillonario estadounidense de procedencia local Sahit Muja hayan cerrado el contrato de exploración de yacimientos hulleros de la zona. Con una tasa de desempleo del 50% y, por lo tanto, la mano de obra casi regalada, Kosovo se convierte en un paraíso para las multinacionales.

    A raíz de la agresión militar de la OTAN contra Yugoslavia de 1999, las multinacionales occidentales se apropiaron de instalaciones industriales y yacimientos minerales clave de esta autonomía serbia. Es más, no solo se apropiaron, sino que convirtieron este territorio en campo de pruebas para tecnologías más sucias. Tan sucias que se podría hablar sobre una catástrofe ecológica.
    ¿Y qué tiene que ver Ucrania?
    A Ucrania, uno de los países más ricos del mundo en recursos minerales (primer lugar en yacimientos mundiales de magnesio, cuarto en yacimientos de hierro, además de la existencia de uno de los depósitos de uranio más grandes del mundo cerca de la ciudad de Kirovograd y de riquísimos yacimientos de metales de tierras raras), le toca recorrer el triste camino kosovar en términos de autodestrucción de la economía, transferencia de los principales sectores a manos de las empresas transnacionales y cierre de transacciones que amenazan a la población con una catástrofe económica.............

    Texto completo en:

  3. Kosovo to form army 15 yrs after war, Serbia reacts...

    Six years after declaring its independence from Serbia, the Kosovan government announced its intentions last week to start a ten-year-long process to establish an army. However, Serbia reacted by threatening to call an emergency session of the UN Security Council to debate the issue.

    "The army will have a defensive character as Kosovo has no territorial aspirations,” Kosovo’s Ambassador in Ankara, Avni Spahiu told Anadolu Agency calling it a step towards "supporting peace and security in the region".

    But the Serbian government called the actions of Pristina "unacceptable" as they believe only the U.N. force, KFOR, which has kept the peace since the war ended 15 years ago, have a mandate for all military aspects of security in Kosovo.

    Serbia believes the decision goes against Kosovo's status as a "UN administrated territory," says Serbia's minister without portfolio in charge of Kosovo, Aleksandar Vulin. He reacted by threatening to call an emergency session of the UN Security Council Thursday to debate the issue.

    However, Spahiu contends that it's time that Kosovo, which declared its independence in 2008, has its army "just like any other country". He is backed up by the U.S., which supports Kosovo’s goal of joining NATO, a precondition of which is to have an army.

    "The decision to establish an army has been taken in consultation with NATO and our partners," Spahiu said................


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