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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

SEASON OF DISCONTENT: Russia Plays Baffling Role In Kosovo




A well-dressed, respectable gentleman with professorial manners, who turned out to be a member of Serbian government, patiently explained on television the recent events in Kosovo: "The inhabitants of villages in which terrorists are hiding should themselves be regarded as terrorists and consequently share the fate of terrorists." They have shared this fate. The day after the attack by Serbian police on Albanian Kosovar protesters, another member of the Serbian government, this time an elegant woman, explained that women and children had been either used by terrorists as a human shield or killed by their male relatives in desperation.


Nobody was shaken in Belgrade by this kind of logic. The only reproach the renowned apostles of Yugoslav democracy, Yuk Draskovic and Vojislav Djindjic, had against President Slobodan Milosevic was that the Yugoslav government was too soft on the separatists. Nobody was shaken in Moscow either. The special rules of "political correctness" accepted in the Moscow political establishment demand support for the Serbian side in any Balkan conflict under any circumstances. Eggheaded pundits justify this by citing "orthodox solidarity" and Russia's "geopolitical interests."


As for the orthodox solidarity, remember that 99 percent of the Russian political class are former Soviet Communist Party members. Comrade Gennady Zyuganov, for example, devoted a chapter of his doctoral thesis to the "struggle against remnants of religious prejudices in the consciousness of the Soviet people." It is difficult to believe in such a massive religious conversion of modern-day Pauls.


As for geopolitical interests, I would be obliged if someone could explain to me what Russia's geopolitical interests in the Balkans are. The only results Moscow has attained by pursuing its so-called geopolitical interests are alienating most of the Balkan capitals, problems with Western partners and Belgrade's cynical exploitation of Moscow. Taking Moscow's support for granted, Milosevic uses it to bargain in his game with the West. As always, he aims to keep power over as much territory of former Yugoslavia as possible and at the same time become acceptable to the West. Milosevic is steadily losing his game. Moscow is losing with him.


I never could understand why for the sake of such dubious geopolitical interests we should deny ourselves normal human reactions -- sympathy for innocent victims whether they be Serbs, Bosnians or Albanians.


I remember most vividly the scenes of the last trucks with refugees leaving Srebrenica for Tuzla. They were full of terrified women with such familiar Slavic faces and speaking a language so similar to Russian. A small boy was desperately running behind the last truck. I'm still wondering what happened to him. No word of sympathy toward these people was uttered in the Russian press. In the perverse world of Moscow political correctness, sympathies should be laid with those who shelled them.


This time, the State Duma again expressed its solidarity with Milosevic and even promised help. Help in what? The resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority. Even many liberals from Yabloko voted together with Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Zyuganov. Eugene Ionescu wrote about this 40 years ago. When it is politically correct and fashionable to be a rhinoceros, the temptation to look a bit like a rhinoceros is almost irresistible.