Skip to comments.Moscow’s Actions in Georgia Have Undermined Russia’s Ties with Serbia
Posted on 08/26/2008 3:44:26 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
Vienna, August 26 The Kremlins claim that Moscow has the right to unilaterally recognize Abkhazia ad South Ossetia because of the Wests recognition of Kosovo has left Serbia, a traditional friend of Russia and the supposed victim of that Western action, in a difficult position, one likely to drive Belgrade ever further from Moscow and ever closer to the West.
In an essay posted on the Polit.ru portal today, Sergei Romanenko, a senior scholar at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Economics, notes that developments in the Caucasus over the last month and Moscows involvement in and response to them has created real problems for Belgrade (www.polit.ru/analytics/2008/08/26/rus_serb.html).
Serbia is clearly being driven in three different directions. First, from a purely logical point of view, Belgrade should have supported the territorial integrity of Georgia, a step that would have put it at odds Moscow. Second, the Serbian government is limited in expressing that view because of Kremlin promises to help it recover Kosovo and Moscows supply of oil. And third, because Serbia has declared its desire to join the European Union, Romanenko says, it cant afford to take any position on Georgia which would so directly contradict the positions Brussels and Washington have taken, lest it slow its progress toward integrating with the West.
More generally, the Moscow analyst continues, the sharpening of relations between Russian on the one hand and the US, the European Union and NATO on the other raise questions about the ability of President Boris Tadic to achieve the policy goals he has announced. And if these tensions grow, Serbia will be forced to make a choice, something it has tried to avoid.
First of all, Romanenko argues, Serbia both economically and geopolitically cannot be oriented toward Russia alone, a country with which it does not have common borders and which is in the process of self-isolating itself from the major countries of the world. In short, Serbia needs Europe more than it needs Russia. And as ever more people in Belgrade recognize, Russia now lacks the leverage in major capitals to do much for Serbia to recover Kosovo, however often Moscow says otherwise. The Russian veto in the UN Security Council wont do the job, and many governments prefer not to support the Serbian-Russian tandem.
On the one hand, they have their own political reasons for not doing so, and on the other, Russias position is increasingly contradictory a no to the independence of Kosovo and a yes to the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a stand that does not elicit trust from other powers.
Moreover, Romanenko argues, Moscows moves in recent days will not help Serbia to insist on its territorial integrity, neither formally and legally nor in political practice, whatever Russian officials may say. And consequently, official Serbia has preferred to maintain diplomatic silence over the events in the Caucasus. That silence, the Moscow expert continues, in fact highlights the growing difficulties in relations between Moscow and Belgrade, problems that were publicly reflected by the postponement of a visit to Serbia by Sergei Shoigu and comments in the Serbian media about Russias predatory pricing policies for oil.
According to media reports, he says, Moscow has expressed its dissatisfaction that Serbia and also Bosnia and Herzegovina apparently have sold arms to Georgia. While Belgrade and Sarajevo deny this and regardless of whether Russias claims are true, the fact that Moscow made such a statement shows that relations are not good.
Clearly, trust between the two sides has broken down, a trend that was exacerbated Romanenko says by the handing over of Radovan Karadzic to the Hague court, something that generated considerably more dissatisfaction and anger in Moscow than in Belgrade, especially given Moscows failure to hand over to Serbia people Belgrade has charged with serious crimes.
There are already many collateral victims of Russian aggression in Georgia and the Wests response, but the undermining of the historic friendship between Moscow and Belgrade is clearly one of the most unexpected and quite possibly may prove to be one of the most significant, particularly if it tips the balance in the Balkans further to the West.
The Russians were easily pushed aside by NATO in Kosovo.
Sounds like shrewd policy to me.
Brought to you by the department of unintended consequences.
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“...because of Kremlin promises to help it
recover Kosovo and Moscows supply of oil...?
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Are there oil resources in kosovo?
But. But. I thought the only reason Russia invaded Georgia in the first place was to AVENGE the terrible injustices the West had perpetrated against Serbia!!! (Note outrage.)
How could the Serbs be so ungrateful to think the Russians were doing it just for themselves?
Serbian Attempts to Review Nis Stake Purchase By Gazprom Neft Unacceptable - Diplomat - August 07, 2008 - MOSCOW. Aug 7 (Interfax) - Moscow has called unacceptable Serbia's attempts to re-consider the financial terms of the acquisition by Russia's Gazprom Neft (RTS: SIBN) of a stake in Naftna industrija Srbije (NIS). "There is information about attempts by some members of the Serbian government to re-consider the financial terms of the acquisition by Gazprom Neft of the NIS shares. This, of course, is totally unacceptable and will make it more difficult to deal with a whole set of issues mentioned in the agreement, and moreover, will alarm other investors," Alexander Alexeyev, Director at the Russian Foreign Ministry's Fourth European Department, said in an interview published in the Vremya Novostei newspaper on Thursday.
It was reported that Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Regional Development Mladan Dinkic said in July, according to Serbian daily Politika, that Serbia demands from Russia's Gazprom Neft to increase the price for the purchase of NIS.
Then they now find themselves in between the proverbial “rock and a hard place”.
The whole place is beginning to look like a powderkeg.
Serbia’s attempts to re-consider the financial terms of the acquisition by Russia’s Gazprom Neft
Russia’s attempt to break up Georgia is in retaliation of NATO’s support of Kosovo independence. Next, the Russians will try to help Serb controlled part of Kosovo break off and rejoin Serbia.
It’s interesting that Russia is plundering those that call on it for aid (e.g. Serbia).
...gives Russia an incentive to stir up trouble in addition to higher oil prices.
Reason #4. It might make Serbians nervous that in the future Russia may see Serbia as just another piece of property to acquire. And if circumstances presented themselves they would.
Balkan Oil and Energy Politics
One analyst estimated that the oil reserves in Hercegovina could make Bosnia one of the richest countries in the world and another went as far as saying the Hercegovina reserves could be as substantial as those of Saudi Arabia (although this could be a great exageration). Estimates say that BH could be sitting on roughly 500 Million tons of oil . Apparently, some energy analysts are taking this seriously.
I believe that all hell will break loose over there if Obama is elected because the Russians will know they can whatever they want and that we will do nothing with a leader like Obama. Peace has a much better chance under McCain because they know he will react with force if it has to be done.
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