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Moscow’s Actions in Georgia Have Undermined Russia’s Ties with Serbia
Window on Eurasia ^ | Paul Goble | August 26, 2008

Posted on 08/26/2008 3:44:26 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe

Vienna, August 26 – The Kremlin’s claim that Moscow has the right to unilaterally recognize Abkhazia ad South Ossetia because of the West’s 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 Moscow’s 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 Moscow’s supply of oil. And third, because Serbia has declared its desire to join the European Union, Romanenko says, it can’t 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 won’t 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, Russia’s 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, Moscow’s 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 Russia’s 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 Russia’s 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 Moscow’s 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 West’s 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.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Russia
KEYWORDS: georgia; kosovo; russia; serbia

1 posted on 08/26/2008 3:44:26 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe

The Russians were easily pushed aside by NATO in Kosovo.


2 posted on 08/26/2008 3:49:40 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: Tailgunner Joe
More fallout from the stupid moves by the “brilliant” Putin
3 posted on 08/26/2008 3:50:06 PM PDT by mick
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Now's the time to help the Serbs drive the islamics out of Kosovo for good & get Belgrade solidly on board with the west for Cold War II.

Sounds like shrewd policy to me.

4 posted on 08/26/2008 3:52:22 PM PDT by skeeter
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To: Brian S. Fitzgerald

Brought to you by the department of unintended consequences.
- - -
“...because of Kremlin promises to help it
recover Kosovo and Moscow’s supply of oil...?
- - -
Are there oil resources in kosovo?


5 posted on 08/26/2008 3:56:06 PM PDT by Repeal The 17th
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To: Tailgunner Joe

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?


6 posted on 08/26/2008 3:58:24 PM PDT by InABunkerUnderSF ("Gun Control" is not about the guns. "Illegal Immigration" is not about the immigration)
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To: Repeal The 17th
Actually the Kremlin's aim is to take over Serbia's own oil industry completely. The Serbs are getting the same strong-arm tactics that other Russian "friends" like Armenia and Belarus got.
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.


7 posted on 08/26/2008 4:04:12 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Then they now find themselves in between the proverbial “rock and a hard place”.
The whole place is beginning to look like a powderkeg.


8 posted on 08/26/2008 4:07:07 PM PDT by Repeal The 17th
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To: Repeal The 17th

Coal


9 posted on 08/26/2008 4:27:56 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: Tailgunner Joe; M. Espinola; thackney; freekitty; Southack

bttt

Serbia’s attempts to re-consider the financial terms of the acquisition by Russia’s Gazprom Neft


10 posted on 08/26/2008 5:30:14 PM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

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.


11 posted on 08/26/2008 5:30:16 PM PDT by Fishing-guy
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To: george76; Jeff Head

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.


12 posted on 08/26/2008 6:41:52 PM PDT by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: george76
Dictator Putin wants war.

Russia: We'll react militarily to US

13 posted on 08/26/2008 6:57:04 PM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is not 'free'.)
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To: M. Espinola

http://davegranlund.com/cartoons/wp-content/uploads/color-putin-cold-web.jpg


14 posted on 08/26/2008 7:06:33 PM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

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.


15 posted on 08/26/2008 8:38:00 PM PDT by TigersEye (This is the age of the death of reason.)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Russia may indeed be hungry to devour the region.

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.


16 posted on 08/26/2008 8:46:33 PM PDT by TigersEye (This is the age of the death of reason.)
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To: M. Espinola
I've noticed a lot of people are overestimating Russia's military. They have nukes but other than that their military isn't anything special. I don't see any way they would ever actually use their nukes first either. If they want war they better hope Obama gets elected because McCain will not allow them to push us around.

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.

17 posted on 08/26/2008 8:52:49 PM PDT by ThermoNuclearWarrior (John McCain 2008!)
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To: george76
That cartoon sums it up perfectly and alarmingly.

Georgia president claims Russians are now within artillery range of Tbilisi

18 posted on 08/26/2008 8:52:53 PM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is not 'free'.)
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To: ThermoNuclearWarrior
What you stated is very true. McCain's poll ratings have been boosted due to the Kremlin's murderous aggression and continued threats.

Cindy McCain meets with Georgian refugees

19 posted on 08/26/2008 9:00:46 PM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is not 'free'.)
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To: Southack
Here's my latest:


AUGUST 24-27, 2008

20 posted on 08/26/2008 9:24:22 PM PDT by Jeff Head (Freedom is not free...never has been, never will be. (www.dragonsfuryseries.com))
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To: Jeff Head

Nice Jeff!! Good job.


21 posted on 08/26/2008 9:57:20 PM PDT by MarMema ("..this isn't about the U.S. and Russia, It's about everyone and Russia.")
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Serbia is worried big brother might decide to return.


22 posted on 08/27/2008 3:18:21 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: TigersEye

..lol-—after 10 years of economic sanctions followed by 78 days of continuous bombing by the US lead Nato forces, accessorized by uranium laced bomblets sprinkled over their landscape, pressure from western bullies to hand over their heroes...you really believe that the Serbs fear Russia?
You don’t know your Balkan politics very well...you are just spouting wishful thinking...as is this article...dream on folks...dream on.


23 posted on 08/27/2008 6:45:36 PM PDT by Celebratelife008
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To: Celebratelife008

Where did I say Serbia feared Russia? Where did the article say that for that matter? If that’s the impression you got from my post or that article I don’t think I’ll be looking to you to straighten out my views on larger matters. But thanks anyway.


24 posted on 08/27/2008 8:20:20 PM PDT by TigersEye (This is the age of the death of reason.)
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To: TigersEye

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.

‘nervous’ vs ‘fear’...parsing words here, aren’t you? weak, very weak indeed...Serbs are ‘nervous’ the Russians might want to acquire Serbia? I don’t think we should turn to you for inciteful commentary on Serbia...lolol


25 posted on 08/28/2008 3:56:59 PM PDT by Celebratelife008
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To: Celebratelife008

In the eight years I have been here I haven’t given any commentary on Serbia so that would be kind of dumb.


26 posted on 08/28/2008 6:17:45 PM PDT by TigersEye (This is the age of the death of reason.)
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