The Bodacious Belgrade Blog

September 2, 2008

The Georgia-Russia-Kosovo connection

Filed under: Uncategorized — bunitingi @ 5:36 pm
Tags: , , ,

Let me be very clear. When i began this entire blogsite, i made a definite decision to not weigh in on certain very sensitive matters in this region where i live. Kosovo in particular. I do understand completely the situation, i am happy to explain it as best i believe it to be to any of my interested american friends, but i am not going to go too much into it on a blog that is intended to be light, entertaining, and occasionally chatty.

However, sometimes a little dance with the devil does you good.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware of certain Bruhaha between Russia and Georgia. Maybe you’ve followed it, maybe you’ve glanced at a headline or 2 and that’s that. Living in Serbia and now very sensitive to events in this region, I wanted to go into current events for just a minute and explain why this Russian/Georgian situation has EVERYTHING to do with the Serbian/Kosovo situation.

Here’s the situation in a nutshell:

South Ossetia is a province in North Central Georgia, bordering with Russia. During the USSR it was part of the Georgia Soviet Socialist Republic, although it was rather autonomous.

The South Ossetians are ethnically not Georgians. They are Alans (related to Iranians interestingly enough) who migrated into Georgian territory during the Mongol rule in the Middle Ages. While they technically live in Georgia, they do have a different language and have politically been more pro-Russian than Georgians in general, although for hundreds of years they and Georgians have been getting along more or less decently. (There’s a blip or 2 i won’t go into now)

In 1989, with the fall of the Soviet Union, South Ossetia declared itself an autonomous republic. Georgia responded by declaring Georgian the official language and soon afterwards banning regional parties. South Ossetia  took this very personally, boycotted Georgian goods and in 1991 declared complete independence. No one listened. At all. The UN, NATO, the US, no one recognized this declaration.

Thus, in 1991 violence erupted. South Ossetians burned down Georgian homes and businesses, Georgians burned down South Ossetian homes and businesses, my my where have i heard this story before? Many from both sides fled. Russia threatened to get involved, and so both sides agreed to a ceasefire. Nothing was resolved, but things calmed down and hummed along.

In 2004 things started to heat up again. Georgia started taking action against smuggling in South Ossetia, and some militant South Ossetians began some hostage taking, shootings and a few bombings. Since then the cauldron has been bubbling and bubbling.

When the US and Europe recognized Kosovo’s independence. South Ossetia recognized an almost identical situation.

Identical? Well, yeah.

1. Kosovo- has always been part of Serbia. Region has very personal history for Serbs including the most famous battle in serbian history, the Battle of Kosovo, 1389.

2. Over period of time (50s, 60s, 70s) ethnically different people, who speak a different language migrated into region, eventually outnumbering the native inhabitants.

3. Albanians do not identify with the Serbian nation or government (or in this case, unlike the South Ossetians who are the same orthodox christian religion as the Georgians, Albanians do not identify with the same religion as the Serbians) and thus wish to be autonomous.

4. Tensions build and build. Violence erupts. Each side burns the others’ homes. Much death.

5. US steps in. (Where Russia had stepped in for the Georgia/S. Ossetia conflict.) US favors independent Kosovo. Russia favors independent South Ossetia.

And thus, when the US recognizes Kosovo as independent, against both Georgian and Russian wishes, South Ossetians see a precedent. It must be said that Russia was very anrgy with the US over the Kosovo issue.

So,  skirmishes begin increasing. On Aug. 1st some fighting breaks out in South Ossetia. Georgia claims S.O. militants attacked a Georgian village. S.Ossetia claims Georgia is full of shit. The shit does, however hit the fan.

Fighting intensifies, Russia threatens to intervene, and finally, on Aug. 8th Georgia properly invades South Ossetia and takes control of the capital.

Russia responds with a six pack and a half of whoop ass. South Ossetia contains a minority Russian population and Russia claims it is protecting them. They do so by invading Georgia and kicking it in the balls. Quite successfully.

On Aug 22nd Russia withdraws, although continues to maintain “checkpoint” areas within Georgia.

The US, just for the record, declares full (emotional) support for Georgia, who it’s been wooing. The US wants Georgia to join NATO (little speedbump NOW on that particular “road to peace”), and agrees with Georgia that it is wrong of South Ossetia to become independent.

On Aug 25th, Russia recognizes South Ossetia as an independent region. Smiles smugly at the US and itches itself with it’s middle finger in the US’ direction.

Dick Cheney states “Russian aggression must not go unanswered, and that its continuation would have serious consequences.” Russia nearly shits itself laughing. Hangs up a big map of the world on the chalkboard and with it’s pointer points to Kosovo then Iraq.

Amongst the reasons Russia disliked the US support of Kosovo, is because it sets a precedent for destabilization in the Balkans and Caucasus. Georgia, who is at odds with Russia to begin with, and who the US is close allies with, presents an opportunity for Russia to: 1. Throw the US’ position in regards to Kosovo back in their face and 2. Let them know just how much pull they’s got in these here neck o’ the woods

Russia also sends a clear message to other territories in the region, such as Ukraine, of who’s who in the region, any dates with the West they expect you home at midnight and still a virgin, and don’t be bringing NATO into their backyard.

Georgia points to Russia’s hard core suppression of breakaway Chechnya and cries foul.

Condoleeza Rice says a bunch of stuff that absolutely nobody listens to. (Hell, did you?)

The EU sings ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends’ preferring the Smashmouth version to the old War single. Presents 6 point peace plan.

There’s your little nappytime story. And somewhere in there is why Kosovo is directly related and the implications aren’t finished by a long shot.

There, all the info you could want to know. (If i got anything wrong, please inform me and i’ll be happy to correct.)

To anyone personally involved, i am trying very hard to not take sides on any of the conflicts mentioned. Since i don’t actually believe there IS such a thing as absolute objectivity, i’m sure i didn’t flawlessly succeed, but i certainly don’t mean any personal offense. As far as offense to your government, take solice in the fact that i believe all governments are lying cocksuckers.


  1. Good bit of history there. Often things go back farther than people realize. For evidence of that, simply read All the Shah’s Men to discover why Iranians have hated the United States since 1953.

    Comment by matthew — September 2, 2008 @ 11:21 pm | Reply

  2. Hell, i’m writing a children’s book on it. (no, seriously. i am) Which i know you know. At this moment i am walking encyclopedia on Iranian 20th century history.

    Alas Old Mossey, we hardly knew ye’….

    Comment by bunitingi — September 2, 2008 @ 11:26 pm | Reply

  3. This never ceases to be fascinating to me:

    Comment by matthew — September 3, 2008 @ 4:18 am | Reply

  4. Bit more history I’m only just now aware of:

    I hate to root for another four years without a female in the White House, but given our candidates, I gots no choice…

    Comment by matthew — September 3, 2008 @ 9:13 pm | Reply

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