Nina Dyulgerova: "Extrapolation of the Kosovo precedent is inevitable"

TransnistriaWillindependence-seeking Kosovo set a precedent for other conflictselsewhere? The answer is yes, if Kosovo becomes independent. In thatcase, "extrapolation is inevitable" says Bulgarian Professor of HistoryNina Dyulgerova.

VARNA (Focus / Tiraspol Times) - Nina Dyulgerova, one of Bulgaria'sleading History Professors, says that if Kosovo becomes independentthen extrapolation is inevitable. Other "frozen conflicts" involvingthe unrecognized republics of Transdniestria, Abkhazia, South Ossetiaand Nagorno Karabakh will be next in line for independence.

If independence is granted to Kosovo, this will affect the rest ofthe Balkans and also countries in the post-Soviet area. Here, historyProfessor Nina Dyulgerova comments on this issue.

A highly sought-after expert on Russian affairs, Professor ofHistory Nina Dyulgerova gave a lecture on 7 November 2007 entitled"Russia and the Black Sea Region in the 21st Century" at LoyolaUniversity in New Orleans. Dyulgerova spoke about the future prospectsof the Baltic Sea Region, and Russia’s past and present interest inthis great strategic and economic importance region and the prospectsfor future Russian involvement there.

Dyulgerova is director of the program in International Relations atthe Free University (Chernorizets Hrabar University) of Varna inBulgaria and head of the History Section of the Union of Scientists inBulgaria. An expert on the Balkans and international relations inEastern Europe, she has authored two books and some 50 articles on thediplomatic history of the Balkans, Russia, Caucasus, and Eastern Europein general.

Can we draw parallels between the situation in theWestern Balkans and some of the unacknowledged states in thepost-Soviet area?

" - Speaking about the situation in the Western Balkans, we cannotfail to draw a parallel to the events that take place in thepost-Soviet area, and especially to the “frozen conflict” phenomenon,also known as the so-called “unrecognized countries”. These are thestates of Trans-Dniester in Moldova, South Ossetia and Abkhazia inGeorgia and Nagorno-Karabakh, which can be considered part of them, butit is some extraordinary case and, in general, we do not automaticallyadd it to the first three.

Until now, Kosovo and its future is the pressing problem which istaking up the whole political and diplomatic energy of the EU, theBalkan countries, Russia and the USA.

The Kosovo issue became really pressing over the last months. Therewere several attempts to solve the issue at the Security Council withthe plan of Martti Ahtisaari, and then it was shifted in the frames ofthe diplomatic format of the Contact Group, where Russia showed anotheractive support to Serbia. The Contact Group, chaired by German WolfgangIschinger, in fact tried to solve some really complex issue, whichaimed at mutual consent on opinions, which were mutually incompatible.On the one hand, we have Kosovo’s position, fighting for independence,strongly supported by the USA. It says that Kosovo’s independence willbe probably acknowledged on December 10th. This is a highlycontroversial stand, joining different opinions in the EU, which notall member states approve.
On the on the hand, there is Serbia, supported by Russia, and also byChina, regarding the connection with the Security Council. They areexplicit on the point that Kosovo’s stats must remain unchanged.

If at present this process is a matter of Balkan countries’ concern,taking into account the geopolitical and strategic plan, it alsoaffects the post-Soviet area.

Since 2003, experts and political figures form different countrieshave come up with different stands on the issue, which connect Kosovo’sissue to the situation in Moldova, Georgia, and the argument betweenArmenia and Azerbaijan. The dominant opinion is that this will cause a“domino principle”: if Kosovo acknowledges its independence, theso-called “frozen conflict” will also head towards some more activeprocess for acknowledgement of their state status.

Furthermore, formally each of the four units have all features of astate system: elections, different kinds of power: president,parliament, local authorities, and etc. In this case we can speak aboutprocesses where the extrapolation is inevitable.

Speaking about Western Balkans, I read an interesting article byUlrich Beck published in 2005, where he develops a highly interestingthesis, and thus I am inclined to believe that: world processes are sodynamic that we can speak about some accumulation of Asian and Europeanproblems. Continents, and their societies and processes, start togradate. Thus, what we witness in the Western Balkans may proceed tothe European part of the post-Soviet area, in South Ossetia. Now we mayspeak about the so-called processes in Eurasia, where territory andlatitude lose their initial meaning, as these processes are gettingidentical. Processes will have to be considered in a similar manner,disregarding the details and the different geopolitical parameters."

Is Kosovo the key generator of instability in theBalkans? What is your personal opinion about what is going on inMacedonia over the last months – the Tanusevci issue, for instance?

" - In this case we can use the “domino principle” – several monthsago I came round to the opinion that this is going to happen. We mustnever forget that America is getting ready for presidential elections.I think that there is enough ground to believe that all the prognoseswill turn true and the Democrats will assume power and replace theRepublicans, who reigned over the last eight years. Remember that till2001, the Clinton era, the Balkans and the Persian Gulf were theburning problem of US foreign policy. All processes that led to thedisintegration of the Yugoslavian Republic took place in the 90ties.The Kosovo crisis in 1999 was the climax of this process.

On March 24th, 2001, it was for Tanusevci, the border area betweenMacedonia and Kososvo, then in Yugoslavia, to start the so-calledMacedonian crisis. If it weren’t for September 11th, the Balkans wouldhave been seized in the latest war conflict, in which Macedonia, andmore precisely the Albanian element in Macedonia, would have been thebase both for the disintegration of that republic, and a key step tothe establishment of a Greater Albania.

Over the last 15 years, enough evidence has been accumulated thatthis is an idea which is a creation of foreign strategic interests. Butit did not happen. What happened in 2001 ended up at the Ohrid summitin the summer, the establishment of, let’s say – the dualistic Republicof Macedonia, where the Albanians have assumed great power.

Over the last years of the XX century I have gone there every year,and I can say that, in fact there was some unofficial, but real, paritypresence of Macedonians and Albanians in all political levels. However,the Ohrid Agreement increased the Albanian presence in the government.Regarding the straightforward and gradual buy-out of lands and realestate in Western Macedonia and in the capital Skopje, that part ofMacedonia is the Albanian part of the country."

What is the financial source for this territorial buy-out in Macedonia?

" - There are three key sources – arms, prostitution and humantrafficking. The sources for Albanian prosperity are drugs and arms.Over the last ten years, the Albanians living in Kosovo and Albania, aswell as the Albanians who moved from Macedonia to Kosovo, especiallyduring the Kosovo war in 1999, have been involved in the huge storageof arms in the Macedonian mountains." (From Focus Information Agency, reprinted with permission)



Publish Date: 

Monday, 31 December 2007