|The former Yugoslavia and the current independent nations that emerged after 1991 collapse. Photo originally from BBC.|
South East Ukraine: Crisis Diary
See No Evil? MSM uncertain who's behind Odessa inferno
The comparison between Ukraine and the collapse of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s isn't too far from reality. The parallels are gradually emerging in Ukraine. Yugoslav leaders and politicians used nationalism to their advantage with the aid of media propaganda while demonizing their internal and foreign enemies. Slobadan Milosevic, Yugoslavian army and leaders of Republika Srpska leaders installed nationalist officials in government to strength their stronghold on their positions and assure their supporters and the larger public that nationalism equals national unity and strength. The Croatian leader Franjo Tudjman also pushed nationalism and a Croatian identity based on ethnic purity ignoring the decades of multiculturalism and Croatia's multiethnic society. Tudjman and other Croatian nationalists took their inspiration from the Utasha that served under Nazi controlled Croatia during World War II. Croatian and Serbian nationalists displaced, dispossessed and killed their neighbors and even family members while destroying Croatia and Bosnia. Slovenia experience only ten days of war before peace was restored. Slovenia is home to a small Serb minority but Slovene nationalism didn't involve displacing fellow countrymen. Slovenia bypassed the violence and massacres occurring in Croatia's Krajina region, the medieval cities of Dubrovnik, Zagreb. The violence included football and street clashes and bombardments of historical cities by Yugoslav army made up of mostly Serb soldiers from Belgrade and other regions of Serbia and Bosnia. Dehumanizing language and images further transformed the Yugoslav war of independence into "tribal" conflicts or ancient ethnic hatreds. Serbs, Bosnians and Croats like Russians and Ukrainians are similar people, they speak the same language once called Serbo-Croatian with slightly different words and follow the same religion Christianity albeit Serbs are East Orthodox and Croats are Catholics. Bosnia remains the most multiethnic and diverse former Yugoslav republics. Many Bosnians are intermarried and Bosniaks (incorrectly categorized as ethnic Muslims) are a separate and majority ethnic group in Bosnia. However, the Bosniaks share similar language and history with their Christian countrymen. Despite the clashes and cries against the referendum, Crimea didn't experience massive violence as Bosnia did for its independence in 1991. A combination of sieges by Yugoslavia army against the Bosnian capital Sarajevo and the medieval city of Mostar, NATO weapons sanctions against Bosnian army, destroyed Bosnia's infrastructure and displaced most of Bosnian people. Fueling the collapse of Bosnia were massacres against civilians first by the Serb dominated Yugoslav army and later Serb rebels from Republica Srpska. The UN's last minute intervention at the height of the war ended the violence but didn't heal the shattered country. Mostar's famous Ottoman bridge was destroyed and rebuilt, ethnic cleansing of whole neighborhoods and regions (now occurring in Central African Republic) has left the country divided to this day. Bosnia's peace came after the country was partitioned into two separate entities the Bosnian-Croat federation and the Replica Srpska to appease all the parties involved to the chagrin of Bosnia's diverse society. Some media pundits and experts now see Bosnia as unable to undo the physical and societal damages caused by Yugoslav Civil War. Lastly, Kosovo was sucked into shorter but just as deadly war between U.S. backed Kosovar Liberation Army and Serbian Army in 1999. NATO bombing of Serbian capital Belgrade became the pretext for future pre-emptive strikes against countries deemed a threat to a Western ally or a threat regional stability as Serbia was seen by Western observers and neighboring countries Greece, Albania, Hungary. Today the former Yugoslavia is seven different countries resembling little of its former self. Croatia became an EU member last year after a decade of political, economic and structural reforms. Slovenia 2004, while Bosnia and Serbia are hoping to become EU members in the distance future. Ukraine is currently split unevenly between pro European Union membership and a EU future and the BRICS' economic and political challenge to EU/US domination of European politics and local events.
War bombing the medieval city of Dubrovnik, Croatia
From Beirut to Bosnia: Part 3 To the Ends of the Earth
Ukraine's violence is slowly transforming into a civil war in the same vein as Yugoslavia. All the while the EU, Canada and US watch while blaming Russia for the violent escalation by protesters and Ukrainian government. Russia argues that the protesters have a right to autonomy after feeling threatened.
Ukrainian expands fierce assault
Fascism didn't die but lives todayThe Utashe were the Croatian local fascist/nazi forces and political organization responsible for the genocide of Serbs, Yuglosvian Jews, Romani and Croatian dissidents across Croatia and Bosnia. In a quest to build a so called "1,000 year Reich," Adolph Hitler calculating expanded the borders of the Third Reich from France to Greece and Croatia. Spain and Switzerland were one of the few countries in Europe other than Yugoslavia minus Croatia that remained natural throughout the second world war. While Yugoslavs in Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia and parts of Bosnia fought against the Nazis and fascists forces in Yugoslavia, Croatian nationalist leaders seeking to keep Croatia independent from capitulated to Nazi rule. Neighboring Fascist Italy, a long time influence on Croatia's culture and language soon fell to Nazi occupation in 1941. Fascism and Nazism didn't disappear into the history books at the end of World War II. Both movements have been given breathes of fresh air throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Today neo Nazis and fascism is tragically making a comeback across Europe especially in Western countries via parliamentary victories and popular right wing leaders enjoying support from a frustrated public. In the U.S. there is an obsession with Hitler and Nazism. American historians and pundits have studied Nazism and Hitler's rise, its influences in society, Hitler's mind and have personified him into the devil to further understand how fascism/Nazism can occur.
The current U.S. backed Ukrainian government has also allowed leaders and members from Svoboda and Pravy Sector to hold high offices and have seats in Parliament. Members of both groups have been involved in violence against Pro federalist protesters in several towns in Eastern Ukraine ie Slayvansk, Donetsk, Odessa and Kharkov. The Pro federalist (originally dubbed Pro Russian by the Ukrainian government and media pundits) protesters have been calling for a federalist form of autonomy that would respect the rights of residents living in Eastern Ukraine, protect the Russian language from being banning and cultural protection.The violent clashes have continued ranging from confrontation between pro/anti Kiev and Maidan supporters to running street battles among Ukrainian police and Russian speaking Ukrainians as well. Now the continual anti-terror campaign by the Ukrainian Army against protesters in Slayvansk and Odessa, has critically injured and killed civilians. The army has prevented civilians from leaving Slayvansk. Some pundits have forgotten that the pro Russian protesters in Eastern Ukraine are also Ukrainians who have family living in both Russia and Ukraine. Many Ukrainian speakers also live in Eastern and southern Eastern towns as well. Kiev and Western governments have been watching the escalation of violence with clenched teeth. Sanctions have been ratcheted up against Russia in hopes of denting its economy. Keep in mind most of Russia's gas exports pass underneath Ukraine and other neighboring countries directly to the EU who rely on Russian gas in addition to oil/petroleum from Norway and North African countries. Kharkov's mayor Gennady Kernes is currently recuperating in an Israeli hospital after being shot in the back by an unknown assassin.
Caught on tape: Radicals shooting at Odessa Trade Unions' building
As President Turchynov struggles to keep Ukraine calm, he has appeared to overlook the anti-Semitic and anti-Russian violence from small but growing Neo Nazi political parties and groups in Maidan and elsewhere. The Neo Nazis have aimed their violent threats against Ukrainian Jews who were once one of the largest Jewish communities in Eastern Europe after Poland's large Jewish community. Today, Ukrainian Jews are a minority whose community has survived peacefully within the country for decades after the Holocaust and World War II. Despite keeping to themselves, Jews along with some Russian speakers are viewed as scapegoats (fed by old anti-Semitic and anti-Soviet stereotypes) by the less open minded Pravy Sector/Svoboda members and supporters. The outright violence against Russian symbols, influences and protesters (who are Ukrainians) in East Ukraine, Crimea and in Kiev and Western Ukraine. Ukrainian soldiers being trapped inside their bases while Russian soldiers spread out across Crimean cities has further confirmed the Neo Nazis fear of a Russian takeover or war on lines of South Ossetia or something worst. For the Maidan protesters like the Yugoslavs no one outside Yugoslavia or Ukraine could control their destiny other than themselves. Even Poland who has quietly watched the events unfolded in Ukraine has also experience anti-Russian protests. Russia is well aware that its army or actions are not welcomed by the Kiev government or its supporters. The media frenzy set up by the United States and its allies has exacerbated the anger toward Russian interests among Neo Nazi groups, Pro- Western Maidan protesters and Ukrainians who are apolitical but are determined to shape Ukraine's future on their own.
Ukraine not united in anti-Russian sentiment