Yugo: the Russian dimension

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Wed Sep 13 07:34:05 MDT 1995


The debate on Yugoslavia has gone quiet since NATO undertook its biggest
action ever, against one side. The fact that it has not defeated the
Bosnian Serbs, even when it has got one section of them to admit that
in negotiations they should be subordinate parters in a delegation
headed by Milosevic, shows a) the strength of the air defences inherited from
the federal Yugoslav army, b) that  air attacks were not the
most effective counter to artillery. Now that NATO has come out
explicitly on one side, they have no excuse not to supply infantry arms
directly to the Bosnian regime on the strict guidelines that this regime
respects democratic human rights and agrees to monitoring of its activities
for this purpose.

But I thought we should usefully widen the thread. It is clear for the last
four years that the West's options have been constrained all along by the
Russian dimension. How hard to be on Greater Serb social fascism vis a vis
Serbia proper has been in one sense, through the issue of sanctions, to
which Russian subscribed, a reflection of the much bigger political contest,
in Russia itself, between Yeltsin, and the Russian nationalists. NATO
could not be harder on the Bosnian Serbs if that would put Yeltsin under
too much domestic political pressure. This is the key link. The present
action may reflect a reappraisal of how much the West needs to listen to
Yeltsin on this issue.

So I ask the list,

What is the latest balance of political forces in Russia?

I hear less on the BBC about Zhirinovsky (sp?) and have just heard a
report ahead of the impending election saying that the Communist Party
may emerge as the biggest single party, and the last hope of the liberals
is the resignation of Yeltsin. I am sure someone has more information.

Thanks.

Chris B, London.




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