The Balkan Peninsula together with the region of the South-East Europe historically have been one of the most important focal points of the Russian foreign policy, cultural influences and attempts to spread ideology of the Orthodox solidarity and the Slavic reciprocity. These ideas are common to almost all trends of the Russian public life in the past and today.
After Russia lost the Great Crimean War of 1853–1856 she intensified its cultural influence in the region of the South-East Europe for the purposes of beating the Habsburg (the Roman-Catholic) rivalry and to spread an idea of the Pan-Slavism in this part of Europe. However, the Great Crimean War was in essence the British war against Russia (Figes, 2010; Lambert, 2011; Small, 2014) in order to stop further Russian victories against the Ottoman Empire (Isaacs, 2001, 156; Anisimov, 298−299). After this war it became obvious for Russia that the West European great powers are her enemies, especially the United Kingdom. It will take even 50 years for Russia to sign a military-political agreement with the United Kingdom (in 1907) only after a final sharing the spheres of influence in Persia (Hans-Erich, 1985, 134).
The political and economic rivalry between Russia, on one hand, and the Habsburg Monarchy (Austria-Hungary from 1867) and the German Empire (from 1871), on other, over the dominance at the Balkans was strongly affected in Russia by the growth of the Pan-Slavic sentiment, based on the common Slavic origin, mutual Paleoslavonic language, and above all it was grounded on emotional sentiment to liberate those South Slavs who were under the Ottoman yoke (Jelavich, 1991). Historically, Russia had three pivotal interests in both regions the Balkans and the South-East Europe: 1) strategic, 2) cultural, and 3) religious (Castellan, 1992). It is important to stress a fact that Russia, together with the West European states, participated in the process of modernization of the eastern Balkan nations and states (Black, 1974).
From a strategic point of view, the Russian diplomacy concerned the Balkans and the South-East Europe as essential for the Russian state security and above all for the stability of the Russian state frontiers. Russia’s intention was to obtain a favorable frontier in Bessarabia (today an independent Republic of Moldova) and to have control over the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, which became very important to the Russian commercial and economic development and geopolitical projects; in particular for the shipment of surplus grain from today Ukraine or known also as a Little Russia (Прыжов, 1869; Соловьев, 1947) to the world markets.
The Bosporus and the Dardanelles became a part of Russia’s “security zone” in both economic and political terms. The Russian main concern was to safeguard free passage through the Bosporus Straits to the Mediterranean Sea (Jelavich, 1973). Simultaneously, Russia intended to block the expansion of the other European great powers, particularly of Austria-Hungary and Germany, into the region.
Taking religious and cultural aspects of the Russian interests in the Balkans and the South-East Europe, largely due to the Russian Pan-Slavic agitation, Russia succeeded to develop from 1870 a strong interest in the fate of the Balkan Slavs and the South-East European Orthodox Christians. The Pan-Slavism, based on the myth of the Slavic solidarity and primarily on the Orthodox Slavic reciprocity, which created strong ethnic, religious and cultural sentiments among the Slavic Orthodox population (but not among the Roman Catholic Slavs), became at the end of the 19th century one of the dominant driving forces behind the Russian policy in the Balkans and the South-East Europe. The myth of the Slavic solidarity and brotherhood exerted a considerable influence on many intellectuals and found support in official circles in Russia, Serbia, Montenegro and Bulgaria.
The Tsarist Russia was sincerely trying all the time to reconcile the Slavic nations in conflict, especially those of the Christian Orthodox faith for the sake of the Pan-Slavic ideals of intra-Slavic solidarity, reciprocity and brotherhood. Probably the case of the Serbian-Bulgarian conflict in 1912−1915 over the Macedonian Question is the best example of such Russian policy of Panslavism. In the other words, Russia became the creator of the 1912 Serbian−Bulgarian treaty and recognized arbiter in 1912−1913 diplomatic conflict between Serbia and Bulgaria over the destiny of Macedonia after the Balkan Wars (Ћоровић, 1990а, 20−24). The Russian Balkan policy in this case was a real Panslavonic one as St. Petersburg wanted to satisfy territorial claims of both sides by negotiations and diplomatic agreement between Sofia and Belgrade. When Austria-Hungary declared war to Serbia on July 23rd, 1914 all Entente member states, including and Russia, were making pressure on Serbia to give territorial compensation (the Vardar Macedonia) to Bulgaria for the Bulgarian participation in the war against the Central Powers. Serbia was promised, like in the secret 1915 London Treaty, territorial concessions in the Western Balkans populated by the ethnic Serbs living in the Dual Monarchy. For instance, a Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sazonov, on August 5th, 1914 urged the Serbian Government to give to Bulgaria Macedonian territories up to the line Kriva Palanka−Ohrid with Struga for Bulgarian active participation in the war against Austria-Hungary and towns of Shtip, Radovishte and the lands up to Vardar river for Bulgarian “friendly neutrality”. For such Serbia’s sacrifice, Russia promised to Belgrade to support Serbia at the end of the war in realization of her “national ideals”. However, Sazonov was clear in this case that Serbia by giving such territorial sacrifice is going to very contribute to the Russian “life wish” to establish the Panslavonic fraternity and eternal friendship between the Serbs and Bulgarians (Радојевић, Димић, 2014, 138). The same territorial requirements to Serbia were vainly repeated once again by the Entente member states in 1915 before Bulgaria finally joined the war on the side of the Central Powers in October of the same year (Avramovski, 1985, 55−172; Трубецки, 1994, 21−158).
Unfortunately, Serbia rejected such friendly Russia’s proposals and as a consequence lost 25% of its population during the WWI, 50% of industry and the most important its statehood. Instead of a strong and efficient United Serbia it was created loose, destructive and above all anti-Serbian Yugoslavia with the Roman Catholic Croats and Slovenes as the clients of Vatican.
Anisimov, J. (2014). Rusijos istorija nuo Riuriko iki Putino: Žmonės. Įvykiai. Datos. Vilnius: Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos centras.
Avramovski, Ž. (1985). Ratni ciljevi Bugarske i Centralne sile 1914−1918. Beograd: Institut za savremenu istoriju.
Black, E. C. (1974). “Russia and the Modernization of the Balkans”. Jelavich, Ch. & Jelavich, B. (eds.). The Balkans in Transition: Essays on the Development of Balkan Life and Politics since the Eighteenth century, Archon Books.
Castellan, G. (1992). History of the Balkans: From Mohammed the Conqueror to Stalin. New York: Columbia University Press, East European Monographs, Boulder.
Cooper, F. A., Heine, J., Thakur, R. (eds.) (2015). The Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy. Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press.
Figes, O. (2010). The Crimean War: A History. New York: Metropolitan Books.
Gvosdev, K. N., & Marsh, Ch. (2014). Russian Foreign Policy: Interests, Vectors, and Sectors. Thousand Oaks: CoPress.
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Isaacs, A., Alexander, F., Law, J., Martin, E. (eds.) (2001). Oxford Dictionary of World History. Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press.
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Jelavich, B. (1991). Russia’s Balkan Entanglements, 1806−1914. Bloomington.
Kohn, H. (1960). Pan-Slavism: Its History and Ideology. Vintage.
Lambert, A. (2011). The Crimean War: British Grand Strategy Against Russia, 1853−56. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Limited.
Mansbach, W. R., Taylor, L. K. (2012). Introduction to Global Politics. London−New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.
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Palmowski, J. (2004). A Dictionary of Contemporary World History from 1900 to the Present Day. Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press.
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Small, H. (2014). The Crimean War: Queen Victoria’s War with the Russian Tsars. London: Tempus Publishing.
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Прыжов, И. Г. (1869). Малороссия (Южная Русь) в истории ее литературы с XI по XVIII век., Воронеж.
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Радојевић, М., Димић, Љ. (2014). Србија у Великом рату 1914−1918. Кратка историја. Београд: Српска књижевна задруга−Београдски форум за свет равноправних.
Соловьев, А. В. (1947). „Великая, Малая и Белая Русь“. Вопросы истории. Москва: Академия наук СССР. 7. 24−38.
Трубецки, Н. Г. (1994). Рат на Балкану 1914−1917. и руска дипломатија. Београд: Просвета.
Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic
© Vladislav B. Sotirovic 2016
 The Balkans is a peninsula in the South-East Europe that today includes Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, Albania, Macedonia (the FYROM), Bulgaria and the European portion of Turkey. The South-East Europe is enlarged Balkans with Romania and Moldova.
 The Balkans was all the time a peninsula of a clash of civilizations. According to Samuel P. Huntington, a civilization is a cultural entity and he identified eight such civilizations. One of them was the Slavic-Orthodox. Civilizations differ in terms of history, language, culture, tradition but above all religion. Huntington argued that every civilization had and has a protector core state as, for instance, Russia historically was and today is a protector of the Slavic-Orthodox civilization (Mansbach, Taylor, 2012, 447).
 Great power was originally in the 18th century the term for a European state which could not be conquered by any other state or even by several of them. After the WWII this term is applied to a country that is regarded as among the most powerful in the global system and global politics (Mansbach, Taylor, 2012, 578).
 The British-Russian convention over Persia in 1907 divided the country into a northern section under the Russian influence, a neutral part in the middle, and a southern zone under the UK’s influence (Palmowski, 2004, 304).
 About the Pan-Slavism, see in (Kohn, 1960).
 About the Russian history, see in (Riasanovsky, 2006).
 About Russia’s foreign policy interests, see in (Tsygankov, 2013; Gvosdev, 2014).
 About Ukraine-Russian identity relations, see in (Plokhy, 2008; Plokhy, 2010).
 About the spiritual and geopolitical rivalry in the Balkans by the great European powers, see in (Поповић, 1940; Narochnitskaya, 1998). According to Lord Palmerston, the nations (states) have no permanent enemies and allies; they have only permanent interests (Cooper, Heine, Thakur, 2015, 72).
 For instance, about Russia’s influence in Serbia from the end of the 18th century to the mid-19th century, see in (Попов, 1870).
On December 8, 1991 Russia, Belarus and Ukraine stated that the USSR ceased to exist and signed an agreement on the creation of the CIS. Mikhail Gorbachev, the President of the Soviet Union, resigned on December 25, 1991. The Russian Federation assumed the USSR’s rights and obligations to become the recognized primary legal successor of the Soviet Union.
Each post-Soviet state was free to choose its own destiny but the need to cooperate and maintain mutually beneficial close economic ties was evident.
The creation of the Eurasian Customs Union was guaranteed by 3 different treaties signed in 1995, 1999 and 2007. The first treaty in 1995 guaranteeing ...
After the Russian military victory over the Ottoman Empire in the 1877−1878 Russo-Ottoman War it was signed the San Stefano Treaty between these two states on March 3rd, 1878. According to the treaty, a Greater “San Stefano” Bulgaria, under the direct protection by Russia, had to be established within the borders of the Ottoman Empire. However, an idea of “San Stefano Bulgaria” directly affected three Balkan nations: the Serbs, Greeks and Albanians as some of their ethnic and historical territories had to become part of a Greater Bulgaria. The “San Stefano Bulgaria” was projected by the Russian authorities to cover ...
Video documentary movie on the first ISIS in Europe in Islamic Caliphate of Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1992-1995.
This movie is made by the British SKY NEWS after the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Similar documentary movies on the ISIS Bosnia-Herzegovina made by the Bosnian Serbs were never shown to the western audience.
Duration of the movie is 8 min. and 17 sec.
In the movie are presented and future Al-Qaeda Mujahedeen holy fighters.
From the movie is clear what was a real nature of the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s.
All copyrights reserved by the SKY NEWS.
Ravna Gora is a Serbian television series produced by Radio Televizija Srbija (RTS) and Contrast Studios which will debut on November 2, 2013 on Serbian television. The series began filming on July 24, 2012 on location in Mokra Gora in western Serbia. The series will be a trilogy entitled “1941-1945”. The first part, Ravna Gora, will consist of 15 episodes each an hour in length. It is a historical dramatization of the events that occurred in Yugoslavia during World War II when the country was invaded, occupied, and dismembered by the Axis. The series focuses on the rival guerrilla movements ...
Kosovo has been a troublesome region of West Balkan for the last half millennium. The latest events, which have resulted in NATO occupation of the southern province of Serbia, marked the culmination of the violence that includes both domestic and international agencies.
Many authors have dealt with the Kosovo affair, but none of them endeavored to present a complete picture of the case. This book attempts to provide a broad and objective analysis of the problem from the historical, anthropological, political and sociological points of view. The emphasis is on the sociological side of the conflicts.
Only by understanding the differences of ...
Every country has its mafia, but Serbia is the only one where mafia has its state (Zoran Djindjic)
There is nothing extraordinary in the science in Serbia. It would not deserve particular attention of the European scientific community, if it were not for the fact that the case of Serbia turns out extraordinary, indeed.
Let us start with an extraordinary question: would it be possible a state in contemporary Europe to sucumbe to a fashist rule (or communist or any other totalitarian government)? The answer is extraordinary too - yes. The case in point is Serbia.
The trick is marked by Kosovo ...
A Reuters news report under the names of presstitutes Robin Emmott and Sabine Siebold shows how devoid the West is of honest, intelligent and responsible journalists and government officials. http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-nato-summit-idUKKCN0ZN2NN
First we will examine the dishonesty or incompetence of the reporters and then that of Western government officials.
Emmott and Siebold describe NATO as a “Western defense alliance.” Since the Clinton regime NATO has been an alliance for waging offensive war, a war crime under the Nuremberg rules established by the United States. Under the NATO banner a number of countries have been bombed, invaded, and had their governments overthrown by ...
On September 10th, 2015 a City Council of Croatia’s capital Zagreb decided to promote a war criminal General Ante Gotovina to “honorable citizen of the City of Zagreb” for his “contribution to the defending of Croatia’s independence and territorial integrity”. The General, however, as a Commander-in-Chief of Croatia’s army, is directly responsible for a brutal ethnic cleansing and war crimes committed by Croatia’s army, police forces and state authorities over the Serbs during the SS-punishment-style military-police operation “Storm” (Oluja) in August 1995 when around 3000 ethnic Serbs in the Krajina region were killed and 250.000 expelled from their homes. That ...
Muslim populated states of the South-East Europe are the reservoirs of the ISIL Jihadist fighters in the Middle East: Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia. All of these states are the marionettes of the US. This road map was originally published with the article in one Albania's newspapers in Tirana in October 2015.
A „rövid” XX. századot a balkáni lôporos hordó robbanása vezette be, és úgy látszik, addig nem is tud befejezôdni, amíg ezt a hordót jó mélyen és örökre el nem temetik. A koszovói konfliktus új fázisa – ha nem akarunk éppenséggel visszamenni az ôsidôkig, de legalábbis a rigómezei ütközetig (1389) vagy Arsenije Carnojevic és népe nagy elvándorlásáig (1698 – a tartomány szerb lakosága ekkor menekült el a török megtorlás elôl, és ekkor kezdôdött dél felôl az albánok tömeges betelepedése a lényegében lakatlanná vált területre) – nagyjából az elsô balkáni háborúval kezdôdött, és kisebb-nagyobb megszakításokkal tart ma is. A tartomány szerencsétlen helyen ...
The creation of the First Balkan Alliance against the Ottoman Empire in 1866–1868 in the light of territorial requirements of the Balkan states and nations at the expense of the decreasing power of the Ottoman authorities and the Ottoman state integration was the first political-military treaty on the mutual cooperation by the Christian Balkan states and nations. The secret paragraphs of bilateral military-political contracts between Greece and Serbia and Serbia and Montenegro in regard to territorial inheritance of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans are the most important points of the treaty.
Serbia became a leader of the Balkan coalition and ...
Friday, a Russian SU-27 did a barrel roll over a U.S. RC-135 over the Baltic, the second time in two weeks.
Also in April, the U.S. destroyer Donald Cook, off Russia’s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, was twice buzzed by Russian planes.
Vladimir Putin’s message: Keep your spy planes and ships a respectable distance away from us. Apparently, we have not received it.
Friday, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work announced that 4,000 NATO troops, including two U.S. battalions, will be moved into Poland and the Baltic States, right on Russia’s border.
“The Russians have been doing a lot of snap exercises right up against ...
Five days before the celebration of the 71th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s capitulation to the Soviet and allied troops in the WWII, the new NATO Supreme Commander in Europe Curtis Scaparrotti announced that he came to beat the drums of war again. Ignoring the historic facts and legitimate Russian interests in its around, in his first speech after assuming office he condemned alleged “Russian aggressive behavior that challenges international norms” and called the bloc members to “fight tonight if deterrence fails.”
This commonplace declaration fairly correlates with the military and media strategy the Western ruling class adopted decades ago. Even putting aside the ...
Exclusive photos of the Russian war crimes in Syria and the Middle East by "Free Media Group" volunteers, 2016 with a proper illustrations of the Russia's militant imperialism:
The My Lai Massacre by Russian soldiers
The Russian soldiers at the spot of My Lai Massacre with their victims
Aleppo citizen with a daughter during the Russian destruction of the city
Russian Orthodox monk in Moscow in protest against the Russian invasion of Syria
Syrian children of war and the Russian occupant soldier
Killed Russian student in Moscow by Putin’s SS troops in protest against the Russian invasion of Syria and the Russian war crimes in Aleppo
It has been 200 years since the birth of Otto von Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor who unified Germany.
Otto von Bismarck emphasized the importance of good relations with Russia. "The secret of politics? Make a good treaty with Russia", he said. Bismarck was convinced that a European security system without Russia would be impossible and war with Russia would be disastrous. Bismarck had been Prussia's ambassador to the Russian Empire. He was no Russophile, but he had an understanding of the geopolitical situation that almost no politician today possesses.
Let's imagine that Bismarck left a letter to the following rulers of Germany, ...
Chances are, if a story about Russia appears on the cover of a major Western magazine, it’s not good news. Most likely, there’s been an international scandal, a breakout of geopolitical tensions, the resumption of Cold War hostilities, or some nefarious Russian plot to bring the entire free world to its knees.
Russophobia — or the unnatural fear of Russia — generally leads magazine editors to choose the most over-the-top images to convey Russia as a backwards, clumsy, non-Western and aggressively malevolent power. Unfortunately, that’s led to a few rules of thumb for anyone trying to create a magazine cover featuring Russia. You can think ...
The series of long-scale Christian national movements in the Balkans, triggered off by 1804 Serbian revolution, decided more than in the earlier centuries, the fate of Serbs and made ethnic Albanians (about 70% of whom were Muslims) the main guardians of Turkish order in the European provinces of Ottoman Empire. At a time when the Eastern question was again being raised, particularly in the final quarter of 19th and the first decade of 20th century, Islamic Albanians were the chief instrument of Turkey’s policy in crushing the liberation movements of other Balkan states. After the congress of Berlin (1878) an ...
After the April War of 6−18th, 1941, the Germans, Italians, Bulgarians and Hungarians occupied and divided the territory of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia into several parts. The Germans annexed the North Slovenia and put under their direct occupation the Yugoslav part of Banat and the Central Serbia with Kosovska Mitrovica. The Italians occupied the South Slovenia, established their marionette regime in Montenegro and annexed the Gulf of Boka Kotorska, parts of Konavli and Dalmatia. The Hungarians annexed Prekomurje, Baranja and Bachka. The Bulgarians occupied the East and Central Vardar Macedonia and the South-East Serbia. The Italians established their own marionette ...
Professor Vladislav B. Sotirović, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer of: “Middle East Studies” at the Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania; “Mediterranean Studies;” “Ethnicity, Multiculturalism and Globalisation;” “Balkan Nationalism and Ethnic Conflicts”and “Europeanisation: Process and Results.”
Prof. Dr. Sotirović is a distinguished expert on the History of the Early Byzantine Empire, 330–846”, Comparative History of Central and South Eastern Europe and Ottoman History, History of Lithuania and Ukraine. He is well known abroad for his influential books and popular lectures about Lithuania, Russian Federation, the Balkans and Baltic Nations and the Multiculturalism.
Professor Sotirović has studied at the Central European Summer University, Budapest, ...
The former editor of the Tribune de Genève, [Guy Mettan-RI] visited Moscow and presented his new book Russia and the West: A Thousand Year War, which reviews the phenomenon of Russophobia: its roots, historical evolution and modern incarnations. Izvestia had a chance to interview him.
What inspired you to write about this?
There are two reasons why I began this work. The first is a personal, family reason. In 1994, my wife and I adopted a Russian girl, who now is now 25. Her name is Oksana, and she is from the Vladimir region. After we adopted her, I became interested ...
Twenty-Five Years Since The USSR Collapse: The Eurasian Economic Union Has A Promising Future
The 1878 San Stefano Treaty and the Albanians
Bosnia-Herzegovina ISIS In The 1990s
Draza Mihailovich in film and TV: On the set of the TV series Ravna Gora
Book: Prof. Petar V. Grujic, “Kosovo Knot”, Pittsburg, PA: Rosedog Books, 2014, pp. 450
Vladimir Putin Is The Only Leader The West Has
The “Serb Question” And Its final Solution In Euro-Croatia
From The History of Anti-Russian Policy: The First Balkan Alliance (1866−1868)
“Operation Unthinkable” (1945) And US-NATO’s Threats To Wage War On Russia
The Russian War Crimes in Syria in 2016: A Photo Evidence
Angela Merkel Ignores Otto Von Bismarck’s Advice Never To Quarrel With Russia
Russophobia And The Dark Art Of Anti-Russian Magazine Covers
Kosovo History – Fifth Part
Remembering A Magnum Crimen In The Independent State Of Croatia, 1941−1945
Prof. Vladislav B. Sotirović About The Situation In Ukraine
The Long History Of Russophobia, Starting With Its Religious Roots