How to Find the Best Online Casino240

How to Find the Best Online Casino

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How to Play in the Top Casinos130

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How to Play in the Top Casinos

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EVENT: Beyond the State: Turkey’s Political Crisis and Challenges to Democracy

On Friday, January 17, 2014, the Emerging Democracies Institute organized a panel discussion at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC titled “Beyond the State: Turkey’s Political Crisis and Challenges to Democracy.” The panelists were: Bayram Balci, Visiting Scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Ulas Doga Eralp, Lecturer, International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program, American University’s School of International Service Joshua D. Hendrick, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Global Studies, Loyola University Maryland; author of the book: Gülen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World Richard Kraemer, Senior Program Officer, National Endowment for Democracy The discussion was moderated by Reuf Bajrovic, the president of EDI.

VIDEO: War in Syria and Iraq: Effect on the Kurdish Issue in Turkey

On Thursday, December 26, 2015, the Emerging Democracies Institute (EDI) organized a panel discussion at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, titled “War in Syria and Iraq: Effect on the Kurdish Issue in Turkey”. The panelists were: Doga Ulas Eralp Professorial Lecturer, American University Mehmet Yuksel HDP, Washington, DC Representative Mutlu Civiroglu Kurdish Affairs Analyst Nora Fisher Onar Fellow, Transatlantic Academy of the German Marshall Fund The discussion was moderated by Reuf Bajrovic, the president of Emerging Democracies Institute.

VIDEO: Human Rights Challenges in Post-Election Bosnia and Herzegovina

On Monday, December 15, 2014, the Emerging Democracies Institute (EDI) and the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH) co-sponsored a panel discussion in Washington, DC, titled: Human Rights Challenges in Post-Election Bosnia and Herzegovina. The panelists were:

Amb. Jonathan Moore Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina Tanya L. Domi Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University Jasmin Mujanovic Visiting Scholar at Columbia University Harriman Institute The discussion was moderated by Reuf Bajrovic, the president of EDI.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s seventh general election since the 1995 signing of the Dayton Peace Accords, held on October 12th, produced some nominal changes in the political landscape. With the government formation process still underway, unresolved human rights issues have been largely sidelined; however, they are bound to play a role during the next government’s mandate. The new British-German initiative to facilitate the

country’s EU integration has effectively postponed the implementation of the European Court of Human Right’s Sejdic-Finci decision

for a later stage in the accession process, but the verdict will continue to be on the Council of Europe’s agenda. Furthermore, several dozen ethnically divided schools – the so-called ‘two schools under one roof’ – continue to operate throughout the country. The new government’s responsibility to uphold human rights standards is only set to become more pertinent with the additional rulings by the European Court of Human Rights.

The panelists will discuss human rights challenges for the next government and the country’s EU and NATO accession process.

Amb. Jonathan Moore began his assignment as OSCE Chief of Mission to Bosnia in Herzegovina in September 2014. Previously, he served as the Director of the Office of South Central European Affairs. That office has lead policy responsibilities for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. Mr. Moore, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, joined the State Department in 1990 and was assigned to the Embassy in Belgrade in 1991. He was a desk officer for the former Yugoslavia from 1993 to 1995, and was the Embassy’s Political/Economic Section Chief in Lithuania from 1995 to 1999. After a one-year assignment as a Congressional Fellow in the Policy Office of Speaker of the House Hastert, Mr. Moore was the Deputy Director of the State Department’s Office of Russian Affairs from 2000 until 2002, serving as Acting Director for several months in early 2002. He then worked as Deputy Chief of Mission in Namibia from 2002 to 2005. Mr. Moore was a 2005-06 National Security Affairs Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He was Deputy Chief of Mission in Belarus from 2006 until 2008, and was Chargé there from 2008 until 2009. Before returning to Washington, he was Deputy Chief of Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2009 to 2012. Mr. Moore has received a Distinguished Honor Award and several Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards, two awards for language proficiency from the American Foreign Service Association, and the Lithuanian Orders of Merit and Grand Duke Gediminas. He speaks Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Lithuanian, Russian, German, and Danish.

Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and is an affiliate faculty member of the Harriman Institute. Domi teaches human rights in the Western Balkans. She has earned a Masters of Arts degree in Human Rights from Columbia University. Prior to her appointment at Columbia, Domi worked internationally for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues and human trafficking. During her previous work in Bosnia and Herzegovina implementing the Dayton Peace Accords for the OSCE Mission 1996-2000, she served in the position of Spokesperson, Counselor to U.S. Ambassador Robert Barry and Chair of the OSCE Media Experts Commission. She has worked in Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Haiti, Kosovo, Montenegro, Nepal, Serbia, The Gambia, The Philippines and South Sudan. Domi served 15 years in the U.S. Army as an enlisted soldier and commissioned officer and later became defense policy analyst to the late Congressman Frank McCloskey (D-IN). Domi is a widely published writer and commentator. She has appeared in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Al Jazeera America, The Washington Post, The BBC, Oslobodjenje and La Noveliste, and has been interviewed by National Public Radio, CSPAN, CNN International and PBS Newshour. She is currently writing a book on the emerging LGBT human rights movement in the Western Balkans.

Jasmin Mujanović is a PhD candidate in Political Science at York University in Toronto and currently a Visiting Scholar at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University in New York City. His academic work is concentrated on questions of democratic consolidation and the development of the state, with a particular focus on Bosnia-Herzegovina. A frequent Balkan affairs analyst, at the Emerging Democracies Institute (EDI) he serves as the Social Media Director, writing for and maintaining the EDI blog, as well as the Institute’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Power & Energy in Central Asia: An Interview with Casey Michel

Casey Michel is a journalist, Central Asia analyst, and MA candidate at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute. Recently, Michel has been at the center of a storm of controversy that has once again raised questions about the growing importance of Central Asia in global politics. With all eyes on Syria and Ukraine, how long will the relative calm in the area last? A space of competing American, Russian, and Chinese interests, I spoke with Mr. Michel about the confluence of international and local actors shaping Central Asia today. You were at the center of a recent incident at Columbia University, when Dr. Brenda Shaffer of the University of Haifa took exception to your question(s) at an event she was speaking at regarding her affiliation with the Azerbaijani state-energy conglomerate SOCAR. The exchange seems to have touched a nerve in the media more broadly. What was your exchange about and why did it become such a story, in your opinion? My line of questioning centered on Dr. Shaffer’s work as an adviser for strategic affairs with SOCAR, Azerbaijan’s state-backed energy firm, and her prior and current work in which she did not disclose this relationship. At the event in question, Dr. Shaffer claimed that she was a moderator for a discussion on the role of Azeri fuel in European gas security – but she was identified as an academic, rather than an adviser with the same energy firm featured in that day’s discussion. Further, both the New York Times and Washington Post have been forced to issue corrections/clarifications on her op-eds on the region, pointing out her relationship with SOCAR. When I asked Dr. Shaffer to comment on the New York Times clarification, she instead decided to begin asking me about who pays my tuition bills, and what my cholesterol count was – in a public, on-the-record setting, in front of dozens of on-lookers. It was easily one of the most bizarre back-and-forths I’ve been involved in, but helps point to a larger reality. Post-Soviet hydrocarbon states – Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan – have put forth strong, and largely under-studied, efforts to purchase influence in Brussels, London, and Washington D.C. That’s not to say that there was anything undue about Dr. Shaffer’s work with SOCAR; rather, her lack of disclosure about that relationship fits within the growing narrative of post-Soviet states looking for ways to sway both policy and academic support in the West. Tony Blair, for instance, was hired by Kazakhstan three years ago as an “adviser,” claiming he was brought aboard to aid in privatization efforts and reform. It’s since become clear, however, that the only ones who have benefited from Blair’s presence have been those within the president’s inner circle – as well as those closest to Blair. Not only has Kazakhstan hired a PR firm run by Blair’s former PR chief, but Kazakhstan’s also hired one of Blair’s own companies in its image-buffing efforts. Moreover, in the three years of Blair’s presence in Astana, Kazakhstan has experienced the greatest civil rights backslide it has known since independence. Blair’s presence in Kazakhstan has been, by almost any measure, an abject failure – and he’s now been brought aboard the consortium seeking to bring Azeri gas to Europe. This combination of carbon-based revenue, kleptocratic influence, post-Soviet civil rights collapse, and a distinct hypocrisy from Western actors – in addition to a continued lack of disclosure among certain parties – continues. And when it’s questioned, it can make for a fantastic story. So, we’re talking about geopolitics and energy, then. You’re suggested that there’s a confluence of interests here, something Ben Judah has also argued. Tony Blair aside, there’s a whole roster of Western leaders, academics, and experts, who have gone on to have very lucrative careers for some very questionable regimes. It’s difficult not to be cynical but in all the commotion about “selling out,” we’ve missed “the rise of Central Asia.” That is, how at least a handful of these former satellite states have become significant regional players on the back of their energy stockpiles. The real question now is what kinds of regimes will these be? And how can, or ought, the West promote the democratization of what are, on the face of it, some fairly recalcitrant autocracies? In a sense, the West missed out largely through a willingness to allow security concerns to trump democratization efforts or human rights movements. This was seen most acutely in Uzbekistan, in which militaristic concerns have outweighed calls for democratic efforts through almost the entirety of the Afghan War. The Central Asian regimes – in Uzbekistan, in Tajikistan – have managed to adroitly play up the threat of Islamist, terroristic instability, which policy and lawmakers in the West have been more than eager to support. The latest issues with the Islamic State are simply a continuation of that narrative. While the actual threat IS poses to the region remains very small, these regimes have been more than willing to hype the threat time and again – further excuse, they say, to continue clamping down on what little civil rights remain in the region. Even Kyrgyzstan, the region’s best and brightest attempt at post-Soviet democracy, has seen a significant slide away from democratic principles recently – mimicking, and even sometimes surpassing, the civil rights clampdown seen already in Russia. As it pertains to democratization efforts, there seems little room for optimism in the region at the moment. However, both Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the two most essential nations in the region, stand set for imminent succession. While there exists the (very real) possibility for instability during the transition period, such neo-patrimonial systems also present opportunities to re-address democratization efforts with successor regimes. There is, of course, no guarantee that successors would be any more receptive to democratization discussions than their predecessors – but when it comes to moments of optimism in Central Asia, you have to grab them when you can. Much has been made of the notion that Central Asia is at the heart of a kind of “war of position” between the US, Russia, and China, with important regional powers juggling patrons essentially. What’s at stake here, what’s being contested? While the recent “New Great Game” terminology has been overwrought, this current competition for influence in Central Asia certainly has echoes from the 19th-century contest for influence between imperial Britain and tsarist Russia. Central Asia has long been perceived as a pivot, whether seen in ancient Silk Road routes or in Mackinder’s concept of a “Heartland.” But much of the recent attempts at vying for regional interest and influence stems from different perspectives and purposes. For the West, an emphasis on democratization and security – especially as it pertains to Afghanistan – has stood at the forefront. For China, energy, trade interests, and Xinjiang-related stability have propelled interests. And while security also plays a role for Russia, Moscow’s interests are far more imperial. In presenting itself as a regional hegemon to both a domestic audience and its “Near Abroad,” Russia believes it deserves the predominance of influence in Central Asia. And between cultural and linguistic links, there’s certain ample room for influence to be found. But Russia’s moment has passed. Due to its blinkered economic and energy policies, Russia has ceded the upper hand to China, which has slowly begun turning Central Asia into resource outposts. (The West still maintains a nominal presence, but with the wind-down in
Afghanistan comes a concurrent decrease in regional interest.) China is not only the largest trade partner in the region, but has managed to wrest Central Asian hydrocarbons from their former route to Russia. On the one hand, this was perhaps expected – China presents both a far larger market, and far larger energy demand. But Russia’s autarkic policies and revanchist efforts have convinced Central Asia that Moscow cannot be trusted to act in good faith – all the more as the recent sanctions have begun harming Central Asian economies – and is interested namely in retaining an imperialistic image. Central Asia is China’s to lose, and the region will only continue gravitating toward Beijing more and more in the foreseeable future. Thinking about US policy in the region, the period immediately after 9/11 was arguably one of tremendous (re)engagement. That appears to have changed now, at least, during the tenure of the Obama administration. The “pivot to Asia,” in short, doesn’t seem to include the heart of the continent. Is the US conceding Central Asia as a de facto Sino-Russian sphere? Or is it, in fact, an attempt to drive a wedge between Moscow and Beijing? You’re exactly right – the “pivot to Asia” would be more aptly termed the “pivot to East Asia.” (Aren’t Afghanistan and Iraq both in Asia, after all?) As I mentioned above, the US’s standing in Central Asia, through a compendium of factors, has waned considerably since it first re-engaged the region in the early ‘00s. Part of this, again, is simply due to the winding-down in Afghanistan. But much of this is self-inflicted. In Kyrgyzstan, for instance, the US’s perceived coziness to the prior regime – one of the most thuggish, corrupt regimes you could find – cost the Americans their
base in Bishkek. Likewise, the perception of America’s inability to remain constrained to international law, and a distinct willingness to overthrow regimes very similar to those in Central Asia, made certain actors in the region more than willing to decrease the US’s presence. As to a wedge between Moscow and Beijing, that will likely not come from Washington’s doing – that will come, rather, on its own. From a purely realist perspective, Russia and China would seem destined for a clash in Central Asia at some point in the future. Russia, more than any point in the past, stands as China’s junior partner. However, Russia still maintains a stronger security presence in Central Asia. The question remains: At what point will China demand that its security presence in Central Asia match its economic hegemony? What would spark this demand? And how will the Russians react? As Moscow continues its slow-motion implosion, it can only maintain – fiscally, infrastructurally – this security card for so long. And China is aware of this reality as much as anyone. As a final question, you’ve made an effort to keep the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in the headlines. Is this project dead in the water now for Moscow? Or should we expect a reset-in-launch of the initiative in 2015? Ah, the EEU. A wonderful notion, on paper, for a region that has seen perhaps less regional integration than anywhere else in Eurasia. Unfortunately, where Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev – who originally posited the EEU – envisioned a union of equals, Russia saw fit to morph the organization into a vehicle for its neo-imperialistic policies. Instead of a union pushing economic integration, Russian President Vladimir Putin has staked his foreign policy credentials to the EEU – and to maintaining Russian predominance, and chauvinism, throughout. Time and again, Kazakhstan has pushed back against Russian intentions and proposals within the EEU – against a common currency, against a Eurasian parliament, against a common foreign policy. Indeed, the EEU has actually sparked the first notable instances of Kazakh nationalism. Kyrgyzstan, too, has seen its economy hit by growing closer to the Eurasian Union; in pledging to join the EEU, the Kyrgyz president described it as the “lesser of two evils.” Hardly a ringing endorsement. Though it only goes into effect on 1 Jan 2015, the EEU may well be dead on arrival. There’s every indication the purported customs union will remain on paper – customs checkpoints likely won’t be set up with Nagorno-Karabakh, and will likely remain between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. All the while, Russia will continue to subsidize efforts to prop it up – to the tune of $5.2bil/year, at last check – and recruit the unrecognized statelets on its border. Moreover, without Ukraine, there’s really no point to the EEU. Without the Ukrainian market and industrial capacity, the EEU is simply Russia and a handful of disgruntled satellite states – some of whom now see China as a far more attractive partner. The EEU, again, could have been a veritable, viable supra-regional entity in a region that needed one. But due to the Putin regime’s short-sighted economic policies, to say nothing of its obvious willingness to disregard international borders, it’s cut any potential import the EEU could have maintained. Which makes the EEU just another empty post-Soviet organization that falls far, far short from what it could have been. Interview by Jasmin Mujanović | @JasminMuj

VIDEO: Islam in Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Model for Emerging Democracies?

On Monday, October 27, 2014, the Emerging Democracies Institute (EDI) and the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH) co-sponsored a lecture in Washington, DC titled: “Islam in Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Model for Emerging Democracies?” A distinguished University of Sarajevo professor, Dr. Dino Abazovic. offered his expertise on this topic. The event was moderated by Ajla Delkic, Executive Director of the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The entire video of the lecture is available below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EYorPLmNLM

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Islamic heritage has been evolving for over five centuries.

The phenomenon of Bosnian Muslims as heirs of specific religious and cultural tradition – often called “autochthonous European Muslims”– has not been sufficiently studied and researched. At the same time, different interpretations of issues linked to Bosnian Muslims are multiplying on agendas of various interests groups, from experts in the field, to nongovernmental actors, other religious communities, domestic decisions makers, and political centers of powers within European and overseas capitals. This lecture will

review some of the crucial processes unfolding within past two decades among Bosnian Muslims and whether they can serve as a model for the emerging democracies of the MENA region.

Dino Abazović is an associate professor of Sociology at the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. He has also worked as the Director of the Human Rights Center of the University of Sarajevo and as the Academic Coordinator of the Religious Studies Program of the Center for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies at University of Sarajevo. He has published a number of chapters and papers in English and the South-Slavic languages, including three books in Bosnian (“Bosnian Muslims Between Secularisation and Desecularisation”, 2012; “Religion in Transition: Essays on Religion and Politics”, 2010, “For God and Nation: Sociological approach to Religious Nationalism”, 2006). He has also co-authored a book with Jelena Radojković and Milan Vukomanović (Religions of the World: Buddhism, Christianity,

Islam, 2007), and edited five books (with Mitja Velikonja, Post-Yugoslavia: New Cultural and Political Perspectives, 2014; with Stefan Hammer, Bosnia and Herzegovina Fifteen Years after Dayton: Political and Legal Aspects of Democratic Consolidation in Post-Conflict Period, 2011; with Zilka Spahić – Šiljak, Monotheistic Trialogue: Introduction in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, 2009; with Ivan Cvitković, Religion and European Integrations, 2006; and with Branko Todorović, Confronting with the Past – Consequences for the Future, 2005). In 2012 Abazović was awarded a research fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS). He is a non-resident fellow at the Emerging Democracies Institute in Washington, DC. He lives and works in Sarajevo.

BRIEFING: Bosnia and Herzegovina 19 Years After Dayton: The Crimea Spillover and U.S. Role in Overcoming Challenges to Stability

On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, the Emerging Democracies Institute (EDI) and the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH) co-sponsored a briefing at the United States Congress in Washington D.C. titled ‘Bosnia and Herzegovina 19 Years After Dayton: The Crimea Spillover and U.S. Role in Overcoming Challenges to Stability’ The speakers were: Amb. Valentin Inzko High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Reuf Bajrovic President, Emerging Democracies Institute The briefing was chaired by Ajla Delkic, Executive Director of ACBH. The 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina left more than 100,000 people dead and over 2 million of the country’s pre-war population displaced. Nineteen years after the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA), which stopped the war, grave violations of the peace agreement continue to pose a challenge to peace and stability. Three weeks ago, the leadership of Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s smaller entity violated the DPA and adopted its own decision on residency. If carried out, it would take away the voting rights of millions of displaced persons, including nearly all Bosnian Americans. Furthermore, inspired by events in Crimea, Republika Srpska once again threatened a referendum on secession while fully supporting Russian President, Vladimir Putin’s action in Ukraine. To avoid a spillover effect, the countries of Southeast Europe require a steadfast commitment of the international community led by the United States. The recent backsliding in the implementation of the DPA, especially its provisions guaranteeing a sustainable return of refugees and the displaced persons, is a great cause of concern for the future stability and prosperity of a multiethnic state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Yet, there is reason for hope as the nationwide civic coalition called “March 1st” seeks to mobilize hundreds of thousands of displaced Bosnians and Herzegovinians living in the United States and around the globe to reverse the effects of ethnic cleansing and genocide, contribute to a better implementation of the DPA, and more actively contribute to a better future for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The entire video of the briefing is now available https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTM1kAYMXSM

EVENT: The Future of Kosovo’s Statehood and Its European Integration Perspective

On Wednesday, April 30, 2014, the Emerging Democracies Institute (EDI) organized organized a panel discussion at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, titled “The Future of Kosovo’s Statehood and Its European Integration Perspective”. The panelists were: Albin Kurti President, Lëvizja Vetëvendosje! (Movement for Self-Determination) Shpend Ahmeti Mayor of Prishtina The discussion was moderated by Reuf Bajrovic, the president of EDI. The entire video of the event is available here:

Putin Exacts His Revenge for the “Brothers Across the Danube”; Is Kosovo Crimea Now?

This blog by EDI Fellow Tanya L. Domi originally appeared on her blog. We are pleased to be able to re-post here. During Vladimir Putin’s remarks before the Russian parliament this past week to declare his annexation of Crimea successful in the aftermath of a plebiscite with winning results in excess of 90 percent, he revealed a newly embraced nationalism for a resurgent Russia. He also announced his exacted vengeance for Serbia’s loss of Kosovo in the crudest terms. Putin mentioned Kosovo frequently throughout his speech; and exacting his revenge for Serbia’s loss was apparently a desire he had harbored for a number of years. He crudely referenced the American bombing by referring analogously to it as “screwing everyone” but not asking for their permission. According to journalist Masha Gessen in her Slate report, who wrote: “The expression Putin used, however, was “vsekh nagnuli,” street slang for having had non-consensual anal sex with everybody, rather than for having everybody agree.” Columbia Professor Kimberly Marten pointed out Putin’s unvarnished embrace of Russian nationalism during his Duma speech when he referred to Russians as “Russkii” for exclusively ethnic Russians, as opposed to the customary reference of “Rossisskii” when acknowledging anyone who had a a Russian passport, in other words, a Russian citizen, irrespective of ethnicity. Marten drew a plausible parallel to Slobodan Milosevic’s ethnic nationalism project to violently create a “Greater Serbia” as he led Serbs through a series of wars that slaughtered thousands of people and destroyed Yugoslavia. It remains to be seen how far Putin will take his Crimea odyssey. Will he venture into Eastern Ukraine? Will he venture further afield to establish a Putinesque Russian empire? But now a resurgent Russia has fully emerged, led by strong man Putin who appears to be not only omnipotent, but is bent on righting past wrongs carried out against Russia. His paternal declaration of protection for his Serbian slavic brothers was an unparalleled throw down and upends Europe’s previous policy overtures to draw Russian into its organizations as a western leaning partner. These revelations should be a wake-up call for the Europeans. Herein lies a defining fulcrum — that of the historical slavic ties between the Russians and Serbs that runs deep with several centuries shared between them and notable for opportunistic manipulation of one another. Harkening back to the Vienna Congress of 1815, is just one example when Russian Tsar Alexander made clear in a diplomatic note circulated to delegates:

…calling attention to Turkish atrocities in Serbia, Alexander stated that [as] the emperor of Russia [he]was the natural protector of the Orthodox Greek Christians under 120 Ottoman dominion…and the note concluded that Alexander was obliged by his religion and the voice of conscience to go to the aid of the oppressed Serbian people.

Timing is everything in geopolitical affairs. The Crimean referendum was not the only election held on March 16. On the same day a new Serbian government was elected that is expected to be led by Aleksandar Vucic, a populist and a political son of Slobodan Milosevic. Vucic, a former nationalist hawk, ran a campaign that called for Serbia to join with sildenafil 20 mg price Europe and resolve the Kosovo issue, a sharp juxtaposition with Putin’s claims that his violent takeover of Crimea was an action to settle scores over on behalf of Serbia. Will Serbia now choose to move forward and engage in a series of reforms required of future European Union members? Will they make peace with Kosovo while a resurgent, saber rattling, nationalistic Russia patron is on the move? The Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently tweeted its complete support for Putin’s actions on Crimea and Ukraine on March 3rd, but later tweeted declaring its neutrality, claiming its internal problem of Kosovo remains to be solved. https://twitter.com/Serbiamfa/statuses/447230778662203392 https://twitter.com/Serbiamfa/statuses/440390569357897728 On the issue of Kosovo, the Serbs have always been supported by the Russians as evidenced in the UN Security Council during the Balkan wars where the Russians effectively used their veto powers to block action, or watered down resolutions against the Milosevic regime. Likewise, Russia has played a similar role in the permanent council of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which operates on the basis of consensus. Russia has effectively blocked Kosovo’s OSCE membership despite years of reform and international oversight that was carried out before its independence was declared in 2008. It appears that Belgrade is juggling its European agenda while maintaining a friendship with Moscow. Over the years, but more frequently since 2012 when Putin returned to the Russian presidency, officials from Moscow and Belgrade have been frequent fliers in a concerted effort to curry favor and deepen their ties. Awkwardly at times, Bosnian Serb interloper Milorad Dodik, the premier of the Serb entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina has also been a presence in Moscow. In the week before the Crimea referendum, Dodik traveled to Moscow where he was presented an award by the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill “for his outstanding contribution to improving the unity of Orthodox Christian peoples and consolidating and promoting Christian values in society.” Justification for the the award was also attributed to Dodik’s leadership of Bosnian Serbs and its relationship to the “Serb Republic [as the only] legal option to ensure safety of the Serbs west of the Drina River, which divides them, or more accurately connects them to Motherland Serbia.” Not surprisingly, but nonetheless bizarre, Emir Kustrurica, the Serbian film director who is originally from Sarajevo and had once been a secular Bosniak, was in attendance at the ceremony held in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, along with a number of Russian diplomats and officials. Kusturcia, who converted to the Serbian Orthodox faith in 2005, has made frequent trips to Moscow and attended the May 2012 Putin inauguration. While many dismiss Dodik as desperate to maintain power and should not to be considered seriously, he nonetheless has the attention of major political players in Moscow. So no surprise that he would issue a solicitous statement of congratulations to the people of Crimea, calling the referendum a “legitimate and democratic referendum in keeping with the Constitution, international law and the UN Charter on the Right of People to self-determination.” Russian ambassador to BiH Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko stood by his side as a proud and grateful witness. None of Dodik’s activities with the Russians advances the interests of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina to be improved, or to enhance responsiveness to the needs of its citizens. Dodik is using these meetings and relationships with Russians to affirm Bosnian Serb autonomy while invoking their “frail” position within BiH that must seek protection from their brethren in Moscow and Belgrade. A more serious meeting between the Russians and the Serbs took place in April 2013 when Ivica Dacic, the prime minister of Serbia met with Putin to agree to become a “neutral” observer to Russia’s Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a post Cold War organization, viewed as a successor to the Warsaw Pact. Other members include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The agreement was hailed as a geopolitical advance in the Russian media and forecasted that when Serbia becomes a full-fledged member of the CSTO, the organization could speak on behalf of Serbia on Kosovo issues. And while official Serbian soldiers have not been deployed to Crimea, at least for now, Serb Chetnik volunteers have shown up for duty in Crimea. They were interviewed by Vice media journalist Simon Ostrosky, while working at a checkpoint located on a Crimean highway. Ostrosky approached Bratislav Zivkovic (second from the right) who hails from “central Serbia, where he said “Czar Lazar started his campaign for Kosovo” and was in Crimea to help the Russians because “we have been helpful to each other through the ages.” He added: “We have come to help share our uk next day delivery experiences from the barricades in Kosovo and Metohija.” Enough said. Apparently Kosovo is Crimea now. Just ask Vladimir Putin and Bratislav Zivkovic. Banner image courtesy of The Guardian.