Kosovo: A False Pretext for Russian Regional Paternalism
The Cold War, characterized by its bipolar ideological rivalry, did not resolve centuries-old hostilities between the West and Russia. In order to regain the lost influence and reincarnation of regional hegemony, President Putin wanted a casus-belli. The international humanitarian intervention in Kosovo and the latter’s declaration of independence were Russia’s weak justifications for resuming the old clashes. Interventions in the territories of the former Soviet Union inhabited by Russian speakers, the annexation of Crimea, and direct involvement in the interethnic disputes in the eastern part of Ukraine and the Syrian wars show that Russia is determined to challenge and test the Western commitment to the spread of democracy. The similarities between Kosovo and Crimea, loudly echoed by Russia and their supporters, cannot be academically binding, except in some aspects of tertiary nature.
The brutal prevention of Chechnya’s independence in the 1990s and failure to recognize Kosovo while applauding the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia present Putin’s political inconsistency and Real politic orientation. The Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, and threats to destabilize countries that “do not respect” the rights and interests of Russians wherever they are, exemplify Putin’s policy.
The article aims to analyze the volatility of Russian foreign policy by comparing the case of Kosovo’s independence to the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s paternalist intentions abroad.
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