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lundi, 16 mars 2020

The Balkans - the Most Important Part of the European Chessboard?

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The Balkans - the Most Important Part of the European Chessboard?

Ex: https://www.geopolitica.ru

The World only remembers the Balkans when they are used to ignite/sustain international conflagration. Unfortunately, however, for the inhabitants of this region of Europe - the main global forces never actually lose sight of it, rightly considering Balkans as a key node for controlling not only the entire South of our Continent, one of the optimal East-West transit areas, but also as the direct power base over the Middle East.

The competition for full control over these areas is not yet fully resolved, despite three decades of successes, first German and Brussels and then primarily American ones. And although the advantage of Washington still seems to be dominant - the gradual decline of the monopolar World and geopolitical independence of such significant macro-regional players as Turkey, for example, makes the whole match still undecided, and in any case allows for extra time.

In short, the current Balkan node looks like this:

Turkish Stream - the Main Cause of American Anger

In January, Russia and Turkey inaugurated activity, and at the same time finalized negotiations on further development of the second branch of TurkStream, a gas pipeline system supplying Russian gas to Southern Europe: Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, and potentially also Hungary and Italy.

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930 km of the new gas pipeline bypasses Ukraine (and thus fulfils a similar role as NordStream in the North), and because the US-European occupation authorities forbade Bulgaria to create a gas terminal on its territory - thanks to the agreement of Presidents Vladimir Putinand Recep Erdoğan, it finally found itself 20 km from the Turkish-Bulgarian border, in Kiyikoy. We note that the implementation of these plans, as well as their further development, was in no way hindered by the differences of view dividing Moscow and Ankara regarding the organization of the North-West part of Syria.

TurkStream, with a capacity of not less than 3 billion cubic meters of gas, and with a target transmission capacity exceeding 31.5 billion cubic meters. - will reach Serbia in May this year, and by the end of 2020 is to connect to the gas system of Hungary.

The Russian side sees further potential recipients, among others in Austria and Italy, and thus the inept attempt to block Russian gas exports - was broken in the Southern direction, in addition, with the general and decisive participation of Turkey, which only a few years ago was considered as an obvious intermediary in the transit of Near-Eastern and Central Asian deposits exploited by Western entities. This is a very serious beating on the World chessboard, made jointly by W. Putin and R. Erdogan - although of course not yet checkmate, since the Americans will not give up their efforts to strengthen their influence in the Balkans. Particularly important for the success of their intentions is full control (or complete disintegration) of one of the transit countries - Macedonia. Although it receives only 0.5 million cubic meters of gas, it is of crucial importance for Washington's operation due to its location.

Hasty Anschluß of Macedonia

As we remember - last year Macedonia was subjected to a humiliating procedure of changing the name and further limiting the use of national symbols, everything on the line of "European and Atlantic aspirations" imprinted to Macedonians. Since, even in defiance of NATO's own foundations, Montenegro was incorporated into it in the summer of 2017 - the Pact with an open text has already begun to absorb Skopje by extinguishing the artificially Greek-Macedonian dispute over "rights to the ancient Macedonian heritage". Decisions in this matter, therefore, accelerated the "integration" procedures, but at the same time were sabotaged in the EU part by France expressing scepticism to the fast enlargement path.

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In October 2019, President Emmanuel Macron expressed opposition to direct accession talks with Macedonia as the reason, giving ... "the observed increased infiltration of Russia and China in the Balkans." Well, of course, about the much more dangerous (also for the rest of Europe) American infiltration Frenchman could not mention - but in fact Skopje was directed to Washington's probably preferred currently side-track: "NATO - now, EU - maybe, some day….".

Contrary to appearances, this does not seem to meet the hidden expectations of American strategists perfectly understanding that for exhausted by intentionally stimulated economic crises last inhabitants as far as free Balkan states - the lure is first and foremost the European lifestyle and income, wrongly associated with the Brussels order (i.e. the same manoeuvre as applied to Poles, Hungarians, Romanians and others in the 1990s and to Ukrainians five years ago and still). The North Atlantic Pact is just a cost, payment for admission to the European table.

As a result, on February 16, at the last parliamentary session before the elections on April 12, the pro-Western, social-democratic-Albanian government of Macedonia pushed through an act accelerating negotiations with the European Union, and also in the coming weeks the last (Spanish) consent is expected for Macedonia's accession to NATO, which was also formally approved in advance by the Macedonian (formally only technical) Oliver Spasovski’s Government.

Formally, the future of the Republic is to be decided "in a democratic way", which does not bode well. Oppositional ВМРО - ДПМНЕ cannot recover after a trial and escape from the country of its long-time leader, Nikola Gruevski, , who in addition himself as prime minister in 2006-16 had his issues, just like Social Democrats today dealing with Albanian terrorists, flirting with voters with "Europeanness", and stimulating Macedonian nationalism, but only against the canonical in this area Serbian Orthodox Church and supporting the dissenting, self-proclaimed (created by Yugoslav communists) Macedonian Church.

On the other hand, dispersed and grassroots patriotic forces do not have the time and the opportunity to build a national option other than VMRO. Especially since without even waiting for formal Anschluß - Americans are already creating their military installations in Macedonia, securing and strengthening the centres of global terrorism already existing under American control in Albania. Which there, in turn – is seen worse and worse by the local people who rightly believe that they know both robbery and smuggling well enough, so do not need supervision from the groups of the People's Mujahedin and similar bandits, not to mention the need to finance them together with the mass of American staff. So if the Albanians liked to disturb the lives of the American occupiers - they would already have a Macedonian alternative prepared.

Montenegrin Church Plunder

Of course, not the only one – because earlier the only piece of the Balkans never touched by a Turkish foot was absorbed and has capitulated after one of the most absurd examples of artificial ethnogenesis (even within Central European standards). Montenegro after several years long campaign became the last blow inflicted on Serbia, after which the even Voivodship's secession was abandoned, choosing the gradual Polonization of Serbian policy, i.e. saturating it with patriotic elements in form and treacherous in content. So, Podgorica eventually found itself in NATO, but in relations with the EU it remains on the same side-track as Skopje, hence, at all costs, they must divert the attention of society asking where this promised Western like prosperity is.

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Demonstrations of many thousands go through the Montenegrin capital and other cities of the country (and everyone who has been to Podgorica knows that 100,000 on the streets of this city with only 190,000 inhabitants - is impressive) in defence of the rights of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which once created this country, , and today it is robbed of all the property by the Pro-Western leadership of President Milo Đukanović. Adopted on December 27, the Act, under the very nice Western name of "religious freedom", imposed on religious denominations and organizations to verify their property (preferably legalized by the Montenegrin authorities), what for the Serbian Orthodox Church that has been in this area since "always" and which invented historical Montenegro as a political being (e.g. always only Serbian, but not necessarily Belgrade one...) - is more than a problem. That is an open attempt on the state of possession of churches and an effort to political and economic preference for the artificially invented Montenegrin Church, who (unlike his Macedonian counterpart) - so far has not been able to find the recognition of even potential believers, neither support from the canonical Churches.

Even soldiers and policemen join the anti-government marches, and the atmosphere is beginning to approach the climate of civil war, in which the Government does not even think about giving way, seeming determined to break the last elements of traditional society in Montenegro.

Following Mladići and Karadžić?

Therefore, Montenegro and perhaps Macedonia have been brought one step away from destruction, meanwhile the return of a new (?) state is possible nearby - Republika Srpska, which is preparing to finally say goodbye to the extremely unsuccessful experiment entitled Bosnia and Herzegovina. "Goodbye Bosnia and Herzegovina - welcome RSexit!"– that is how the leader of Bosnian Serbs, Milorad Dodik inaugurated another political crisis in B&H, from which this artificial creation of Dayton may no longer emerge. The attempt to artificially restore the system of the Croatian-Muslim-Serbian triad governing the country - ended in defeat. Republika Srpska is preparing for a referendum about leaving the Federation.

The reason (because it is not an excuse) for such a radical but expected decision of the authorities in Banja Luka - was the persistence of Sarajevo, seeking to take over for the benefit of the national Government the rights to manage public land located on the territory of the constituent Republics. Attack on prerogatives belonging to Bosnian Serbs so far, in addition clearly in intentions of colonization for the customary sponsors – B&H "partners" - Germans (behind the Croats) and Americans (traditionally cherishing Muslims) are the last straw that breaks the camel's back.

In addition, the federal structures of Bosnia and Herzegovina has not functioned in practice until last year - with a clear benefit to the citizens. Therefore, the American forced attempt to restore unity (by finally delegating a representative of the Republic of Serbia to the joint authorities of B&H) - showed only the superfluousness of the superior cap, needed only by the bureaucrats, and of course the Americans.

Interestingly, Dodik - himself a typical Balkan politician what means a dodger, knows perfectly well when to hit the drums of Serbian nationalism, not only announced secession, but also made contacts with representatives of upset Montenegrin Serbs, suggesting the coordination of activities of all compatriots separated by artificial post-Yugoslavian borders.

Polonization of Serbia and the Bankruptcy of Kosovo

And this may also be important for the extremely stagnant and depressing policy of Serbia itself, which is quietly but clearly drifting towards the West, bogged down in the absence of ideas on how to be governed, although while maintaining the form of an independent state, defended against Western aggression and solidarized with Slavic unity, in the Eastern geopolitical option.

Unfortunately, but President Aleksander Vučić knows perfectly well that in order to stay in power, all he needs is a lack of any competition, and secondly, the quiet confidence of the inhabitants of the country, from time to time watching the Serbian leader hug with Vladimir Putin. He invariably remains the most popular politician in Serbia, however, despite Moscow's notable propaganda and cultural influences in this country - economic cooperation is proceeding too slowly to offset the fully primitive consumer propaganda from the West.

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Of course, Serbs want to remain Russia's best friends in Europe - but they go to Austria to work and such are the sad realities of life in a republic subjected to many decades of brutal trade war with the US and its allies. Therefore, for Progressive rulers of Serbia, this is a clear guideline - you can get along with the EU (only towards NATO the memory of the crimes of the Pact is still too strong among Serbs), you can make a lesbian Prime Minister of an orthodox, conservative country - just to bribe all alternative national politicians in time, and give several cheeky speeches during subsequent election campaigns preferably towards Kosovo (of course without any consequences) and take a picture with Putin.As a result, although in principle they are extremely unpopular issues in Serbian nation - under American pressure, Kosovo and Serbia have recently signed an agreement on the (re)construction of road and rail connections between Belgrade and Pristina.

However, what is worth noting - not everything in this region is going according to Washington's thoughts, and the new Kosovo Albin Kurti’s Government faces the actual bankruptcy of this pseudo-state created 12 years ago. Among others therefore, he had to start his office by declaring the lifting of prohibitive duties on Serbian goods, which decision (despite widespread smuggling) not only caused another crisis in Pristina-Belgrade relations, but also the dissatisfaction of Kosovars themselves.

In addition, the truth is thatif Kosovo were not in fact a criminal organization, mainly drugs smuggling, it would never have an economic raison d'être. 40% residents officially live below the European poverty line, 17% below the subsistence minimum, unemployment is equal to 50% and it is not very pacifying that probably all statistics of this self-proclaimed Republic are fiction and in reality no one knows how much they earn and what their inhabitants actually live from. Well,  a lot is known - however, this is certainly not knowledge that the authorities in Pristina would like to brag about abroad ...

Even Americans also probably already know that the Kosovo problem simply cannot be solved without Serbia, although of course they understand it their own way, intensifying their efforts to take control of Belgrade - but this time without the use of rockets and air forces ...

"Democracy" - the Least Needed Complication in the Balkans?

What is particularly interesting in all of this - in 2020, among those briefly mentioned here, Serbia, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina (as well as Croatia) are going to have parliamentary elections this year, which (especially in Skopje) can at least theoretically lead to changes in the balance of power and total reversal of alliances, making the whole Balkan chessboard even more complicated, in a match of all with all and all possible colours of pawns used.

Because if it can start somewhere in Europe again - it's traditionally in the Balkans.

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