Jasmin Mujanović Profile picture
Mar 10, 2018 13 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Incredible the extent to which Russian nationalist revisionism has infiltrated ostensibly informed debate on the #Balkans, and filtered thru to Western discourses about the Kremlin’s foreign policy more broadly. 1/
For instance, the centrality of NATO’s bombing of Milosevic's regime in '99 in new pop-history of RUS revanchism. In this narrative, '99 was moment of trauma/betrayal for Kremlin as it signified NATO rubbing their faces in their inability, post-USSR, to protect a trusted ally. 2/
What’s notably absent in this narrative is i) any regard for the history of Yugoslav – Soviet relations, and more importantly ii) Russia’s deep and bloody involvement in the Yugoslav Wars prior to 1999. 3/
To begin with, Milosevic becoming a trusted ally of the Kremlin was a decision made by his *new* (post-1989) nationalist regime & did not reflect the half century of frosty relations btw Belgrade (esp under Tito) and the Soviet Kremlin. 4/
In other words, Russia becoming a patron of the Milosevic regime, and his wars of aggression in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, was a radical policy shift by the Kremlin and, indeed, it backed thereafter a radical, genocidal project. 5/
Said radical project, Milosevic's attempt to carve out of Yugoslavia a "Greater Serbia" was clearly the spiritual and political predecessor to Putin, Dugin et al's "Novorossiya" and was extremely popular w then "fringe" RUS nationalists. (See vid.) 6/
RUS was deeply involved in Bosnian War in particular. There were hundreds of Russian “volunteers” in Bosnia; this is openly acknowledged by both the Russian and Serb nationalist establishments. These men committed war crimes in Bosnia (& later in Ukraine & likely Syria). 7/
The Kremlin also provided explicit diplomatic cover for Milosevic, esp between 1993-1995, and worked closely w his proxy Karadzic (see article) to forestall NATO bombings during their monstrous siege of Sarajevo. 8/ washingtonpost.com/archive/politi…
So, the Kremlin was not a passive observer to the Yugoslav Wars, it actively backed the Milosevic regime throughout the 90s, and by ’99 it was prepared to nearly cause a shooting incident w NATO in Kosovo to try to protect him. 9/ theguardian.com/world/1999/jun…
Rather than being “betrayed” by NATO in ’99, Moscow simply lost; the genocidal dictator they had backed throughout the decade was finished, after having launched four separate wars of aggression against neighboring states. 10/
This is the historical record: in Bosnia alone, the Kremlin actively backed a regime which is responsible for the deaths of 100K. So, yes, I am therefore deeply concerned about the reappearance of RUS militants in BiH & the Balkans in 2018. 11/
And by the same token, I’m utterly unmoved by the “sober” views of analysts in London, Paris, Rome etc who tell us that bearded nationalist extremists w AKs running around eastern Bosnia is nothing to be alarmed about. Their predecessors said the same thing in 1991. 12/
I have no issue w being thought an alarmist or Chicken Little in this regard. If I'm wrong, that'll be my shame alone. But if I am right, even in part, about what we're seeing in the Balkans viz. RUS at present, then I have responsibility to try to speak & save lives. 13/13

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More from @JasminMuj

Oct 6, 2018
The post-liberal world (dis)order is coming into view; brinkmanship & adventurism, deterioration of political & diplomatic norms, democratic backsliding & rise of strongmen, extremist mainstreaming, trade wars, rise in pol violence (assassinations, street violence, xenophobia).
The liberal order -- in so much as it can be thought of as one coherent entity -- was rife w hypocrisy and contradictions. But it was premised on the idea of a singular set of norms & institutions for all polities, in theory if (usually) not in practice.
Even at its height, it was a system that failed millions, if not billions, of people around the world; ignoring or outright denying their rights and claims to genuine experiences w democracy, rule of law, human rights etc. My family fled Bosnia bc of one such failed episode.
Read 7 tweets
Oct 2, 2018
Here's, perversely, the problem w investigative journalism in midst democratic backsliding: POTUS implicated in nearly half billion dollar tax fraud scheme. Scandalous revelation w likely zero institutional response. Result: deepening crisis of legitimacy. nytimes.com/interactive/20…
Which, of course, is not to suggest media should not be doing investigative journalism. It's imperative. But true revelation here is not in Trump's corruption, it's in the corruption of the institutions that have allowed -- and continue to allow his ilk -- to dodge consequences.
The point being, this should give you insight into how authoritarian & illiberal regimes have an almost self-sustaining quality. The more illegitimacy is exposed, the more faith ppl lose in the system as a whole, in the process losing will to resist the very cause of the rot.
Read 4 tweets
Sep 9, 2018
First Sunday of BiH’s 2018 elxn campaign. Some projection/analysis/questions re: the world’s most complex constitutional regime w notoriously shoddy local polling data. 1/n
Some big Qs:

- Komsic & Covic have never directly faced off. Can Komsic still muster large % of reformist Bosnian Croats (vs Covic’s Herz. base) + reformist Bosniaks to defeat HDZ’s iron grip on (shrinking) conservative/nationalist Croat electorate?
- Relatedly, who will win the reformist/anti-nationalist vote in the BiH presidency? Komsic (Croat) or Becirovic (Bosniak)? Difficult to see both winning, while dual defeat is a distinct, even likely possibility?
Read 12 tweets
Sep 5, 2018
Assume for a sec that the US is in the midst of a constitutional crisis (it is). Notice how the stores are still open, your bus completed its usual route & the game still on? That’s what makes genuine crises terrifying, bc they (co)exist for so long within our normal exp of life.
They continue to do so all up until the point that they don’t. When the news is no longer something you can turn off, when it’s on your street, at your kid’s school, in your community, it’s too late for “resistance”. Then it’s largely a matter of individual survival.
That’s why both scholars of authoritarianism/sectarianism and/or survivors of such regimes have implored you to organize & inform yourself now, when it is/was still “normal”, when it’s still “someone else’s” child, when it’s a Q of archaic rules of order.
Read 6 tweets
Aug 27, 2018
Over the last 2 weeks virtually the entire EU political class & the US have abandoned 25 yrs of policy in the Balkans vs ethnic partition. Only GER has explicitly rejected the KOS/SRB swap. It's difficult to overstate how destructive these last few days have been to the region.
To turn on a dime the way both EU & US have done on this, arguably, the most fundamental issue in the region's post-YU history is astounding. Now, there is simply no longer a nationalist-chauvinist fantasy too radical, too extremist, too fevered for local elites not to attempt.
Even if nothing comes of this proposed swap, which is (incredibly!) actually not a forgone conclusion, the takeaway for local extremists is simple: wait them out. Wait out the "internationals" bc they don't care & know nothing. Just keep pushing, piling on, turning up the heat.
Read 8 tweets
Aug 25, 2018
Dodik govt continues to deepen ties w Russian extremists, fully backed by the Kremlin. Headlines say "writer" but this is a documented militant: "Apart from being involved in the [UKR] war, Prilepin also took part in the conflict in Chechnya in the 1990s." balkaninsight.com/en/article/bos…
Also, as a number of folks have pointed out, Bosnia has had enough of "Russian writers" of this sort. Importantly, both Limonov & Prilepin are part of the far-right National Bolshevik Party. BiH authorities 100% correct to ban entry for to Prilepin.
And from the files of "but the EU continues to be the No. 1 investor in BiH", Russia is now selling police helicopters to Dodik govt at 30-40% discount. One Agusta-119 already procured in June, three more on the way. Militarization of RS police continues. balkans.aljazeera.net/vijesti/rs-kup…
Read 4 tweets

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