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Simultaneously more topical and less serious: 
22nd-Jul-2008 02:24 pm
drakhenIzzy pointing out that Radovan Karadžić looks almost exactly like Dermot Morgan has ruined today's news for me.
22nd-Jul-2008 03:01 pm (UTC)
Look, look, it's my senior thesis come back to haunt me!

(I wrote a magnum opus on the rise of Serbian and Russian ultra nationalist forces in the former Yugoslav republics and Russia from the eighties to the nineties. As in, anyone remotely paying attention could have seen the Bosnian war coming from ten miles off.)
22nd-Jul-2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
Wow, and so many of my friendslist would have been more likely to have written about Father Ted.
22nd-Jul-2008 03:10 pm (UTC)
Sarcasm? Can't tell. :-)

Hey, I was reading NIN by midway through this production and had almost a passable command of Serbian just doing research (having a lot of Russian already helped). I'm not surprised that Karadžić might have been supported by Russian operatives during his period of hiding in plain sight, given the historically overt and covert closeness between the Russian and Serbian political elites over the last, oh, five decades. Even during the periods when Tito was thumbing his nose at the Soviet Union. You can easily chart the concomitant rise of Serb and Russian xenophobia and violent nationalism, because they were virtual twins of each other, frequently exchanged information, and had common goals in their respective theaters of operation.

Edited at 2008-07-22 15:10 (UTC)
22nd-Jul-2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
Not sarcasm, for once ;)

I am wholy ignorant of politics in any shape or form. Not something I'm proud of.
22nd-Jul-2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
Random facts: Bulgaria was considered the jewel in the Soviet crown. The Soviets made a lot of noises about wanting the Serbs to be another jewel in the Soviet crown, but the Serbs and the rest of Yugoslavia collectively said "no thanks, we're a smidge more flexible than you people are," and went on their merry way in the late forties, fifties, sixties, and seventies.

Regardless, there were very overt movements in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia towards extremist nationalist goals if you look at the intellectual movements and writings - the signals are coded in some cases, quite blatant in others.

The Ukraine might have been another Bosnia and Croatia in the late eighties and early nineties, because they declared independence at about the same time, but the Ukrainian leadership very wisely quickly decided to define a Ukrainian citizen as someone that had been born in the Ukraine, which is a civic definition, rather than the Croatians, who defined citizenship as being ethnically Croatian, which promptly pissed off their Serbian minorities (quite understandably). That's when we knew that Bosnia was going to explode into horrible, horrible spasms of violence - there was intense provocation and exclusionary maneuvering from all sides. There's an interesting lesson to be learned there.

It always makes me slam my head into my desk when people say "but why do the Russians oppose the independence of Kosovo, wrrrry wrrry wrrry, it's so random!" Not really. One, they don't want to see another war in the region. Two, again, the Russians and the Serbs are very politically aligned, and three, Kosovo is roughly analogous to Canada or Mexico having a demographic move to Philadelphia and then suddenly declaring Philadelphia theirs. (I don't agree with the Serb position, but I can completely emotionally understand it.)

That's why some of the Serb political figures and war criminals are considered popular cultural figures by the more extreme Serbian nationalists, because they are seen as the people acting to safeguard the cradle of Serbian civilization.

And now I will shut up. There's your precis on European history for the day!

Edited at 2008-07-22 15:40 (UTC)
23rd-Jul-2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
I was thinking more Rowan Williams? :)
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