Skip to main content

Putin’s Balkan Mischief

At every turn, Russia has challenged Western efforts to facilitate Kosovo’s independence. While the US and the EU do not want to worsen relations with Russia, they cannot retreat in the face of Russian obduracy, because Europe's security is at stake.

Russia is again on a tear. This time, the Kremlin has stuck its finger in the West’s eye over the long and painful effort to bring Kosovo to formal independence. Unlike the fracas over an American missile shield in Europe, this conflict shows no signs of blowing over, and threatens to damage further the rocky relationship between Russia and the West.    

At every turn, Russia has challenged Western efforts to facilitate Kosovo’s independence.  After a year of negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo, President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin rejected the UN mediator’s report recommending supervised independence, prevented the Security Council from accepting that report, and insisted on three additional months of negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo – even after compromise became impossible.

Three weeks ago in the UN Security Council, Russia again insisted that any agreement required the approval of both Serbia and Kosovo, and that further negotiations were necessary. Russia knows that such negotiations will be fruitless, but believes that another seemingly innocent appeal for more talks would strain EU unity, which appears to be a vital goal for Putin. Further delay might also generate violence in Kosovo and undermine international support for independence.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/CCmA6y4;
  1. haass105_Gustavo BassoNurPhoto via Getty Images_amazon Gustavo Basso/NurPhoto via Getty Images

    The Amazon and You

    Richard N. Haass

    Sovereignty entails obligations as well as rights, and where compliance cannot be induced, pressure must be applied. And though positive incentives to encourage and enable compliance would be preferable, Brazil's government is showing that there must be sticks where carrots are not enough.

    1
  2. GettyImages-1151170958 ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

    The Meritocracy Muddle

    Eric Posner

    Although populism in Western democracies is nothing new, resentment toward elites and experts has certainly been on the rise. Does this trend reflect a breakdown in the system, or a system that is actually working too well?

    7

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions