Russia Isn’t Hated by (Most Of) its Neighbors

One of the staples of the neocon-Russophobe narrative is that Russia is alone in the world, utterly bereft of friends, left only with the likes of Nicaragua and Nauru to indulge it in its anachronistic “imperial fantasies”. Not really. Conflating the West with the world won’t change the fact that amongst the peoples of China, India, and most of the Middle East and Latin America – that is, the regions containing the bulk of the world’s population and future economic potential – Russia is actually viewed rather favorably. But what about peoples recently liberated from the oppressive, iron boots of Russian chauvinism – surely they dislike Russia? Not that simple. Some sure do – Estonians, Poles, West Ukrainians, Georgians… But plenty more don’t (Armenians, Bulgarians, East Ukrainians). It’s a complex picture of significant political and geopolitical import.

Back in November 2008, the VTsIOM polling site released some very detailed results about what peoples in the former Soviet Union think about each other. The first graph below asks people which countries they consider to be friends or allies of their country.

And these were the results. Some 74% of Belarussians, 58% of Ukrainians, 49% of Moldovans, 82% of Armenians, and 67-89% of Central Asians named Russia as a friend and ally. In contrast, only 11-17% in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Lithuania like Russia this way, but that is hardly surprising. (The Latvians are rather higher at 26%, presumably because of their large Russian minority, though far higher numbers, almost half of them, orient themselves with the other Baltic states).

The poll below is even more telling. It asks peoples in the former USSR to name which countries or blocs they would like to unite with, the main contenders being Russia, the EU, and “independence”.

Russians are mostly split between those favoring some kind of Slavic or Eurasian bloc (37% – Belarus, 29% – Ukraine, 24% – Kazakhstan), and Russia-as-is (32%); the European Union really isn’t that popular at 15%. This isn’t much different in Ukraine or Belarus. Some 56% of Belarussians and 47 of Ukrainians would like to unite with Russia, while 25% and 22% favor the EU, and 18% and 25% favor independence, respectively. Some 51% of Kazakhs favor Russia and 32% independence.

The Moldovans are equally split between Russia and the EU or independence (which in practical terms would mean the Romanian sphere of influence). The Azeris identify most strongly with Turkey, with 31% expressing a desire to join it, followed by 24% yearning for the EU and 24% for continued independence. Big majorities (65-73%) in the Central Asian nations of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan would like to rejoin Russia, which is unsurprising given their relative underdevelopment and the relative success of Russification there. Georgia has always had a strong sense of national identity, including during the Soviet period, so by far the majority there wants independence (38%) or the EU (37%); only 10% wouldn’t mind falling back into Russia’s sphere of influence.

Why is this important? Because to some extent, even in semi-authoritarian systems, national leaders are to some extent beholden to popular sentiment. This is not to say, of course, that this is the only factor – an objective assessment of national interests (which are often synonymous with the interests of the ruling elites) almost always trumps anything else. But it does illustrate that the much ballyhooed “Russian resurgence” across the former USSR rests on firmer foundations than just political pressure or economic takeovers – of at least equal importance is that many of the peoples in its path back to regional hegemony aren’t actually that averse to it*.

PS. Another useful survey of attitudes towards Eurasian regional integration by Gallup: “In all countries except Azerbaijan, the median average wants at least an economic union across Eurasia”.

* The big exception is Georgia. This is where there is both a clash of primary geopolitical interests (the irreconcilability of Georgia westward path and Russia’s desire to anchor itself in the South Caucasus) and of civilizational values (AFAIK, the only social grouping in Georgia with a real pro-Russia tendency are the monarchist “People’s Orthodox Movement“). Coupled with simmering border tensions, it is probably not surprising that this developed into a flashpoint for armed conflict.

Comments

  1. Scowspi says:

    One of the sad legacies of Communist rule is that it damaged relations between Russia and nations that were once friendly to it (Czechs, Slovaks), or at least somewhat neutral (Finns, Estonians, Latvians).

    The Czechs in particular were once known as the most Russophilic people in Europe (at least outside the Balkans). You can see this influence in a lot of their major cultural and political figures (Masaryk, Janacek, Hasek etc). A smart Russian diplomatic approach would try to recover this legacy. (Who knows – maybe they’re working on it already and I just don’t know about it.)

    • Yes that episode certainly had a damaging effect. Particularly the crushing of the Prague Spring. However I would wager that Czechs and Slovaks on the whole still view Russia more positively than negatively.

      • I used to live in Prague, and I encountered a wide range of attitudes toward Russia among people. But there are certainly still plenty of cultural Russophiles among the Czechs. Also, the presence of sizable Russian and Ukrainian communities there adds to the complexity of relations, in both a positive and negative sense.

  2. Interesting (and encouraging:) summary. By any chance, do you have/know of) any comparative statistics on how the Russians as “people” score in the former Soviet Union space?

    Cheers

    • No, sorry. Besides, this isn’t the kind of semi-politically incorrect question the big pollsters are going to ask!

  3. Useful (and positive:) statistics summary, thanks. There is a small detail here too – it appears (from polls) that outsiders rate the country (Russia) much higher than the nation (Russians). A food for thought? Cheers

    • I don’t think so. Only 4% of Russians think negatively of Russia’s influence, while 76% are positive. That is far less than the c.20% self-doubt in the US or Britain, for example. And most of the Western and Western-leaning world is negative towards it.

      • Alex("zed" one) says:

        Mea culpa – what I wanted to say was : “outsiders rate the country (Russia) much higher than [THEY – THE OUTSIDERS – RATE] the [HOST] nation (Russians).” One can say that the image of Russia as a country is better than the image of the Russians as the individuals (or that the Russian Government is doing better job representing the country abroad than its citizens do:)). I have an unfinished draft (perhaps, good for a blog:) on this subject – using S. Anholt’ s data. Cheers

  4. Sinotibetan says:

    If I may add : how the Chinese(both ‘friend’ and ‘rival’ of Russia) in China view Russia ~ 46% favourably.
    http://pewglobal.org/database/?indicator=27&mode=chart
    As a Chinese, I hope that the positive feelings between Russians and Chinese improve.
    Apparently Russians have a more favourable view of China:-
    http://pewglobal.org/database/?indicator=24
    The Mongols and Vietnamese also view Russia in a favourable light. I can’t find any statistics to back this claim though.

    Sinotibetan

    • I agree – there is now no major reason for China and Russian not to like each other. It seems that China’s views of Russia declined substantially between 2007 and 2009, according to the PEW polls. I wonder if it was due to the South Ossetian War?

  5. “One of the staples of the neocon-Russophobe narrative is that Russia is alone in the world, utterly bereft of friends, left only with the likes of Nicaragua and Nauru to indulge it in its anachronistic “imperial fantasies”. Not really.”

    1) Nicaragua and Nauru’s recognition of S.Ossetia and Abkhazia were not done out of altruistic love for Russia — it was a quid pro quo (e.g. military aid, economic aid). Belarus, a Russian “friend”, and the new Yanukovych administration (“pro-Russian”) have refused to recognize the two republics. So there is no real correlation between “friend” and recognition.

    2) One does not have to be a “neocon-Russophobe” to point out that Russia acts in an isolationist manner, which is a point that should be freely debated without ideological markers. Is it anti-Semitic to say that Israel is isolating itself with its recent actions?

    3) The whole “western Ukrainians and Poles are Russophobes” argument is based on crude stereotypes. I’ve lived in both places and people have various views on Russia.

    4) Ukrainians/Russians are mostly split between those favoring some kind of Slavic or Eurasian bloc. It is important to add that such a bloc has always been ill-defined. Ukrainians who support such a bloc do not think this creation the same way Russians or Belarusians do. Ukrainians tend to support a hypothetical EU entry over a “Slavic bloc” precisely because there isn’t a stronger alternative to the EU. In any event, Ukrainians are not likely to favor some kind of economic bloc over Duginist Eurasianism. Finally, even the “pro-Russian” Yanukovych rejected Russia’s invitation to join the tripartite Customs Union.

    • I mean they are likely to favor some kind of economic bloc.

    • Re-1. I’m well aware that states very, very rarely do anything out of altruistic love. I was satirizing the view amongst some neocon-leaning analysts that the fact that only three countries recognized S.Ossetia/Abkhazia is somehow proof of Russia’s ostracization by the rest of the world. In reality, the West didn’t recognize them because it wants to contain Russia, and the Rest didn’t recognize them because then their stands on the inviolability of sovereign borders and non-recognition of Kosovo would be discredited.

      Re-2. How is Russia acting in an isolationist manner? Its relations with fast-growing, non-Western countries like China, India, Turkey, Brazil are just fine and cemented by expanding economic ties. Likewise for many of the big European powers like Germany, Italy, and France. The only regions it is really “isolated” from are Georgia and the Balts, about whom no-one of significance really cares about (which can be “a point that should be freely debated without ideological markers”).

      Re-3. Yes, I know – there’s only so many caveats that one can insert into a blog post before making the whole thing incomprehensible. I agree with you on Poles – though most of them dislike Russia the country, about half of them like Russians. (One elderly Pole I knew near worshiped them for liberating him from a German camp in 1945). However, in my experience almost all W. Ukrainians dislike Russia, some more openly than others, and I notice you don’t dispute the the Balts’ and Georgians’ views. But in any case, I think it is safe to say that all four groupings can be classed as “anti-Russia” relative to E. Ukrainians, Belarussians, Central Asians, or Bulgarians.

      Re-4. First, the opinion polls I’ve seen indicate that the Union of Russia and Belarus win over the EU by a margin of around 10-15% points (see 1, 2. (I never mentioned Dugin, a fringe figure even in Russia who is only ever taken out of his box by Russia’s leaders during dips in relations with the West!). Second, if you’ve noticed A) the EU was suffering from expansion fatigue and B) is now facing an internal crisis of legitimacy, so talk of it being the “stronger alternative” is somewhat puzzling – why should wait decades to get membership in an economically sclerotic EU that no longer has the fiscal resources or political will to dole out any significant development aid? Third, Yanukovych’s pronouncements on the customs union have been far from uniform – the rejection that you speak off was to primarily to prevent Yanukovych being seen as a Russian stooge. True, accession is complicated in Ukraine due to its WTO membership and the objections of the opposition. I think Ukraine will move towards it, but at a gradualist pace.

      • “In reality, the West didn’t recognize them because it wants to contain Russia, and the Rest didn’t recognize them because then their stands on the inviolability of sovereign borders and non-recognition of Kosovo would be discredited.”

        I’m sorry, but that’s just wrong. About 70 countries currently recognize Kosovo as independent. That list includes quite a few of the “Rest”: Malaysia, Malawi, Jordan, Colombia, South Korea, Samoa, Panama, Sierra Leone, the Dominican Republic, Mauretania, the Marshall Islands, Saudi Arabia… you get the idea.

        There are some nontrivial differences between Kosovo and South Ossetia. Most obviously, Kosovo wants to be an independent sovereign country, while South Ossetia wants to be annexed by Russia.

        There are various reasons for not recognizing Kosovo. I tried to pick out some of the threads a couple of years back:

        http://fistfulofeuros.net/afoe/europe-and-the-world/kosovar-independence-in-the-general-assembly/

        Note that the world has not been quick to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh either. Is this because the West wants to contain Armenia?

        Doug M.

        • “A) the EU was suffering from expansion fatigue and B) is now facing an internal crisis of legitimacy”

          That would be the expansion fatigue that’s preparing to add two more members by the end of 2012, plus another 2-3 new candidate countries by 2014; and the internal crisis of legitimacy that just saw the Lisbon Treaty go into effect.

          Don’t mistake a wave running down the beach for the tide going out.

          Doug M.

        • Actually no, for Kosovo Albanians independence is only an interim step on the road to Greater Albanian (with an epicentre in Kosovo).

        • 1. Practically every Western country recognized Kosovo (the sole exception of any significance being Spain which has its own separatist issues) and countries with dependency relations (aid or security) with the West – which accounts for Colombia and Saudi Arabia. But the truly sovereign “Rest” – China, India, Brazil, Iran, Indonesia, as well as most of L. America, Africa, and the Arab Middle East – did not recognize Kosovo. So there is a more or less clear division.

          2. As hoct noted, Kosovars are basically Albanians, so that’s not entirely accurate. While S. Ossetia does want be annexed by Russia (or more accurately reunited with N. Ossetia with Russian arms to protect them from any Georgian revanchism), most Abkhazians do desire to be a truly independent state – though they recognize that for practical reasons their foreign policy will be dominated by Russia’s priorities.

          3. First, Armenia is a Russian client state. Second, the issue of who’s right in the Armenia/N-G/Azeri struggle is, as I understand, far murkier to Westerners than their perceptions on Kosovo & Serbia. Third, and most importantly, no real interest in doing so since the West wants to court Azerbaijan as an expanding oil producer; plus it would alienate Turkey.

          • Japan is not “truly sovereign Rest”? Malaysia? Turkey? Okay.

            You do realize that once you take out “the West” and “countries that have aid or security relations with the West”, you’ve eliminated well over half the General Assembly. So I’m not sure this is a very useful metric.

            Kosovars are basically Albanians, but Kosovars have no desire to be part of “Greater Albania”. The Serbs have been pushing this line since the 1980s; it’s an impressive case of psychological projection, but it has almost no basis in reality. To make a long story short, the Kosovars didn’t endure a decade of Gaza-like immiseration and a brutal guerrilla war just so they could exchange rule from Belgrade for rule from Tirana. If you go there and actually talk to Kosovars, this becomes very clear. It’s utterly different from South Ossetia.

            One key point: unlike the Serbs, Bulgarians, Hungarians, or Greeks, the Albanians never had a medieval empire. Serb kids grow up staring at that stupid map of Greater Serbia in their history textbooks; Albanian kids grow up with legends of freedom-fighting mountaineers. There never was a unitary Albanian nation-state. So it doesn’t strike Albanians as something that’s particularly important or necessary.

            Again: “Greater Albania” is an ignorance marker. If you see someone using this term seriously, it’s an almost certain indicator that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

            Doug M.

            • You are just showing your bias against the Serbs. (Which is very prevalent in the West and usually a twin brother of Russophobia.) Your “key point” is incredibly weak. Serbs are imperialists because pupils learn about Dušan’s empire? I don’t think a comment is necessary.

              No the Kosovo Albanians do not want to be ruled by Tirana. They imagine themselves more advanced that their ethnic brethren in Albania. Albeit Kosovo is a poor and dreary place it used to be until 1999 at least that it was considerably ahead of Albania.

              They do however want to merge with Albania in a union where they will have the upper hand. One only needs to see how popularity of the official flag of the so called “Republic of Kosovo” compares with the popularity of the Albanian national flag.

              • Doug M. says:

                “You are just showing your bias against the Serbs.”

                I must have imagined those years living in Belgrade. (I didn’t know it at the time, but I was living about a hundred meters away from Radovan Karadzic. Small world.)

                Poor and dreary: dude, I’ve been to Pristina. It’s not as nice as Belgrade or Novi Sad, but it’s much nicer than (say) Kraljevo or Leskovac. About the same as Nis, actually — Nis has nicer architecture and cleaner air, but Pristina has better restaurants and clubs and is much more cosmopolitan.

                Kosovo outside of Pristina is definitely poor, but it’s no more “dreary” than any random part of Sumadija. I’d rather spend a weekend in Prizren than in Uzice, that’s for sure.

                “They do however want to merge with Albania in a union where they will have the upper hand.”

                Dude. No offense, but that’s just pure fantasy.

                Doug M.

            • You are becoming more absurd by the hour. Priština is a city which in 2004 rid itself of its last 200 Serbs in a Kristallnacht-style pogrom, and even before that only tolerated them in enclosed ghettos protected by KFOR. Your definition of “cosmopolitan” must be wildly different from everyone else’s.

              • …there are several hundred Serbs living in Pristina. The exact number won’t be known until the next census (Spring 2011, fingers crossed), but “all driven out” is not correct.

                Cosmopolitan: walking down the major streets of Pristina, if you approach a random person there’s about a 50-50 chance they’ll speak a foreign language — most likely Serbian, English, German, or Greek. Your odds improve sharply if the person is under 30; most young Albanians in the city are bi- or tri-lingual.

                Trust me: this is most certainly not the case in Nis.

                As for the food, there’s no comparison. I loved Belgrade, but for its size it just wasn’t a great city for eating. As for Nis, oh my goodness, let’s not even discuss it — pizza and cevapcici and burek, you have a problem with that? You don’t like burek?

                But Pristina has serious food. I think it’s connected to the guest worker thing; there seem to be a lot of Albanians who went to work in France or Italy or Greece for ten years, then came back and used their savings to open a little restaurant.

                — Well, this is drifting off topic. But here’s a thing: Kosovar Albanians have some idea what Serbs are like. Many of them still have Serb neighbors; even if they don’t, they get Serbian radio and TV programs. The whole country is officially bilingual — street signs, laws, everything. And Kosovo does a huge amount of business with Serbia. So whether or not they like Serbs or Serbia, there is at least some familiarity.

                But most Serbs have /no idea whatsoever/ what Albanians are like, or what life in Kosovo is like right now. It’s all propaganda, hearsay and jumped conclusions. (Albanians are savages, so Pristina must be a hellhole!) This of course goes double for diasporids.

                (For the record, a Greater Albania run from Pristina is about as likely as a Greater Serbia run from Banja Luka.)

                Doug M.

      • About Poles – many Poles have a genuine affection and familiarity for Russians as people but hatred for the Russian state in all its forms. This contrasts with the traditional attitude towards Poland’s other neighbors, the Germans, who are seen as much more alien.

        One of the factors that has led to worsening of feelings towards Russians by many Poles is Putin’s popularity – Poles who had previously believed “poor Russians, good people, they’re not responsble for their leader’s deeds (in Chechnya, or Afghanistan, even Katyn etc.)” now see the Russian people as responsible for their leaders’ actions. In many Polish eyes, Russians have gone from being fellow-victims to being accomplices.

  6. I am curious how the Ukrainian data breaks down. What percentage of that 58% is Ukraine’s Russian minority? I imagine a regional breakdown would be interesting as well – I have never met a Ukrainian from the western reaches of the country who has anything kind to say about the Russians.

    • Officially around 17% of Ukraine’s population classify themselves as Russian, but in general it is hard to say where Russia ends and Ukraine begins. South Russians are somewhat different from northern Russians, and then you transition in urban Russians and Russophones in E. Ukraine, then the rural Surzhyk-speakers of E. Ukraine, then the central Kievans, and finally the all-out Europeanized W. Ukrainians) – and friendliness to and trust in Russia, needless to say, goes along this gradient.

      I don’t have the regional breakdown, but from other polls we can expect that the regions with the most “Eurasian” tendencies are the East and South, followed by a big gap and the Center, followed by another big gap and the West.

      PS. These polls also depend a lot on how the questions are put. For instance, the vast majority reject uniting with Russia into one state, even in the East. But when the question is put as whether to join the Union of Russia and Belarus or the Common Economic Space, then the majority become in favor! 😉

      • You are totally correct in your comments. Keeping in mind all the caveats inherent in the fluid boundaries between gradually more Russian vs. more Ukrainian people, the interpretation of the data about Ukraine can be understood in a lsightly different way than presented in your article.

        17% of Ukraine’s population self-identifies as ethnically Russian. Assuming that almost all of these 17% are “pro-Russian”, this suggests a different understanding of the various data. So when 47% of people polled in Ukraine desire a union of some sort with Russia, would it be reasonable to conclude that something like 30% of ethnic Ukrainians desire this? When 58% of people polled in Ukraine consider Russia to be a friend an ally, could it mean that only about 40% of ethnic Ukrainians feel that way? The disinction seems to be important, given the geographic distribution of ethnic groups within Ukraine.

        • “So when 47% of people polled in Ukraine desire a union of some sort with Russia, would it be reasonable to conclude that something like 30% of ethnic Ukrainians desire this? ”

          Why not?

          I’ve done only a small amount of data-cracking, but it seems pretty evident that the only way to reconcile the small and declining percentage of self-identified ethnic Russians with the strength of certainly stereotypically pro-Russian policies (opposing NATO membership, say) lies in the fact that a plurality if not a majority of self-identified ethnic Ukrainians support these policies.

          (You could, I suppose, define everyone who uses Russian as their main language, or has it as their native language, as ethnically Russian regardless of their self-identification or political behaviour, but that would be an . . . eccentric definition.)

          • Not that it proves anything, but I just returned from a long weekend in the glorious city of Kiev. Linguistically, the place hasn’t changed since my last visit: 90% of the signs are in Ukrainian, and 90% of the talk is in Russian. Most of the people are classified as Russian-speaking Ukrainians: this is the dominant group in the 4 biggest cities. In other words, the use of the Russian language in Ukraine is not dependent on being ethnically Russian.

            • If language was the sole determinant of ethnicity or nationality, then Ireland, Scotland, Malaysia, Wallonia, and whichever two of the three Scandinavian states you like the least wouldn’t have any claim to existence.

              Ethnic and national identity in Ukraine is a complex issue, perhaps not more complex than elsewhere but still worthy of attention. There’s no reason to believe, IMHO, that people who identify themselves as Ukrainian are expressing a false cosnciousness when they do so if their main language happens to be Russian.

              • Scowspi says:

                An interesting question, however, is why so many people who identify as Ukrainians remain unenthusiastic about speaking the language. As far as I can tell, they have nothing against Ukrainian language and statehood; I’m sure that if I had addressed them in the official *mova* they would have responded in it. Yet somehow they are very reluctant to use Ukrainian in their private lives.

                I noticed an interesting phenomenon in Kiev. On a store or restaurant, the facades and signage are all in Ukrainian. Once you enter the establishment however, everything’s in Russian, from the menu to the conversation to the ads stuck on notice boards. The diglossia is striking.

              • Agree with Randy McDonald. Most Kievans speak Russian because they are used to it, just as most Irish residents of Dublin speak English and most voters of Scottish nationalist parties speak English. On a recent trip to Kiev I heard a lot of bitter anti-Yanukovich talk from Russian-speaking locals. A Russian-speaking artist I met even expressed support for ultranationalist Tiahnobok!

              • Scowspi says:

                To AP below (there’s no reply button to his comment for some reason) re: “Kievans speak Russian because they are used to it, just as most Irish residents of Dublin speak English”

                Significant difference: most Dubliners can’t speak Irish with any degree of fluency, whereas most Kievans are fluent (or at least competent) in Ukrainian. The Dubliners don’t really have a choice of language, while the Kievans do. So the analogy is weak. (BTW I don’t really have an answer to this question; I just think it’s worth raising)

              • To Scowspi: As a bilingual person I can tell you that one can be fluent in two (or more) languages yet clearly be more comfortable speaking one and therefore favoring usage of that one in daily life. Among people in various diasporas it is not uncommon for kids to be fluent in Ukrainian, or Hebrew, or Greek, or whatever well enough to pass for a native among non-natives but to still speak English amongst themselves.

              • Scowspi:

                Language use is a complex issue. My guess? In Kiev and other major Ukrainian cities, Russian was the default language of public discourse and Ukrainian filled more private niches, in the family perhaps. I’d be expecting this to change somewhat over time towards a more “balance” bilingualism, at least in central Ukraine, now that the Ukrainian government has been altering the lingusitic/political landscape via education and whatnot.

  7. As far as I know, people in Russia would like economic cooperation with former Soviet republics, but as far as being one state with them, then the answer is no. Especially for younger people, they want Russia to be independent.

  8. Chris Doss says:

    “Isolationist” means “not currying favor with Washington and/or London.”

  9. Sinotibetan says:

    @AK:-

    >>It seems that China’s views of Russia declined substantially between 2007 and 2009, according to the PEW polls. I wonder if it was due to the South Ossetian War?<>Japan is not “truly sovereign Rest<>That list includes quite a few of the “Rest”: Malaysia, Malawi, Jordan, Colombia, South Korea, Samoa, Panama, Sierra Leone, the Dominican Republic, Mauretania, the Marshall Islands, Saudi Arabia… you get the idea.<<

    South Korea – another American 'lapdog'.(Just as North Korea is China's 'sphere of influence'). It's not to China nor America's interest that both Koreas unify because only one will emerge the 'victor'(i.e China if N. Korea is the 'unifier', America if S. Korea is the 'unifier'). S. Korea cannot antagonize Washington on the Kosovo issue when the USA is its main military ally in case N. Korea goes berserk.

    Malaysia is officially an Islamic country. Kosovars are ethnic Albanians who are mostly Muslims(although many are perhaps nominal ones). Islamic solidarity is a powerful religious-political polemic used by the ruling regime against other views in my country.

    I think the 'division' of Yugoslavia and the destruction of the Milosevic regime by the Western powers(USA and its 'partner' the EU) was NOT done due to altruistic motives but part of Western Imperialism. Divide and conquer. It's easier to 'annex'(albeit by 'ascession' to the EU)smaller states with little political clout(like 'Kosovar') than a bigger one(especially one that has too independent foreign policy). I am not saying that Milosevic was a saint. I am saying that there is no black and white in realpolitik. The USA and EU were not saints either. Look at the way the EU 'expands' – it dangles a carrot to non-EU European nations to 'conform' to rigid EU laws and punishes(usually by economic sanctions) those who do not conform. The Franco-German axis 'rules' the EU. A unified, federalist(the modern Western European Imperialists, not past Imperialists), European Superstate had always been the dream of Western European Imperialists from Charlemagne, Napoleon Bonaparte, Prussia and Hitler amongst others. All used war to achieve their aims. Apart from Charlemagne, the rest ultimately failed. To the modern European federalists, the new method is no longer conquest by war but conquest by stealth and deception. Even if the initial 'aim' of the earlier European federalists were to 'integrate Germany into Europe' in such a way that Germany is too tied up to Europe to become aggressive or dominate but today it shows that Teutonic domination will triumph against such measures. I believe that the German political elites have not lost this Teutonic ambition to dominate the whole of Europe. Dominating other Europeans is part of Germanic psyche, in my opinion. Hence the division of Yugoslavia. Today the Serbian regime is but subservient to EU(i.e. Franco-German) domination and are so keen to sign away its national sovereignty to that evolving European superstate for that EU carrot of economic prosperity.

    I think if I were a European, I would be a hardcore Euroskeptic. 😉

    • Sino-Tibetan:

      Japan and South Korea are “lapdogs”? Leaving the increasing independence of South Korea especially aside, mightn’t those two countries have the relationships with the United States that they have because they have actively chosen these relationships?

      “Malaysia is officially an Islamic country. Kosovars are ethnic Albanians who are mostly Muslims(although many are perhaps nominal ones). Islamic solidarity is a powerful religious-political polemic used by the ruling regime against other views in my country.”

      This differs from the opposition to Kosovar independence expressed by Orthodox Christian countries like Russia, Romania, and Greece how?

      If we’re making the argument that underlying cultural connections or political sympathies to one side or another in this issue should be discounted, it has to be applied to both sides.

      “I think the ‘division’ of Yugoslavia and the destruction of the Milosevic regime by the Western powers(USA and its ‘partner’ the EU) was NOT done due to altruistic motives but part of Western Imperialism. Divide and conquer. It’s easier to ‘annex'(albeit by ‘ascession’ to the EU)smaller states with little political clout(like ‘Kosovar’) than a bigger one(especially one that has too independent foreign policy). ”

      Actually, no.

      The European Community had no interest in seeing Yyugoslavia implode, and every interest in seeing Yugoslavia survive as a functioning state. Over the Cold War, western Europe had built up a pretty strong relationship with a Yugoslavia that had become a major partner. The European Community had absolutely no interest in seeing a relatively stable and pluralistic upper-middle income country on its southeastern frontier dissolve. European governments were willing to overlook any number of things, including the extra-constitutional takeovers by Milosevic’s partisans of the governments of Montenegro and the self-governing provinces, in the hopes that Yugoslavia would remain united and somehow muddle through. Europeans recognized the independence of the country’s component republics in 1991-1992 only when when the federation broke down and the fighting had already begun.

      A united Yugoslavia wasn’t a threat to Europe. Cold War-era Yugoslavia was easily the most advanced and pleasant Communist country in Europe. In many ways it looked like Spain with its upper-middle income newly-industrialized economy down to the points of GDP per capita (sharper regional distinctions, flatter class distinctions) and the intimate integration of its industries and labour markers. In many ways it was better than Spain; by at least some metrics, Yugoslavia was much more socially pluralistic than Spain. Slovenia had a degree of autonomy than Catalonia could only dream of. That said, the Yugoslavia model had limits.

  10. Sinotibetan says:

    Hmmm….I am not sure why my upper half of my comments were truncated. The following are the missing parts:-

    @AK:-

    >>It seems that China’s views of Russia declined substantially between 2007 and 2009, according to the PEW polls. I wonder if it was due to the South Ossetian War?<>Japan is not “truly sovereign Rest<>That list includes quite a few of the “Rest”: Malaysia, Malawi, Jordan, Colombia, South Korea, Samoa, Panama, Sierra Leone, the Dominican Republic, Mauretania, the Marshall Islands, Saudi Arabia… you get the idea.<<

  11. Sinotibetan says:

    @AK:-

    I am not sure if the South Ossetian War contributed to it but it’s logically possible. The war started during the Beijing Olympics and perhaps some patriotic Chinese might have felt China did not ‘give face’ to China when the war started. Perhaps, they felt that Russia could have waited till the Olympics was over. However, since early this year, a lot of positive bilateral relations have been going on between China and Russia. In terms of foreign policies, there has never been a time in which Russia and China have so many mutual understanding and interests as of the current time. I am actually not a Chinese from China. I am a part of the Chinese diaspora living in Malaysia who still has ‘feelings’ for the land of my forefathers. I think Russia and China has so much more to gain in friendship and coorperation rather than competition. It’s of course, my wish : for Asia and the world, that the two great nations will develop even greater partnership and friendship in future. I have always believed that Russia can be the ‘connector’ for us Asians and the Europeans because geopolitically Russia is BOTH an Asian and a European state. A powerful, independent and prosperous Russia is a win-win for both the Europeans and Asians.

    @Doug M and hoct

    Japan is a sovereign nation, but unfortunately politically an American lapdog. Even since its defeat in WW2, it has become a peculiar nation – a schizophrenic nation that strifes to retain its ‘Japan-ness'(it tries to be ethnoculturally homogeneous) yet worships the West(especially USA) due to the USA’s greatest propaganda machine – Hollywood(which influences the whole world) and a constant reminder of the fact that the USA humbled them by the two nukes in WW2 and that if it were not for American aid, Japan would remain a rubble post-WW2. As a Chinese, I do thank the USA for defeating the fascist, cruel imperialistic Japanese regime of WW2. However, I think that currently Japan should become more independent politically(and not just kowtow to Washington)and reconcile and re-integrate with the Koreas, China and the rest of Asia. I am not surprised that Japan recognized Kosovo.

    >>That list includes quite a few of the “Rest”: Malaysia, Malawi, Jordan, Colombia, South Korea, Samoa, Panama, Sierra Leone, the Dominican Republic, Mauretania, the Marshall Islands, Saudi Arabia… you get the idea.<<

  12. Couldn’t read the cyrillic tables, but here’s the symmetric correspondence plot on the Gallup poll:

    http://imgur.com/TfJBl.png

    I’m interested on doing correspondence analysis on the fuller integration tables. I just need a latinized version of them!

  13. Annoyingly enough, I can read WCIOM/VTsIOM’S press-release #1102 in russian through Google Translate — except for the table, which is an image — but #1102 wasn’t released in english.

    Anyone, help?

  14. Sinotibetan says:

    @ Doug M
    Thanks for your reply.

    (Leaving the increasing independence of South Korea especially aside, mightn’t those two countries have the relationships with the United States that they have because they have actively chosen these relationships?)
    Honestly, I don’t understand what you mean. I supposed you meant these two countries did not actively choose to have a ‘fief’-like relationship with the US? If that’s what you meant to convey : yes, they did not , in a way, ‘actively choose’ to have such a relationship with the US. As for South Korea, its political allignment was the outcome of Cold War realpolitik and the partition of the Koreas is but machinations of the big powers at that time. South Korea ‘needs’ the USA to ‘survive’ the threat of China and its ‘fief’ North Korea. As for Japan, its political allignment is also due to war – WW2 – the vanquished nation is of course a political ‘junior’ of the victor and later ‘benefactor’, the US. So, yes, they did not ‘actively choose’ these geopolitical posturing of submission – it was all due to geopolitical neccesity, survival instinct. Why should South Korea and Japan NOT side the USA in the Kosovar issue? Going against the USA on that issue would serve NO geopolitical benefits and potentially ‘displease’ their most important ally whilst siding with the USA might irk the Serbs or Russians but those nations have practically NO political weight on South Korea and Japan(Serbia was and is but a minnow in world politics and Russia was still too weak to offer any real political clout). So, it’s politically expedient to support the USA on Kosovo for South Korea and Japan. I agree that Japan and South Korea do wish to be ‘more independent’ of American clout but even your sentence shows that you acknowledge the political submission of these countries to the USA and their recent assertness would, in the conceivable future, still be limited as they feel the ‘China threat’.

    (This differs from the opposition to Kosovar independence expressed by Orthodox Christian countries like Russia, Romania, and Greece how?)
    (If we’re making the argument that underlying cultural connections or political sympathies to one side or another in this issue should be discounted, it has to be applied to both sides)
    An interesting point. I do not discount cultural connections to the two different sides. However, one must also view the political outcome on the political situation of each countries. Cultural symphaties are mere tools used by opportunistic politicians to achieve their own ambitions. What the ruling elites think is what that matters. Malaysia has geopolitically nothing to gain by siding the Serbs or remaining ‘neutral’. Those events happened in faraway Europe which has no external political consequence on us. Siding with Muslim Kosovo would earn local votes/sentiment for the current self-proclaimed ‘Islamic’ ruling regime. Just like when my country supported and received Muslim Bosnians during the earlier breakup of Yugoslavia. What about Russia, Romania and Greece? The Russians did protest but their cacophony was but just that – geopolitically they were weak and was no match for the powerful USA and the West. Romania and Greece – boy their political elites were(and are still) more keen in joining the Western club(eg EU) and that ambition is more important than cultural ties and feelings – these are historical but the EU and USA are the ‘here and now’. Political benefits of the ruling elites(and the EU economic carrot dangled to their new ‘fiefs’ in the Balkans) triumphs over cultural sentimentality. This is my opinion. Human beings are by nature, selfish. 😉

    Your point regarding the European Community not having an interest in an imploding Yugoslavia is agreed upon. I must apologize if my sentence seemed to mean that the EC was the instigator of the implosion or that it had a plan to cause that. But once it imploded, at first the EC was aghast but later their policy was in favour of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina but against Serbia-Montenegro. Milosevic was seen to be too nationalistic for a federal European Superstate – that’s what I think the European ruling elites thought of him.

    Hence, when the inevitable break-up occurred, the Serbs and Milosevic were demonized by Western powers whilst Bosnians and Croats(and later Kosovars) were made to appear as victims. In reality, many Serbs, Croats, Bosnians and Kosovars were victims. Many were ‘villains’ also.