Friday, February 22, 2008

Foot, meet mouth.

EDIT: This now available at Baltlantis.

I have spoken before about the need to apply Occam's Razor to Russia - more specifically, the Heinlein conjecture, which states that one should never attribute anything to malice that can be adequately explained by stupidity. I never cease to be amazed by the ability of Russian institutions of greater or lesser officialdom to embarass themselves in spectacular ways. Really, it's a government full of Boris Johnsons.

I've stayed away from the whole Kosovo issue, because I don't have enough information to make a good judgement on it; I have the impression that the process happening now is more Kosovo's separation from Serbia rather than actual independence - since it'll be run by the EU (and even its flag is a version of the European one). But Serbia is pissed off.

Russia's reaction is mixed. On the one hand, it has been trying to use Serbia as a client state for ages - during the NATO bombings, I've heard rhetoric that Serbia is the only major nation in Europe that is both Slavic and Orthodox; Greece being the latter but not the former, and Poland the former but not the latter. So if Serbia is indignant, Russia is too. Especially since Kosovo is now the dominion of the West, so they get to trot out the old lines about imperialist pigs again.

On the other hand, they are gleefully pointing to Kosovo as a precedent, and demanding international recognition for Abkhasia, South Ossetia and Transdniestr. I've even heard a few local voices piping up again with the idea of an Independent Republic of Ida-Virumaa, which incidentally I would just love to see them try. So Russia finds itself in propaganda heaven, a win-win situation.

And then Russia's state-owned television channel puts out a news show where the anchor spews out the following:
Today the people of Belgrade surely remember other public gatherings. They remember the madness of the crowd that brought down old man Milosevic. The same football fans, by the way. How a country giddy with liberal promises cried at the funeral of the Western puppet Zoran Djindjic - the man who destroyed the legendary Serbian army and secret services, who sold the heroes of Serbian resistance out to The Hague for abstract economic assistance, and who got a well-deserved bullet for it.
Youtube link if you understand Russian. Zoran Djindjic was the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Serbia after the end of Milosevic's regime, murdered in 2003.

Holy. Fucking. Shit. This is Russian state TV. Not just a media puppet - this is the official channel of the Kremlin.

The show in question went out at midnight Thursday/Friday. Naturally, the Serbian government is livid. The NewsRu article linked above has a quote from the former Balkan bureau chief of the Russian state newswire, Sergei Gryzunov, saying that this quote is a call for the murder the current Serbian president, Boris Tadic (who was a close supporter of Djindjic's).

So the main question now is, was this an authorized statement, or was the anchor overexcited and taking advantage of the poorly-censored midnight time slot? If it's the latter, we should see news of his dismissal shortly. I lean towards this explanation, because of the reason stated above, but then haven't we seen similar sort of preposterous spew out of the Russian state media directed towards Estonia or Georgia? The only difference now is that Serbia is, ostensibly, on Russia's side.

These people are hilarious, but occasionally their delusion can be scary.

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posted by Flasher T at

10 Comments:

Blogger ailon said...

I have doubts that news show on russian state tv stands a chance of not being totally scripted and the dude's only task is to read it in a nice voice.

I'm not sure that Russia is on Serbia's side too. I think the win situation for Russia is a total chaos in the region with following "in your face" statements from Putin/Medvedev/Whoever. And what happened suites this purpose quite well.

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zoran Djindjic was not the "first democratically elected prime minister". He illegally took power when he overthrew the Serbian government in a coup d'etat on 5 October 2000, a government which was not up for election at all. His power was derived from his leadership of the Democratic Opposition of Serbia and not from any official title. Then, with the media under his complete control, he arranged that his DOS run with Vojislav Kostunica headlining the list despite his intention to usurp Kostunica's popularity to grab the premiership after the election, which he managed to do. After stealing Kostunica's votes, he then kicked Kostunica's party out of parliament because Kostunica dared protest the assassination of a whistleblower who exposed Djindjic's mafia ties..

Djindjic never polled more than 10%support. No honest democratic process would ever lead to his election.

1:33 AM  
Blogger space_maze said...

Zoran Djindjic was not the "first democratically elected prime minister". He illegally took power when he overthrew the Serbian government in a coup d'etat on 5 October 2000, a government which was not up for election at all.

???

The October 2000 coup d'etat happened when Milosevic wouldn't accept the fact that he had lost the September 2000 Yugoslav presidential elections.

a government which was not up for election at all.

In Milosevic's mind .. it clearly wasn't, yes :-)

His power was derived from his leadership of the Democratic Opposition of Serbia and not from any official title.

Angela Merkel's power is derived from her leadership of the CDU, not from any official title. Does this mean she's not Germany's elected leader?

2:14 PM  
Blogger Jens-Olaf said...

Idu-Virumaa, I knew that this will occur in our comment section. Your are devil flasher_T, you know it^^

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The September 2000 election was for the president and parliament of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and not for the president and parliament of the Republic of Serbia.

Most powers that were seized on Oct 5 were those of the Serbian government.

Moreover, most powers up for grabs officially in September 2000 were wielded by parliament and Milosevic and his allies won a majority there. This was because Milo Djukanovic boycotted the vote and so Momir Bulatovic's Socialist People's Party swept the Montenegrin seats.

What happened was that Djindjic seized power in a coup, seized the levers of power (including all media), forced the parliament to dissolve itself and set up a so-called "national unity government" under his control. He organised new elections where his DOS was headlined by Vojislav Kostunica for 23 December 2000. This was a classic bait-and-switch operation. Djindjic was reviled, even his Western admirers admit that.

He was a traitor to his own people in 1999 and people didn't forget that. It's ironic that the man whom he himself said warned him of a plot against him for his treachery was the infamous Arkan himself.

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From 5 October 2000 to early January 2001, Djindjic ran Serbia without a title of any kind other than "coordinator" of the Democratic Opposition of Serbia. Merkel's power by the way is derived from her being chancellor. One of the knocks on Milosevic was that his power came from his leadership of the SPS and that this shows that his country was still Communist and that Djindjic and the "reformers" put an end to that practice, starting the practice of "power comes from the office itself". Wrong.

The great "reformer" Milo Djukanovic in Montenegro has been its ruler since 1997 because he seized the Party of Democratic Socialists from Momir Bulatovic. Before 1997, he held the technically most important post there, Prime Minister. After he seized the party, Djukanovic rigged the presidential election and took a technically less powerful post than that he occupied from 1991-97, but unlike then, he became the undisputed ruler of the country and has continued to be that since then, even in so-called retirement that he just ended not long ago. He has done this as President, then after term limits ended, Prime Minister again, and at one point, retirement from any office.

8:10 PM  
Blogger space_maze said...

The September 2000 election was for the president and parliament of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and not for the president and parliament of the Republic of Serbia.

Eh, same thing.

In the sense that the Yugoslav system had proven itself to be broken in the September 2000 election. Thus, the system was taken down. Yugoslavia and Serbia were both part of the broken system. Saying that one has nothing to do with the other is like saying that the happenings within the RSFSR and the USSR had nothing to do with one another.

From 5 October 2000 to early January 2001, Djindjic ran Serbia without a title of any kind other than "coordinator" of the Democratic Opposition of Serbia. Merkel's power by the way is derived from her being chancellor.

Which she is because the CDU won in the parliamentary elections, and could form a coalition, which picked her as its chancellor (it could have picked anyone else). Not because anyone voted for her, in her office. 'tis politics, outside of presidential elections. That noone voting for DOS could figure out that Djindjic was the person to whom these votes were going, I find very hard to believe. While Kostunica was the main DOS figurehead in the time, Djindjic was the first name on DOS' election list in the December 2000 Serbian parliamentary elections.

In either case, though, no matter how corrupt he might have been, and how much he abused Kostunica, comments like these from any country's NATIONAL TV = scary shit.

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was not the same thing. Serbian President Milan Milutinovic had two more years on his term and served them all, by the way. The Serbian parliament had an additional year left on it, where the SPS, SRS and SPO had the three biggest factions. The government derived from that parliament was overthrown and parliament itself dissolved under threat of violence. Most power in Serbia was invested in the Serbian and not the Yugoslavian government. The Yugoslavian government mostly ran things like foreign affairs and the military and monetary policy and the like... by the way, by convention, a Montenegrin had to be Premier of Yugoslavia; Djindjic demanded that Miroljub Labus occupy the post; Kostunica was able to overrule that.

Former Milosevic ally Zoran Zizic took the post (as all the Montenegrin reps were from the Milosevic-allied party) and Labus more or less ran things as Deputy Prime Minister.

These people were and continue to be the worst traitors to their own people and as for Djindjic; this is someone who shook hands with Clinton during the bombing, who plotted with the bombers of his country. He also was chummy with the mafia.

I can't help but think that he had a death wish. And what of Tadic; he destroyed much of Yugoslavia's anti-aircraft capability in return for a great big zero, just because the Americans demanded it. They are sellouts and traitors, all of them. If Tadic's supporters think that the Russian commentator's remarks hit too close to home, well, the truth hurts some times. They know very well that they're in the traitors' ranks.

2:35 AM  
Blogger Jens-Olaf said...

Ida-Virumaa, a typo, that looks stupid. Idu.

Talking in terms of traitors is something that strongly remind me of the decades after WWII in Germany. When many were still corrupted by the years 1933-1945. People like Willy Brandt were "traitors" for many people. Mainly I heard it from the generation who were young and male during the war. As consequence the deserteurs and the injustices by leaving the sentences against them unchanged was continued until recently. Though they helped to shorten the war.
And for the people who critizied too much about the time until 1945, there was an ugly word: "Nestbeschmutzer".

7:05 AM  
Blogger Kristopher said...

Idu-Virumaa -- something is always germinating there... :)

About Kosovo, which I myself don't know much about, I would posit a corollary -- if not to Heinlein then a corollary to something -- when in doubt, it's both sides that are stupid.

11:55 AM  

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