Not surprisingly, Russia and Serbia are walking in lockstep against Kosovo independence. There are several camps explaining why Russia has taken this position. Some, like Richard Holbrooke, argue that Russia is trying to “regain ground lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/12/AR2007031200972.html) (see also “Why Russia Opposes Intervention in Kosovo at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/111585.stm). Others claim that by supporting Serbia, they are fighting by proxy their own separatist issues at home (see “Kosovo Can Be Separated From Serbia Only By Means Of Force” at http://www.vor.ru/Kosovo/index.html and “Why Russia Is Against Kosovo Plan” at http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0628/p06s02-woeu.html).
Either way you look at it, the countdown to December 10 is much a showdown between Kosovar Albanians and the Serbs as it is between Russia and the Western world.
US view on Kosovo independence a ‘pseudo-reality’: Russia
Source: Agence France-Presse English Wire Date: November 21, 2007
MOSCOW, Nov 21, 2007 (AFP) – Russia’s envoy to Kosovo accused the United States in an interview published on Wednesday of living in a “pseudo-reality” by assuming that the Serbian province already has de facto independence.
“The Americans believe that Kosovo’s separation has already taken place de facto. We look at the situation from the point of view of international law, not pseudo-reality,” Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko told the Izvestia daily. Botsan-Kharchenko said that several Western countries already assumed that Kosovo independence was inevitable.
“Mildly speaking, this does not help Serbian-Albanian dialogue,” he continued. Serbian and Kosovo officials failed on Tuesday to make any breakthrough in talks on the province’s future status, but are set to launch a last-ditch effort over three days next week.
Botsan-Kharchenko warned in the Izvestia interview that independence for Kosovo would erase Serbia’s sovereignty, promote instability in the Balkans and create a precedent for other separatist provinces around the world. Russia has backed its traditional ally Serbia by opposing the granting of “supervised independence” to the majority ethnic-Albanian province as proposed by a UN special envoy. Serbia considers Kosovo an integral part of its territory and says it is only prepared to consider a high degree of autonomy. Kosovo has been under United Nations administration since 1999 after NATO intervened to stop a Serbian crackdown on ethnic Albanians.