Separatism in the Balkans

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  • Created by: Megan
  • Created on: 05-03-14 15:00


  • Yugoslavia split into separate, smaller countries in 1990
  • There is a long history of conflict between Serbs, Croats and Muslims
  • Yugoslavia was formed at the end of WWI and was ruled by a strong, centralised communist party after WWII - it was brought together as part of a peace treaty to create a reasonably-sized, economically vialbe, stable region
  • Yugoslavia was ruled by Marshall Tito from 1945 to 1980 - when he died, one of the main forces holding the country together was removed asn separatist presre re-emerged.
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Separatist Pressure

  • Ethnic Rivalries
  • Mermories of genocide in WWII by Croats and their Germanallies, against the Serbs and others who resisted German occupation, and other earlier conflicts
  • Fear from smaller ethnic groups that Serbia (the biggest ethnic group) would seek to dominate Yugoslavia if it became a democracy
  • Fear the Serbian nationalists would try to set up 'Greater Serbia' to include all the land that had any Serb populations, even minorities,leading to Serbian domination 
  • Serbs had close links with Russia, Slovenes and Croas with Germany and Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo with Albania
  • Realisation that small states could well be economically viable and successful if they could become part of the EU (Slovenia joined in 2004)
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Economic Consequences

  • Slovenia is the economic front-runner and was the first new member to adopt the euro in 2007
  • Croatia has a stable market econom - the country is preparing for EU membership, its most important trading partner

Serbia's economy was severely damaged by war, UN sanctions and Nato bombing during the 90's. However, since 2000 the economy has been recovering quickly adn th countr has been called the 'Balkan Tiger' because of its rapid growth of around 6.5% a year. However there are sill severe political tensions between 'modernisers (who look towards EU membership and development of a market economy), and Serb nationalists (who still look towards Russia, favour more central control of the economy and still dream of a Greater Serbia). At present, the modernisers seem to be in the ascendency

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Political Consequences

  • Readjustment of state boundaries was attempted
  • Ethnic Cleansing took place, as people from each of the separate republics tried to expel those of different ethnic groups and consolidate the territory of the different groups - this led to massacring of rival ethnic groups, often on such a large scale that UN peacekeepers could not intervene on the atrocities
  • US, EU and UN troops all entered the region as peacekeepers at various times
  • The worst fighting took place in Bosnia where the population was most mixed. It included attempts by minority groups of Serbs and Croats to break away from Bosnia, but escalated as these groups and their supporters tried to claim more and more of the territory. some were attempts to unite small areas of the same ethnicity by driving out other groups from interveing areas, others were attempts to reoccupy land that a group once owned and some were just struggles for the strategically importnant land 
  • When Kosovo tried to gain independence, the Serbs reacted with military force - Nato planes then bombed Serbia until the government withdrew all troops
  • When the west intervened, Russia was deeply offended and is given as one reason fro Russia's support of the break away of South Ossentia from Georgia
  • Bosnia is a federation of two republics - Serbskja & Bosnia and Herzogovina. It has two problems - rebuilding a war-shattered economy and reducing reliance on the armament industry
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