Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

17 April 2012. It Happened in Macedonia…

Editor’s Foreword:

There was a case of miraculously-renewed icons, this time in Macedonia. It even made The Economist (I post the short piece from it below). These eleven images are of the icons and the church where they’re located…

BMD

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Stir It Up

It’s a miracle! Just before Orthodox Easter this weekend, thousands of Macedonians flocked to a church in Skopje, the capital, in which, reportedly, the frescoes of saints began to gleam in a heavenly manner. Across the nearby Ottoman-era Stone Bridge, which spans the Vardar River, crowds relax in packed cafés. Albanians, who make up about a quarter of Macedonia’s population of 2.1 million, are part of the throng.

That’s another miracle of sorts. Between January and March, inter-communal violence rocked the country. A Macedonian policeman killed two Albanians in a dispute that may or may not have been ethnically-based. A village carnival that mocked Muslims and Greeks elicited angry responses from both sides. People burned flags in public, and sectarian chanting broke out at football matches. To some, these events revived unpleasant memories of 2001, when Albanian guerrillas led by Ali Ahmeti fought pitched battles with the Macedonian security services, and the country came close to civil war. Nevertheless, it stepped back from the brink… and Mr Ahmeti’s party is now in government. The cause of the recent surge in violence is a mystery. It stopped as suddenly as it started. , a local analyst, suggested that somebody wanted to “show off their capacity for destabilisation”. Some predicted that armed conflict was around the corner.

Nevertheless, a well-placed diplomat disagreed, insisting, “We aren’t going back to 2001”. The problem, he said, is that Macedonians don’t feel they’re moving towards a better future. That can change only if the country resolves its 20-year-old quarrel with Greece, which argues that Macedonia’s name implies a territorial claim to a Greek region of the same name. The row has blocked Macedonia’s accession to both NATO and the European Union. However, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki lamented that Greece’s other problems mean that the name issue “isn’t among their top thousand priorities”. In the meantime, Macedonia must deal with high unemployment. Silvana Mojsovska, an economist, stated that macroeconomic stability hasn’t led to job creation. Macedonia needs more miracles.

14 April 2012

The Economist

http://www.economist.com/node/21552606

Friday, 10 February 2012

Vuk Jeremić: Kosovo’s Reality… A Ghetto Behind Barbed Wire

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On 8 January 2012, at the UN in New York, Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Jeremić spoke out against the attempts of some members of the UN Security Council and of the so-called “Foreign Minister” of Kosovo to present a rosy picture of the situation in Kosovo. Jeremić made it clear that ghettos and barbed wire are what one actually sees today in Kosovo, the level of security for Serbs in Kosovo is worse than for any other people in any other European state. He said, “I invite the Security Council to come to Serbia and Kosovo, and see the situation. We must see things for what they are. Serbia’s ready to talk, we’ll avoid any kind of provocation, we won’t engage in any deception”. To confirm his words, Jeremić referred to reports of a number of international organisations, including the European Commission, which stated recently that there’s a flourishing culture of corruption, discrimination against non-Albanians, and political pressure on the judicial system, amongst other things, in Kosovo.

9 February 2012

Pravoslavie.ru

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/news/51496.htm

Friday, 2 December 2011

SPC: There are Alternatives to EU Membership, Serbs Manning the Barricades Should Persevere

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The Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) issued a statement sending a message to both the Serbian authorities in Belgrade and Serbs in Kosovo.

The SPC statement on Friday advised the authorities “there are alternatives” to Serbia’s membership in the EU and called on Serbs manning the barricades in northern Kosovo to persevere. It also urged Kosovo Serbs “not to make decisions without taking into account the legal and democratically-elected central government in Belgrade”. The SPC demanded that the President and the government “not abandon the people of Old Serbia for the sake of a chimera, for the country’s status of a candidate for EU membership. The responsible political authorities and our political élite think that Serbia and the Serbian people as a whole have no other alternative [than EU membership]. Everybody else, including the idealised and mythologised European Union, disagrees with that formulation. The government shouldn’t be making decisions or changing its political tactics ‘on the fly’ without taking into account the vital needs and the position held by northern Kosovo Serbs, for whom this issue isn’t one of partisan and political calculations, but literally, it’s a question of ‘to be or not to be’”, the SPC Holy Synod said in its statement.

It addressed the EU membership bid as “a good desire and idea, justified by geopolitical, economic, and civilisational reasons”, but the statement added that if giving up Kosovo and Metohija… either directly or in a “creeping” manner… represented the price-tag for that membership, “then, the bid needs to be abandoned openly and honourably, and other options explored for a future in a multipolar world, one that’s already a reality. Whether such a perspective (of abandoning the EU bid) would deal more or less damage to the ruling coalition or to the opposition in the forthcoming election is absolutely unimportant and pointless, when taking into account the self-knowledge and dignity of our entire nation”. the statement went on to say that it’s important, but not enough, for state officials to repeat that they’d never recognise Kosovo as independent, and added that Serbia needs to be actively present in Kosovo and Metohija wherever possible and as much as possible.

“Our message to Serbs in northern Kosovo is, ‘Persevere as you’ve done before… you know best how you feel, not only spending these cold winter days and nights at the barricades, but also in your homes and elsewhere… but we’d also tell you to be wise, inspired by Christianity and the legacy of our honourable ancestors. You mustn’t allow anyone to provoke you; you mustn’t accept violence as a means of action. Your protests aren’t a display of defiance, arrogance, or a fad, but they’re a clear-cut display of your determination not to accept a diktat based on force and a violent imposition of change”, the statement said. The SPC further noted that the protests mustn’t turn into a rejection of negotiations, dialogue, and efforts to re-establish the previous status quo using peaceful means, adding that the deterioration in conditions came due to unilateral actions undertaken by ethnic Albanians and KFOR, which wasn’t in line with the mandate the forces received from the United Nations.

The Holy Synod also addressed KFOR soldiers, urging them to act in a spirit of neutrality, “and exclusively in the service of preserving peace, not to be the mailed fist of NATO or of powerful Western states that recognise the phantom state of Kosovo. We appeal to KFOR to desist from violently removing the barricades in the area of administrative line crossings, and especially from use of force against Serb civilians”, the statement said, also providing a list of all Serbs injured at the barricades during KFOR interventions. Such behaviour on the part of international forces “only feeds maximalism and insatiably whets the appetites of Arbanasi (Albanian) extremists, and could serve as an excuse to extreme individuals or some irresponsible group on the Serb side to use arms”.

The Synod added that human deaths on either side, regardless of who provoked them, would be a sin, crime, tragedy, and shame for everyone, and would result in the defeat and collapse of dialogue and peaceful efforts… the only real alternative to the current situation and the only strategy that can solve the crisis. “With all this in mind, we call on all true humanists and true believers… not only Christians, but also those in the Islamic world… to advocate peace and justice for all without exception, for freedom and dignity for everyone everywhere. If it’s true and if it perseveres, such effort would benefit all of us, especially, in equal measure, it would be important for both Serbs and Arbanasi (Albanians) in Kosovo and Metohija”, the SPC statement concluded.

2 December 2011

B92

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=12&dd=02&nav_id=77601

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