Summary - Юго-Восточная Европа в эпоху кардинальных перемен
South-Eastern Europe has for a long time been considered the most problematic region of Europe and the source of continuous threats of internal and international crises and conflicts. For many epochs the region was known as the Balkans, after which the title balkanization took name, i.e. the situation of a constant conflict between the states concerning the territories and national-ethnic groups of population.
In the context of 20 century’s European and international events the Balkans was unchangeably considered a negative colored geopolitical sphere. Yet the title Balkans itself characterized the region as a powder magazine of Europe. To this the factor of many years’ selfish play of great world and European states on contradictions between the Balkan states could be added.
How and why these negative stereotypes and their objective reality have merged? What are their historic frames and prospects of stabilization’s process in the Balkans, which is more often being called South-Eastern Europe? The answers to these questions will allow us to understand the reasons, contemporary situation and possible further evolution of 20 century’s regional Balkan crises.
Many of nowadays complex problems of strategically importance and dense populated Balkan region are of objective character. The collision of Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim worlds since long ago has become the reason of many religious conflicts. The ethnic map of the Balkans due to its variety is hard to be compared with any other European region (except for the Caucasus). That was the result of multi migration processes of different ethnic groups for the last two thousand years.
For a long time being a part of the Ottoman and Austrian (then Austro-Hungarian) empires and affected by the constant pressure of the Russian empire, the peoples of the Balkan peninsula have been formed under conditions of contradictory culture-political impacts. Finally, in 20 century, the great collision of political ideologies, a product of western civilization – communism, fascism and nationalism — strengthened ever more the conflict potential of the region.
Thus many of peculiar problems of the region and its characteristics have their roots in the past such as polyethnic element, nations and states’ late establishment, frequent and forced reconstruction of frontiers, long term fight against foreign intervention and as a result of this – continuous economic backwardness.
The crush of authoritarian-totalitarian regimes in Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and their transition to collaborate with European and North-Atlantic’s integration groups have changed power disposition in South-Eastern Europe. By the same time the region occurred to be a deeply depressed in 1990s and was involved as well in the new arc of instability after the collapse of Yugoslavia and a series of continuous military conflicts.
At the turn of the millennium the states of South-Eastern Europe began slowly to get over the problems of the past concerning the cooperation with OCSE, EU and NATO. Still the main question is where and how are they going, which shore will they land? So while the politicians arrange their recommendations, the events will go ahead of their prognoses. In 2004 two Balkan countries became members of NATO. They make up three along with Greece and four with Turkey which has a part of its territory in Europe also. Croatia, Macedonia and Albania are expected to be next and there is a prospect of entering for Serbia and Montenegro followed by Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Thus the states of South-Eastern Europe are not considered a bridge between Europe and Asia any longer; they surely will land the European shore accepting its system of values, political and economic standards but preserving their own unique culture and way of life. They understand that they will have to pay a very high price — losing a part of their sovereignty which cost them and others such a cruel bloodshed.
That is why maintaining and supporting traditional relations with Russia are of great importance to all the states of South-Eastern Europe. The need for their deepening on a new basis will be very efficient in the years to come as for them and as for Russia itself.
The given monograph was prepared by the Institute of Europe. The list of authors includes the specialists from different institutes of Moscow and other scientific centers from abroad. The chronological frames are outlined by the period from 1990 till 2005 except for some problems to be analyzed in historic retrospective.