by Josephine Schmidt 30 June 1995 KARADZIC: ‘I AM A NATIONALIST’
The leader of the self-styled Republic ofSrpska, Radovan Karadzic, has reiterated his commitment to a unified Serbia, noting that Croatia’s recent actions in western Slavonia have increased the urgency of unification. His comments appeared in Komsomolskaya Pravda on 17 May, in an interview with journalist Yelena Kalyadina titled Nobody Is Paying President Karadzic, Not Even Wages. Karadzic’s recent rhetoric recalls that churned out by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic’s propaganda mill shortly after the collapse of socialist Yugoslavia.
This is the only correct path for the Serbs: to create a single state that does not encroach on the interests of any other of the former Yugoslavia’s peoples. The international community must agree to that – or else begin a war against a united Serbia. But I discount the option of a great war against a greater Serbia. The war unleashed by Croatia against Serbian Krajina gives us the right to unite. …
In Serb areas, there have always been many ethnic minorities, which felt fine. We do not want a pure ethnic state. We were against splitting up the multiethnic, multi-cultural Yugoslavia, just as we were against splitting up Bosnia, which has been called a miniature Yugoslavia. But those who shattered Yugoslavia precisely because it was multi-ethnic do not, of course, want to preserve such a Bosnia either. If they did not want to live in a Yugoslavia in which Serbs totaled 40 percent, why should we live in a Bosnia where [the Muslims] total 44 percent? In a while, they will be 50 percent and a Muslim state will emerge. We lived under Islam for 500 years and do not want that any more. …
The Serbs cannot agree either with the Croatian regime in Croatia or with the Muslim regime in Bosnia. If they could not live in a united Yugoslavia, we do not want to live in their states either. If a dog and a cat are locked in the same box, there can only be two results. Either they will fight constantly or there will cease to be a dog and a cat. We do not want to cease being Serbs for the sake of a joint life with Muslims. If that is nationalism, then I am a nationalist.
‘DICTATORSHIP OF THE LAW IN KAZAKHSTAN
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev ‘s term of office will continue through the year 2000, the result of an April referendum on whether the scheduled 1996 presidential elections should be canceled. Official statistics claim that 91.3 percent of the country’s eligible voters participated in the referendum, and that 95.4 of those favored an extended term for Nazarbayev. The state media have carried numerous articles featuring the president’s explanations of why the referendum was necessary and his opinions on its outcome. The following excerpts are from, respectively, the 14 April Kazakhstanskaya pravda and the 3 May Soveti Kazakhstana.
On dissolving the parliament in early March and ruling Kazakhstan by decree:
Election after election and no clear policy, no clear reform programs, one parliament after another comes and goes. And all during this time, life gets worse. The people of Kazakhstan showed their faith in me in 1991, and this faith has helped me all this time. Thanks to it, we have solved many problems. It was not easy to create our own government, to learn to live independently. We made difficult decisions. But I always knew the people and their trust were behind me. I have always said I am for dictatorship – dictatorship of the law. Law and order: without these two things, there cannot be a government, without them one cannot live. Last year, 4,000 Kazakh citizens were murdered, what is that – democracy? If there were one worthy candidate for president I would gladly support him, but all these people who have never worked, have never governed anything – they only want to sit in the lofty seat of the head of state.
On the 4.6 percent of voters who did not want to extend his term:
I regard those who voted against [me] with respect. … Most importantly, they exercised their constitutional right and by their example upheld the democratic character of the plebiscite. I will try to do everything [I can] so that they have reason to change their opinion in the future.
KOZYREV: BEYOND NATO
NATO must become more than a military body if it is to promote pan-European stability, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said in an address marking Russia’s participation in the Partnership for Peace program and the beginning of consultative talks with NATO. In a 31 May statement released by the NATO Security Council, Kozyrev welcomed Russia’s new relationship with NATO but stressed that expansion of the alliance cannot be the mechanism for furthering peace throughout Europe.
Our priority is developing a system of general and comprehensive security for Europe from a long-term perspective. Such a system must ensure the construction of an undivided Europe as well as the broadest possible cooperation and coordination of all countries belonging to the Euro-Atlantic region.
The evolution of European structures and above all NATO is an essential element for the future pan-European security system and European equilibrium. However, one cannot reduce everything to the prospect of NATO expansion. So far, the alliance has been changing slowly. If the alliance wishes … to become a part of a pan-European security system, it must be transformed from a military alliance to a political organization , with corresponding changes in NATO institutions and basic documents.
If one has in mind Russia,… that would mean creating new dividing lines in Europe. If, however, one has in mind a third-party threat, Russia and NATO could tackle the issue jointly, with other European institutions, by determining ways to counter new challenges. We need clear answers to those questions.
A common understanding is yet to be reached on the essence of future special relations between Russia and the reformed NATO. Russia is prepared to conduct concrete negotiations with NATO on substance and form. … At issue is a truly effective working mechanism of constructive and equal interaction between Russia and NATO, whose principles and parameters could be recorded in corresponding agreements….
We are interested in a dialogue on transforming NATO and establishing special relations between Russia and NATO and members of the alliance. Creating new ties between Russia and the reformed alliance will be an important element of European politics. …
Russia’s position regarding NATO expansion has remained unchanged: we continue to believe that it does not meet either the interest of Russia’s national security or the interest of European security. …
Instead of considering how to expand NATO, we need to focus on jointly building a single Europe. If we resolve this key issue, it will be easier to define the future role of NATO and other organizations. … In other words, we suggest [that all concerned] halt and think rather than act hastily and blindly.
ROOTING OUT RACISM IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
The brutal and unprovoked murder of a Rom, Tibor Berki, in the Czech Republic prompted the government to prepare tougher measures against racially motivated attacks. Romany leaders, however, say the measures are inadequate (see Topics, Transition, no. 10, 23 June 1995). In a 25 May Mlada fronta Dnes article titled How It Is Necessary to Solve the Problem of Racism, Justice Minister Jiri Novak stresses that individuals and the state must jointly assume responsibility for eradicating racism.
The recent death of Tibor Berki has again concentrated attention on a problem whose internal manifestations are gaining intensity in our country. I deliberately choose the phrase internal manifestations, for it is an indisputable fact that besides some sort of street racism – which led to the brutal death of the Romany father of a family – there exists yet another similar [form of racism]: hidden, internal racism.
On the Sunday [television] program Debate, Romany deputy [Ladislav] Body accused the government of passivity toward statements of racial intolerance; [his solution] can be characterized thus: Government and state, act, take care of it, you are responsible. [But that] is too simplistic and leads up a blind alley. It means nothing other than waiting passively for someone to solve something.
The role of the state in solving this problem is clearly important and cannot be replaced. … On no account, however, does any state, any government, have in its hands a miracle cure that could in one fell swoop exorcise the illness called racism from our lives forever.
Racially motivated crime is not simply a matter of the watchfulness of the authorities who deal with crime. The proof is the increasing number of prosecutions and convictions of offenders in the course of the last three years. It was, however, exactly the increase in the number of violent crimes with racist overtones that led to the consideration of the possibilities for more effective action against this sort of criminality, whether by tightening up the law or through a more consistent approach by the police, state attorneys, and courts.
Without doubt, the death of Tibor Berki has accelerated this process. For this reason also, I will propose to the government this week an amendment to the criminal law involving tightening up the approach to crimes committed with racial allusions; for this reason, the attorney general has made proposals heading in the same direction.
I have been and will always remain an advocate of a balance between suppression and prevention in solving crime. It is no different in this case. On the Debate program, I called for consideration of who those people are, of who carries out such actions under the influence of a perverted ideology. They are young people with an average age of between 15 and 20 years. None of them fell out of the heavens. They were born here, they live among us. They are our sons, nephews, grandsons … and therefore I ask: What have we, as parents, done to prevent our sons from shaving their heads, buying heavy big boots, and identifying themselves with a racist ideology?
Are they not really the product of some kind of hidden racism? A racism that is hidden somewhere inside many of us? A racism that is more dangerous in that it leaks only in small drops, but nonetheless regularly and incessantly, from the imaginary vessel in which it resides. In my opinion, the source of the infection against which we must fight lies here; this is the place where the necessary therapy should be concentrated. The character and locality, however, presuppose that it is a place where the government can effectively penetrate only with difficulty. There is greater room for families, schools, and communities to operate.
The government of this republic will without doubt do everything it can to make the word racism disappear from our daily vocabulary. Without greater care from us parents, without more determined efforts by schoolteachers, without the help of every one of us, [the government’s] efforts, however intensive they will be, have no chance of success.
Material contributed by: Steve Kettle, Stan Markotich, Michael Mihalka, and Bruce Pannier. 3226-excerpts-from-speeches-editorials-and-other-notable-documents