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World - Europe

Russian anger at NATO attacks goes deeper than 'Slavic brotherhood'

demonstrators
Demonstrators protest outside the U.S. embassy

RELATED VIDEO
CNN's Jill Dougherty reports on Russia's attitude toward NATO attacks (April 4)
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April 4, 1999
Web posted at: 9:14 p.m. EDT (0114 GMT)

From Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty

MOSCOW (CNN) -- A top aide to Russian President Boris Yeltsin said Sunday that Russia will not be drawn into the Yugoslav conflict militarily, either by supplying arms to the Belgrade regime or sending volunteers to fight for it.

But even as Sergei Prikhodko was making those remarks to Moscow radio station Echo Moskvi, ordinary Russians continue to express their anger about U.S.-led NATO strikes on Yugoslavia. Young skinheads demonstrate outside the U.S. embassy, and the Orthodox faithful pray for the conflict to end.

Why are there such deep feelings in Russia against NATO airstrikes? One social scientist says theories that it is the result of "Slavic brotherhood" are overblown.

"As for solidarity with Serbs, traditionally it was never high on the agenda in public opinion," says Yuri Levada of the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion. "The fact is, relations with the Serbs have rarely been very close."

Russia's anger, some observers believe, is not really about Kosovo -- it's about Russia itself.

Take, for example, a man who sells videos and CDs at the Dorogomilovsky Market. He believes the United States started the conflict, and he has his own theory about why.

"They stopped respecting Russia. That's why they started a war," said the vendor, who declined to give his name. "Before, they wouldn't have been able to do this."

"Before" refers to the era when Russia was still the Soviet Union, a superpower. The Kosovo crisis is forcing Russians to take a painful look in the mirror at their much diminished circumstances.

"Russia is not in a capacity today to dictate like it used to when it was the Soviet Union," says Alexey Pushkov, an international policy observer.

Russia's crippling economic crisis already has weakened many people's faith in the West. The political price of the Kosovo crisis could be even higher.

"The communists and the nationalists who are criticizing Yeltsin for getting too close to the West are saying, 'You see now -- we were right. Look what they are doing in Yugoslavia. We'll be next,'" Pushkov says.


RELATED STORIES:
Pentagon: Apache helicopters, more troops headed to Balkans
April 4, 1999
Yugoslav official: Captured U.S. soldiers won't face trial
April 4, 1999
More blasts rock Belgrade
April 3, 1999
Pentagon not reassured by Yugoslavs on captured troops
April 3, 1999
Russian lawmakers call for military aid for Belgrade
March 31, 1999
Russia: NATO strikes hurting relations with U.S.
March 28, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
  • Kosovo

Yugoslavia:
  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News


Kosovo:
  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosovo - from Albanian.com

Military:
  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

Relief:
  • World Vision
  • CARE: The Kosovo Crisis
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page


Media:
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

Other:
  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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