Russians and Bosnians



Historically and politically, the Bosnians and the Russians are a

perfect match.This history started in the middle of the first thousand

years A.D. when the tribes called the Southern Slavs migrated into the

southeast area of Europe known as the Balkans. The Slav people as they

are known, were separated from the Northern Slavs, that is, related

Slavs in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Russia, by the non-slavic tribes

that settled the lands of Austria and Hungary. The Bosnians original

ancestors were the Southern Slavs. They raided areas throught the

Balkans including what is now modern day Serbia.This tribe eventually

split up, mostly for religious and political reasons but also because

the geography of the region is such that large groups of Slavs became

separated and isolated from one another because of the difficult

terrain. When religion came to the Balkans, where you were physically

had as much to do with what religion you grew up with as other

reasons. The Serbs who were closest to the Byzantine Empire

geographically, took up the Eastern Orthodox Religion. The peoples in

what is now Croatia, Slovinia and Bosina were infuenced by Rome and

took up Roman Catholicisim. However, the Bosnians, who were alwasys

being threathned politically by the Orthodox Christian Serbs as well

as their Roman Catholic neighbors, by the fifteenth century had made

apolitical decision to align themselves with the rising power of the

Ottoman Empire, and converted to Islam. Russia, the country where most

of the Southern Slavs came from had accepted the Eastern Orthodox

religion at around the time the Serbs did. This religious bond between

Russians and Serbs was very strong and the two groups supported one

another for virtually their entire history up to and including modern

times. The Serbs supported the Russians in almost all their wars and

helped the Russians gain control of part of the Eastern Mediterraen

from the Turks. This is why the Russians are deeply interested in this

area and feel they have a special role to play in the current

conflict.



The Balkans are the reason that World War I had started. The Serbs of

1914 was as determined then, as they were for centuries, of preserving

their independence in the Balkans. A wider war in the Balkans could

risk the security of Europe, and possibly draw Moslen nations into the

war. On a more imeadiate level, the reason for peace in Bosnia is so

urgent is because cities, roads, bridges, have been destroyed in the

conflict. A good example of this is Sarajevo, ( a major muslim city)

that was known for its cultural mixture. It was the site of the 1988

winter olympics which welcomed hunreds of atlethes from all over the

globe. The city is on the Bosinian-Serb border and has been shelled by

both sides in the war. However, a far more important reason is to

prevent this local war from starting a wider confrontation that would

risk the security of Europe, and possibly draw in Moslem nations to

support the Muslims in Bosnia.





Russian soldiers are going to be among the troops keeping peace in

Sarajevo as well as in other towns in Bosnia. The rusians are trying

to improve relations with the U. S. and are doing so by working with

the U.S. on keeping peace in the Balkans. Both President Yeltsin of

Russia and Clinton Of the U.S., have met several times over this

issue. They decide that a good way to improve rlations betwen the two

countries. Part of the debate over rusian troops betwen Russia and

the U.S. was who mwould command the Russsian troops if they were sent.

The Russians did not want teir troops under a NATO command because

they thought that Nato was anti- Russian. Another topic of their

debate was where were the Russian troops to be deployed. The russians

wnated to be deployed in Bosnian Serb teritory, and the U.S. wanted

them deployed in Bosnian Croat territory. Finally an agreement was

reached. The Russians would send fifteenhundred troops to Bosnia. They

were scheduled to arrive in mid-December 1995. Both sides agreed that

the Russian troops would report to their own commander, General Leonti

P. Shetsov. Shetsov had worked with Nato in the past as well as the

U.S. military and was sen as a good fit. He however would still be

technically under Nato command as it is Nato that is