The war in Ukraine has brought to light the long-standing problem of ethnic minorities, which have often been used as a pretext to trigger international crises if not outright wars.
- Ethnic minorities. The precedent of the former Yugoslavia
- Ethnic minorities. Divide et Impera
- Ethnic minorities. The Real Reasons of the Russians
Due to a wicked policy of displacement of entire populations from their territories of origin to other parts of the former USSR, the former states of the dissolved Soviet Union almost all had to deal with the cumbersome problem of ethnic minorities.
Especially those of Russian language and culture who always aspire to reunite with the motherland, the Great Russia of Moscow.
Those who are no longer very young will undoubtedly remember the terrible Balkans wars that shook Europe in the middle of the 90s.
The war arose from the dissolution of the Yugoslav Federation and the simultaneous birth of nation states, first and foremost Serbia and Croatia.
And it was precisely for ethnic-religious reasons that Serbia and Croatia found themselves in conflict.
With the addition of that melting pot of ethnicities and religions that is Bosnia and Herzegovina with the martyred city of Sarajevo first of all.
A corner of Europe that is the result of history, a crossroads of conquests and dominations stratified over the centuries.
The mixing of peoples and ethnic groups was also the result of precise political choices made by the then dictator of the former Yugoslavia, Tito.
“Divide et Impera” (divide and rule) has always been a good adage for those in power and in charge.
Moving groups of populations to territories occupied by other peoples was considered by the Yugoslav leadership to be a good way to hold together a country that was not a nation.
At least until everything collapsed, until the communist regime fell apart and gave way to the nationalistic-religious demands that inevitably led to conflict.
In the former Soviet Union, Stalin, a de facto dictator if not in name, also used the same system..
He “deported” millions of people from one territory to another in the same way that Tito had operated in Yugoslavia.
Or by moving the borders of the Socialist Republics that made up the USSR, incorporating portions of territory that historically had belonged to other peoples.
This is why Crimea, which has always been linked to Russia, becomes part of Ukraine.
While Transnistria, an unknown eastern region of Moldova, is populated by Russian peoples.
As long as the Soviet regime lasted, little changed, so much so that all power was centralized in Moscow and in the organ of the Communist Party.
But after the dissolution of the USSR and the birth of nation states, ethnic issues began to explode.
In Ukraine, the thorniest issue has always been the Donbass.
Territory in the far east of Ukraine, inhabited by Russian-speaking and Russophile populations for the most part, and therefore a source of contention between Russia and Ukraine over ethnic issues.
Although to tell the truth, the ultimate reasons for the dispute are mainly economic, namely the mines of which the Donbass is rich.
So much so that in the city of Mariupol, now completely destroyed by the Russians, there was the largest steel mill in Europe.
Azovstal became infamous for the heroic resistance of the Azov Brigade.
There he barricaded himself for weeks in a vain attempt to defend that Ukrainian garrison surrounded by overwhelming Russian armed forces.
The defense of Russian populations in Ukraine has given Putin a way to find an excuse, at least for his domestic public opinion, to invade Ukraine.
When the time comes to negotiate peace, the protection of ethnic minorities must be borne in mind.
In Ukraine but not only, the issue will have to be placed at the top of the list to avoid new future wars.
Foto di Gerd Altmann da Pixabay
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