A typical Balkan story

Boris Yeltsin's Russia was one of the first countries to recognize the southernmost state to split from Yugoslavia as "Republic of Macedonia." The Kremlin's stance back then was dictated by the misguided impression that it could revive the pan-Slavist policy of the tzars.

Back in its day, tzarist Russia had scored a short-term success with the Treaty of San Stefano in 1878 after the Russo-Turkish War, which, among other terms, foresaw the creation of an autonomous principality of Bulgaria stretching to the Aegean Sea. That agreement was superseded a few months later by the Treaty of Berlin, however.

Yeltsin's policy was a similar failure for the simple reason that the former communist countries of the Balkans followed in the footsteps of Central Europe and turned their attention and allegiance to NATO. Just a couple of days ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov...

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