Ukraine: Diary of a Dissident Observer

Another year, another revolution – this time in Ukraine. First there was Albania (1996), then Serbia (00), followed in 2003 by Georgia’s "rose revolution." As though conceived by the same scriptwriter, they all fit the same fairy-tale pattern whereby a dictatorial regime tries to steal an election from the reforming, Western-orientated opposition. Western election observers … Continue reading “Ukraine: Diary of a Dissident Observer”

An Insider’s View of the International War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague

There follows extracts from a conversation with someone who has recently observed the Hague Tribunal at close quarters. The person’s name and the proceedings observed have not been revealed. As the following article makes clear, no one who has had any dealings with the tribunal can feel entirely sure that its tentacles will not wrap … Continue reading “An Insider’s View of the International War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague”

Georgia is on Everyone’s Mind

A strange but titilating image keeps playing before my eyes. A convey of Russian tanks is heading down Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, just as they did in December 1991 when the country’s first democratically – elected government was brutally overthrown. Only this time the tanks are greeted by cheering crowds and … Continue reading “Georgia is on Everyone’s Mind”

McCain Rocks the Vote

The astonishing rise of Senator McCain in the American presidential race has prompted the pundits to examine his life story and career. Inevitably, there is lots of stuff about the war hero, campaign finance reformer and anti-tobacco missionary. McCain is also known to be strong on foreign policy. However, a cursory look at the McCain … Continue reading “McCain Rocks the Vote”

The Sad Tale of Croatian Independence

"An end to the era of fear, corruption and blood" declaimed David Jessell, front-man of the BBC’s Europe Direct news magazine on 25th January. Such hyperbole might have lead viewers to think they were going to be treated to a programme about the fall of Mobutu or Pol Pot. Not so. Jessell was referring the … Continue reading “The Sad Tale of Croatian Independence”

Christmas in Kosovo

For the nuns and monks of the Serbian Patriarchate at Pec in Kosovo Christmas 1999 will be a sombre affair. Huddled in their monastery together with a few refugees, only the protection of Italian KFOR troops stands between them and an angry Albanian rabble outside. The beauty of the place contrasts all too sharply with … Continue reading “Christmas in Kosovo”

Macedonia: the Next Balkan Flashpoint

While the war in Chechnya was preoccupying delegates to the OSCE summit in Istanbul last week another potential crisis was developing in the Balkans. On 14th November the small republic of Macedonia elected a new president, Boris Trajkovsky. But supporters of the losing candidate Tito Petkovsky – who led by a considerable margin in the … Continue reading “Macedonia: the Next Balkan Flashpoint”

Some Thoughts on the Killings in Armenia – Who did it and Why?

The slaying of 8 prominent politicians in Armenia on 27th October including the prime minister, Vazgen Sarkisian, and speaker of the parliament, Karen Demirchian, took the Western media completely by surprise. Experts seemed to be thin on the ground – CNN provided a young lady from the Economist Intelligence Unit who squirmed in discomfort when … Continue reading “Some Thoughts on the Killings in Armenia – Who did it and Why?”