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The difference between Kosovo and South Ossetia is that before the whole mess started in the early nineties Ossetia had a Georgian majority which was ethnically cleansed, while in Kosovo the Serbs were a small minority. I happen to have a rather restrictive view of the time limits on how much stuff like that matters, but a decade and a half doesn't eliminate them completely even in my view, though it does substantially lessen their importance. To use an unfortunately possible analogy, how many years after an ethnic cleansing of South Lebanon or the West Bank would you view the use of force to reverse the situation as an illegitimate provocation?

Another issue - what makes you think that the West 'pushed' Kosovo to declare independence? More like the other way around.

by MarekNYC on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 01:03:58 PM EST
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Just to be clear, I do agree that this is remarkably stupid on the part of the Georgians, analogous to a Syrian attempt to reconquer the Golan. Regardless of the rights and wrongs a basic sense of reality seems to be missing.
by MarekNYC on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 01:10:35 PM EST
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You are confusing Ossetia with Abkazia, are you?
by blackhawk on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:06:13 PM EST
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I think you may be right, sorry. (ethnic proportions - seems it was about sixty-five to thirty Ossetian, for some reason I thought it was the other way around. in which case my sympathy for the Georgian case has markedly decreased. Again, sorry about the screw up.
by MarekNYC on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:18:40 PM EST
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In Abkhazia Georgians were the largest ethnic minority, but after Georgia revoked Abkhazia's autonomy and Georgian-supported criminal bands attacked Abkhazia (which more often than not meant ethnic cleansing for non-Georgians) the ethnic Georgians lost the support of other minorities (Abkhaz, Russians and Armenians).

Also note that in both cases parts of both Ossetia and Abkazia are controlled by Georgia. In case of Ossetia villages with majority Georgian population are controlled by Georgia. Today's attack was against 2/3 of Ossetian territory that is controlled by Ossetian authorities.

Today in Tskhinvali, South Ossetia estimates 1500 are dead:

by blackhawk on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:37:43 PM EST
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Quote (Wiki):
A study done in 1871 by Austrian colonel Peter Kukulj[15] for the internal use of the Austro-Hungarian army showed that the mutesarifluk of Prizren (corresponding largely to present-day Kosovo) had some 500,000 inhabitants, of which:

    * 318,000 Serbs (64%),
    * 161,000 Albanians (32%),
    * 10,000 Roma (Gypsies) and Circassians
    * 2,000 Turks
An Austrian statistics[17] published in 1899 estimated:

    * 182,650 Albanians (47.88%)
    * 166,700 Serbs (43.7%)
British journalist H. Brailsford estimated in 1906[18] that two-thirds of the population of Kosovo was Albanian and one-third Serbian.
Talking about ethnic cleansing....

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 07:25:32 AM EST
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Do you have the link?

Just from the numbers, I would guess at two possibilities, oppression of Serbs in Prizren or better opportunities for Serbs (but not Albanians) elsewhere.

This being the 19th century, opportunities could be migration to America (a very large proportion of the Swedish population at that time emigrated and generally that happened cluster by cluster). Or it could have been possibilities of employment in new industrial sectors in other regions or countries.

(Btw, if you use Firefox, I really recomend TribExt, it makes it really simple to cut and paste while keeping formats and links.)

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 08:27:03 AM EST
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It's a Wikipedia, I can't find it now...

There are all kinds of pressures...our history is rich (unfortunately).

Historically, the first cause of this scattering was the severe oppression of Serbs under Ottoman occupation, which led to migration to the unoccupied territory to the west. After World War II, Yugoslavia's first communist government tried to define the country's postwar federal units to limit the Serbian domination believed largely responsible for the political turmoil of the interwar period. This meant reducing Serbia proper to achieve political recognition of Macedonian and Montenegrin ethnic individuality and the mixed populations of Vojvodina, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Hercegovina (see Formation of the South Slav State , ch. 1).

Between 1948 and 1990, the Serbian share of Kosovo's population dropped from 23.6 percent to less than 10 percent, while the ethnic Albanian share increased in proportion because of a high birth rate and immigration from Albania. The demographic change was also the result of political and economic conditions; the postwar Serbian exodus from Kosovo accelerated in 1966 after ethnic Albanian communist leaders gained control of the province, and Kosovo remained the most poverty-stricken region of Yugoslavia in spite of huge government investments (see Kosovo , ch. 4; Regional Disparities , ch. 3). After reasserting political control over Kosovo in 1989, the Serbian government announced an ambitious program to resettle Serbs in Kosovo, but the plan attracted scant interest among Serbian émigrés from the region.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 09:53:33 AM EST
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And what was the Serb Albanian population ratio in 100 BC?
by MarekNYC on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 09:37:39 PM EST
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