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Consequently, the gaps between culturally equipped peoples and unprepared masses to face the implications of the time-space compression, multiplied by the Internet and social networks, is deepening and is doomed to be further deepened within and across countries. This transnational and intense process of change crucially implies that an influential role is played not only by the development of the world economy, the volatility of financial assets, and the interstate dependency stemming from currency variations, trade, customs policies, migration flows, mutual sanctions etc.

In post-modern times, however, this need has become even stronger, although with different characteristics. Nonetheless, such cultural policy is far from being implemented systematically, at least right now. Governmental strategies on culture, educational systems, media and communication links are facing the more advanced needs of culture by counting on approaches which are still deeply anchored in nation-state cultural legacies.

Such a substantially backward attitude contrasts with the demands of privileged groups of people whose social origins are not necessarily homogeneous or belonging to higher social strata , who access the cultural requirements of equality and diversity in the global world. As a result, a disoriented, insufficiently educated, sedentary population is facing an increasingly faster upheaval of its everyday reality, with consequences that are still to be understood and measured by politics. By contrast, another component of the population is becoming even more mobile, nomadic, multilingual, inclined to syncretism, and with a multi-identity spirit Braidotti Its links with the territory are so weak that its attitude is likely to appear as a sort of post-modern revenge against the predominant sedentary lifestyle and settlement of the last centuries.

Admittedly, the divergence of these phenomena can hardly be appeased, because they both articulate alternative cultural claims, political narratives, and social needs in an historical phase, as our own is, which is typified by a technological and scientific acceleration, able to liquefy and re-solidify, in different forms, human relations within an increasingly hectic pace of time. Under these circumstances, the consistency of states, especially when based on the solidification of blood and territory, is challenged by the growing speed of world movement and, therefore, by the transformation of the forms of power, with unexpected effects on their supposed stability, either territorially or constitutionally.

In our current European context, we can assume that the core states are represented by the eu member-states, having in mind — with some approximations — the enlarged eu until Consequently, the most immediate peripheral area is embodied by the Western Balkans and Ukraine together with Belarus and Moldavia.

As a consequence of these dynamics, the new states suffered from weaknesses in several critical spheres, from institutional constructions to operational governance, from welfare to economic performances, from corruption to the judiciary, from security to neighbour relations. Under these conditions, traditional Great Powers and sometimes also new external players interfered extensively with the development of events, seeking out their own strategic benefits, and the establishment or the expansion, or the protection of their spheres of influence, since the vulnerability of the newly-emerging peripheral areas was offering attractive space for strengthening their interests.

However, and to a large extent, these behaviours occurred when the local fragility became internationally adamant. Meanwhile, at the domestic level, local leaderships concentrated their effort to narrowly connect the governance with the territory, by redefining the requirements for loyalty from individuals as nationals, rather than citizens.

In this context, social, cultural, and ethno-national forms of homogenization, together with the re- establishment of institutional centralization, began to prevail in the peripheries of the European core states, facilitating by contrast a widespread depopulation, the decline of social motivations, and the enhancement of external mobility, which led to social and cultural impoverishment. In some cases, this happened even before the post-socialist transition had really started; in other cases, such phenomena postponed the beginning of transition to the undefined future.

Even so, security, stability, and democratic development were deeply affected since the time the process of change was supposed to have initiated. This also explains why the direction of the reforms has been and still is often biased, unable to measure itself with the constellation of the variables that the institutional framework potentially offers in order to meet the multiple demands of society. As a result, conflicts can become frozen, but not settled.

International agreements cannot be implemented or, simply, are unable to break down the mistrust that has been built over time. Alternatively, they have been negotiated with irreducible parties, whose peaceful coexistence is guaranteed by the military force of external players, but does not have any result regarding the effectiveness of governance. Meanwhile, vexed questions of borders and loyalties have acquired new priorities, with implications that are still affecting a variety of aspects.

As mentioned above, the comparative analysis of the case-studies considered for this issue confirms, despite the difference of contexts, that new borders have been erected not only geographically, but also mentally. Partitions concern territories, as well as majority-minorities dynamics, local communities, habits, the access to fundamental rights, and the future of human relations — whether family, parental, or friendship correspondence. Partition is, in fact, a process of vertical and multilevel dividing, which is comprehensive and merciless because it forces individuals to make a choice which impacts their sense of belonging and their feelings.

However, and to a large extent unexpectedly, similar phenomena are contagiously affecting the European core states, despite their common mythological eu narrative of inclusion, which has been, however, restricted, after great uncertainties, as far as the Western Balkans only. By contrast, it almost seems that the peripheral areas have anticipated a local, but transnational reaction to the global what a paradox! The binary comparison, which is the focus of the four contributions collected for this issue of the Southeastern Europe Journal, concerns systems and areas which share similarities in contexts that, however, preserve their peculiarities and differences, either at the domestic level or in their international position.

All that considered, however, the case-studies here scrutinized can give us special stimuli for understanding some of the dynamics that can be grasped also in the broader European environment. This is not surprising. Despite their peripheral condition, in fact, the areas under scrutiny are not isolated from the core states. In some cases, they have also established forms of military cooperation with Euro-Atlantic institutions or host military bases.

Actually, and for a long time, the major comparative approach to post-Yugoslav and post-Soviet countries was connected with communist federalism and the dissolution of these federations during democratization attempts see e. However, with post-Soviet Eastern Europe sinking into the new era of internal and international conflicts, the comparative perspective has changed again: the experiences of war and conflict resolution in countries of the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe are of interest again.

Today, as is said, the two regions have a different situation and dynamics. The Yugoslav succession wars — have ended seventeen years ago, and afterwards, the post-Yugoslav political transformations have been directed by peaceful integration in the contexts of eu accession and regional cooperation. Thus, the regional political and security trends are different in the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

However, even though these regional trends are contradictory, there are commonalities that cannot be ignored and demand comparative analysis. We would point out several, but not all, of these:. Failed state effect. The nations, states, and economies in both regions were born as a result of state failure in two socialist federations, Yugoslavia and the ussr. Post-Soviet and post-Yugoslav political and economic systems have been launched as the consequences of the state failure.

War as the context of state- and nation-building. The post-Yugoslav states started their collective lives in the conditions of decade-long war.

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Post-Soviet countries in Eastern Europe were less impacted by war: Georgia and Moldavia and those territories that separated from them were going through difficult war periods in the beginning of their independent existence, while Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine avoided it in the early s. However, the Ukrainian crisis has deeply changed state- and nation-building dynamics in the Eastern European countries in the second decade of the 21 st century: wars and conflicts became the leading factors of political, economic, and social development here Nodia et al.

Considerable role of non-state-actors during war is another common feature for post-Yugoslav and post-Soviet conflict periods. In these periods the emerging Balkan states and post-Maidan Ukraine were barely able to respond to security challenges.

The BALKANS Explained (Geography Now!)

A large influx of Turks started to flee into the Ottoman heartland from the lost lands. By , the remaining core region of the Ottoman Empire had experienced a population increase of around 2. The unexpected fall and sudden relinquishing of Turkish-dominated European territories created a psycho-traumatic event amongst many Turks that triggered the ultimate collapse of the empire itself within five years.

The First Balkan War began when the League member states attacked the Ottoman Empire on 8 October and ended eight months later with the signing of the Treaty of London on 30 May The Second Balkan War began on 16 June Both Serbia and Greece, utilizing the argument that the war had been prolonged, repudiated important particulars of the pre-war treaty and retained occupation of all the conquered districts in their possession, which were to be divided according to specific predefined boundaries.

Seeing the treaty as trampled, Bulgaria was dissatisfied over the division of the spoils in Macedonia made in secret by its former allies, Serbia and Greece and commenced military action against them. The more numerous combined Serbian and Greek armies repelled the Bulgarian offensive and counter-attacked into Bulgaria from the west and the south. Romania , having taken no part in the conflict, had intact armies to strike with, invaded Bulgaria from the north in violation of a peace treaty between the two states.

In the resulting Treaty of Bucharest , Bulgaria lost most of the territories it had gained in the First Balkan War in addition to being forced to cede the ex-Ottoman south-third of Dobroudja province to Romania. The background to the wars lies in the incomplete emergence of nation-states on the European territory of the Ottoman Empire during the second half of the 19th century. Serbia had gained substantial territory during the Russo-Turkish War, — , while Greece acquired Thessaly in although it lost a small area back to the Ottoman Empire in and Bulgaria an autonomous principality since incorporated the formerly distinct province of Eastern Rumelia All three countries, as well as Montenegro, sought additional territories within the large Ottoman-ruled region known as Rumelia , comprising Eastern Rumelia, Albania , Macedonia, and Thrace.

Throughout the 19th century, the Great Powers shared different aims over the " Eastern Question " and the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. Russia wanted access to the "warm waters" of the Mediterranean from the Black Sea; it pursued a pan-Slavic foreign policy and therefore supported Bulgaria and Serbia. Britain wished to deny Russia access to the "warm waters" and supported the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, although it also supported a limited expansion of Greece as a backup plan in case integrity of the Empire was no longer possible.

France wished to strengthen its position in the region, especially in the Levant today's Lebanon , Syria , and Israel. Habsburg -ruled Austria-Hungary wished for a continuation of the existence of the Ottoman Empire, since both were troubled multinational entities and thus the collapse of the one might weaken the other. The Habsburgs also saw a strong Ottoman presence in the area as a counterweight to the Serbian nationalistic call to their own Serb subjects in Bosnia , Vojvodina and other parts of the empire. Italy 's primary aim at the time seems to have been the denial of access to the Adriatic Sea to another major sea power.

The German Empire , in turn, under the " Drang nach Osten " policy, aspired to turn the Ottoman Empire into its own de facto colony, and thus supported its integrity. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Bulgaria and Greece contended for Ottoman Macedonia and Thrace. Ethnic Greeks sought the forced "Hellenization" of ethnic Bulgars, who sought "Bulgarization" of Greeks Rise of nationalism.

Both nations sent armed irregulars into Ottoman territory to protect and assist their ethnic kindred. From , there was low intensity warfare in Macedonia between the Greek and Bulgarian bands and the Ottoman army the Struggle for Macedonia. After the Young Turk revolution of July , the situation changed drastically. When the revolt broke out, it was supported by intellectuals, the army, and almost all the ethnic minorities of the Empire, and forced Sultan Abdul Hamid II to re-adopt the long defunct Ottoman constitution of and parliament. Hopes were raised among the Balkan ethnicities of reforms and autonomy, and elections were held to form a representative, multi-ethnic, Ottoman parliament.

However, following the Sultan's attempted counter-coup , the liberal element of the Young Turks was sidelined and the nationalist element became dominant. At the same time, in October , Austria-Hungary seized the opportunity of the Ottoman political upheaval to annex the de jure Ottoman province of Bosnia and Herzegovina , which it had occupied since see Bosnian Crisis. Bulgaria declared independence as it had done in , but this time the independence was internationally recognised. The Greeks of the autonomous Cretan State proclaimed unification with Greece, though the opposition of the Great Powers prevented the latter action from taking practical effect.

It has large influence in the consequent world order. Serbia was frustrated in the north by Austria-Hungary's incorporation of Bosnia. In March , Serbia was forced to accept the annexation and restrain anti-Habsburg agitation by Serbian nationalists. On 15 August , the Military League , a group of Greek officers, took action against the government to reform their country's national government and reorganize the army.

The Military League found itself unable to create a new political system, until the League summoned the Cretan politician Eleutherios Venizelos to Athens as its political adviser. Venizelos persuaded king George I to revise the constitution and asked the League to disband in favor of a National Assembly.

In March , the Military League dissolved itself. Bulgaria, which had secured Ottoman recognition of her independence in April and enjoyed the friendship of Russia, [7] also looked to annex districts of Ottoman Thrace and Macedonia. In August , Montenegro followed Bulgaria's precedent by becoming a kingdom.

The Balkan countries saw this as an opportunity to attack the Ottoman Empire and fulfill their desires of expansion. With the initial encouragement of Russian agents, a series of agreements was concluded between Serbia and Bulgaria in March Military victory against the Ottoman Empire would not be possible while it could bring reinforcements from Asia. The condition of the Ottoman railways of the time was not advanced, so most reinforcements would have to come by sea through the Aegean Sea.

South-Eastern Europe : History, Concepts, Boundaries

Greece was the only Balkan country with a navy powerful enough to deny use of the Aegean to the Ottoman Empire, thus a treaty between Greece and Bulgaria became necessary; it was signed in May Montenegro concluded agreements between Serbia and Bulgaria later that year. Bulgaria signed treaties with Serbia to divide the territory of northern Macedonia. This alliance between Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro became known as the Balkan League; its existence was undesirable to all the Great Powers.

The League was loose at best, though secret liaison officers were exchanged between the Greek and the Serbian army after the war began. Greece delayed the start of the war several times in the summer of , to better prepare her navy, but Montenegro declared war on 8 October 25 September O. Following an ultimatum to the Ottoman Empire, the remaining members of the alliance entered the conflict on 17 October. The three Slavic allies Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro had laid out extensive plans to coordinate their war efforts, in continuation of their secret prewar settlements and under close Russian supervision Greece was not included.

The Ottoman Empire's situation was difficult. Its population of about 26 million people provided a massive pool of manpower, but three quarters of the population and nearly all of the Muslim component lived in the Asian part of the Empire. Reinforcements had to come from Asia mainly by sea, which depended on the result of battles between the Turkish and Greek navies in the Aegean. Most of their available forces were allocated to these fronts.

Smaller independent units were allocated elsewhere, mostly around heavily fortified cities. Montenegro was the first that declared war on 8 October [2] 25 September O. Its main thrust was towards Shkodra , with secondary operations in the Novi Pazar area. The rest of the Allies, after giving a common ultimatum, declared war a week later. Serbia attacked south towards Skopje and Monastir and then turned west to present-day Albania , reaching the Adriatic , while a second Army captured Kosovo and linked with the Montenegrin forces.

Greece's main forces attacked from Thessaly into Macedonia through the Sarantaporo strait and after capturing Thessaloniki on 12 November on 26 October , O. Another Greek army attacked into Epirus towards Ioannina. On the naval front, the Ottoman fleet twice exited the Dardanelles and was twice defeated by the Greek Navy , in the battles of Elli and Lemnos.

Greek dominance on the Aegean Sea made it impossible for the Ottomans to transfer the planned troops from the Middle East to the Thracian against the Bulgarian and to the Macedonian against the Greeks and Serbians fronts. Erickson the Greek Navy also played a crucial, albeit indirect role, in the Thracian campaign by neutralizing no less than three Thracian Corps see First Balkan War , the Bulgarian theater of operations , a significant portion of the Ottoman Army there, in the all-important opening round of the war.

General Nikola Ivanov identified the activity of the Greek Navy as the chief factor in the general success of the allies. In January, after a successful coup by young army officers, the Ottoman Empire decided to continue the war.

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After a failed Ottoman counter-attack in the Western-Thracian front, Bulgarian forces, with the help of the Serbian Army, managed to conquer Adrianople , while Greek forces managed to take Ioannina after defeating the Ottomans in the battle of Bizani. The war ended officially with the Treaty of London on 30 17 May Though the Balkan allies had fought together against the common enemy, that was not enough to overcome their mutual rivalries.

In the original document for the Balkans league, Serbia promised Bulgaria most of Macedonia. But before the first war come to an end, Serbia in violation of the previous agreement and Greece revealed their plan to keep possession of the territories that their forces had occupied. This act prompted the tsar of Bulgaria to invade his allies. The Second Balkan War broke out on 29 16 June when Bulgaria attacked its erstwhile allies in the First Balkan War, Serbia and Greece, while Montenegro and the Ottoman Empire intervened later against Bulgaria, with Romania attacking Bulgaria from the north in violation of a peace treaty.

When the Greek army had entered Thessaloniki in the First Balkan War ahead of the Bulgarian 7th division by only a day, they were asked to allow a Bulgarian battalion to enter the city. Greece accepted in exchange for allowing a Greek unit to enter the city of Serres. The Bulgarian unit that entered Thessaloniki turned out to be an 18,strong division instead of the battalion, something which caused concern among the Greeks, who viewed it as a Bulgarian attempt to establish a condominium over the city. Greece had also allowed the Bulgarians to control the stretch of the Thessaloniki-Constantinople railroad that lay in Greek-occupied territory, since Bulgaria controlled the largest part of this railroad towards Thrace.

After the end of the operations in Thrace—and confirming Greek concerns—Bulgaria was not satisfied with the territory it controlled in Macedonia and immediately asked Greece to relinquish its control over Thessaloniki and the land north of Pieria , effectively handing over all Aegean Macedonia. These unacceptable demands, together with the Bulgarian refusal to demobilize its army after the Treaty of London had ended the common war against the Ottomans, alarmed Greece, which decided to also keep its army mobilized. Similarly, in northern Macedonia, the tension between Serbia and Bulgaria due to the latter's aspirations over Vardar Macedonia generated many incidents between their respective armies, prompting Serbia to keep its army mobilized.

Serbia and Greece proposed that each of the three countries reduce its army by one fourth, as a first step to facilitate a peaceful solution, but Bulgaria rejected it. Seeing the omens, Greece and Serbia started a series of negotiations and signed a treaty on 1 June 19 May Tsar Nicholas II of Russia , being well informed, tried to stop the upcoming conflict on 8 June, by sending an identical personal message to the Kings of Bulgaria and Serbia, offering to act as arbitrator according to the provisions of the Serbo-Bulgarian treaty.

But Bulgaria, by making the acceptance of Russian arbitration conditional, in effect denied any discussion, causing Russia to repudiate its alliance with Bulgaria see Russo-Bulgarian military convention signed 31 May The Serbs and the Greeks had a military advantage on the eve of the war because their armies confronted comparatively weak Ottoman forces in the First Balkan War and suffered relatively light casualties, [11] while the Bulgarians were involved in heavy fighting in Thrace.

The Serbs and Greeks had time to fortify their positions in Macedonia. The Bulgarians also held some advantages, controlling internal communication and supply lines. On 29 16 June , General Savov, under direct orders of Tsar Ferdinand I , issued attacking orders against both Greece and Serbia without consulting the Bulgarian government and without any official declaration of war. The Serbian army resisted the sudden night attack, while most of soldiers did not even know who they were fighting with, as Bulgarian camps were located next to Serbs and were considered allies.

Montenegro's forces were just a few kilometers away and also rushed to the battle. The Bulgarian attack was halted. The Greek army was also successful. Then, the Greek army counter-attacked and defeated the Bulgarians at Kilkis Kukush , after which the mostly Bulgarian town was destroyed and part of its mostly Bulgarian population massacred by the Greek army. Part proceeded east and occupied Western Thrace.

The rest of the Greek army advanced up to the Struma River valley, defeating the Bulgarian army in the battles of Doiran and Mt. Beles, and continued its advance to the north towards Sofia. In the Kresna straits , the Greeks were ambushed by the Bulgarian 2nd and 1st Army newly arrived from the Serbian front that had already taken defensive positions there following the Bulgarian victory at Kalimanci.

By 30 July, the Greek army was outnumbered by the counter-attacking Bulgarian army, which attempted to encircle the Greeks in a Cannae -type battle, by applying pressure on their flanks.

The Greek King, seeing that the units he fought were from the Serbian front, tried to convince the Serbs to renew their attack, as the front ahead of them was now thinner, but the Serbs declined. By then, news came of the Romanian advance toward Sofia and its imminent fall. Facing the danger of encirclement, Constantine realized that his army could no longer continue hostilities, agreed to Eleftherios Venizelos ' proposal and accepted the Bulgarian request for armistice as this had been communicated through Romania.

Romania had raised an army and declared war on Bulgaria on 10 July 27 June as it had from 28 15 June officially warned Bulgaria that it would not remain neutral in a new Balkan war, due to Bulgaria's refusal to cede the fortress of Silistra as promised before the First Balkan war in exchange for Romanian neutrality. Its forces encountered little resistance and by the time the Greeks accepted the Bulgarian request for armistice they had reached Vrazhdebna , 7 miles from the center of Sofia.

Seeing the military position of the Bulgarian army the Ottomans decided to intervene.

They attacked, and, finding no opposition, managed to recover eastern Thrace with its fortified city of Adrianople , regaining an area in Europe which was only slightly larger than the present-day European territory of the Republic of Turkey. The developments that led to the First Balkan War did not go unnoticed by the Great Powers, but although there was an official consensus between the European Powers over the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire , which led to a stern warning to the Balkan states, unofficially each of them took a different diplomatic approach due to their conflicting interests in the area.

As a result, any possible preventive effect of the common official warning was cancelled by the mixed unofficial signals, and failed to prevent or to stop the war:. The Second Balkan war was a catastrophic blow to Russian policies in the Balkans, which for centuries had focused on access to the "warm seas".

First, it marked the end of the Balkan League, a vital arm of the Russian system of defense against Austria-Hungary. Second, the clearly pro-Serbian position Russia had been forced to take in the conflict, mainly due to the disagreements over land partitioning between Serbia and Bulgaria, caused a permanent break-up between the two countries.

Accordingly, Bulgaria reverted its policy to one closer to the Central Powers ' understanding over an anti-Serbian front, due to its new national aspirations, now expressed mainly against Serbia. As a result, Serbia was isolated militarily against its rival Austria-Hungary, a development that eventually doomed Serbia in the coming war a year later.

But, most damaging, the new situation effectively trapped Russian foreign policy: After , Russia could not afford losing its last ally in this crucial area and thus had no alternatives but to unconditionally support Serbia when the crisis between Serbia and Austria broke out in This was a position that inevitably drew her, although unwillingly, into a World War with devastating results for her, since she was less prepared both militarily and socially for that event than any other Great Power.

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Austria-Hungary took alarm at the great increase in Serbia's territory at the expense of its national aspirations in the region, as well as Serbia's rising status, especially to Austria-Hungary's Slavic populations. This concern was shared by Germany, which saw Serbia as a satellite of Russia. This contributed significantly to the two Central Powers' willingness to go to war as soon as possible. Finally, when a Serbian backed organization assassinated the heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne , causing the July Crisis , no-one could stop the conflict and the First World War broke out.

Soviet demographer Boris Urlanis estimated in Voini I Narodo-Nacelenie Europi that in the first and second Balkan wars there were , killed in action, 20, dead of wounds, and 82, dead of disease. Since the area has been referred to as the Balkans , notable conflicts have included the following:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the s conflicts in the region, see Yugoslav Wars.


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