Pro-Moscow “republics” in Ukraine likely to end as did Serbska Kraina in Croatia, Kyiv columnist says

Ihor Lyashenko, Journalist, Director of the Center for Quality of Life Research Projects (Image:

Ihor Lyashenko, Journalist, Director of the Center for Quality of Life Research Projects (Image: 

Analysis & Opinion, History, War in the Donbas

The analogies people employ, even if they are far from exact, often say more about how people see a situation than do more immediate descriptions. Consequently, it may prove extremely telling that a Ukrainian commentator says the way in which Serbska Kraina ceased to exist is how the “DNR” and “LNR” will pass into history as well.

In a commentary today in Kyiv’s “Segodnya,” Ihor Lyashenko suggests that events almost exactly 20 years ago in Croatia are suggestive of the ways in which Moscow’s efforts to destroy Ukraine by setting up the two pro-Russia “peoples republics” may eventually end.

Serbska Kraina is “the part of Croatia in which Serbs lived.” When the Croatians declared their independence from Serbian-dominated Yugoslavia, the Croatian Serbs created their own state. “The Croatian army was weak and could not do anything” especially as “behind the Serbs stood the powerful Yugoslav cadres peoples army,” Lyashenko says.

The parallels with Ukraine’s situation today are obvious, he suggests.

The columnist continues: “Serbska Kraina lasted four years, from 1991 until 1995.” Twenty years ago this month, “the Croatian army in the course of a few days restored the integrity of its country having destroyed the armed forces of the separatists.” As a result, “practically all 400,000 Serbs of the Kraina became refugees.”

“On the eve of the attack by the Croatian army,” the Kyiv columnist says, “no one believed this would be possible.” The Serbska Kraina army was well-equipped, it was backed by Serbia’s military, and it had the advantage of topography and of being on defense. But nonetheless, the Croatians attacked and they won.

The reasons are instructive, he suggests. The Serbska Kraina army had decayed “after four years of inactivity. The militants didn’t think about service but focused instead on their own gardens. [And] many even left their posts and went abroad seeking work. “In general,” the Kyiv writer says, “the Serbska Kraina army turned out to be not militarily effective.”

Moreover, by 1995, Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic was less interested in building “Greater Serbia” than it had been; and despite its declarations and its basing of forces on the border with Serbska Kraina, it wasn’t willing to do much. It might have been able to stop the Croatians with artillery fire, but the Serb military did not fire one shot in the event.

Instead, Lyashenko says, “Serbian forces looked on at the gigantic flows of refugees,” largely because Serbs by that time had begun to ask themselves whether it was worthwhile “sacrificing a rich European future on the altar of Greater Serbia? After several years of sanctions, they were increasingly answering that in the negative.

“Why should we know as much as possible about this event,” Lyashenko asks rhetorically. The answer should be obvious: “this is the most realistic variant for the restoration of Ukrainian control over the separatist ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR.’”

The “Segodnya” writer does not draw out the conclusions for Ukraine Serbska Kraina suggests, but there are at least three that are worth stressing.

  • First, sanctions and time will work to Ukraine’s advantage.
  • Second, eliminating the “DNR” and “LNR” is going to require military force.
  • And third, when Ukraine retakes the Donbas, most pro-Moscow Russians there will flee.

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Angel

    Reading Western propaganda press one gets impression that the Serbs settled in Krajina recently. The media keeps calling these Serbs “Croatian Serbs” and says that the Serbs “occupied”, “grabbed”, “conquered”, etc. this land. As evident from any major reference book the Serbs were invited to settle in Krajina in 1578. Ever since Krajina was independent and separate entity from Croatia. Only since 1941 (during Croat Nazi occupation) and after 1945 (during Croat Communist Tito’s rule) was Krajina assigned to be part of Croatia.

    “Croatian Ethnic Cleansing of Krajina Serbs”

    The Croatian attack on the Serbian majority region of Krajina in 1995 resulted in the expulsion of 200,000 to 300,000 Krajina Serbs. This was the largest population displacement during the Yugoslav breakup in the 1990s. It was the largest expulsion in Europe since World War II.

    Was it the largest act of “ethnic cleansing” since the Holocaust?

    In 1997, the names of 1,542 Krajina Serbs killed in the assault were recorded. Over 73% of the houses of Krajina Serbs were destroyed.

    Was the Krajina expulsion an act of genocide not seen in Europe since World War II?

    The US and Western media referred to it as an “exodus” and an assault to “oust” Serbian rebels, “Croatian Serbs”, the oxymoron propaganda term coined by the US State Department. It has been covered-up and deleted from the mainstream history of the Balkan conflicts because the victims were Serbs and because a majority population was destroyed and denied self-determination.

    The Bill Clinton Administration, along with the Pentagon, the US State Department, the CIA, DIA, NATO, Germany, and Military Professional Resources, Inc. (MPRI), were all involved in the planning and organization of the attack.

    It is important to remember this largest act of population displacement and “ethnic cleansing” in Europe since the Holocaust because it shows that there were victims on all sides.

    It also shows the hypocrisy and duplicity of the US policy in dealing with the Serb plight in the Balkans.

    In Kosovo, the US policy was to support the local majority and grant self-determination to a minority. In Krajina, conversely, the US policy was to deny democracy and prevent self-determination.

    Indeed, in Krajina, the US policy resulted in the total elimination and displacement of the local majority population, which under the Genocide Convention, was an act of genocide. Krajina demonstrates that all sides to the Balkans conflicts were victims.
    “One third of Communist Designed Croatia – is Serbian land”

    • Murf

      Speaking of propaganda term coineage. Guess who coined the term “ethnic cleansing”.
      The Serb media.

      Think about that.

    • Marko

      This is the territory of Croatia. Serbs were aggressors who are getting what they deserve. Four years they murdered and destroyed in Croatia. They’re setting up concentration camps and carried out mass executions. When it was necessary to defend the stolen territory, they are showing their true face, the face of Serbian cowards. Civilians who fled were all for Greater Serbia and everybody shouting “Kill Croats”. Serbs should be glad to have survived. We all know what happened to the Germans after the war. They were expelled from their homes in the countries that were previously occupied. Serbs should shut up and apologize for their crimes against Croats.

      • Willem

        100% UNTRUE. 1) Croatia was never an independent Country, except under Hitler . 2) Serbs lived on the same territory since 6th Century. 3) The CROATIAN Ustaše , were members of the Ustaša – Croatian Revolutionary Movement, which is according to Wikipedia ultranationalist and terrorist organization, active, in its original form, between 1929 and 1945. Its members murdered hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma (Gypsies) in Yugoslavia during World War II.
        This is a well established fact.

        The ideology of the movement was a blend of fascism, Roman Catholicism and Croatian nationalism.

        The Ustaše supported the creation of a Greater Croatia that would span the River Drina and extend to the border of Belgrade. The movement emphasized the need for a racially “pure” Croatia and promoted genocide against Serbs, Jews and Romani people, and persecution of Croatian dissidents.[8]

        The Ustaše were fiercely Catholic, identifying it with Croatian nationalism. They declared that the Catholic and Muslim faiths were the religions of the Croatian people. They claimed the Islam of the Bosniaks was a religion which “keeps true the blood of Croats”.

        Quasi-protectorate established by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany during World War II, its military wings became the Army of the Independent State of Croatia and the Ustaše militia, which reincarnated into force that expelled the Serbs then destroyed 75% of their homes. You canot cheat us here, we know how to search the internet, Croatia lying clown!

        • Marko

          Serbs (Little Russians), and the Russians are the same. Lying piece of shit, murderers and thieves. Read something about your “heroic deeds”. If it is not too much for you? The truth hurts. Bye, Russian-Serbian monkey.

        • Marko


          In just a few days of February 1943, the Serbian Chetniks under the leadership of Draza Mihailovich committed genocide of close to 20,000 Bosniak Muslims in the Podrinje area (around Srebrenica region) – mostly women, children and elderly. Serbian Chetniks themselves admitted killing over 9,000 people in this genocidal campaign alone.

          Serbs portray themselves as the major Balkan victims of the Second World War,but conceal the Chetnik collaboration with Nazi fascists, including systematic genocide that they had committed against several peoples, including the Bosniaks and Jews. Although Serbian historians contend that the persecution of the Jews of Serbia was entirely the responsibility of Germans and began only with the German occupation, this is self- serving fiction. Fully six months before the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia, Serbia had issued legislation restricting Jewish participation in the economy and university enrolment. 94 percent of Serbia’s 16,000 Jews were exterminated, with the considerable cooperation of the Serbian government, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Serbian State Guard, the Serbian police and the Serbian public. The largest proportion of anti-fascist Bosnian partisans were Bosniaks Muslims, who were being slaughtered by all sides (Ustashas, Chetniks and Nazis). Attempts to form a pro-Axis Bosniak division failed when the Bosniak Muslim conscripts revolted against the Germans at a training base south of Le Puy, France in September 1943.

          While it is true that during the War, both the Partisans and pro-German Serbian-Nazi Chetniks aided Allied pilots in escaping, they did so because they were paid in gold for each one. However, only NAZI collaborator and fascist Draza Mihailovic received Medal, due to intensive Serbian lobbying and propaganda in the U.S.

          The Chetnik apologists like to argue that
          Draza Mihailovic didn’t know anything about genocidal campaigns his forces were committing against the Bosniak Muslim population of Bosnia-Herzegovina. A closer look at the above document reveals that Draza Mihailovic was well aware of genocide his forces were committing in 1943.

          In his briefing to the Serb General Draza Mihailovich, the Chetnik
          Commander Pavle Djurisic writes, (note: this is a translation of key points from Serbian cyrillic), quote:
          “All Moslem villages in three mentioned locations [municipalities of Pljevlje, Cajnice, and Foca] were burned down, and not even one home remained intact…. During military operations, we engaged in total destruction of Moslem population without regard to their sex or age. Our victims include 22 dead, of which 2 by accident, and 32 wounded. We killed about 1,200 Muslim soldiers and about 8,000 of their women, elderly and children.”

          Therefore,it is perfectly clear that Draza Mihajlovich knew what was going on, but he did nothing to stop the genocide of Bosniak Muslim civilians. He was complicit in Genocide against the Bosniak Muslim population of Podrinje in 1943. While the Serbian Chetniks admited killing 9,200 people in this genocide, the documented killings show close to 20,000 Bosniaks massacred, 98% of them being civilian men, women, children, and elderly.

          Attempts to Deny 1943 Genocide

          This genocide of Bosniak Muslim population in Podrinje occured in February of 1943. Since then, the leftist apologist genocide deniers have been actively denying any wrong-doings of Serbian Chetnik forces who collaborated with Nazi fascists in World War II. The most vocal Draza Mihajlovic’s apologist and opinionist (he doesn’t deserve to be called historian) – Lucien Karchmar – even came up with a list of philosophical reasons attacking the evidence against Chetnik crimes. In his book “Draza Mihailovic and the Rise of the Chetnik Movement, 1941–1942”,Lucien
          Karchmar devotes his study in apologizing for Draza Mihailovich’s crimes and dismissing each piece of historical evidence presented as a fraud or forgery. That’s exactly how Chetnik-apologists write history to justify, downplay or deny crimes of Chetniks against the Bosniak Muslim population of Bosnia-Herzegovina; not to mention Chetnik collaboration with Nazi fascists.

  • Nowhere Girl

    Still, there is another problem. Donbas is ruined now. Returning it to Ukrainian control (at least now) could turn out to be a fatal blow to Ukraine’s economy. A just solution would be to force the one who started the whole affair – Putler – to pay reparations, but this is unlikely…

  • Murf

    I have said since Illoviantsk that time was on Ukraine’s side.
    No matter what Ukraine threw at the rebels Putin would up the ante.
    Until we does’t want to any more.
    They Just have to out latest a Putin’s neo-Imperialism.
    Which already seems to be waning as the economy declines and his political isolation increases.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      The Kolorads are already devouring each other, which is shown by the assassinations of terrorist leaders such as “Batman” and Mozgovoy. The corruption of Plotnitsky, Zakharchenko and their henchmen, plus their incompetent “governments” will help to undermine any local support they may have. They don’t have any cash and the dwarf won’t help as Dwarfstan is slowly running out of cash itself- all he will supply are guns, ammo, Dwarstan army troops, mercenaries and the occasional “humanitarian convoy”. Miners are starting to go on strike as they haven’t been paid for months. No coal means no income for the so-called LNR and DNR at all. The best thing Kyiv can do is purchase as much coal as it can afford abroad, minimising the Kolorads’ income. Their so-called “republics” will slowly but surely collapse.
      When they do, I agree that most of the pro-Russian enclavians will leave for Dwarfstan, hoping for a better future there- but they won’t find it.

  • Vol Ya

    Let us hope the situation in Ukraine turns out as well as it did for the Croats.