President Putin has reiterated that the Kosovo case would set a precedent and may even cause negative consequences for Russia.
Speaking with journalists from G8 countries at his dacha outside Moscow on June 1, Putin said that “there are no arguments in favor of a position that the Kosovo case differs from the situations in South Ossetia, Abkhazia or Transdnestria.”
“In one case, the Yugoslav communist empire collapsed, while in another case the same happened to the Soviet communist empire. In one case there was an ethnic conflict and in all other cases there also were ethnic conflicts. In all cases there was a war. In all cases there were victims. In all cases there were criminals and victims of these crimes. South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transdnestria have perceived themselves to be independent states for 15 years at least. These countries elected parliaments, presidents, adopted constitutions. There is no difference,” Putin said.
“Therefore, we cannot understand why we should support one principle in one part of Europe, and be guided by other principles in other parts of Europe, thus dening small peoples, for example, those in the Caucasus, their right to self-determination,” he added.
Putin also said that Kosovo’s independence may trigger “negative processes” within Russia as well.
“We will find it difficult to explain to small peoples of the North Caucasus why, in one part of Europe, some people are given this right, while here in the Caucasus they have no such right. Moreover, a part of, for example, Ossetian people lives in Russia, while the other part lives on the territory of Georgia and consider themselves to be an independent state… Why the Albanians can act this way, but Ossetians cannot? It is impossible to explain,” Putin said.