Putin Remembers Yugoslavia
President Vladimir Putin of Russia has some deeply emotional views about the recent history of Yugoslavia. And on this subject, his words are very compelling.
Yugoslavia was aligned with the Soviet Union for a time after World War ii. The alignment didn’t last long, and Yugoslav-Soviet relations in the Cold War era were often rocky; however, when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union in 1985, they improved greatly. But that ended in the early 1990s when the Soviet Union broke up.
President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is shocking, violent and brutal. But time and again when he has conquered territory, he has tried to justify it by pointing to similar actions by the West.
As he sent his troops rolling into Ukraine on February 24, Putin justified his attack, arguing that Russia had to be strong. After the Soviet Union fell and Russia was weak, “a bloody military operation was waged against Belgrade, without the UN Security Council’s sanction but with combat aircraft and missiles used in the heart of Europe,” Putin said in an address to his nation. “The bombing of peaceful cities and vital infrastructure went on for several weeks. I have to recall these facts, because some Western colleagues prefer to forget them, and when we mentioned the event, they prefer to avoid speaking about international law, instead emphasizing the circumstances which they interpret as they think necessary.”
Putin’s speech was full of self-serving lies. But this part of it contains some truth. Putin remembers what nato did in Yugoslavia, and he is clearly angry about it.
Putin even attacked Ukraine in a way that deliberately connected it with nato’s actions in Yugoslavia. One of his first targets in Kyiv was a television tower—a deliberate copy of nato, which attacked Belgrade’s television tower during its bombing campaign in 1999.
When Russian officials appeared before the UN Security Council, they used the same justification: We’re just doing in Ukraine what nato did in Yugoslavia.
Putin has referred to nato’s attacks on Yugoslavia repeatedly. In 2014, when he broke Crimea away from Ukraine, he said that “the Crimean authorities referred to the well-known Kosovo precedent—a precedent our Western colleagues created with their own hands in a very similar situation—when they agreed that the unilateral separation of Kosovo from Serbia, exactly what Crimea is doing now, was legitimate and did not require any permission from the country’s central authorities” (emphasis mine throughout). In his declaration of annexation for Crimea, Putin copied and pasted whole sections from Kosovo’s declaration of independence.
“The hypocrisy of the West has become an obsession of his, and it is reflected in everything the Russian government does,” political scientist Ivan Krastev told Der Spiegel last week. He patterns his attack on Ukraine after America’s attack on Yugoslavia, “[b]ecause he wants to teach us a lesson. Because he wants to tell us: I have learned from you. Even if that means doing exactly that for which he hates us.”
“He is constantly speaking of betrayal and deceit,” said Krastev. “From the West. From individual, former Soviet republics.”
“By invoking Kosovo in Ukraine, Russia is demonstrating (to itself most of all) that it has returned to great-power status and intends to carry out an explicit undoing of the post-Cold War security architecture, crossing the threshold into a different world order, rather than simply straining or revising the current rules,” wrote Foreign Policy.
What happened in Yugoslavia, and why is Putin so upset about it?
From the early 1990s through the early part of 2000, the United States used its power and ultimately its military to dismantle Yugoslavia! And it did so at the behest of Germany. America and Germany would like to forget that history as it really happened, but Vladimir Putin has not forgotten. What occurred there is etched in his memory and enrages him to this day.
‘The Rule of the Gun’
Kosovo was tied to Serbia when the U.S. supported its breakaway. Putin is right that American-led military intervention against Serbia—the leading state of Yugoslavia—led to many casualties.
In his February 24 speech, Putin called America an “empire of lies.”
“Overall, it appears that nearly everywhere, in many regions of the world where the United States brought its law and order, this created bloody, non-healing wounds and the curse of international terrorism and extremism,” he said. In his 2014 speech he was even more direct: “Our Western partners, led by the United States of America, prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies, but by the rule of the gun.”
America, he said, is led by the rule of the gun! And in this case he is right!
Yugoslavia was conquered by American military power. Under the banner of nato, the U.S. blasted the Serbs to smithereens so Kosovo and other states could break away. It was a terrible attack against the Serbs, who were America’s allies in World Wars i and ii!
The world is rightly outraged by Putin’s attacks on hospitals. When nato bombed Serbia, they damaged 19 hospitals. Their patients tell harrowing stories of being rushed into bomb shelters while giving birth.
Russia is killing dramatically more people, more quickly in Ukraine, than nato did in Serbia. But America is not innocent of some of the crimes we see Putin committing.
But the most ominous part of all is that the United States conquered the Serbs basically on behalf of Germany, its bitter enemy in both world wars!
For proof that Germany orchestrated the destruction of the Serbs and Yugoslavia, it is critical that you request and read my free booklet Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans. I hope every single one of you will read it. It is a powerful explanation of world news and of what happened in Yugoslavia. And it is supported by facts—not opinions.
Now Germany controls what used to be Yugoslavia—and the entire Balkan Peninsula. It accomplished this feat while hardly even using its military; America did the bombing. That is why President Putin says America is guided by “the law of the gun.” If you look at the facts of what happened in Yugoslavia, you would have to agree. The United States should be ashamed to have done that and then to have simply buried the true history!
Serbia, the leading state within Yugoslavia, fought on the same side as the U.S. in two world wars. It has suffered terribly from German aggression for more than a century. It was our ally, and then we turned around and bombed it into defeat!
Why did we do that? Because we were unwilling to stand up to Germany—the very nation that wrought such destruction against us and much of the world by starting two world wars!
Anyone can see something is terribly wrong with America’s logic!
I challenge you to look honestly at the history Putin is citing and determine whether he is right on this point! What was America doing bombing the country that was our ally in World Wars i and ii?
Then we gave Yugoslavia and the entire Balkan Peninsula over to the very nation that started the two world wars and was America’s bitter enemy.
Germany was the first country to perceive and demonstrate the depth of America’s broken will. Vladimir Putin also understands our horrendous weakness in foreign policy. He is going to exploit it as the Germans did.
A German Plan
The Serbs see clearly that Germany was behind the breakup of Yugoslavia. Slovenia and Croatia wanted to break away in the 1990s. Initially, most of Europe, the United Nations and the United States were against that because they knew it would cause terrible problems. But Germany (and the Vatican) recognized and strongly supported Slovenia and Croatia. And against the rest of the world, the will of Germany prevailed. Croatia’s breakaway led to civil war. Then Germany managed to get America and nato to do the dirty work!
Warren Christopher, the United States secretary of state at the time, said that “the Germans bear a particular responsibility” for the Yugoslav civil war. But he was quickly silenced! And no leader in our government has made such a statement since.
In Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans, I wrote: “How could this happen without an outcry of alarm from the rest of the world?”
The U.S. wants this history of how Germany manipulated us to be forgotten. Germany now has almost full control of the whole Balkan Peninsula on the Adriatic Sea, leading right out into the Mediterranean, where Bible prophecy indicates it has much greater ambitions.
The front cover of our June 2002 Philadelphia Trumpet had a map of Yugoslavia with this headline: “First Victim of World War III.” We expanded this powerful cover story into the booklet because it was so important.
At the time, German leaders were crying out that the Serbs were committing genocide—trying to destroy whole races of people. Almost every one of those statements long ago proved to be lies! Putin is now copying the same tactics, spreading his own lies that Ukraine is carrying out genocide. It is no coincidence that he is using exactly the same excuse to invade Ukraine.
German Defense Minister Volker Rühe pressed for a firm deadline to deploy the military into Yugoslavia as quickly as possible. He said the Serbs were running concentration camps and ordering mass killings. He emphasized that the nations involved needed to avoid a situation where the Russians could veto the war. He went on to say that when nato needs to do something, we don’t need to look to Russia for support—just do it! And he convinced America, the rest of Europe and the UN that that’s the way it should be.
The Russians remember that. Vladimir Putin knows what really happened there. He just doesn’t talk about Germany as much because he knows it was America’s power that shattered Yugoslavia in the end.
What is wrong with American foreign policy when Germany can single-handedly bend us (and much of the world) to its will? What weakness there is in America!
This is a startling fulfillment of the curse God warns of in Leviticus 26:19. God promised that He would “break the pride of [our] power”—and so He has! When you know that God is cursing our power because of our sins, it becomes clear how we shift so dramatically from disagreeing with Germany and having most of the world on our side, to then giving our former allies, the Serbs, over to our former enemies, the Germans—even providing them with the power to destroy Yugoslavia!
You can see why Vladimir Putin says America is guided by the “rule of the gun.” That is our history in Yugoslavia—a shameful part of our history—and it is coming back to haunt us.
America’s actions do not justify the evil Putin is carrying out in Ukraine. But Putin’s actions do not justify our own crimes either. Nor should we avoid talking about them because Putin uses them as talking points.
Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans states, “The nato attack on Belgrade in 1999 succeeded in forcing the Yugoslav government to make peace with the Kosovo separatists.” The separation of Croatia, Slovenia and Kosovo was forced on Yugoslavia and the Serbs. That made it much harder for U.S. and other nations to criticize Putin for forcing Ukraine to part with Crimea—which in turn gave Putin a foot in the door that he could use to enter the whole country.
State by state, Yugoslavia has been conquered. Even the name Yugoslavia has been discarded—it isn’t on the map anymore! That nation has been blotted out! And all because Germany wanted it done. Is Russia now doing the same thing to Ukraine? Germany, which made Nazi puppets of Croatia and Slovenia in World War ii. Germany, which came back and recognized those two states years later and caused them to break away from Yugoslavia. Germany, which turned the world and even former allies against the Serbs and crushed them.
These facts of recent history ought to scare people, if they would just open their eyes. Forget about Bible prophecy for a moment and just look at history. An obvious and terrible warning is embedded in our own recent history! These are facts.
We wrote all about this as it happened in a booklet 20 years ago! It was exactly what we called it: Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans.
Here is what Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission, said at the time: “But in the long run, Balkans belong strictly to the EU.” German-led Europe persuaded America to do its dirty work, but then made it clear to whom the spoils belonged: not to America—not to the Serbs—not to the United Nations.
Stratfor, then one of the best intelligence reports around, pointed out in 2002 that as America disengaged from the Balkans and Germany took over, Berlin would become the dominant power not only in that region but in European defense policy as a whole. Why has Germany yearned for more than a century to control the Balkans in the first place? It is to project power far beyond that peninsula.
Stratfor even called this “a rebirth of German fascism.”
But who is really listening?
In 1999, the New York Times wrote, “Strong German support for Croatian independence from Yugoslavia, and Croatia’s adoption of the hymn ‘Danke Deutschland’ when that independence came in 1991, only reinforced Serbian misgivings” (March 26, 1999). Croatia clearly knew its revolt succeeded because of Germany. After all, they didn’t sing “Danke nato”! They didn’t sing “Danke America”! They thanked the Germans, because the Germans orchestrated all of it! And if you think Germany doesn’t have ambitions beyond the Balkans, then you don’t realize what is happening.
Many people wonder why Germany has done so little about Putin’s takeover of Ukraine. I think there is a very good reason: The Germans know what they did. And they know that Vladimir Putin also clearly understands what they did and that he is not about to back down in Ukraine! They know how they manipulated the whole world. Our marvelous booklet will explain all this for you. I hope you will request it and read it: Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans.