Could Russia Save Yugoslavia in 1999?

On each anniversary of the beginning of NATO's military aggression against Yugoslavia, a long-standing dispute flares up with renewed vigor in the domestic media and expert circles, which does not exist and, it seems, will never end. Should Russia at that fateful moment support the “fraternal Balkan people” by all available means, disregarding the possible consequences of such a step? Or the position of non-interference taken by its leadership, and, in fact, connivance with "Western partners" was the only realistic line of behavior at that time and during that militarypolitical the situation in Russia and the world that developed at the time the North Atlantic Alliance unleashed the first war in Europe after 1945?

For many, the answers to these questions sound completely unambiguous, and look absolutely obvious. Nevertheless, in this case, everything is much more complicated than it might seem at first glance. And even on the second or third ... The problem is that both the Allied Force operation and the events in Yugoslavia that led to it, and, moreover, the actions (or, if you prefer, inaction) of Russia should be considered in the context of events, which began much earlier and continues literally to this day.

How it was...

Perhaps the only thing that really does not allow for double interpretation and divergence in assessments is the essence of NATO's actions towards a sovereign state that in no way threatened any of its members. Of course, this was not any "humanitarian intervention", as Brussels and Washington are trying to repeat about it to this day, but a real military aggression, all the more illegal, since it did not receive even such a dubious "fig" leaf as a cover. as a UN mandate. There is no need to talk about the infliction of missile and bomb strikes on civilian objects, the death of civilians, the use of prohibited types of weapons by the Alliance (including those that led to the radioactive contamination of significant territories of Serbia).

All these are well-known truths, many times confirmed and recognized as reliable. As, by the way, the fact that the incident used by NATO to start the aggression and presented in 1999 as evidence of "ethnic cleansing against the Albanians" had nothing to do with them, and in general, most likely, it was a very well-organized staging It is clear to the special services which country ... All this, I repeat, is already commonplace, and it makes no sense to talk about it for the thousandth time. Much more important for us is Moscow's reaction to the illegal actions of NATO and its specific manifestations. And before starting a conversation on this topic, one should immediately admit that Russia's position on the “Yugoslav issue” has undergone very serious transformations during different stages of the conflict in this country. In fact, everything changed from the stage "we can, but we do not want" to the stage "we want, but we cannot" ...

Let's be frank - Russia did not make effective efforts to preserve the SFRY in 1991-1992. Our representatives in the UN Security Council faithfully voted for the adoption of sanctions and an embargo against Yugoslavia. To please the "Western partners" Moscow complacently recognized the independence of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Moreover, our troops participated in the "peacekeeping operation" carried out on the territory of the last two countries within the framework of the UNPROFOR mission in the most literal sense of the word, shoulder to shoulder with NATO soldiers. Well, of course - after all, in this case, everything was done under a UN mandate ...

The whole point was that during this period Russia was desperately, struggling to integrate into the "world community" - as they say, to enter it "even as a carcass, even as a stuffed animal." That is why Moscow accepted absolutely any rules of the game imposed by its “senior partners” from the West, while national interests were completely ignored - both in domestic and foreign policy. Until a certain stage, the Kremlin seems to have firmly believed in the promises made to Gorbachev that “NATO will not expand to the East”, “Russia will get an effective economic help ”that our country will be at least somewhat reckoned with when making global geopolitical decisions. Well, and in many of the same fairy tales, which no one had ever even thought of. Subsequently, when things in the former Yugoslavia began to take a completely nasty turn and the air clearly smelled of war, our country, like, by the way, the representatives of China, tried to vote against something in the same Security Council, to protest and “angrily condemn”. However, in the end it turned out that these pitiful attempts did not impress anyone at all and did not interest anyone at all. The United States finally became the "decision-making center", and the North Atlantic Alliance completely controlled by it wanted to spit on some kind of Russians and Chinese ...

... How could it be ...

Supporters of the opinion that our country had to "defend the Serb brothers with our breasts" are trying to prove that our S-24 air defense systems could easily "break off the horns" of the "Union Force" that broke out on March 1999, 300. if, of course, they were available on Yugoslav territory and if our military specialists were present in the calculations there, at least as commanders. As you know, the word “if” usually begins completely empty conversations. I will not argue that the information that the S-300s were offered to Milosevic back in 1996-1997 is fully consistent with reality - as payment for the USSR's debt to the SFRY. However, the Serbs themselves abandoned this option, as a result of which they were left at the time of the NATO attack without modern air defense systems. This is very similar to the truth. As for the delivery of our air defense systems at a later time, such a possibility was blocked by the embargo "sanctified" by the UN, for which, I repeat, our representatives also voted for. Moscow did not dare to violate it.

Some people are inclined to see another “window of opportunity” for saving the “brotherly people” from the bombs and missiles of the North Atlantic Alliance in the appeal of the Yugoslav parliament to the State Duma with a request to admit the FRY to the Union State of Russia and Belarus. Then, I remember, our deputies fervently supported this spiritual impulse generated by despair, and Boris Yeltsin "hacked to death" the whole case, flatly refused to even consider such a possibility, as well as the question of sending Russian military advisers and weapons to the conflict zone. Well, idealism is a good thing, of course, but what would follow the decision of the State Duma, which showed it, lead in reality?

Let me remind you that the FRY parliamentarians turned to Russia on April 12, 1999 with a corresponding request - that is, already when the Allied Force was deployed with might and main. In fact, our country was directly and unequivocally asked to enter the war with the North Atlantic Alliance on the side of the Serbs. Interstate agreements of this level are not signed on the knee, in a fire order. Some of our compatriots are still confident that the mere fact of Moscow's consent to Belgrade's proposal would “cool the hot heads in NATO” and stop the aggression. Oh, is it? Taking into account the then state of the Russian Armed Forces, which we will talk about a little below, the real role and place of our country in the international “layouts”, all the previous openly capitulating behavior of its leadership, one can probably assume a completely different scenario. The angry reaction of the "world community" in the form of the toughest sanctions (and it would be good if only them!) Would have come down on Russia. And as for the prospects for the transfer of any of our contingents to confront NATO ...

To this day, presented as the only heroic page of Russian participation in the events in the Balkans at that time, the truly brilliant operation of the Russian paratroopers, who took the Slatina airport with a swift rush, has some even non-heroic episodes. As far as is known, this escapade was to be followed by the transfer of several battalions of our Airborne Forces to this area. In Serbia, thus, a certain "Russian enclave" would be formed, on the territory of which its inhabitants would be protected both from Albanian militants and from NATO fighters who indulge them. At the same time, an unspoken agreement was allegedly reached with Romania and Hungary, which agreed to "not notice" the following Russian military transport aircraft with a landing force and technique... But nothing came of it ...

... And how could not be

According to some direct participants in these dramatic events, the information about the impending operation was "leaked" to the Americans and NATO by the then Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. As a result, both the Hungarians and the Romanians tightly closed their airspace for Russian military flights - after all, they were then already members of the North Atlantic Alliance. There is no doubt - exactly the same fate would have befallen any attempts to transfer really serious military forces and equipment to Yugoslavia - the same S-300 air defense systems. They simply would not be allowed, having been warned in advance from Moscow. Break through with a fight ?! Now is the time to honestly admit what the Russian army was in 1999. Her condition at this moment was best characterized by two words: "collapse" and "defeat". The previous years of "reforming" the country's Armed Forces, which boiled down, for the most part, to their total reduction, the theft of their property and the targeted destruction of the military-industrial complex, made themselves felt by the hardest experience of the First Chechen, which proved that the country had a combat-ready army, in fact, no.

Let me cite just a few specific figures: by the time we are talking about, the number of the Russian Armed Forces had decreased by almost a third. The country's military budget has "shrunk" by half. By 1997, the output of defense products by the domestic military-industrial complex had decreased by 90%. It is not surprising - after all, the volume of state orders for armaments and military equipment decreased by 1991 times only in 1994-8. Fight NATO in 1999 ?! Yes, after the default and the most severe crisis of 1998, the army did not have money even to conduct the most ordinary exercises! The troops lacked not only ammunition and fuel and lubricants, but uniforms and food to feed the soldiers. Even the resources of the emergency reserve were used up by 50-60%. Collapse and horror ...

In addition, let us not forget that a large grouping of the Russian army (according to some sources, up to 30% of its ground forces) continued to operate in Chechnya. And there is no doubt that if our country entered into a confrontation with NATO in the Balkans, an "asymmetric response" in the Caucasus would follow immediately. However, even without it, the real prospects of Russia's confrontation with the North Atlantic Alliance in 1999 look very sad. Various "experts" today allow themselves to assert that "NATO would never have dared to conduct a ground operation if Milosevic had not surrendered himself." They say that the ground forces of Yugoslavia were affected by the missile and bomb strikes by a negligible percentage, retained their combat effectiveness and would have arranged "hell on earth" for the Americans and their allies. It's kind of hard to believe, to tell the truth.

First, let's not forget about the Alliance contingent of 30, and later 50 thousand "bayonets", located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, neighboring Serbia. Secondly, thousands of American warriors were deployed to its borders, and with the appropriate weapons and military equipment. Yes, neither Washington nor Brussels wanted a ground operation. However, her plan (called "B-minus") was developed and approved. So it is hardly appropriate to say that “if the Russians and NATO had intervened, it would have left Belgrade alone”. Alas, they were not afraid of us then, and they did not respect us, by and large, either. “Primakov's U-turn”, presented by some almost as a “deafening slap in the face of the United States” —that's all we were really capable of at that time. And as for the Serbs ... But Russia has already rushed to save them once - in 1914. How did it end, I hope no one has forgotten? In 1999, things could have turned out even more sad.

I ask you not to consider everything written above as an attempt to substantiate the conclusion that Russia's non-intervention in the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999 was correct. On the contrary, everything that happened then was absolutely, categorically NOT right. And it gave rise to terrifying geopolitical changes, the consequences of which we continue to "disentangle" to this day. It was then, in 1999, that the notorious “unipolar world” was finally formed, in which the “chosen ones” are allowed everything, and the rest - nothing. The tragedies of Libya and Iraq, the string of "color revolutions" around the world, the incessant attempts of the "collective West" to push Russia around - all this originates precisely in that fateful year.

With all this, it is necessary to take a sober look at things and admit that in the realities of that time, our country was simply incapable of anything else. For bombs and missiles from NATO planes not to hit Belgrade on March 24, 1999, there should have been no coming to power of Gorbachev and Yeltsin, “perestroika” and the collapse of the USSR, the hardest years of humiliation and destruction of Russia. But it would be, you see, a completely different story ...
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  1. Valentine Offline Valentine
    Valentine (Valentin) 27 March 2021 12: 39
    Because of our three "bastard rulers, Khrushchev, Gorbachev and Yeltsin, everything in our country went awry: at the first" maize ", because of his" Khrushchev slush ", where he wanted to whitewash himself from the crimes he had committed earlier, we quarreled with China, and with Yugoslavia, and under the latter we lost our great country, the USSR, and plunged Russia into the deepest abyss of crisis everywhere and in everything, and they no longer cared about Cuba, or Vietnam, or Yugoslavia, or anything. another, which would have benefited Russia, which was splitting at that time, and they had only one thing in mind - to please the West and the United States .... Do you remember Chernomyrdin's dashing trick on a visit to America, who "loudly" deployed his plane over the Atlantic when The United States began bombing Yugoslavia, and what came of it .... That's how we talk about ..... our next ally, and we could, albeit with problems, and when we didn't have them, but save Belgrade from bombing and disintegration.
  2. Natan bruk Offline Natan bruk
    Natan bruk (Nathan Brook) 27 March 2021 13: 39
    What Necropny does not understand - both in politics and in economics. At the same time, he never admits that it is stupid. And as for Yugoslavia, objective historians know that the collapse of Yugoslavia and everything that followed happened because Tito did not a worthy successor was found, and the oak-headed national communist Milosevic came to power, who behaved in such a complex multinational country like an elephant in a china shop with a predictable result. Under Tito, Yugoslavia flourished and had excellent relations with the West. Relations with the USSR were rather cool, but in general, it was quite possible to get along, and Tito was able to preserve interethnic peace. Alas, Tito could not prepare a worthy replacement for himself.
  3. Alexzn Offline Alexzn
    Alexzn (Alexander) 27 March 2021 15: 45
    Quote: Valentine
    Remember Chernomyrdin's dashing feint

    You are burning!
  4. Dukhskrepny Offline Dukhskrepny
    Dukhskrepny (Vasya) 27 March 2021 15: 57
    The USSR was the key to the successful existence of Yugoslavia
  5. Alexzn Offline Alexzn
    Alexzn (Alexander) 27 March 2021 16: 15
    On each anniversary of the start of NATO's military aggression against Yugoslavia

    In fact, the aggression was against Serbia, and the word Yugoslavia should not be misleading, this is not the SFRY, but the FRY - a fragment of the former state.

    "Ethnic cleansing against the Albanians", he had nothing to do with them, and in general, most likely, it was a very well-organized staging of the special services, it is clear which country ...

    Precisely, it was the Bosnians and Kosovars who cleaned themselves ...
  6. Eskimo Offline Eskimo
    Eskimo (Gera) 28 March 2021 06: 46
    Not supporting Milosevic, and supporting Erdogan are in the same vein of myopic foreign policy, the vein according to which Stalin would refuse to see what's coming from Hitler.
  7. Cyril Offline Cyril
    Cyril (Kirill) 28 March 2021 16: 53
    Necropny again throws on the fan and cries about what is already impossible to fix.

    Well, such an attack will affect the "emperts" and "communists", yes :)
  8. trampoline instructor (Cotriarch Peril) 28 March 2021 21: 00
    - Russia did not make effective efforts to preserve the SFRY in 1991-1992.

    )) In June 1990, announcing the supremacy of its "democratic" laws over the laws of the "totalitarian center", Russia in those "saints" 1991-1992 carved out sovereignty for itself, chanted "Yeltsin - White House - Freedom!" She “released prices” and began “market economy” under the guidance of a damp comrade-gentleman who was often wiping his sweating bald head, who understood this “market” like a pig in oranges. Which SFRY? What kind of conservation?

    "Could Russia have saved ..."? Absolutely unscientific setting of the topic, the history of the subjunctive mood does not know. It was as it was. And the point.
  9. trampoline instructor (Cotriarch Peril) 28 March 2021 21: 12
    Quote: Valentine
    And remember Chernomyrdin's dashing trick on a visit to America, who "loudly" deployed his plane over the Atlantic when the United States began bombing Yugoslavia, and what came of it ...

    I don't remember Chernomyrdin's feint, I remember Primakov's feint.
    I often get the impression that various absurdities are deliberately written here, since amendments to these absurdities increase the number of comments.
  10. Why save these stinky Serbs? They always thought we were fools, so Yeltsin did the right thing - he sent them Black Muzzle to force them to do hand-hoh
  11. Nicholay Ivanitsky (Nicholai Ivanitsky) 31 March 2021 13: 16
    A federated system is a nightmare just waiting in the wings.
    I agree with Zhirinovsky that we need to go over to a unitary system.
    Otherwise, we will not save Russia.
  12. Anna Tim Offline Anna Tim
    Anna Tim (Anna) April 10 2021 22: 01
    Quote: Valentine
    save Belgrade from

    You are absolutely right, you couldn't say better. Our rulers bowed before the West betrayed not only our people, but also the brotherhood of all our allies. Disgracers, thieves and traitors, led by the drunkard Yeltsin!
    1. Alex_Random Offline Alex_Random
      Alex_Random (Alexey) April 14 2021 00: 29
      No one was prevented from going to Serbia and dying there. Why didn't you go?
      The country had no money to wage wars, and so the paratroopers fought there as peacekeepers.
      1. Anna Tim Offline Anna Tim
        Anna Tim (Anna) April 14 2021 11: 28
        Quote: Alex_Random
        The country had no money to fight wars.

        You are wrong. Not everything had yet been plundered and cut for scrap. We could have prevented the bombing of Belgrade. But Yeltsin did not lift a finger.
  13. Alex_Random Offline Alex_Random
    Alex_Random (Alexey) April 14 2021 00: 26
    Tens of thousands more lives of our guys and contingent in the country? Well, why is it necessary?
  14. Solomon Offline Solomon
    Solomon (alexey salomon) April 17 2021 04: 50
    "...... How could it be ..." Yeah, but if my grandmother had ... wink