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From Pristina to Tskhinvali: the legacy of Operation Allied Force in Russia's relations with the West

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This article reviews the main developments in the Kosovo crisis in the context of relations between Russia and NATO/the West. For Moscow, Operation Allied Force constituted a flagrant breach of international law, a threat to post-Cold War European security governance and a challenge to Russia's status in the international order. Official Russian interpretations, heavily influenced by domestic politics, reflect a perception among Russia's political elite that, rather than upholding liberal democratic values, NATO's intervention constituted a selective defence of the interests of the leading western powers.

Such views have influenced Moscow's position on the thorny question of Kosovo's independence and Russia's more assertive foreign and security policy in the recent period, not least in the conflict over South Ossetia in August 2008. Ultimately, Operation Allied Force resulted in the Russian governing elite reassessing its views on statehood, the international order and the norms underpinning international society.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham.

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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