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Aleksanteri Conference







Kaakkuriniemi, Tapani

Multiple otherness: Yugoslav nationalities in Zwischeneuropa

The place of Yugoslavia in Europe after the 2nd World War, both geographically and mentally understood, was difficult to define. Immediately after the defeat of Germany, the kingdom was taken over by the communists, but soon the break-up with Stalin was evident. The political independence from the USSR could not be effectively utilized for many reasons. In this paper, emphasis is laid on the question of belonging of the Yugoslav nationalities: all of them, excluding Albans in Kosovo and Metohija, are Slavs, but only Serbs feel to belong to the community of Eastern Slavs together with Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians. Under the Cold War, this common destiny, however, was kept away from political scene. The absence of ethnic issues was congruent with the Soviet ideology, and on its part it helped the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to maintain its united and uniform structure. The end of the Cold War reached Yugoslavia remarkably later than the rest of Europe, and the echoes of polarization of the East and West continued up to the end of the 1990s. The main question of the paper is, which factors affected to the fact that pan-Slavic attitudes were kept silent under the Cold War, but emerged on the agenda immediately when the dissolution of the FRY became true. On the other hand, pan-Slavism inside the FRY did not flourish, either, because of the historical disputes of the Balkan nationalities and because of the experiences of the World War II. Thus, historically taken, pan-Slavism only appeared in the 1870s, then in the eve of the First World War, and shortly after the Cold War. Secondly, the otherness of the Slavic nations in the Balkan will be examined using the Western and Eastern European discourses.

Thursday 29 Oct 11.15-12.45 SESSION 1
Panel: Party, Flag, and Tribe: the Politics of Ethnicity