2004, Kosovo

The Current Situation in Kosovo

The Current Situation in Kosovo

Liz Griffin

After the NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999 an agreement led to the total withdrawal of Serbian troops, but independence for Kosovo was never an option. In 1999 the UN became the de facto government. There is still no decision, however, on whether Kosovo will become independent at some point in the future, or gain some special status within Yugoslavia. One basic problem is that the Kosovar Albanians want independence but the Serbs will not countenance this. There is a nominal framework in place in Kosovo for the Kosovars to run their own affairs, but in the absence of a decision on the future fate of the country this is not happening, and the UN is still running everything. There has been no progress in passing new laws or improving the political structures. In 1999 Kosovo was in fact a failed state. The Serbs had gone and the Albanians were debarred from participation in government for ten years. Education, social welfare, the military and the police had all collapsed.

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2004, Croatia

Religious Legislation in Croatia and the Catholic Church

Religious Legislation in Croatia and the Catholic Church

Davorin Peterlin

Croatia has just received permission to seek entry to the European Union. The aim is to achieve membership in 2007 along with Romania and Bulgaria.

In 1966 a Protocol between the Yugoslav government and the Vatican had a spill-over effect leading to greater freedom for all religions in Yugoslavia. In 1967 Billy Graham held a three-day rally in Zagreb, the first in any communist country, and 1968 saw the first Croatian translation of the Bible done within the country. (Other translations had been done since the seventeenth century, but none in recent history, and all abroad.)

The census of 2001 revealed that the population of Croatia had actually declined over the previous decade. It had also become more homogeneously Catholic: from 76·6 per cent of the population in 1991 to 88 per cent in 2001. The second largest denomination, the Serbian Orthodox, had declined from 7·6 per cent to 4·4 per cent. All other religions remained as very small minorities.

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2004, Central Asia

The Current Situation in Former Soviet Central Asian Republics

The Current Situation in the Former
Soviet Central Asian Republics

Shirin Akiner


‘Central Asia’ is a very vague geographical concept, but I shall be concentrating on the five former Soviet states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. Together they cover an area eight times the size of France. Their total population is about 55 million. However, human settlement is very unevenly distributed. The physical environment in much of this territory is harsh; the potentially fertile areas need a great deal of water. As a result, water management is a critical issue, presenting opportunities for communal effort and cooperation, but also for dispute and conflict.

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