Magazine article New Internationalist

Eastern Europe, Russia and the Former Soviet Republics: The Unreported Year 2003

Magazine article New Internationalist

Eastern Europe, Russia and the Former Soviet Republics: The Unreported Year 2003

Article excerpt

[Map Not Transcribed]

JANUARY

SERBIA: Former Serbian President Milan Milutinovic surrenders himself to the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. Mr Milutinovic is charged with war crimes during the Serbian crackdown in Kosovo in 1999.

FEBRUARY

KOSOVO: The province's parliament angrily calls for Kosovo to become an independent state when plans are announced for it to be formally included as part of Serbia in the new union of Serbia and Montenegro - formally Yugoslavia.

MARCH

SERBIA: Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, is assassinated outside his office less than two weeks after a previous attempt failed. His successor, Zoran Zivkovic, blames organized crime.

ROMANIA: Following his disappearance a year earlier, investigative journalist losif Costinas is found dead in a forest.

APRIL

BOSNIA: 72-year-old Bilana Plavsic, former President of the Bosnian Serb Republic, is sentenced in The Hague to 11 years in prison for her part in some of the gravest crimes of the Bosnian war.

MAY

CHECHNYA: Forty people are killed when suicide bombers drive a truck laden with explosives into the local headquarters of the Russian security service, the FSB. The incident indicates Chechnya's dissatisfaction with Russia's effort at a constitutional referendum.

SLOVAKIA: A referendum reveals the strength of support for inclusion in the European Union. Out of the 52 per cent who vote, 92 per cent vote in favour.

JUNE

RUSSIA: Up to 600,000 Russians are to be moved from remote parts of Siberia and the Arctic, where the collapse of communism has meant the corresponding collapse of subsidies.

POLAND/CZECH REPUBLIC: A Polish referendum on joining the European Union draws 60 per cent of the 39 million population to vote, with 77 per cent saying yes. The result is mirrored in the Czech Republic.

JULY

RUSSIA: Chechen suicide bombers hit Moscow for the first time. Fifteen are killed after two females detonate explosives strapped to their waists at a festival attended by 40,000 people.

BOSNIA: High Representative Paddy Ashdown's exercise of absolute power in Bosnia is criticized for hindering the establishment of democracy. Lord Ashdown is accused of acting as a 'benevolent despot' and turning the country into a 'European Raj'.

AUGUST

RUSSIA - Military brutality spreads from Chechnya to the neighbouring province of Ingushetia with reports of arbitrary detention, murder and looting during 'sweep' operations conducted in Ingush villages and settlements of displaced Chechens. …

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