Political memoirs by Viktor Chernomyrdin "Challenge" about settlement of a conflict in Yugoslavia in 1999 was presented in Moscow on Monday, November 17. As Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov emphasised at the presentation, it was a struggle not only for Yugoslavia, but also for a future world order, for the future shape of the world and whether it will be ruled by right or might.
Ivanov finds "unacceptable" a previous view that Russia "hoodwinked" somebody in the course of the Kosovo crisis. "Russia did not try to outsmart anyone in the Balkans, our policy was one of preventing a war and then of ending it," Ivanov stressed.
Viktor Chernomyrdin, who in 1999 was the Russian president's envoy for settlement of the Yugoslav crisis, told journalists that this year's events in Iraq had prompted him to write the memoirs. In Chernomyrdin's view, developments in Iraq were a replica of events in Kosovo. "What was done in Yugoslavia began to be quietly forgotten. What remained are only the tears of Kosovo Albanians, Serbs and members of other nationalities," Chernomyrdin said.
But touching on the analogy between Yugoslav and Iraqi events, he emphasised that "the situation in Europe has now changed, and not everyone is fulfilling this scenario", meaning the position of a number of European countries on the Iraqi issue.
Going back to events in Kosovo in 1999, Chernomyrdin added that without Russia that conflict was impossible to solve. "It was Russia's moves that stopped the process of sliding down into serious consequences," he said.
The book "Challenge" gives a chronology of developments, describes talks held at that time, and contains official documents.