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UDK32 rosuHaXX vol.4l.

CPICKA rIOII WTWqKA MI4CAO
SE,RBIAN POLITICAL
ISSN 03s4-s9ti9

THOUGHT

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9)

Dontino effect
The consequences of recognition of l(osovo independence by
one (smaller) part of the international community are already (and

Vladislov B. Sotirovii

KOSOVO AND THE CAUCASUS: A DOMINO EFFECT
The goal of this research is to investigate and conrpare the interethnic and interstate clashes and wars in the Balkan micro region

Kosovo-Metohiia with those fronr the macro region of the Caucasus. After February 200g when l(osovo Albanian-dominated Parliament proclaimed Kosovo independence (rvithout organizing a referenda) with obvions US diplomatic support (unilateral recognition) with explanation that the Kosovo case is unique in the World (i.e., it will be not repeated
again) one can ask the question: is

of

of both the Nagorno-Karabakh
r)

going to be in the future) visible prirnarily in the Caucasus because of the very similar problenrs and situation in these fwo regions.r) At the Caucasus region (where some 50 different ethnolinguistic groups are living together) a self-proclailned state independence is already done by Abkhazia and South Ossetia only several months after the self-proclairned independence oltlre "Republic of Kosova",2) following the pattern
"[Oz<rryro Occerurc cMepllu4 KocoBcxrl\t B3rn,r.rloM". Kant.uepcaunt, 15. I l. 2006: http://www. lcomnrersant. rr.r/doc/72 I 626.

2\

the problern of the southern Serbian province of Kosovo-Metochia really unique and surely unrepeatable in some other parts of the

world, according to Kosovo Milristrv ot'
Forcign Aliairs. who rccognizctl this tcrrias an independent state. Among thenl arc and 26 EIJ mcnrbcr states. l.lowcvcr, Kosovo is not still a member of any international political. economic or sport organization- Thg firsl two statcs which rccilgnized Kosovo proclanration of independcncc in Fcbruary 2008 rvcre Atghanistan and the USA. 'l'he nunrber of states rvho really recognized Kosovo independence is vcry qucstionablc.

Up todav there are about | 00 states in tlre

tory

World as the US adnrinistration was trying to convince the rest of
the international comnrunity?

231

3/201 3, eoduua XX, ceectca

4I

.

23t-24t.

(forrnally a province in Azerbaijan) in l99l and Kosovo in 2008. The experts fi'orn the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed in 2007 tl'teir real fear that in the case of the USA and the EU unilateral recognition of Kosovo independence the same unilateral diplomatic act could be irlplied by Moscorv by recognition

effect in international relations. It is also known and from official OSCE sources that Russian
delegates

sation and as a result of domino

in this pan-European

a rnatter of diplomatic
flpaoocnarne cuerhlbe
ua l(ocoey
r,l

of Abkhazia and South Ossetia

as

compen-

security organization have been constantly warning before 2008 the West that such scenario is quite possible, but with one peculiarity: from 2007 they stopped to mention possibility of the Russian recognition of the Nagorno-Kara-

Meroxujr

\, 1a;ra.

,;

ANSAHHJA

..:&*i.:,r,*

MA'(EAOHNJA

i\,,.,,"""' A map of Kosovo (and Metochia) with main serbian mediaevar churches and monasteries (source: www.kosovo.net)
232

bakh's self-proclaimed independence (on September 2",1, lggl). It is rnost probably for the reason that Moscor.v does not want (up to now) to deteriorate good relations with Azerbaijan - a country with huge reserues of natural gas and
oil.
Why the South Ossetia could be dffirent?

On the first glance

it

can be
as

said that the Orthodox South Os-

setians are equally separatist

the Muslim Kosovo

Albanians.

However, the Soutlr Ossetians are

having sympathies towards the
Serbs (not fbr the reason that both of theur are the Ortlrodox Christians). but not towards, as we could expect, separatist l(osovo Albanians. The real reason of such syrnpathies is similar legal state rights applied by both the Serbs in Kosovo and the South Ossetians.r) Historically, the South Ossetia was never really integral and authentic part of sovereign Georgian state, in contrast to Kosovo-Metochia lvhich was not only integral, but culturally and politically the most irnportant region of the medieval Serbian state (called as the Ancient Serbia or Serbia proper) till 1455 when Kosovo-Metochia became occupied by the Ottourans. The present-day terri3) There is a clairn that the Ossetians are only
Europcan nation in thc Caucasus. hut thii claint is up to now not scientificallv provcd. Thc Ossetians thcmsclvcs bclicve tr: originate iiom the Sarnratian tribe of AIarrs. The Ossetiarrs speak a language that is remotcly rclatcd to the Persian.

tory of Georgia was never before it entered Russia a firmly united state territory in contrast to Serbia which before it lost independence in 1459 was having a long period of experience of the unified state territory with Kosovo-Metochia as its center'. When Serbia de.faclo regained its independence frorl the Ottoman Enrpire at the beginning of the l9,r' century Qle iure confirnred by the European Great Powers at the Berlirr Congress in I 878) it was known for her rulers and politicians which historical territories belonged to her with Kosovo-Metochia on the first place. The present day territory of Georgia entered the Russian Empire in pafts - segment by segntent. Ossetia as united territory (i.e., not divided into the Northern
and the Southern Ossetia as today situation is) became (according to

the Russian historiography) voluntarily part of the Russian Empire in 1774. In the other words, the Russian Ernpress Catherine the Great (1762-1796), in order to be surely convinced that the
Ossetians are really independerrt, befbre incorporation of this pro-

vince into the Russian Empire
sent a special commission which infornred St. Petersburg that "the Ossetians are free people subordinated to no one".

Z)J

CNM

3/201 3, eoduHq XX, clecKa 41.

23t-24t

of the Caucasus

,=

A geopotiticat map of the d;;, of the Caucasus in 2008 (sou rce: wlyw.wikipedia.org) Georgia itself became paft of ossetia (the Northern and the sothe Russian Empire in 1804 (27 uthern) never existed before 1994. years later then ossetia). This Regarding the Kosovo AIfact is the most important argu- banian case, it is known that the ment used by the South Ossetians Albanians started to settle themin their dispute with the Georgian selves in the region of Kosovoauthorities, The Southe.n na,i of Metochia from the present_day Ossetia was given to be admini- Northern Albania only after the Ftrst Great Migration stered by Georgia only in ,n. us-Serbian SR bv decision of 8fi:"J"'X Communists - J. V. Stalin, Sergei S..liu therd were no Albanians in Ordzonikidze and Avelj Enukind- Kosovo_Metochia in any signifi_ ze. It has to be also stressed that cant number (only 2%o icco-rding the border between two parts of to the ottoman census in 1455). It

,,i.,c1.s11 i:r,rff

lf.t?ili;;r:;

234

should be also said that, according

to several Byzantine and Arab sources, the Balkan Albanians are

originating from the

Caucasus

Albania - in the 9th century they left the Caucasus and have been settled by the Arabs in the West Sicily (and rhe South ltaly) which they left in 1043 and carne to the Balkans. Tlre borders of KosovoMetochia were established for the first time by the Yugoslav Commurrist authorities in 1945, r,vho in fact separated this province fiom the rest of Serbia together with the Province of Vojvodina. In addition, the Yugoslav Comnrunist People's Assembly issued the decree accordirrg to wlrich it was forbidden for about 100.000 expelled Serbs fi-om Kosovo-Metochia during the Second World War by the Albanian authorities to return back to the province. That rvas the begirrning of a great charrge of the popr.rlation structure of the province in the Albanian favour in the Socialist Yugoslavia. The people of the South Ossetia on the referendum about the future of the USSR on March I 7'r'. l99l voted for existence of the Soviet Union (like the Serbs upon Yugoslavia, but and Kosovo Albanians on referelrdunr to become an independent from Serbia like Ceorgians from the USSR).ar
-1) 'l'he
bv Geolgia as illegal like Kosovo Albanian rclcrendum is also callcd hv Scrbian authorities as not legally based. At tlre rrotitent ol thc Kosovo Albanian rcl'crendunr this South Serbian province did not have any political autonorny. Kosovo-Metochia cn joycd vcry widc political autoSouth Ossetian rel'erendutn is called

The referendum on March 17,r,, l99l was organized two months after Georgian arnry started the war against the South Ossetia in which till Septenrber of the sanre year 86 Ossetian villages have been burrred. It is calculated that more than 1.000 Ossetians lost their lives and around 12.000 Ossetians er-nigrated fronr the South to the North (Russia's) Ossetia. This is the point of similariry with expelled around 250.000 Serbs frorn Kosovo by the Albanian the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army after the NATO peace-keeping troops entered and de ./'ac/o occupied this province in June
1999.

A state independence of the Republic of South Ossetia was proclainred on May 29,r,, lgg2. Howeveq this legal act has not been understood as a "separatist" one for tlre reason that at that tinre Georgia was not recognized by no one state in the world as an independent one and Georgia was ltot a mernber of the United Nations. However, in contrast to the case of the South Ossetia, tlre unilateral proclamation of the state independence of Kosovo by Albanians on February 18,h, 2008
it lvas cancelled by Bclgradc in ordcr to prcvcnt scparation ofthe province lronr the rest oltlle country. It was lcl't to Kosovo-Mc(rchia aftcr 1989 the cultural and school autononty fbr the local Albarrians - the risht which thcy enjol,e( in lv{ontcncgro onj th. FyR
nonry urrtil 1989 when

Macedonia. The South Ossetia rvas ncvcr cnjoying such rvidc political autonomy lsemi-independence) in the USSR as it rvas the case of Kosovo-Metochia in
Yugoslavia

of

till

I

989

235

CII M 6poj 3/20 I 3, eoduua XX, ceecra

4L

cmp.23l-241

of self-proclaimed the Republic of Serbian l(rayina in l99l fronr Croatia)5). Differently from the case of Georgia, when the South Ossetia proclairned the state independence in May 1992, Serbia
in 2008, when the Albanian dominated Parliament of Kosovo proclaimed the state independence, was arl irrternationally recognized independent state and a nrentber

cannot be treated by the international conrnrunity as a legitinrate act (without pernrission by Belgrade) as Kosovo by the international law and agreernents is an integral part of Serbia (the same legal reason was applied by the international community to the case

point, there is a similarity between political claims of both stares - Serbia and Georgia with one significant difference: historical rights of Serbia over Kosovo-Metochia are much rnore stronger in comparison with the same rights of Georgia over the South Ossetia (and Abkhazia). In the other lvords, Kosovo-Metochia was all the tinre. from historical, cultural. state and identity point of views, a
central/proper part of Serbia, wh ile both the South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been just borderland provinces of Georgia.

Internat io nalsys tent of govern in g 1ncl sep0r0 tion
The rnain argument for the western politicians upon Kosovo independence, as "unique case" of Kosovo situation. is the fact that

of the United Nations. This is a colrrnon point of similarity bef
ween the Ossetians and the Serbs as the nations: both of them are fighting against separation of one part of their national body and the land fi'om the rnotherland. However, Tbilisi is doing the same like Belgrade, fronr this point of view.

according to "Kurnanovo Agreenlent" between Miloshevi6's
Serbia and the NATO signed on June l0'r', 1999, and the UN Resolutiorr of 1244 (following this
agreement), Kosovo is put under the UN protectorate with ilnposed international systenr of governing and security. However, such "argument" does not work in the case of the South Ossetia as the Ossetians are governilrg their land by themselves and much nrore

i.e. clairning that the South Ossetia (and Abkhazia) is historical and state part of Georgia.6t In this
s)

i\bout the case ol'the Republic ol'Serbian Krayina see: typrrli. Benro M.. Pery'6tuxa Cpncxa Kpcjuna. fletent toduua nocn1je, ,,)\o6pa oo.iua" Ecorpar, Eeoryar, 2005. t{egarding the case of destruction of ex-Yugoslavia in the 1990s. see: Cuskova, Jelena. lstoriia jugoslovenske kri:e (1990-2000). I-lT, HIAM, Beograd,
2003.

6)

3%. Ossctians 3%. it 1993 it rvas 1.16.000 retugees in Georgia. At the sarre time about one million persons left Georgia, live in brcak-alvay regions or rvcre cxpellud alicr

According to 989 data, ethnic bleakdown of'Georgia was: tlrc Ceorgians 69%. Armenians 97o. Ilussians 5%, Azerbaijanis
1

successfully in comparison with "internationally" (i.e., the NATO) protected Kosovo. It was quite visible in March 2004 when inter1989 (lvek6vic. lvan, lirlmic, artd llegional ConJticts in Yugoslavia and Tran,scaucasio: ,1 Political Econonry ofClontentporary Ethnonalional lvlobilizatior, [.,ongo Editorc Ravcnna, Ravcnna, 2000, p. I 8).

236

national organizations and military troops could not (i.e., did not want to)7) protect the ethnic Serbs Kosovo-Metochia fi.om violent attacks organized by the Iocal Albanians wlten during three days (Marclt ll-19,r') 4.000 Serbs exiled. more than 800 Serbian houses are set on fire and 35 Serbian Orthodox churches and cultural monurreltts were destroyed or being severely damaged. The "March Pogrom" of 2004 revealed the real situation in the region of Kosovo-Metochia. The position of tlre South Ossetians in an independent Georgia fiom I99l to August 2008 could be compared with position of the Serbs in Kosovo-Metochia after June 1999 under the total Albanian dornination. The fact is that tlre South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Pridnestrovjes) showed rnuch more politi71
Neue Ziircher Zeitung. 14. 05. 2004.

in

for the reason tl:at they sl:owed

cal-legal bases and capabilities to be recognized as an independent

the international conrntunify

real ability to govern themselves alone and not by the international organizations as in the case of the Albanian-governed Kosovo (the "Republic of Kosova" from February 2008) after June I 999. They also proved much ntore denlocracy and respect for human and minority rights in comparison with the Albanian-mled Kosovo.e) There are several similarities. but also and dissirnilarities between conflicts in the Nagorno-Karabakh and Kosovo. In both cases
is

dealing with autonorny of a con'lpact national minority who is making a majority on the land in question and having its own national independent state out of this territory. Both the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians and the Kosovo Albanians do not want to accept any

8)

An unrccognizcd thc Republic of pridncstrov.ie. the break-away region of the llepublic of Moldova is very good cxamplc
of transitional. or uncornpleted statehood. It is de focto not under Moldovan control, possessing all ftrrmal aU.r'ihutcs o['a sovereign state, like the "Republic ofKosova". Pridncstrovjc. or Tralrsdniestria. lirrrns part ofthe world-rvide belt of"pseudo states" (Kolossov, Vladirnir, "A Srnall State vs a Scll'-Proclaimed Rcpublic: Nation13uilding. 'l'erritorial Identities and prospccts ol'Conllict Rcsolurion (Thc Casc of' IVol dova-'l'ransdniestria)", Il ianch in i, Stefano, (ed.), From the Atlriutic lo the Cauca,sus: The D7'nonics ol (De)Stabili:otion,

other solution except separation and internationally recognized independence. Both conflicts are in fact continuations of old historic 9)
On the issue of vrolatiorr of mirroriq, rights

in Albanian-governed Kosovo-Metochia.
including and the policl, of ethnic cleansing, sce. lirr instancc: The l4orch Pogront irt Kosoyo and lr4etohija (lv,larclt l7-19, 2004) vith d sum'et) of destrt4ted und endange rcd C hr ist ia n cu I tura I her i to ge. Belr grade, 20041 Hofbauer. Hannes. Experimett Kosot'o. Die Riickker des Koloniolisrlls, Wien: 2008: 9ynlrlt, Mupxo, Onrcmo

l-ongo liditore Ravenna, Ravenna, 2001. p. 87). Ahkhuia. the South Ossetia and Pridnestrov.je are the only "states" in the world rvho recognized the self-proclaimed indcpcndcncc ol'thc Repuhl ic ot'Nagornountil today by
tes.

Karahakh in 1991. I.Iowever, it is not done an,v ol the UN Member Sta-

3eulbtt. Kocoao u l,lenoxuja (t;rouuuu. npo.,oHu, gmnopu). LIo,rrrr. Eeorpan. 200(r. pp. 387--388. Such policy olviolation o['minority rights including and cth-

nic cleansing, at least at such extent, is not recorded in the cases ot'the South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Pridncstrovje.

237

CTIM

3/20I 3, loiuuo XX. clectia I

I

231-24t

serbian orthodox church in Kosovo tlestroyed in 199912001 by Muslim Albanians (source: www.kosovo.net)
struggles between two ditl'erent civilizations: the Muslim Turkish and the Christian Byzantine. ln both conflicts the international organizations are included as the mediators. Sonre of them are the sanre - France, the USA and Russia as the menrbers of both Contact Groups tbr ex-Yugoslavia and the Minsl< Group under the OSCE The Nagorno-Kurabakh
ancl Kosovo

Howeveq there are significant diff'erences between Kosovo-Metochia and the Nagorno-Karabakh cases. Firstly, Kosovo-Metochia

umbrella for Azerbaijan. Serbia

and Azerbaijan were against that

their cases (Kosovo and the Nagorno-Karabakh) will be proclainred as the "urrique" cases as in this case it would be a green light to both Albanian aud Armenian separatists to secede tlreir territories frorn Serbia and Azerbai.ian without perrnissions given by Belgrade and Bakr.r (what in reaIity already happened).
238

was internal conflict within Serbia ( internationalized after June 1999), but in the case of the Nagorno-Karabakh there is external military aggression (by Armerria). Secondly, in diflbrence to Arrnenia in relation to the Nagorno-Karabakh, Albania fornrally never accepted any legal act in u,hich Kosovo was called as integral part of a state territory of Albania (rvith historical exceprion during the Second World War when Kosovo-Metochia, the Eastern Montenegro and the Western Ma-

Groups in the Caucasus

Cau casia n .,.ee.or)les" ,. Ab!ha!

ln(b-f uropaan
"....Psopler."- u

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A map of ethnolinguistic groups in the Caucasus region in 2009 (source: www.wikipedia.org)

Mussolini's the so-called .,Greater Albania"). Delegation frorrr Albania did not take any participation in the tall<s and negotiations upon the "final,, statu; of I(osovo-Metochia between prishina and Belgrade in 200'/-2013, rvhile Armenia has official status of "ilrterested side" in the conflict

cedonia have been included into

in regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh. However, the Armenians
fi'om the Nagorno-Karabakh such
statLrs

did not obtain. While

the

involved in,the military operations in the Nagorno-Karabahh, officially paft of an independent state of Azerbaijan, in the Koso-

Arrnenian arnry (i.e. fronr the Republic of Armenia) r.vas directly

239

C'11

M 6noi 3/20t3.,,oduttaXX.

c.ae<.ra

ll.

cnrp. 23t_211.

vo confl ict of I 99g- I 999 the offi_ cr3l regular anny of the Republic of Albania was not involved (dif_ ferently from a great number of the volunteers frorn Albania). As a result, Armenia occupied l'15 of Azerbaijan territory and the vic_ tims of ethnic clea;sine are onlv

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Carrapurli. Palosalr (u apyrra). l{ocoeo tlcntoxuJa v cpncxoj ucntopujrr. CK3,
u

bcorpa!, I 989.

tlynah. Mrpxo, Omerna seana. Kocooo u
lvle

nson to Annenia was supported by Russia in anns and other war. mate_rial. did not apply to the NA_ TO for rhe military tielp. On the other side Kosovo Albaniarrs did it during the Kosovo conflict of I 998- I 999.
Conclusion

was a military weaker in compa-

the Azerbarjani. Azerbirjan whl

), H osrut', Eeorpa.l. 200(r. Holbauer, Hannes. Experiment Kosot,o. Die Rrickker dcs Kolonialisalr,r. Wi_
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nto.wi a pjtottuHu, ltpo?oH u, onl.no_

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('ltristian crtltural lrcritttge. netgra_

of destrol,ed ancl endangered

I{cinc.. Jorge. ,.The Conflict in the Cau_ national Aflhiru., vol. 65, no. pp. 5-5-66.
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i,

2009,

It

fiorn I974

arrd the occup-atiorr by tire regular anny.of lhe Republic of Tu-rkey
onwarcl.ro)

the Republic of Turkey and uri der. d.e .facto Ankara,s protection

termination" as the next ..unique,, case can be easily the nonliern (Turkish) part of Cyprus which is ,1" way already recognized by 9y

Kosovo independente' in Febru_ ary 2008 is not ,,unique,, case in the rvorld without direct consequences to sirnilar separatist ca_ ses following the ,,doniino effect,, (the South Ossetia, the South Sudan...). That is the real reason why, tbr instance, the governntent of Cypr.us is not supp6fting ..Ko_ sovo Albaniarr rights to silf:de_

Alban ian unilaterally proclaimed

can be concluded that the

Mooladian. Mooracl. Druckman, Daniel, -Hurling Stalemate or Mediationi
Nagorno_Karab-akh. I990-95., .Journil o/. peace tj?_uo::!,vot. 36. no. 6, 1999, pp. 709-727.
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"lOxlryro Occcrzro cMepnnH KocoBcKr4M g:nrglor..t", Ko.tLttepcaum,

15. I l.

aruicre has strong berief @[rrtf'the that thc IJSA and rhc Russian o.fn,L,riiiio-

tions sirnpty decided in zOOS to at the rnornent de facto situatio,,r upoi Balkans and thc Caucasus all'airs: Koso-

i..o!.ii. i[.

vo_-Metochia rvill be recognized as (hc r,rsA donlatn. rvhilc thc South Ossctia anri Abkhazia as the Russian on. ny now unJ ..secret ol'course. such a diplomacy.- tleal cannot bc provcd h1,anY clucumcnt.

240

2006: http:/iwrvw.kotnnrersant.ru/ ,Jocl72l626.
Kosovo
h

YAK

3

t

6.624:796(049.3)

ttp ://rvrvrv. kosovo. n et

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'l'he l,and o1'the l.iving past,

,[pazau Cuueyuoeuh
@arcylrer
noJrlrrr4Lr

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Klix

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HayKa, VHuaepszreT

y EeorpaAy

Thc .,Crucified Kosovo"

-

Indepcndcnt

XYJII4TAHI,I3AM: HACI,IJT,E I4 CTIOPT

Earaxoenli, !1,Luau T., Kococo

xuja. I,lcnroS;uja u udeoto;:ttjct, r{trruja ulavrra, Beorp;ur. 2007.
xtlja y cpncxo-up6uuauxwt oduocu"vra.

u

ll,femo-

Iiararosrrh, f[vuraH 'I'., Koc.oeo u lllemo-

tlaroja rrrraMrra, Beorpa,r. 2006.

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2000.

Bianchini. Stefirno. \ed.), From the Adri-

atic to tlxe Oauca.sus: The Dv'nanic.t

o/

(

De).Stabi lizat

ion. Longi

Edirrrrc

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Ciuskova, Jelena, Istorija .iugosIovenske krize (1990-2000).1-lI, HIAM. Beograd. 2003.

r

Mapuja Ropnh, "Xylnrann3aM : IIacuJbe rr crropTtt, Hayra u A pyrrrrBo, E eorpag, 20 12.

I4va craapa H nojaBa

Koje

HaM H3rneAajy ronzxo jacHe 4a s6or rora ocrajy Heo6jaulseHe. JeAHa oA rux rojaBa je r.r xylaraHH3aN{, o6lrrc HacHJr,a ca KojHM CMO CC OI{HTO CAXHBCJII,I H KOrA

3aTO H AO)I(HBJLaBaMO l(ao HoprlraJlHocT. Pa:lor BHIIe 3a TaKaB Harx OAHOC rrpeMa xyJIHtaHH3My

Je u qr4FbeH[\a Aa oH nocTojt4 y
r\,rHoruM ApyurBHMa, Merly H,r4Ma

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