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Both Kosovo and Abkhazia have been riven by violent conflicts which developed to full-scale wars in the 1990s. The central cause to both conflicts was the emergence of strong nationalist movements on all participating sides with a program calling not only for ethnic dominance of one group, but for ethnic homogeneity as such. This article will focus on the symbolic aspect in both cases through which fears, loyalties as well as mass hostilities were produced and reproduced by invoking past historical events. The aim of this article is to provide the reader with evidence that ethnic conflicts—and the humaniarian catastrophes which they cause—are not natural disasters but, rather, man-made and follow the mechanism of politicizing the present through lenses of the past.

In: Review of Central and East European Law