Russia in the Balkans

Russia in the Balkans

Friday, 13 March 2015 - 9:15am to 5:30pm
Venue: 
The Shaw Library, Old Building, LSE Campus
Speaker(s): 
Pleae see event programme
Series: 
SEESOX

The hero’s welcome given to Vladimir Putin in Belgrade during the state festivities to mark the 70th anniversary of the city’s liberation from Nazi German occupation underscored, once more, Russia’s growing prominence in Balkan politics. Compared to the 1990s, when it was more often a bystander than a mover and shaker in the region, Moscow now plays an important role across various fields: energy, as the most critical supplier of gas; conflict resolution, thanks to its permanent seat in the UN Security Council; society and culture, owing to the historical links with South Slavic nations. But unlike its “near abroad”, Russia does not oppose the Balkans’ integration into the EU – partly because of its limited capacity to block the process, partly because it welcomes the prospects of EU bringing in friendly countries such as Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and others. That logic was amplified by the crisis in Ukraine when a number of EU hopefuls in the region have refused to join Western sanctions against Russia.

The conference aims at taking a nuanced, analytical perspective at Russia’s role, exploring the major projects and cooperation initiatives undertaken with local governments, and mapping bilateral links with the countries of the region (primarily the Western Balkans but also wider South East Europe, which includes EU members such as Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia and Croatia) in the broader context of Moscow’s tangled relations with the West since the beginning of Putin’s third term as president.

Click here for event website.