Do the Western Balkans face a coming Russian storm?
New ECFR report by Mark Galeotti focusing on possibility of launch of a renewed Russian campaign in the Balkans in 2018.
- The confluence of a rising series of pressures in the Balkans, as well as the attention of Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev – who has taken on the region as a special responsibility – suggests 2018 will see the launch of a renewed Russian campaign in the Balkans.
- Russia looks to the Balkans as a battlefield in its “political war”, in part to compensate for its mixed success with “active measures” in Europe. Russia is seeking to create distractions and potentially bargaining chips with the EU, especially as this push coincides with the EU’s own renewed attention to the region.
- The aim is not to assert authority over the region for its own sake so much as to harness and magnify existing tensions. In Russian eyes, the EU’s approach towards the Western Balkans is neither serious or systematic and so offers Moscow opportunities to create leverage.
Dr Mark Galeotti is the IIR Senior Researcher, the Co-ordinator of the Centre for European Security of the IIR as well as an internationally recognized expert on transnational organized crime, security issues and modern Russia.