Authoritarianism Accepted: Contextualizing EU and Russian Involvement in the Balkans

Lecture | April 8 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 201 Moses Hall

 Branislav Radeljic, Reader in International Relations, University of East London

 Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ISEEES), Institute of European Studies

The EU and Russia have each sought to consolidate their influence in the Balkans and the relationship between Brussels, Moscow and Belgrade has never been straightforward. Back in the 1990s, the Brussels authorities helped the Milosevic regime stay in power and only decided to oust it when such a move appeared suitable, whereas the Russians have sided with their fellow Serbs throughout. More recently, the EU’s position vis-à-vis the increasing authoritarianism in the Western Balkans has confirmed as long as its leaders were responding to Brussels demands, a whole range of detrimental policies at home would be of secondary concern. Russia, given its own modus operandi, has found the given setting extremely favourable to further its own influence in the Balkans and, when opportune, as in the case of Kosovo, at the EU level, by rejecting Kosovo’s independence and by discrediting the Brussels leadership for the failure to come up with a common position and durable solution in the fragile region.