16 Oct Report: Where Are The Balkans Heading? A New Cooperation Paradigm for Russia
Ekaterina Entina, Alexander Pivovarenko,
The modern Balkans, while still firmly rooted in the periphery and the past in many ways, are a very dynamic region. Over the last 28 years, the number of states in the region has doubled. In 1991, there were five states in the Balkans: Yugoslavia, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Albania. Today, there are between 7 and 11 countries based on varying estimates. The value of the Balkan Peninsula on the European scale has changed insofar as it is no longer a region entirely consumed by its own problems.
Russia has maintained its presence in the region for the past 300 years. It is practically impossible to imagine a scenario, where Russia withdraws from the Balkans. But it is Russia that is being eased out because other international players: a) have more to offer from an economic, military-political, cultural standpoints; b) shape their Balkan policies in a much more consistent and systemic manner; and c) are purposefully working against Russia since they have only a partial interest in Russia maintaining an uncontested presence. Therefore, given the existing foreign policy and the doubtful achievements of recent years, Russia’s role in the Balkans might be reduced to the minimum.