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Third Powers and Authoritarian Challenges in the Western Balkans
Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24 followed its failure in systemic competition with the West by economic and political means. In the Western Balkans, Russia and China so far still (mostly) stick to a more restrained form of autocracy promotion and autocratic diffusion, complicating democratization processes promoted by the EU and US. This workshop will explore the subject from three angles. The first session will address how China aims to inspire and gain influence with its successful state-led economic model, particular loan and investment policies – discussed as “corrosive capital” – as well as strategic cooperation with some countries in the region. Notably, authoritarian leaderships in Belgrade and Banja Luka have already been strengthened. The second session will see a debate on Russia’s approaches to cement its influence and resist Euro-Atlantic integration of Western Balkans states. It will highlight energy dependence, support for autocratic, separatist, and anti-EU forces, and the remaining support base, particularly in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. The third session will discuss the consequences of this new systemic competition and transatlantic responses, including on sensitive issues such as Bosnia-Herzegovina’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the normalization of Serbia-Kosovo ties.

Jun 14, 2022 09:30 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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