Balkans: Putin’s next playground or E.U.’s last moral stand?


The Balkans has once again become a playground for great power politics, says analyst Ivan Krastev.

European Union policy toward the Balkans is more driven by ideology than in any other part of the world. Europe’s ideological rigidity is admirable, but it is also partly responsible for the region’s paralysis. he writes for the New York Times:

“In the Balkans the transition is over,” Remzi Lani, an Albanian political analyst, told me some time ago. But unlike in many post-Communist countries, Mr. Lani didn’t mean a transformation from dictatorship to democracy. “We transitioned from repressive to depressive regimes.” He is right. The old Communists and radical ethnic nationalists are largely gone; in their places is stagnation — economic, social and political.

“Russia’s actions in the Balkans are not only spoiling games,” adds Krastev, a contributor to the NED’s Journal of Democracy. “Moscow wants to replace the European Union as the mediator for solving regional conflicts, in the way it is attempting — largely successfully — to replace the United States as a mediator in the Middle East.”


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