In this study Dušan Reljić, Senior Researcher at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin, analyzes the processes which conditioned the reinvigoration of Russia’s political and economic influence in this part of Southeast Europe. The conclusion is, above all, that following years of Russia’s declining influence, and the increase in US domination, the conflict over Kosovo re-opened the space for Russia’s return into the Western Balkans. In this conflict, Belgrade is dependent on Moscow’s support.
Also, the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline ties, in the long term, the energy security of South East Europe to Russian supplies.
The European Union, in spite of the fact that all countries in the region see their political future in accession thereto, will in future have to take into account not only the will of the United States of America, but also the influence of Russia in the Western Balkans.