Experts discuss Russian influence in the Balkans
The conference “Russian Influence in the Balkans – Crisis in Ukraine” is being organized by “The Geopost” in Pristina, where diplomats, professors and security experts are speaking.
Former Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Moscow, Enver Halilovic stated that Russia and Serbia historically had their ties and therefore the Serbian doctrine does not differ from the Russian one.
“We are facing in the Balkans and in the countries surrounded by Serbia in a special situation, given that it is present in the Balkans through Russian influence, that is, the doctrine of the Serbian world is nothing but a copy of the Russian doctrine,” said Haliloviq.
In her speech, Rumena Filipova, head of the Global Analytics Institute, said that one of the main manifestations of Russia’s power is the capture of the media, which has also been observed in the Balkans.
She stressed that Russia did not disseminate all information similarly, while adding that Serbia is the country that has acknowledged Russian influence.
“The large presence of Russian companies in the region is large and limits us a lot. In addition to informality, the Kremlin also uses a number of support tools, such as advertising markets,” she said.
Security expert Ilir Kulla said Russia today is the world’s aggressive power and is trying to eradicate the EU’s role.
“Today it is an aggressive force in the world. Russia is trying to change the moment of globalization. Its influence is trying to eradicate the role of the European Union, although the EU itself is to blame. “As far as our area is concerned, we have a region where the Russians, in addition to having interests, also have minorities, in the Black Sea, Bulgaria, Romania.”
Kulla also emphasizes that the countries of the region must be extremely careful after the start of the war in Ukraine given the problems and aspirations that our region has.
“We live in a region where Montenegro is a member of NATO, but those who lead Montenegro today and half the population there does not want to be in NATO. We have Bosnia where half of the territory does not want to be in the EU and NATO, but neither in Bosnia. In Kosovo we have NATO, but we have a part of Kosovo in the north that neither recognizes Kosovo, nor does want to be in NATO and the EU, but as a spiritual reference they have Serbia and the Serbian Orthodox Church. Then there are Macedonia and Albania, which, although in NATO, have neither the financial nor the military means to counter Russian influence. While Serbia is a more developed country but does not even intend to join NATO. In recent years, it has spent 1.5 million euros on defense. “It has invested in modern aviation, it has strengthened its entire cyber military apparatus and here we must see carefully what is this apparatus needed, with whom it will fight?”, Asks Ilir Kulla.
“Roundtables like this, should serve to give decision-makers opinions on the current situation and the actions they should take at certain moments,” he added.
“I hope that this phase of reflection is in relation to the reality we have and we all pray for peace, for those who are at war but also for our peoples,” said Kulla.
Former Montenegrin Ambassador to Tirana and Pristina Ferhat Dinosha said that Russian and Serbian influence in Montenegro has always been present, but with the return of Montenegrin independence in 2006 this has changed.
“Russia and its influence have been present in Montenegro for a long time. Montenegrins, knowing that they are a small nation, have always seen Russia as a mother, and until recently, the maxima “We and the Russians 200 million”.
“However, the tendency for Russian and Serbian influence has continued even after the independence of Montenegro and this was noticed in 2016 when a coup was attempted in Montenegro, by a group which also included Russian citizens, but that was not achieved “, added Dinosha.
Dinosha sees the danger of the return of Russian influence in Montenegro in the change of power in Montenegro and the formation of the government in coalition with pro-Serbian and pro-Russian forces.
Since this government did not last long, Dinosha hopes that those who have to decide the fate of Montenegro at this time should keep in mind that without cooperation with international friends and especially without US support, Montenegro is in continuous danger by the Russian and Serbian factor.
The Geopost, KosovaPress