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  • Redakcja: Jan Muś
  • Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej   13(2015)  Zeszyt 5
    Russia in the Balkans. Threat or Opportunity?
  • ISSN 1732-1395
  • Lublin 2015
  • 162 str.
  • format B5
  • (Kod: 239)

Articles in this Issue

Krassen Stanchev

Russia’s State-Owned Companies and Contemporary Bulgarian Political and Economic Landscape

STANCHEV Krassen. ‘Russia’s State-Owned Companies and Contemporary Bulgarian Political and Economic Landscape’. Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej 2015; 13(5): 9–33.


The paper represents and attempt to link energy projects of government companies of the Russian Federation with nowadays Bulgaria’s political and economic environment. It focuses on the last ten years and gives deeper historical background (e.g. Bulgaria defaults on its foreign debt to Soviet banks, nuclear projects of the Communist era, etc.) only when relevant for the understanding of the contemporary situation. The first section of the paper summarizes a 2002-2015 energy project in its controversial policy environment. The second section explains the impacts on Bulgarian power sector policies, especially delays in its liberalisation, controversies around EU policies related to renewable energy and environment policies, plus public and political attitudes towards FDI’s and energy resources. The power sector policies have had negative side-effects on the country’s banking sector, a bank run and a bankruptcy of one bank in 2014; this experience is reviewed in the third section of the paper. The forth part describes the impacts on Bulgaria’s political establishment in 2007-2014, and attempts, instead of conclusion, a description of peculiarities of the contemporary Russia-Bulgaria controversies. The paper uses several documents and sources that are almost unknown to the international audience.

Vassilios Grammatikas

A Different Perspective? Russian Interpretation of the International Law in the Post-Cold War Era

GRAMMATIKAS Vassilios. ‘A Different Perspective? Russian Interpretation of the International Law in the Post-Cold War Era’. Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej 2015; 13(5): 35–46.


Despite the fact that both the US and the USSR systematically violated the international law and more specifically Art. 2 § 4 during the Cold War period, the attitude of the Russian Federation, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, changed towards the latter becoming a “champion” of the international law, slamming the West in cases of unilateral actions that constituted violations of the international law, with Kosovo being the most characteristic case. However, as Russia grew stronger it started itself acting according to its wider interests totally disregarding the international law (South Ossetia, Abkhazia – 2008, and Crimea – 2014) being the most characteristic cases. The article investigates into this behaviour and tries to draw conclusions regarding the future conduct of the Russian Federation vis-à-vis fundamental principles of the international law.

Tomasz Stępniewski

Russia in Global Politics in the Context of the Western Balkans

STĘPNIEWSKI Tomasz. ‘Russia in Global Politics in the Context of the Western Balkans’. Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej 2015; 13(5): 47–59.


The aim of this article is to look at the Western Balkan region from the perspective of foreign policy of the Russian Federation. Russia’s political presence in the Balkans has a long tradition. Throughout the centuries as well as today, Russian interests were focused on the following issues: geopolitical rivalry with other powers, economic, security and cultural-religious aspects – Orthodox religion was followed by the Balkan nations. However, the Western Balkans is not the area of Russia’s most vital interests. We can notice that Russian engagement in resolving contentious issues in the Balkans – mediation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo – was instrumental and manifested its hypocrisy. On the one hand, Russia helped to stabilize the situation and guarantee security in the region. On the other hand, it defended the territorial integrity of Serbia and opposed the recognition of Kosovo’s independence. Yet, the opposition did not prevent Russia to announce the independence of Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in August 2008 (six months after Kosovo’s declaration of independence).

Abit Hoxha, Arbër Ahmeti, Agim Musliu

Russian Influence in the Western Balkans. Carrot or Stick?

HOXHA Abit, AHMETI Arbër, MUSLIU Agim. ‘Russian Influence in the Western Balkans. Carrot or Stick?’. Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej 2015; 13(5): 61–85.


This paper illustrates the influences that the Russian Federation has in the Balkans and particularly through using the Kosovo situation and Serbian implication. The Russian Federation attempts to oppose the EU and the US through using Serbia and Kosovo, often using soft and hard power by offering both humanitarian aid for Serbia but also by helping Serbia in military and defence aspects. This paper uses international relations theories to explain the development of Russia’s influence in the Balkans from a historic perspective to continue with modernization of such relations through Russian representation in international organizations such as a UN permanent seat and an observation seat on the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Furthermore, this paper will use game theory to explain the international relations and indirect influence through Kosovo and Serbia in the EU and US.

Orlanda Obad

Mental Maps on the Negotiating Table. Symbolic Geographies in Croatian Accession to the European Union

OBAD Orlanda. ‘Mental Maps on the Negotiating Table. Symbolic Geographies in Croatian Accession to the European Union’. Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej 2015; 13(5): 87–106.


Some of the seminal concepts which examined the “patterns of representation” in and of the Balkan region within the “critique of Balkanism” in the 1990s were once again used and interpreted in the following decade within the body of literature that critically approached the era of the two enlargements of the European Union. A number of authors attempted to examine the EU’s application of the conditionality policy in relation to the discourses which perpetuated various “gradations of Europeanness”, but also in relation to the national myths of many East-Central European countries, according to which their own eastern border is envisaged as Europe’s “last outpost”. Even today, when many of the formerly “Eastern European” countries have been EU members for more than a decade, the discursive threads related to the symbolic power relations retain their relevance. This paper will draw upon the examples from research performed in the pre-accession period in Croatia in order to demonstrate how the fuzzy and porous cultural and civilizational borders of Central Europe and the Balkans are envisaged and deployed in national, regional and continental symbolic geographies. It will also engage with the metaphor of “tidemarks” (Green), which attempts to include both space and historical time in the analysis of the border-related practices.

Jan Muś

Peripheral Position of the Balkans and its Future Relations with Russia

MUŚ Jan. ‘Peripheral Position of the Balkans and its Future Relations with Russia’. Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej 2015; 13(5): 107–121.


The region of the Balkans remains the periphery of the European Union and the Western structures in every aspect: political, economic, military, communication and cultural. The Western influence varies between particular countries and between different of the five mentioned above dimensions, yet it is dominant. Decreasing legitimacy of the EU, relatively low economic significance of the region as well as cultural similarities between some of the Balkan states and Russia can change the situation and reinstall Moscow hegemony in the region. Interest of the Southeastern European countries is, as a peripheral one, of secondary meaning.