chapter  31
11 Pages

Russian security strategy in the Balkans

WithNadia Boyadjieva

In 1914, the Balkans again had a profound impact on Russian foreign policy, triggering a chain of events that led to Russia’s military mobilization, the mobilization of other European powers, and the start of the First World War. The end of the Cold War in 1989-1990, the disintegration of the Soviet Union in late 1991 and the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s drastically changed the relationship between Russia and the Balkans. In April 1993, the Russian authorities officially enacted the Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, which laid out Russia’s foreign policy priorities in the post-Cold War international environment. During the initial limited violence in Yugoslavia between Serbia and Slovenia in mid-1991, Russia was still part of the USSR. Relations with Western countries influenced Russia’s decisions about the Yugoslav wars and international intervention in the region. Until recently, Russia’s role as the dominant natural gas supplier to Balkan countries gave Moscow potential leverage it could exert there.