“A time of monsters once more”: The danger of losing the Western Balkans

Protest_Serbia_2019 AP Photo:Darko Vojinovic

By Jasmin Mujanović | North Carolina

“How does Slobodan Milošević’s will begin?” asks a Serbian joke from the 1990s. “In the unlikely event of my death…”

As the anti-regime protests in Serbia enter their third month, that sardonic quip captures much of the mood on the streets of Belgrade, Novi Sad, Kragujevac and dozens of other towns across the country. For weeks, thousands have been airing their grievances against the increasingly autocratic government of Aleksandar Vučić and his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), often by drawing direct parallels between the current president and the former strongman, under whose tenure the former served as Minister of Information.

Orbán as an export product– and the high demand in South-East Europe!

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Interview Dimitar Bechev (North Carolina)

Interview with Dimitar Bechev, research fellow at the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and non- resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. In 2017, he published “Rival Power. Russia’s Influence in South- East Europe” at Yale University Press.

Exploring Putin’s strategic narrative

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By Iulia-Sabina Joja | Berlin

Russia’s foreign policy is President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy. It’s a one- man show. This is partially due to the super-presidential system of the country. However, it is also a one-man show because Vladimir Putin himself, now in his fourth term, has a firm grip on his country and a strong vision for foreign policy. Hence, when endeavouring to scrutinise Russian foreign policy, we have to analyse Putin’s discourse and actions.

To play with China might be dangerous for Central Europe

shanghai-photo by oachim Engel on Pixabay

By Martin Ehl | Prague

There was a pre-Christmas news storm in the Czech Republic last year. The Czech cyber- defence agency (NUKIB) published a warning to the state administration that hardware provided by the Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE could pose a potential danger to national security. Immediately thereafter a clash broke out among Czech politicians, between those who share a similar opinion about China and those who support a closer relationship with the Chinese regime.

Slovakia: Voters’ burning desire for change?

Zuzana_Caputova_Photo by TASR

By Andrej Matišák | Bratislava

For a relatively small country, as Slovakia is usually described, February 2019 was a month of massive diplomatic importance. On this very rare occasion, several top-level politicians visited over a span of few weeks.

First, it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s turn. Slovakia was able to attract her not just for a bilateral visit but also for a meeting of the Visegrád Group during Slovakia’s one-year (July 2018-June 2019) presidency of the V4. Interestingly, Slovakia was successfulin organising a visit by Merkel while Hungary failed to achieve this aim – and, according to various diplomatic sources and experts,not for a lack of trying.

The resilience of systems of government against populists’ autocratic legalism

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By Bogdan Dima | Bucharest
The present article is built on two core assumptions.

The first is that populism refers to a specific understanding of political power which tends to be similar across liberal democracies around the world. If we reduce this concept to its essence, it reveals an anti-pluralist political ideology favouring the concentration of political power in the hands of a political leader or political party which wins free elections, be they presidential or parliamentary.