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Western Balkans in Russia’s Crosshairs

John Cappello
24th May 2017 - Quoted by Kaitlin Lavinder - The Cipher Brief

As NATO prepares to add another small Balkan country to its ranks – Montenegro is expected to join on June 5 – the region that has long been torn between the East and the West, and plagued with internal ethnic, socioeconomic, and political tensions is once again showing signs of increased instability.


John Cappello, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who previously served as the U.S. Defense Attaché to Serbia, told The Cipher Brief the answer is two-fold: Putin has consolidated more power domestically and needs an enemy – that is, the United States, and the Western world more broadly – to maintain nationalist sentiment at home; and Putin sees an opening. “We’ve kind of taken our eye off the ball in the Balkans,” he said, noting that integration following the wars of the 1990s remains incomplete.


Read the full article here.


russia, western-balkans