ORCID: Tomasz Stępniewski: 0000-0002-4581-5145
Edition: Lublin 2015
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).