Russia used a slowdown in the process of the EU enlargement and strengthened its influence in the Western Balkans

Russia is a global power and represents a huge threat for the West. It also seems that the West is not ready to confront this threat, said Ivana Stradner from the American Enterprise Institute while taking part in the 2BS Forum panel dedicated to the new international order and Russia’s role in it.

Russia’s strategic goal is to establish itself as a global power and terminate the US domination, it perceives NATO as its enemy and wants to challenge the collective security but also to disrupt the European unity, Stradner said.

She thinks that Russia became this dangerous due to the European weakness and lack of Europe’s will to challenge Russian efforts.

Stradner particularly emphasized Russia’s success in the usage of information. Nuclear weapon is a strategic weapon of Russia, but it is as important as the information and we should start thinking about information and cyber security in the same manner as Russia, she said, adding that the cyber security for the majority of Western countries is just a technical issue, while Russia sees them as an indispensable tool for a successful development and victory of their doctrine.

Russia is investing in technologies but it is investing more in the content having psychological influence, Stradner said. She thinks that the rise of tensions in the Western Balkan region suits Russia and that Russia also covers critical sectors of this area such as the energy and military potentials of some countries, but is also uses the tactics tried somewhere else, making a parallel between the use of the Serbian Orthodox Church in this area and Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

According to Dmitry Suslov, Deputy Director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies, Russia is trying to consolidate itself as a global power aiming at influencing the creation of a new, polycentric international order.

Western domination era is over, Russia thinks that the setting is favorable for it to promote itself as an independent, great power, and it can confirm this in many fields – from the field of military to its role as energy power, Suslov said.

However, he is pointing out that the main trump in Russia’s favor is a global trend, i.e. the world evolution towards polycentrism. The era of the US and Germany is over and they are turning towards consolidation of traditional partners, but we have a huge number of countries outside the Western world striving for independence and sovereignty and they perceive Russia as a partner and huge global power, playing the significant role in all parts of the world.

That’s what the West refuses to see, and the Russia sees the West as a minority part of the world.
According to him, Russia used the slowdown in the process of the EU enlargement in order to apply the same polycentric approach in the Balkans.

Russia wants the Western Balkans to be polycentric and not dominated by the West, this is why the rise of Turkish and Chinese influence in this area suits her, since it creates polycentrism, Suslov said.