“The price of Europeanising the Balkans is much higher than the price of the Balkanisation of Europe,” claims Zagreb-based writer Miljenko Jergović in the opening essay to this issue of New Eastern Europe. This poignant statement calls for wide attention, especially of those who hold dear the idea of a united and expanding Europe. It points to the immense pressure that has been emerging within the region of the Western Balkans and which could have an effect on Europe as a whole. This also inclines that a better understanding of the Balkans is a prerequisite for a better understanding of the developments on the entire European continent.
This fact has been true before, although not always – as our authors point out – taken seriously. Thus, it is worthwhile reading the essay by Adam Balcer, who argues that since antiquity the region of the Western Balkans has been at the core of westernisation. It was the place where great powers battled for influence and where world wars erupted. In the 21st century a new scenario, with some similarities of the past, may be unfolding.
Throughout the whole issue, our authors who are either based in the region or avid readers of its developments, point out to some alarming trends that the power games may indeed be returning. Such is the case of Turkey as described by Tomasz Targański who highlights the rise of Neo-Ottomanism. Russian influence is also felt in the region as Kenneth Morrison and Jelena Milić argue in their respective essays. Equally worrisome is the issue of Islamic extremism that is reported by Tatyana Dronzina and Sulejman Muça to be seeking a foothold in Europe via the Balkans.
Despite these and other developments the West has proved wrong in some decisions that were made in regards to the Balkans. The most striking example of a flawed policy implementation is depicted by Christopher Bennett as he shows how the Dayton Peace Agreement has turned Bosnia and Herzegovina into Europe’s longest frozen conflict, with little desire for improving the status quo.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
OPINION & ANALYSIS
Is Europe losing the Balkans? Miljenko Jergović
The price of Europeanising the Balkans today is probably higher than it was 20 years ago – when a golden opportunity to bring stability to the region was missed. But it still remains incomparably cheaper than the price to be paid in the event of the Balkanisation of Europe.
Dayton at death’s door – Christopher Bennett
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s trajectory has been consistently and evidently downwards since 2006, with the pace of descent accelerating every year. Post-war optimism disappeared long ago to be replaced by a fatalistic cynicism.
De-radicalising the Western Balkans – Tatyana Dronzina and Sulejman Muça
The Western Balkans have become fertile ground for ISIS recruitment and a place of terrorist activity in the heart of Europe. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia require greater attention on the social, economic and political issues if de-radicalisation eff orts are to succeed before it is too late.
Without accountability, there is no closure – Morgan Meaker
A long road ahead for women in Kosovo – Sidita Kushi
Western Balkan memory games – Simone Benazzo
Presidential election in Serbia. Unfair but square – Jelena Milić
Protests, plots and proxies – Kenneth Morrison
Public media in a deeply fragmented country – Antonio Scancariello
Neo-Ottomanism. An empire being rebuilt? – Tomasz Targański
A new, old Central Europe? – Ziemowit Szczerek
The Balkans. A history of civilisation – Adam Balcer
What will Lukashaneka do next? – Michał Potocki
All Latvian politics is local – Koen Verhelst
East of the South: Malta and the post-Soviet space – Miłosz J. Zieliński
Passion over censorship – Mykola Riabchuk
Eastern Ukraine left in limbo – Maxim Rust
The legacy of the Revolution on Granite – Olga Onuch
Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine join forces – Jakub Bornio
Georgia’s thorny path to constitutionalism – An interview with Zaza Rukhadze
Georgia’s memory of communism – An interview with Irakli Khvadagiani
HISTORY AND MEMORY
The iron guards of Ukrainian nationalism – Marek Wojnar
Stories from Hotel Porin – Mislav Marjanović
Finding God in Kramatorsk – Paulina Siegień
PEOPLE, IDEAS, INSPIRATION
Old divisions die hard – Linda Massino
Trying to please Jacques – Bartosz Marcinkowski
Doctor Love – Iwona Reichardt
Breaking the comfortable silence on the Holocaust – Linas Vildžiūnas
Seeking ground zero of the post-Soviet space – Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska
The more things change, the more they stay the same – Kacper Dziekan
On change. In pain and fear – Tomasz Lachowski