You are here:  Home  >  Articles from Kosovo media  >  Current Article

Report: “Russia is interfering in Kosovo” (Koha)

By   /  03/11/2017  /  No Comments

    Print       Email

The Pristina-based Kosovo Center for Security Studies published today a comprehensive report titled “Russian interference in Kosovo: how and why?” noting that Kosovo is exposed to a genuine and formidable Russian meddling campaign against Western state-building model and its democratic values, in particular since 2008. The report was drafted by Pellumb Kallaba – a senior external researcher at the Center, and the aim is to provide a holistic analysis over a very important issue for Kosovo – the Russian presence and its influence on Kosovo’s position in the international arena.

The executive summary of the report notes: “Kosovo is exposed to a genuine and formidable Russian meddling campaign against Western state-building model and its democratic values, in particular since 2008. Numerous subversive and non-military instruments will continue to be used against a multiethnic Kosovo in order to create a pretext for a failed-state and heighten local separatism within the Kosovo Serb community in northern municipalities. It is difficult to critically assess Russian influence in Kosovo on empirical terms due to a critical deficiency of data on both economic or financial engagement, as well as a lack of information on local and religious institutions in Northern Kosovo. The lack of proper financial control of Kosovo’s institutions in the Serbian Orthodox Church creates opportunities for a disruptive agenda and a subsequent misuse of this vacuum in the interests of Russian engagement and strengthening of their potential influence in Kosovo.

  • Russian continues interest in the development of Kosovo and its engagement in diplomatic and military policy has been a decade long priority for its foreign policy goals in the Balkans, as indicated by Putin’s visit to the Russian Military Contingent in Kosovo on 17 June, 2001.
  • Russia continues to pose a serious challenge for Kosovo’s statehood and undermines the integration of Kosovo in the international community, and remains interested in maintaining a status-quo in Kosovo’s domestic affairs.
  • Since 2014, Kosovo’s Sanction Policy on Russia has not been regularly updated and is not based on full alignment with US and EU Foreign Policy. Consequently, it has not proved sufficiently effective, as Russian economic proxies in Serbia and the region, primarily including petroleum products, continue to freely operate in the Kosovo market. Despite entry into force of the Stabilization and Association Agreement, the EU is not ensuring equal treatment for Kosovo as with the rest of the Western Balkan countries when it comes to EU joint foreign policy statements and common positions towards Russia.
  • During January-July 2017, the level of Russian goods imported in Kosovo exceeded 10 million Euros, whereas Kosovo’s export figures remain zero. This negative asymmetry is also evidenced in terms of citizen mobility. More than 1000 Russian citizens visit Kosovo every year, while Kosovo citizens cannot travel to Russia due to immediate passport rejection.
  • It is a paradox that Visa Policy of Kosovo considers the holders of Russian diplomatic and service passports under the Special Category exempted from Visa Requirements. The respective holders are allowed to enter, transit or stay up to 15 days in the territory of Kosovo.
  • While the number of Russian citizens visiting Kosovo increases, Russia’s current role in Kosovo is best indicated by the context of northern Kosovo. Ties between political parties from Serbian community and the political party United Russia – are consistently developing, whereas the creation of the Association/Community of Serbian Municipalities might present new terrain for a stronger Russian engagement to foster local nationalism in Kosovo. The religious factor presents an important element for Russian influence in Kosovo through the Serbian Orthodox Church. With political support given to religious institutions, Russia seeks to preserve and enhance a strong emotional presence among the Serbian community in Kosovo.
  • A pro-Russian media presence in Serbia is an important card in spreading pro-Russian propaganda among Kosovo Serbs. Fake news is fabricated through different Russian media outlets including Sputnik and Russia Today.
  • Serbia’s neutral position towards NATO membership, along with negative public perception for the Western military alliance, remains a serious concern for the Euro-Atlantic perspective of the Western Balkans. The enigmatic operation of the so-called Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center based in the city of Nis since 2011, alongside the increasing military drills and investments between both countries, should be considered as a long-term security threat not only for Kosovo but also for neighboring countries.
  • Kosovo’s central institutions are not properly equipped to prevent Russian hybrid penetration through economic and political means aiming to influence its politics and policies in Kosovo, nor is there sufficient awareness of Russian interests in the region. Kosovo has no consistent strategy how to address its uneasy diplomatic relationship with Russia, both bilaterally and multilaterally.

Link to the full report: http://www.qkss.org/repository/docs/Russian_interference_in_Kosovo_finale_2_735070.pdf

    Print       Email

You might also like...

CEC decides on vote recount in additional 530 polling stations (Telegrafi)

Read More →