Publications

PSSI Alumni Brief 01 - Open Source Intelligence and Terrorism Coverphoto

PSSI is launching a series of Alumni Briefs, composed of policy analyses/commentaries on current security issues prepared by the alumni of PSSI´s Robinson-Martin Security Scholars Academy, Cyber Security Academy, NATO Summer School, our former interns and colleagues. The goal of these Briefs is to inform and enrich public policy debate and official deliberations on these breaking issues. 

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Space Security Program // Dr. Jana Robinson, Patrik Martínek, Jakub Pražák and Kristína Sikoraiová / 8 Mar, 2021

PSSI Perspective #8 - China Deploys BeiDou to Project Power and Influence

PSSI Perspective #8 reviews how China leverages its economic and financial (E&F) strategies to project power and advance its regional and global economic, strategic and military objectives. 

BiH’s Decisive Electoral reform Strikes New Divisions among Internal and External Actors Coverpage

The paper analyses the divergent positions and strategies of key actors on the eventual electoral reform of BiH’s defunct and corrupt electoral system and outlines its local, regional and international context. It focuses primarily on key internal and external actors, which are engaged in the on-going negotiations. The analysis shows that the different positions reflect different views, which the local ethnic groups and political parties have on BiH’s past, present and the future.

Western Balkan Discourses On and Positioning Towards China During the COVID-19 Pandemic COVERPAGE

This paper explores how discourses on China in the Western Balkans have been (re)shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, China was seen through the prism of the chaos in Wuhan and global skepticism; in the “mask diplomacy” stage, it was seen as an external actor that could be a source of assistance or source of trouble (or both); and in the “vaccine diplomacy” stage, it has been seen as a partner in the attempt to immunize the population of the region against COVID-19. The paper also looks into variations across countries, and in particular the difference between Serbia’s approach of active opportunity-seeking, and the under-the-radar approach of other governments, which altered between opportunism and cautiousness.

China

The ideational changes induced by China's rise are part of a global trend that unveils across the planet and the Western Balkans is no exception. The paper shows that in the period 2009-2019 China has managed to affect the way Western Balkan elites think of China, but not to the extent Chinese actors originally aimed. While actors from the region have welcomed the idea of regional prosperity under a Belt and Road framework, they do not desire broader global transformations. Moreover, contrary to Beijing’s attempt not to get involved in domestic political debates, China has become an increasingly politicized topic due to both external and internal factors.

“Our brother Erdogan” – From official to personal relations of political leaders of Albania and Kosovo with the Turkish President COVER

The political rise of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has brought about a shift in the foreign relations that Turkey has with the Western Balkans. His focus has been on forging closer personal ties with the local political elites and on the so-called ‘personal diplomacy’. This paper focuses on the formation of  personal relations between leaders of Albania and Kosovo with the Turkish President and its coexistence with traditional interstate relations.

“Steel Friendship” — Forging of the Perception of China by the Serbian Political Elite COVER

The Chinese presence in Serbia has helped the current ruling party to consolidate its political power. This study focuses on the Serbian political elite, which is using China to gain political points and facilitate centralization of domestic political power through a presentation of the partnership as beneficial and positive to the Serbian public. In addition, this study identifies who the main Serbian actors promoting closer ties with Beijing are, and in what ways they use China to gain domestic political points.

China

In the past couple of years, China has become one of the key investors in heavy industry in Serbia. Chinese increased presence in the country has brought about a great deal of controversy and its largest investments have been accompanied by an increase in pollution levels, sparking great concerns among the local populations. Is the health hazard real or perceived, and who is to blame? The paper seeks answers to this question and analyses the ways by which environmental concerns, governance issues, and a ‘closed’ government are interlinked.

Infodemics,  a snap election, and a (lukewarm) Western welcome COVERPHOTO - study II

The study examines the (news) domains which shaped public discussions in the period surrounding the July 2020 election in North Macedonia using a data set of the most popular daily tweets in the period between February and August of 2020 and complements this analysis with an examination of the most popular hashtags. The findings show that computational disinformation methods were used to shape public discussions in the period surrounding the election and were primarily based on content aligned with the geo-political goals of foreign actors opposed to the country’s progress on its Euro-Atlantic integration path.

Erdogan as an admired sultan or an instrument in political competition COVERPHOTO

This paper provides original insight into Turkey's engagement in the Serbia's Sandžak region with a particular focus on locals' understanding of the Turkish presence. Its findings are based on extensive field research and confirm the divergence between the perceptions of ethnic Serbs citizens and political elites, and their Bosniak counterparts. However, the study also shows that the Bosniak elites are not homogenous in their view of the Turkish presence in solely positive terms and that Turkey's reputation among the Bosniaks of Sandžak is instrumentalized by local political-interest groups in their mutual clashes.

The Sum of All Fears – Chinese AI Surveillance in Serbia COVERPHOTO

This paper focuses on the introduction of the Smart City surveillance project in Belgrade, done in cooperation with the Chinese technology company Huawei. It aims to shed light on the ongoing discussions about the use of Chinese technology by Serbian authorities and reviews the concerns shared by some civil society representatives about the use of cutting-edge Chinese technology.

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Security Scholars Program // Lauri Almann, Kari-Pekka Rannikko, and Lucie Kadlecová, CybExer Technologies / 22 Dec, 2020

PSSI Perspectives #7 - Challenges to Strategic Decision-making in Cyber Security

The seventh edition of the PSSI Perspectives brings cyber security into focus. Moreover, it is written by our partners from a leading Estonian cyber security company Cybexer Technologies who delivered a table-top exercise that concluded this intensive week-long educational course. This PSSI Perspective takes a look at four challenges that decision makers face during every major cyber security crisis.

PSSI Perspective 8 Cover

Security Scholars Program // Prague Security Studies Institute / 21 Dec, 2020

PSSI Perspectives

As an educational, research and analytical public policy Institution, PSSI is committed to enriching – and shaping – the Transatlantic security policy debate, especially in more underdeveloped issue portfolios, like the Economic and Financial (E&F) Threat Domain and Space Security, areas in which PSSI enjoys a global leadership position in the NGO community. The Institute also has a long history of tracking several regional security issues.

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The Prague Security Studies Institute’s next PSSI Perspective looks at the nexus of disinformation and online advertising.

Dezinformace jako byznes Perspektivy Stakeholderu a cesty reseni Coverpage

Regional Security Program // Jonáš Syrovátka, Alena Zikmundová, Šimon Pinkas, Vanessa Maderová / 15 Dec, 2020

Disinformation as Business: Stakeholders’ Perspective

In a previous study PSSI researchers outlined how disinformation works as a lucrative business for various media platforms. One of their most significant sources of revenue is online advertisement. Fortunately, PR agencies and private companies are increasingly aware of this problem.

PSSI #5 Perspective Cover Page

This new addition to the PSSI perspectives reacts to the suspension of Jack Ma’s Ant Financial Group on the Chinese Stock Exchanges, on November 3rd, 2020. Drawing on groundbreaking research conducted by our partner RWR Advisory Group, this perspective provides unique insights into the motivations behind the suspension, and, beyond, it offers a forensic analysis which exposes Ant Group’s reprehensible character.

Infodemics,  a snap election, and a (lukewarm) Western welcome COVERPHOTO

This study brings a new perspective into how domestic and foreign actors’ propaganda methods for disinformation can be used on a social media platform – Twitter. On a case study of North Macedonia during a period close to the 2020 parliamentary election, the author applies original botnet identification techniques to identify a large network of users created in the run-up to the election and sympathetic to VMRO-DPMNE (the country’s right-wing party) and opposed to N. Macedonia’s NATO and EU integration.

Voices of Central and Eastern Europe_Coverphoto

A new PSSI study based on data gathered from the research project “Voices of Central and Eastern Europe” aims to describe profiles, attitudes and values of those Czech citizens who believe in conspiracy theories.

Study_Visualising influence_Coverphoto

Disinformation continues to be one of the greatest challenges the Western democracies currently face, testing their integrity, cohesion and resilience. With social networks representing an important medium when it comes to their spreading, it is important to understand how exactly disinformation manifests itself  when it comes to the way it circulates on the network and influences its users.

Is the EU Taking Friends for Granted Partisanship and Support for External Actors in North Macedonia Coverphoto

This paper explores the “East vs. West” debate in North Macedonia and challenges the often shared notion that the majority of North Macedonians are united in favoring the country's Euro-Atlantic integration. By analyzing survey data, the study shows that ethnic Macedonians are significantly split on the geopolitical direction their country should take, and that partisanship is an important factor in this divide. This polarization is at least in part attributable to cueing from party elites, despite the claim by all major parties that they are pro-Western.

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This new addition to the PSSI Perspectives goes over the 5G technology supplier selection in Germany. Unlike many other European countries, Germany has not yet decided whether it would allow Chinese companies to build the 5G networks. It is a pressing issue dividing the government coalition that should be resolved this month of November. This Perspective presents the current regulation, key actors and their standing on the issue.

‘Our brothers’, ‘our saviours’ The importance of Chinese investment for the Serbian government’s narrative of economic rebound Coverphoto

The study analyses how the ruling party in Serbia has used the country’s increasing economic cooperation with non-Western powers to promote its own ‘winning’ narrative. The author brings new insights into how the Serbian leadership has used the topic of economic renaissance in relation to a narrative depicting economic salvation by foreign friends coming to the rescue to further its political power. It is shown that this role, initially played by the United Arab Emirates, was assumed by China in the second part of the 2010s.

PSSI PERSPECTIVES #3 - International Investment Bank Report

The Prague Security Studies Institute continues its PSSI Perspectives series of regular short memos on select security-related topics. 

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Regional Security Program // Jonáš Syrovátka, Šimon Pinkas, Prague Security Studies Institut / 2 Oct, 2020

PSSI Perspectives #2 - Infodemic and Disinformation

The Prague Security Studies Institute continues its PSSI Perspectives, regular short memos on select security-related topics. 

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Dr. Jana Robinson’s article “Arctic Space Challenge for NATO Emerging from China’s Economic and Financial Assertiveness” was published in the 30th edition of the Journal of the Joint Air Power Competence Centre. 

Covid-19 Raises Geopolitical Stakes in the Balkans Coverphoto

The paper assesses the impact of COVID-19 on different external influences, which have already been steadily increasing in recent years, in the six Western Balkan countries. It offers insights into different forms and levels of engagement by Russia, China, Turkey as well as the US and the EU, establishing a better understanding of their agendas and strategies, and also providing data for future research on and analyses of this topic.

The Western Balkans Between the EU and a Hard Place Coverphoto

The paper identifies and analyses opportunities and challenges, which the EU is facing in the region as it tries to regain its leverage there. It starts from the oft-repeated premise that of all foreign actors, only the EU has the capacity to gradually stabilize and normalize the Balkans, examines the roots of the acute misunderstanding and miscommunication between EU and Balkan officials and outlines possible recommendations that could help the EU in tackling Balkan challenges.

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Regional Security Program // Barbora Chrzová, Petr Čermák, Prague Security Studies Institute / 31 Aug, 2020

PSSI Perspectives #1 - China in the Western Balkans

The Prague Security Studies Institute introduces PSSI Perspectives. These will be regular short memos on select security-related topics, including breaking developments affecting Czech and regional security, Chinese and Russian business transactions or projects of strategic and/or security concern, and the attraction of U.S. and European capital and investments by corporate “bad actors” of adversary states.

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In an August 10 report, PSSI critiques the five recommendations of the U.S. Presidential Working Group on Financial Markets addressing risk-related concerns regarding China. 

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Regional Security Program // Jonáš Syrovátka, Šimon Pinkas, Adam Novák a Dominika Urhová / 1 Aug, 2020

Case Study of Disinformation Related to Coronavirus

Societies in crises tend to be more suspicious, confused and susceptible to false stories. In this regard, the current Coronavirus pandemic represents a tremendous challenge. The governments are confronted with tackling not only COVID-19 impact on the public health, but also on the information space where disinformation and misinformation has already caused a lot of confusion in an already critical situation.