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.


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.


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.


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.