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Kursnummer: 114423

Russia’s and China’s Presence in the Western Balkans: Perceptions vs Realities (focus on Serbia and Kosovo)

Politik und Medien Jetzt Buchen

European Contexts Seminar Series

When: Monday, 20 November 2023, 9:00-11:15 CET
Presseclub Concordia, Bankgasse 8, 1010 Vienna AND via Zoom

Registration deadline: Saturday, 18 November 2023, 18:00CET

There are two ways to follow this seminar:

  1. Presseclub Concordia attendance - Registration!
  2. Zoom participation - Registration!


9:00-9:15 Welcome Greetings and Introduction

Daniela Kraus, General Secretary, Presseclub Concordia

Ivan Vejvoda, Head of Europe's Futures - Ideas for Action (IWM)


Dimitar Bechev, Bulgarian political scientist, author of the book Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe. Lecturer at Oxford University. Europe’s Futures alumnus.

Russia and China in the Western Balkans


Quick coffee


Panel Conversation followed by Q&A

Russia’s and China’s presence in the Western Balkans: Perceptions vs Realities

Russia and China: Public Perceptions

Srdjan Bogosavljevic, public opinion expert, founder of Ipsos Strategic Marketing.

Russia and China: Media Influence and Presence

Saša Mirković, journalist, media manager, former State Secretary, university lecturer.

Russia and China: Economic Presence

Milica Uvalić, professor of economy, specialised in the Western Balkans,
Visiting Fellow, European University Institute, Florence.

Russia and China: Political Presence and Security Considerations

Valbona Zeneli, security expert, Atlantic Council. Europe`s Futures Alumna.


Concluding Remarks


International media attention focuses on the war zones. However, Ursula von der Leyen’s recent trip to the Western Balkans indicates that Brussels still struggles to win hearts and minds in this part of Europe, where public opinion, rightly or wrongly, especially in Serbia, perceives Moscow and Beijing as true friends. Western media often refer to the region as a bastion of Russian and Chinese presence.

Is there a correlation between perceptions and realities on the ground? Is Chinese and Russian influence/presence overestimated or underestimated?

The panel addresses these topics from different angles: public perceptions, media coverage, economic investments, and political presence.

Target Groups

Austrian and international journalists, thinktank analysts, and academics.

Number of participants in Presseclub Concordia

Maximum: 50

Number of participants in Zoom

Maximum: 70

Additional Information

Mirjana Tomic
Cell: +43 676 365 26 9

Valbona Zeneli

Valbona Zeneli

Expert in transatlantic relations

Valbona Zeneli is an expert in transatlantic relations, strategic competition, NATO, globalization and international economy, European Union enlargement, and the Western Balkans.

She is a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Europe Center and at the Transatlantic Security Initiative of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

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Saša Mirković

Saša Mirković

Journalist, media manager, former Vice Minister, consultant and university lecturer

Saša Mirković is a journalist, media manager, former Vice Minister, consultant and university lecturer.

He currently works as a media consultant and a lecturer at Faculty of Media and Communications, Singidunum University in Belgrade, Serbia.

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Dimitar Bechev

Dimitar Bechev

Political Scientist, University of Oxford

Dr Dimitar Bechev's research interests are the politics of Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Turkey as well as Russian foreign policy. Amongst his recent books are Turkey under Erdogan (Yale University Press, 2022), Historical Dictionary of North Macedonia (Rowman, 2019), Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe (Yale University Press, 2017) and co-editor of Russia Rising: Putin's Foreign Policy in the Middle East and North Africa (Bloomsbury, 2021). He is also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

He was senior fellow at the Centre for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2016-20) and before that senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and held visiting fellowships at Harvard's Centre for European Studies, the London School of Economics and Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo.

Dimitar holds a DPhil in International Relations from Oxford.

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Milica Uvalic

European University Institute

Milica Uvalic is currently Visiting Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence (Italy). From 1992 until recently, she was Full Professor in Economics at the University of Perugia (Italy) teaching courses on European Integration, Economic Development and Global Governance, Transition Economics, Macroeconomics, International Economics. She holds a PhD in Economics from the European University Institute in Florence. Formerly she was member of the UN Committee for Development Policy, Public Policy Scholar at Woodrow Wilson Centre (Washington DC) and Assistant Minister in the first post-Milošević government in Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. She is an expert on the Western Balkans and wider East European region and has published widely on various topics regarding the Western Balkans, including EU - Western Balkan integration, economic development, privatization, trade, FDI, labour markets, higher education, regional cooperation and regional development. Her recent publications include a co-authored study with W. Bartlett and M. Bonomi (2022), Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans: Assessing the possible economic, social and environmental impact of the proposed flagship projects for the European Parliament and an edited book on Integrating the Western Balkans into the European Union – Overcoming mutual misperceptions (2023), Palgrave Macmillan.

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Srdjna Bogosavljevic

Srđan Bogosavljević

Public opinion expert

Professor Dr. Srđan Bogosavljević graduated in mathematics and obtained his MSc in 1977 and PhD in 1982 in mathematical statistics. He has been actively engaged in the field of mathematical statistics ever since. He commenced his professional journey at the Yugoslav Institute of Statistics in 1975 as a researcher, eventually ascending to the position of Chief Executive, a role he held from 1982 to 1992. During this tenure, he also served as an expert-consultant at Statistics Netherlands in 1989. Subsequently, he assumed the role of a full-time professor at Belgrade University, where he imparts knowledge in subjects related to statistics and market research.

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