Speaker: Bechev, D. (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Date: 18 September 2018
SMA hosted a speaker session presented by Dr. Dimitar Bechev (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) as a part of its SMA EUCOM Speaker Series. During his presentation, Dr. Bechev spoke about Russia’s operations in Southeast Europe, particularly in the Balkan states. He stated that there have been various indications that Russian opposition groups have been activated to politically influence nations in the Balkans. He proceeded to discuss Russia’s primary strategic goal in the region and how its attempts to influence public opinion in the Balkan states differ from its attempts to influence former Soviet states. Dr. Bechev also detailed how Russia economically, politically, and socially influences and manipulates the Balkan states through trade and business activities, politics, and media. To conclude his presentation, Dr. Bechev spoke about why Russia is influential in the Balkans, how the pro-Russia sentiment in the Balkans is not necessarily an anti-US sentiment, and how there are currently limits to Russia’s influence in the region.