Protest against Kosovo independence. Flickr CC commons.

Kosovo, Serbia and Rising Authoritarianism in the Balkans

Since the Kosovo War of 1999, the status of Kosovo as a country independent of Serbia has not been resolved. Many countries, including the United States and most of Europe, recognize Kosovo as an independent country. But others do not–including Russia, which has blocked Kosovo’s aspirations to join the United Nations.

This has been the status quo for many years. But in recent months there has been some renewed momentum in diplomacy intended to find an agreement that would satisfy both Serbia and Kosovo and lead to Kosovo’s formal independence.

To that end, on June 24th, The president of Kosovo set off for Washington, D.C. for high level talks at the White House. But mid-air, the flight turned around when a special court unsealed an indictment against him for war crimes committed decades ago during the war.

This indictment is the latest wrinkle in the long effort to secure an international agreement over Kosovo’s status. Another key issue is ongoing protests in Serbia and that country’s ongoing democratic backsliding.

On the line with me to explain the significance of these recent events in the Balkans is Jasmin Mujanović . He is a limited term professor of political science and policy studies at Elon University and host of the Sarejvo calling podcast.

We kick off with discussing the Kosovo-Serbia talks and then have a conversation about the implications of rising authoritarianism in Serbia.

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