Destabilising Bosnia-Herzegovina: Russian Hybrid Warfare and Greater Serbian Separatism

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Destabilising Bosnia-Herzegovina: Russian Hybrid Warfare and Greater Serbian Separatism

25th April 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

As part of Russia’s geopolitical struggle and war with the West, the Kremlin seeks to destabilise the Balkans, particularly former Yugoslavia. Russia has applied a full spectrum of hybrid warfare activities to the Balkans supporting Serbian nationalism in Kosovo and Montenegro, seeking to undermine the Greek-Macedonian agreement on a name change for the latter,  fomented an attempted coup d’état in Montenegro to prevent it joining NATO, and promoted friction between Bulgaria and Northern Macedonia. In the Bosnia-Herzegovina federation, Russia is supporting Serbia, a long-standing ally, since the Yugoslav civil war of the late 1980-s and 1990s. As the UK Parliament debated in December 2021, Bosnia-Herzegovina, crafted in the 1995 Dayton Accords as a federation of three main nationalities and religions – Orthodox Serbs, Bosniak Muslims, and Catholic Croats – could fracture through Russia’s support for Serbian separatism.

The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to a panel discussion that will focus on Russia’s hybrid warfare activities in the Balkans, threats to the stability of Bosnia-Herzegovina and NATO members, and policies the UK and its allies should undertake to counter them.



Othon Anastasakis is the Director of South East European Studies at Oxford (SEESOX); Senior Research Fellow at St Antony’s College; Associate at the Department of Politics and International Relations; Affiliate of the Centre for International Studies; Affiliate of the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA); former Director of the European Studies Centre, St Antony’s College, Oxford (July 2012-October 2015).

He teaches “South East European politics and European integration” for the OSGA and “EU politics” for the Department of Continuing Education, Oxford.

He is currently the Principal Investigator of two research projects: “Greek Diaspora Project at SEESOX”; and the OX/BER funded “Migration Diplomacy and Turkey-EU relations”.

He is also an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada; Region Head of Europe in Oxford Analytica

He received his BA in Economics from the University of Athens, his MA in Comparative Politics and International Relations from Columbia University, New York and his PhD in Comparative Government from the London School of Economics. He holds additional degrees in French literature and politics from Paris IV and in Spanish literature, history and history of art from the Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo.



Sonja Biserko is chairperson of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia. She has worked on a variety of civil and human rights programs including Helsinki Watch, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, UN Center for Human Rights, Mazowiecki’s Mission and the Tribunal in The Hague. She is author of Serbia in the Orient, Serbia Lost in Transition, and Yugoslavia’s Implosion – Fatal Attraction of the Serbian Nationalism.

She is an awardee of numerous prizes for humans rights work, and in 2001 served as Senior Fellow at the US Institute for Peace in Washington, DC.



Daniel Sunter is founder of the defence and security portal, Balkan Security Network, which connects editors, analysts and journalists in the region and promotes fact-based reporting. He is Executive Director of the Belgrade-based Euro-Atlantic Initiative, which works on communication projects and disinformation analysis in the Western Balkans.



Bob Seely is the Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight. He sits on the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee. Mr Seely writes academically and journalistically on foreign affairs as well as more generally on non-conventional and new forms of conflict. Prior to his election in June 2017, Mr Seely served on the Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and ISIS campaigns as a member of the Armed Forces. From 1990 to 1994, Mr Seely lived in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet states. His academic and foreign affairs writing is available online at: Mr Seely has written one of the few peer-reviewed definitions of Contemporary Russian Conflict Strategy available in the West.





On the 25th of April 2022 Bob Seely MP, member of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Othon Anastasakis, Director of South East European Studies at Oxford, Sonja Biserko, chairperson of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, and Daniel Sunter, founder of Balkan Security Network, discussed how Serbian nationalism and support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could fracture Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Bob Seely MP began the seminar by introducing the topic of discussion and the speakers. Sonja Biserko discussed how Russia has infiltrated the Balkan region after filling the vacuum left by the West and their attempts to subvert Montenegro and Macedonia. She commented on pro-Russian sentiment in Serbia and the possibility that Russia could open a second front in Balkans. Othon Anastasakis discussed how Russia was conducting hybrid warfare in the region and how they focus on coercion as well as their reliance on broader anti-NATO and western sentiment to argue for war. He also discussed the lacklustre attempts by the EU to positively influence the region and how it might change. Daniel Sunter spoke about the effects of Russian disinformation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Western Balkans and ways of mitigating it. He argued that this new wave of disinformation began in 2014 with the Russian annexation of Crimea and with Russian news service being broadcast in local languages.

There were then a series of questions from the moderator and audience including, has the course of the Russia-Ukraine war influenced opinion in the region, has the high casualty rate during the war forced people to rethink destabilising the region, implications of Russia losing the war for aspirations of Republic of Srpska, the role of the Orthodox church in Serbia, is EU expansion into the Balkans back on the table.




25th April 2022
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


United Kingdom + Google Map


Dr Othon Anastasakis, John Lough


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