These circumstances prompt a detailed consideration of the actors present in this complicated region and their interests. Such an analysis is needed from both the theoretical and practical standpoints, as it will allow us to outline the entire range of contradictions in the region, determine the points where interests coincide and diverge for expert dialogue, and reduce the likelihood of conflicts recurring in the region. From the point of view of Russia's interests, this analysis will help assess Russia's stance in Southeast Europe with greater precision and help develop a strategy for interacting with the countries of the region.
The Balkans are also important for Russia–Europe, Russia–EU and Russia–NATO relations. In the future, this region may hold a significant place in the emerging architecture of relations with two of Russia's neighbours: China and Turkey. The people in this region are culturally close and politically sympathetic to Russia, and are not concentrated in Serbia
alone, but in other countries as well 
. Consequently, this is where Russia's stance can find the greatest understanding and support.
However, Russia does not have as much influence in the Balkans as the Western media would traditionally have us believe pushing its "Russian threat"
narrative. Montenegro's accession to NATO in 2017 and the expansion of the Alliance's military infrastructure and logistics into Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina reflect the problems and drawbacks in Russia's foreign policy. If in the 2000s, Russia's task was to "stop NATO's expansion," then the country risks failing in this task now. The inclusion of Serbia – Russia's strategic partner
– in these processes additionally complicates the picture and makes Russia an "obstacle" from the point of view of Euro-Atlantic integration. Equally, the increasing presence of Turkey, several Arab countries and China blurs the "historical" presence in the region, making it less significant and more of a "cultural and folkloric" phenomenon, although here too Moscow's influence is not entirely clear 
Today, the Russian strategy, which is based on a reactive approach and the singling out of exclusive partners, can only provide limited response to these challenges. This requires an inclusive approach that would be based on a broad vision of regional development and the dynamics of the changes taking place. This paper is dedicated to developing such an approach.