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On October 6, 2020, Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) held an expert online workshop on the prospects for cooperation between Russia and Serbia in the context of COVID-19.

On October 6, 2020, Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) held an expert online workshop on the prospects for cooperation between Russia and Serbia in the context of COVID-19.

The speakers of the workshop included: Alexander Chepurin, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Serbia in 2012–2019; Elena Guskova, Leading Research Fellow, Department of Contemporary History of Central and South-Eastern Europe, RAS Institute of Slavic Studies; Ekaterina Entina, Deputy Dean, HSE, Associate Professor at RAS Institute of Europe; Alexander Pivovarenko, Senior Research Associate, Department of Contemporary History of Central and South-Eastern Europe, RAS Institute of Slavic Studies; Elena Ponomareva, Professor, Comparative Politics Department, MGIMO MFA; and Dmitry Miroshnichenko, HR Director, RZD International LLC. The discussion was moderated by Ivan Timofeev, RIAC Director of Programs. Natalia Vyakhireva, RIAC Program Manager, and Milan Lazovich, RIAC Program Assistant, also took part in the workshop.

During the workshop, experts discussed most promising areas for cooperation between Russia and Serbia at the present stage, taking into account the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and its possible consequences. Special attention was paid to the trends in the development of relations between Serbia and the European Union, given the prospects for the republic joining the EU, the increase in cooperation between Serbia and China, and further development of relations with Moscow. The speakers also underscored the importance of developing joint humanitarian, educational and cultural projects, referring to cooperation between Moscow and Belgrade on education programs for Serbian students in the Russian Federation.

The participants noted positive prospects and increasing vitality of Russia-Serbia mutually beneficial cooperation, which is possible in the near or medium term, provided that Moscow has a more systemic and clear approach to the entire spectrum of processes taking place not only in Serbia and its regions, but in the Balkans in general.

Experts agreed that the coronavirus pandemic has had a serious destructive impact on bilateral cooperation in many areas, in particular, scientific, educational and economic. The participants also agreed that today Russia needs to build a clear foreign policy strategy with regard to the Balkan region and to maximize cultural and humanitarian cooperation, which, in turn, can serve as an incentive for further breakthroughs on the political, economic and other tracks of interaction.

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Poll conducted

  1. In your opinion, what are the US long-term goals for Russia?
    U.S. wants to establish partnership relations with Russia on condition that it meets the U.S. requirements  
     33 (31%)
    U.S. wants to deter Russia’s military and political activity  
     30 (28%)
    U.S. wants to dissolve Russia  
     24 (22%)
    U.S. wants to establish alliance relations with Russia under the US conditions to rival China  
     21 (19%)
 
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