Russia-Ukraine Dialogues: the importance of the Baltic States

Our distinguished panel of experts provided an insight into the multifaceted consequences of the Russia-Ukraine war on the Western Balkans. The dialogue centered on the intricate web of relationships within the ongoing frozen conflicts in the Western Balkans, notably Republika Srpska's secession efforts from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the enduring Serbia-Kosovo conflict, but also illuminated the responses of Western states to this regional upheaval. Additionally, panelists focused on the evolving dynamics in energy security and the spread of disinformation, examining their direct correlation with Russian influence in the area. #LSERussiaUkraine



This webinar was held on Tuesday 24 October 2023.

Meet the speakers and chair

Dr Kurt Bassuener (@KurtBassuener) is co-founder and senior associate of the Democratization Policy Council, a Berlin-based think-tank. He received his PhD in 2021 from the University of St. Andrews’ Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence for his dissertation titled: “Peace Cartels: Internationally Brokered Power-Sharing and Perpetual Oligarchy in Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia.” He resides in Sarajevo, from where he also serves as a regional strategic advisor for Kvinna Till Kvinna

Dr. Dimitar Bechev (@DimitarBechev) is a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, where he focuses on Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. He is also a lecturer at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, University of Oxford. Bechev is the author of Turkey under Erdogan (Yale University Press, 2022), Historical Dictionary of North Macedonia (Rowman, 2019), and Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe (Yale UP, 2017) as well as co-editor of Russia Rising: Putin’s Foreign Policy in the Middle East and North Africa (Bloomsbury, 2021). He has also published numerous academic articles and policy reports. His past positions include lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and senior policy fellow, head of the Sofia office at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Bechev has held fellowships at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna; Harvard’s Center for European Studies; and the European Institute, London School of Economics. He contributes frequently to Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera, Politico Europe, and RFE/RL, and his quotes have appeared in the FT, the Economist, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other major news outlets.

Meliza Haradinaj (@MelizaHaradinaj) completed her postgraduate studies in Diplomacy at the University of Oxford/Lincoln College in 2011, as a recipient of the prestigious Chevening Scholarship awarded by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Her prior education was acquired at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) via the American University in Kosovo, in Public Policy. Meliza embarked on her political career as an Elected Local Councilor at the Prishtina Municipal Assembly from 2009 to 2013. Upon completion of her postgraduate studies, she continued her political journey at the national level as Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, at a time when critical state-consolidation milestones were achieved such as the formation of the Kosovo Army and the establishment of the Ministry of Defence. In 2020, Ms. Haradinaj was appointed as the 6th Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, becoming the 1st woman to ever be appointed by the Parliament for this ministerial post in Kosovo. During her tenure as Foreign Minister, she managed to formalize the mutual recognition between the Republic of Kosovo and the State of Israel, by establishing diplomatic relations in 2021. Meliza is married with two kids, Mea Stublla and Dars Stublla.

Leon Hartwell (@LeonHartwell) is the Senior Advisor at LSE IDEAS and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington DC. His research interests include conflict resolution, genocide, transitional justice, diplomacy, democracy, and the Western Balkans. Previously, Hartwell was the 2022 Sotirov Fellow at LSE IDEAS and CEPA’s Acting Director of the Transatlantic Leadership Program and a Title VIII Fellow.  From 2012 to 2013, he was also the Senior Policy Advisor for Political and Development Cooperation at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Zimbabwe, where his work included government and civil society engagement, political reporting, peace building projects, and supporting human rights defenders. In 2019, Hartwell completed a joint doctoral degree summa cum laude at Leipzig University (Germany) and Stellenbosch University (South Africa). His thesis analyzed the use of mediation in the resolution of armed conflicts.