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Russian President Vladimir Putin reviews an honor guard during an official welcome ceremony in Belgrade, Serbia, Jan. 17, 2019 (AP photo by Darko Vojinovic).

Macedonia Was a Setback in Russia’s Attempt to Assert Itself in the Balkans

Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019

Greece’s parliament held a historic vote last Friday that not only ended a three-decade-old dispute with its neighbor, but handed Russia a bruising defeat. The decision, formally recognizing the newly renamed nation of North Macedonia, sealed a deal reached between Greek and Macedonian leaders last year and removed the main obstacle that has prevented the former Yugoslav republic from joining the European Union and NATO.

The resolution of the naming quarrel is a setback to Russia, which had deployed its now-familiar geopolitical tools to try and block it. Yet the dispute is just one of many sources of tension in the perennially fragile Balkans, where Russia’s efforts to meddle and strengthen its regional position are still moving forward on many fronts. ...

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