Stefano Bianchini

Professor of East European Politics and History, University of Bologna



Stefano Bianchini is Professor of East European Politics and History at the University of Bologna. From 2015 to 2021 he was Rector’s delegate for relations with Eastern Europe. Previously, he was the director of the two-years Interdisciplinary Master of Arts in East European Studies (MIREES), a joint diploma of the Universities of Bologna, St. Petersburg, Vytautas Magnus at Kaunas, and Corvinus of Budapest. He is visiting professor of the State University of St. Petersburg and holds a H.D. in Humanities of the Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas. From 2001 to 2018 he was also the co-director of the European Regional Master in Democracy and Human Rights for SEE(ERMA) awarding a double diploma of the Universities of Sarajevo and Bologna. He is a member of the Executive Committee and former Vice president of the Association for Studies of Nationalities (ASN) based at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University, New York and Executive Editor of the blind peer-review journal “Southeastern Europe”, published by Brill, Leiden and other academic journals. As an expert of Balkan issues, he was an adviser of the ICTY, in the Hague. Prof. Stefano Bianchini published and co-edited 36 books and more than 200 articles in Italian, French, English and other languages. 

Title of Presentation

Between Sovereignty Wishes and Dependency. The Endless Challenges of Small Balkan States
In modern times, the dichotomy of sovereignty wishes and external dependency in the Balkans dates back to the beginning of the 19th century and is related to the process of State-building. The Small Balkan states willing to achieve their independence attempted to establish their sovereignty in different ways. However, they suffered recurrently from the interferences between the Great Powers and their politics. This mechanism constantly reappeared in the following decades, between the two world wars and during the cold war. The European partition forced the small Balkan states to accept the role of client or satellite country, according to their dependency on the US or the USSR. Consequentially, the claims for independence and sovereignty were mainly addressed against the federal State and the communist ideology but rarely achieved without dependency on a powerful external player. Under these circumstances, the Small Balkan States have frequently expressed their aim to join the EU as member states, to strengthen their regional role but only a few of them succeeded. This contrasting picture of cooperation and rejection takes place together with the poor performance of the EU institutions and an increased interest from the great powers – such as Russia, China, and the US – to offer their support to fragile local players. In my presentation, I will discuss that the further partitions of the Yugoslav territories, the desire of small states for an independent role and the dependency strengthened by the regional fragility is again a determinant factor that affects the articulation of the foreign policies of the local countries.
Publications from the Author