This article has a threefold aim. First, to create a typology of Balkan migration crises. Second, to reflect on how migration is theorized in a crisis situation by analyzing the competing conceptual clusters and proposing new ones. Third, to measure the ratio between the region’s crisis and anti-crisis potential in the field of migration in regard both to agency and policies. The article is structured in four parts. The first part reconstructs the conceptual history of “crisis” and its affirmation as the hegemonic discourse of contemporary times. The second part introduces temporality as a theoretical zoom that illuminates a different migration profile depending on whether we are observing it in a short-term, mid-term, or long-term perspective. The third part presents a new typology of Balkan migration crises based on different criteria. It structures Balkan migration crises into two clusters: real and constructed. The article seeks to answer the question of why, given the abundance of real refugee and migration crises, new ones are constructed. The fourth part goes beyond the crisis and analyzes the migration and development nexus as a major policy innovation. The conclusion offers a comparative analysis of the diverse Balkan migration crises.
Migration studies are usually concerned with involuntary or underprivileged migrants living in highly developed societies. In contrast, this article focuses on emigration from affluent to less developed countries, using the example of EU lifestyle women transmigrants living in Belgrade. Serbia is a Western Balkan EU candidate country with a high youth emigration rate. The aim of this study is to question whether EU migrants can be development actors in a Western Balkan country. The bulk of the ethnographic research was conducted in 2018 by way of a series of interviews. The findings show that by using their “transcultural capital” in Serbia, the interviewees have the development potential to act as agents of “Europeanisation from below” and avoid the negative public perception of Europeanisation as a tool of Western domination in the region. However, in order to fulfil their development roles, affluent migrants first need to be recognised in Serbian migration management policies and supported by the local authorities.
This article examines a migration pattern which has been overshadowed by the ‘security turn’ dominating European discourses: depopulation. Across Europe, emigration is responsible for significant demographic transformations, especially in rural and remote areas. Depopulation leads to the reduction of services provided to citizens, further diminishing the attractiveness of these territories. Against this background, migration can counterbalance depopulation as part of a strategy for rural regeneration. This article analyses the case of Riace, an Italian town that has been hosting people seeking asylum and refugees for decades, and compares it to the Serbian town of Sjenica, where increasing numbers of non-EU migrants are settling after the ‘closure’ of the Western Balkans route. Our empirical findings indicate that there is both an opportunity and a political will to implement a similar model to that of Riace in Sjenica and in the southwest Sandžak region.
In July 2020, Russian voters gave strong support to a package of constitutional reforms that reconfigured the Russian political system and enshrined social guarantees and conservative identity values, consolidating the regime that has been built over a 20-year period. This was achieved through an alteration that ‘zeroed’ presidential terms that commenced before the constitutional change, potentially allowing President Vladimir Putin to overcome term limits and continue in office beyond 2024. The article explains how such a far-reaching and important change was successfully endorsed by the Russian electorate. The analysis shows that the main explanation rests with variations in voting patterns across the regions, a pattern that has been evident in previous Russian elections and resulted in strong pro-Putin support. The article also evaluates questions raised about the legitimacy of the result, and its long-term significance for the Russian political system.
The COVID-19 crisis has provided an opportunity to re-evaluate how the federal relations work in authoritarian Russia. In particular, the crisis has confirmed that the regional governors are an integral part of maintaining the stability of the non-democratic regime. Since the whole system and thus, the political careers of the incumbent governors depend on Putin’s popularity, they are interested in maintaining it, even at the expense of their own popularity with the population. In Spring 2020 the regional governors have demonstrated both loyalty and willingness to shield Putin from political responsibility for unpopular measures associated with the epidemic.