Feature

Balkans: Beware the coming Balkan Spring

The protests sweeping Bosnia right now could spark a wider conflagration.

Svetoslav Abrosimov
Sega (Bulgaria)

The protests sweeping Bosnia right now could spark a wider conflagration, said Svetoslav Abrosimov. After “another scandalous privatization” threw hundreds of people out of work in Tuzla, protesters set government buildings ablaze, and the unrest quickly spread to Sarajevo and elsewhere. Bosnians are furious at rampant corruption and nepotism, and they’re not alone. “At any moment the spark could ignite in neighboring Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Albania.” Anti-government protests have already occurred in the past year in Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, and Turkey. In fact, the entire Balkan region, famously called Europe’s powder keg, has never really been defused. All these countries “face the same problems” of instability, with wealthy oligarchs or mafias distorting the political process and “a horribly impoverished minority” ready to rise up. “The protests could easily lead to social revolutions, because the powder keg is once more filled to the brim.” But don’t think these uprisings will lead to a renewal of democracy—no, the only ones likely to benefit are “the populists and demagogues,” both here and throughout Europe. When the Balkans’ “old wounds” are reopened, all of Europe starts to bleed.

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