This paper sets out to analyze Russia’s position in the Balkans. The departure points for the paper are several problematic factors. Firstly, it has often been argued that Russia’s identity as a great power shapes its assertive foreign policy.2 While this might be true in Russia’s relations with West, this type of account discards all the cases of collaborative Russian-Western interaction. Secondly, most analyses of Russian foreign policy tend to discard geographic variance in Russian foreign policy. One of the most obvious examples could be the striking contrast between Russia’s active opposition to perceived Western expansion in the Black Sea region, as opposed to its indifference to Chinese penetration into Central Asia.3 Driven on this problematique, the paper will seek to explore the meaning of the Balkan region for Russia’s identity. Thirdly, Russian foreign policy is often analyzed by scholars working on Russian foreign policy in various regions; less attention has been paid to the response of these countries to Russian policies. Such a narrow perspective often misses the important input that the countries of the region provide to shaping the outcome of regional politics.