Balkans: Geopolitics in Times of Corona
Foreign Aid and Public Relations Work and Their Perception in South East Europe
The coronavirus pandemic is a stress test for global value chains, national health systems and the resilience of societies – with no clear outcome. Against the backdrop of the crisis, we are also witnessing a geopolitical, systemic competition to win the hearts and minds of states and societies and to dominate global narratives. True to the motto that every crisis harbours an opportunity, the People´s Republic of China and the Russian Federation in particular are striving to gain sympathies in selected countries through rapid aid and its propagandistic staging, so as to highlight the superiority of their own systems and thus to expand their soft power. It would be naive to assume that their actions are guided solely by humanitarian considerations and international solidarity. What´s more, they are applying illegitimate methods such as fake news and disinformation campaigns as well.