After a period of disengagement in the early 2000s Russia has seen its influence across the Balkans, including EU members such as Greece and Bulgaria, rapidly growing. Large-scale energy projects backed by Moscow have drawn a great deal of attention, both in local capitals and in Brussels. EU accession hopefuls such as Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia have refused to join the Western sanctions imposed in response to the annexation of Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine. What are the motives and goals underlying Russian policy? How does it impact on EU’s efforts at integrating South East Europe? What are the region’s perceptions and responses to Russia? Does Putin’s model of authoritarian rule pose a challenge to the norms promoted by Western institutions.