“As part of a series aimed at understanding Russia’s global influence, The Washington Post examined Russia’s low-cost, high-reward strategy in Serbia — a pivotal Balkan nation that has declared a desire to join the European Union but also counts Moscow as an ally. Although the West is showering far more cash on Serbia, Russian influence is far more penetrating. The Kremlin dominates the front pages of newspapers, Serbian Orthodox priests often echo Russian talking points and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic makes regular trips to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. One key issue that has kept the countries close is the Kremlin’s refusal to recognize Kosovo as an independent nation following the former Serbian province’s decision to break away in 2008. Russia has used its U.N. Security Council veto to block efforts to give U.N. membership to Kosovo and to shield Serbia from condemnation. The Post spoke to Vucic this summer about how he balances relations between Russia and the West. Here are some excerpts from the conversation, lightly edited for clarity.” (Washington Post)