The V-Dem Regional Center for Balkans is led by Director Shpetim Gashi, and tracks and measures democratic progress in ten countries in the region.

The team conducts research on democratic transition and consolidation, publishes country and cross-country comparative analysis, and organizes conferences and workshops with democracy scholars and practitioners.


Shpetim Gashi is the Director of the V-Dem Regional Center Balkans. He focuses on issues of governance and political development in countries in transition. He has 15 years of experience in the Balkans working on issues of human rights, rule of law, elections, and interstate disputes, and has facilitating informal discussion between political and government officials in the region. He holds an MA in international affairs from Columbia University and a BA in political science from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Ilina Mangova is the Country Director for North Macedonia. Her research focuses on good governance, elections, anti-corruption, and rule of law where she has published several articles and papers. Ilina holds an MA in comparative politics from the London School of Economics in London, United Kingdom, and a BA in political studies from the Saints Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, North Macedonia.

Nadejda Placinta is the Country Director for Moldova and Romania. Her focus is on the role of legislative and political parties in democratic development, checks and balances in countries in transition, minority rights, and interstate disputes. She holds a PhD on political science and an MA in international relations and European studies from Cuza University of Iasi, Romania.

Sanja Hajdinak is the Country Director for Croatia. Her research focus is on European integration, political economy, elections, political parties, and human rights, running the human rights magazine Activist. Sanja holds a PhD in political economy from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and an MA in political science from the University of Zagreb, Croatia.