Milan Vukomanović

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Balkan states have remained susceptible to Russian influence in the 21st century due to a concurrence of contemporary and historical factors. In Serbia, such factors have contributed to the high favourability of Russia among the general public, despite government leadership attempts to balance between these sentiments and relationships with the West. To best understand these trends, one of the most compelling examples is the role of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the Serbian Orthodox Church in serving as forces to strengthen the shared history of these two nations. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the ROC has served as a vital partner to Putin and to the Russian government in justifying their ideologies, along with the strong transnational presence of the ROC as a soft power. Accordingly, the role of religious institutions as public diplomacy actors is exceedingly important to understand in today’s global setting. For states like Serbia, this presents a setup whereby Russian positions may be shared or reinforced through religious channels. It is, therefore, crucial for scholars, political analysts and public policy makers to better understand the link between religion and public diplomacy, and to formulate policies and programmes that specifically consider activities disseminated by religious institutions.


Serbian Orthodox Church, Russian Orthodox Church, political Orthodoxy, neo-traditionalism, soft power.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22190/TEME230623001V


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