Russia's Orthodox Soft Power

Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs (2015)

10 Pages Posted: 17 May 2018

Date Written: March 23, 2015


For many analysts the term Russky mir, or Russian World, epitomizes an expansionist and messianic Russian foreign policy, the perverse intersection of the interests of the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Little noted is that the term actually means something quite different for each party. For the state it is a tool for expanding Russia's cultural and political influence, while for the Russian Orthodox Church it is a spiritual concept, a reminder that through the baptism of Rus, God consecrated these people to the task of building a Holy Rus.

The close symphonic relationship between the Orthodox Church and state in Russia thus provides Russian foreign policy with a definable moral framework, one that, given its popularity, is likely to continue to shape the country's policies well into the future.

Keywords: Putin, Russia, Soft Power, Russian Orthodox Church, Ukraine

Suggested Citation

Petro, Nicolai N., Russia's Orthodox Soft Power (March 23, 2015). Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs (2015), Available at SSRN:

Nicolai N. Petro (Contact Author)

University of Rhode Island ( email )

Political Science Department
Washburn Hall
Kingston, RI 02881
United States


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