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7 August, 2013 18:09   ▪  

New Eastern Europe: Russian Orthodox "Foreign Policy" - best way to strengthen Kremlin's influence “near abroad”

The celebration of 1025 years of the christening of Kyiv Rus demonstrated Russian Orthodox "Foreign Policy" and showed atempts of Russia’s religious expansion in Ukraine. It was another proof of a use of soft powers in Moscow's policy towards neighbours.

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“The instrumentalisation of religion for political reasons is not specific to Russia. It is a universal phenomenon. Nevertheless, the Russian case deserves special attention for three reasons: first, the rich Russian tradition of using religion in promoting its image abroad; second, the wide-ranging potential of Russian diplomacy; and third, the presence of religious institutions capable of conducting their activities outside the country,” writes Alicja Curanović for New Eastern Europe

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"Religious diplomacy is an effective instrument of the Kremlin’s policy, particularly in the post-Soviet area. It is in line with the concept of Russia’s “near abroad”, and assumes strengthening the Russian presence, for instance through maintaining the dominance of Russian culture, easing religious tensions and fighting religious extremism. A priority of the joint projects of the Russian ministry of foreign affairs and the Orthodox Church is the integration of the Russian diaspora and keeping them in touch with the homeland. The flagship initiative of the Church and state diplomacy is the Russian World oundation, established in 2007, which supports projects that promote Russian culture, “values and spiritual foundations”," adds New Eastern Europe

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