Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 97

While visiting Bulgaria, Russian ultranationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said that Russia must create an "Eastern Slavic Bloc" comprised of Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia, to counter NATO, which is "ready to attack Russia and turning Bosnia into a testing ground for weapons aimed against Russia." (6) Meanwhile in Krasnodar, the Ataman of the Kuban Cossack Host, Vladimir Gromov, issued an appeal to create a League of Orthodox Slavic States to assist the Serbs confronting "the entire might of the West." Moreover the league, "with Russia as its mainstay, should bring together all Slavs." (7) In addition, the Bosnian Serb would-be republic has proposed that the governments of 11 predominantly Orthodox countries create an Orthodox Contact Group of their own for promoting a settlement in the former Yugoslavia, where the Orthodox Serbs are "under attack by the Catholic, the Protestant, and the Moslem worlds." The appeal, disseminated from Belgrade by the Serbian government, further proposes that "the Orthodox nations should coordinate more closely with each other and play a more important role in the modern world." (8)

The proposals revive the nineteenth century’s pan-Orthodox, pan-Slavic appeals, often used by Russian circles to advance expansionist goals in the Balkans or by Balkan groups themselves to enlist Russian support. Seldom official policy in Russia, pan-Slavism and pan-Orthodoxy were usually promoted by unofficial groups, at times even in opposition to government policy but often influencing it. Today, proposals such as Zhirinovsky’s also seek a new ideological basis for creating an anti-Western political-military bloc around Russia.

Russia Suspends Joint Exercise with U.S., Rationale Suspect.