Foreign policy is determined by two variables: Interests one the one hand, and values on the other hand. Much has been written about the former with regard to Russia’s current foreign political stance – values, however, have not featured so prominently in many analyses, Professor Nicolai Petro claimed at the 2015 CIOR seminar.
The question of values is most prominently visible at the intersection of the Orthodox Church and the Russian state – and at the idea of the “Russky mir”, or Russian World. While many analysts consider this idea to bethe intertwining of church and state, it is often overlooked, Petro argued, that both sides actually interpret the term quite differently. Nonetheless, the close and symbiotic relationship between church and state is likely to continue to shape Russia’s future aspirations.