Religious Soft Power in Russian Foreign Policy: Constitutional Change and the Russian Orthodox Church

Author: Robert C. Blitt

May 13, 2021

In this policy brief, Robert C. Blitt explores how the Kremlin continues to deepen its reliance on the Russian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (ROC) as a lever of soft power in Russian foreign policy. Constitutional amendments ratified in July 2020 suggest that this church-state partnership is poised to grow stronger in the coming years. Recognizing that the ROC’s international undertakings function to echo Kremlin objectives, policymakers should consider scrutinizing church activities and interactions with civil society and government interlocutors, with an eye toward identifying and minimizing opportunities for Kremlin influence and interference.

This policy brief was written as part of the Geopolitics of Religious Soft Power project, a partnership between Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and the Brookings Institution supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.

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