Following the end of communism, the former Yugoslav republics experienced a decade of armed conflict. In the Western Balkans, a complete synthesis between ethnicity and religion has been established. A complex network of church institutions, a large Serbian minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, and close ties with the Russian Orthodox Church enabled the Serbian Orthodox Church to act as a center of soft power in the context of geopolitical processes in the region. In recent years, however, transnationalist evangelical Christian communities have emerged as an antithesis to the majority religions in the Western Balkans. In this working paper, Aleksandra Djurić Milovanović and Milorad Djurić examine the capacity of transnational evangelical communities to create interethnic tolerance in Serbia, primarily through the analysis of their humanitarian activities, their inclusiveness in relation to minority and marginalized social groups, and their influence among Serbs in the diaspora.
This working paper was written as part of the Geopolitics of Religious Soft Power project, a research initiative of Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. This article arises from a partnership between the project and the United States Institute of Peace focused on understanding how the geopolitics of religion shapes peace and conflict dynamics in particular regional and country settings. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the respective author(s).