Montenegrin Squaring of the Circle : Between Russophilia, Pan-Orthodoxia, and Competing Nationalism
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|This study seeks to examine the roles of the political coalition Democratic Front (DF) and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) as key actors in the promotion of Russophilia, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Slavic heritage in Montenegro. We argue that the Slavophilic concept in Montenegro does not exist in its classical form. Rather, several intertwining manifestations that blend into Serbophile, Russophile, and Pan-Orthodox attitudes are connected with ethno-religious and political—rather than genuinely ‘pro-Slavic’—affinities. Although Slavic identity and Orthodox bonds represent useful references in political speeches, they constitute a minor rather than a prevailing argument in explaining current mutual affinities. Issues like the position of Serbs in neighbouring countries, the Montenegrin Orthodox Church’s request for autocephaly, and the legal status of the SOC incline towards the Russian state and Serbian religious institutions constitute an important element in understanding Montenegrin political developments, which are significantly more layered than what first meets the eye.