The Balkans. Between the Cross and the Crescent

The Balkans. Between the Cross and the Crescent

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2022.03.04

For citation:

Vishnyakov Ya.V., Smirnova P.E. The Balkans. Between the Cross and the Crescent. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No. 3. P. 38-49. (In Russ.).


Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries the Eastern Question and the ways to resolve it were placed at the top of the international political agenda both in Russia and in other European states. Thus the Balkans and its place in international relations should be considered as a multidimensional issue. On the one hand they are at a geopolitical collision point of the Powers’ interests associated with the decline of the Ottoman Empire and its transformation into a “sick man of Europe”. On the other hand, when studying the concept of the “Eastern Question”, one should take into account the internal processes taking place in the region, which in the twentieth century became both the source of bloody clashes between the young Balkan countries and the cause of the civil war of 1991-1995 on the territory of the former SFRY, as well as the unresolved Kosovo issue, which brought about an open aggression of Western countries against Yugoslavia. What is more, the accumulated research material allows us to single out in relation to the region the concept of “Balkan civilizational contact zone” as a place of both centuries-old neighborhood and a clash of the Romano-Germanic, Eastern Christian and Islamic worlds. At the same time, starting from the 18th century, a split into two parts – the West and the East – was starting on the European continent, and in the middle of the 19th century, the concept of the “Orthodox East” was taking shape in Southeastern Europe. In addition, the polysemantic concept of “friend or foe” brought the concept of “political antiquity” into the public and political discourse of the elites of the Balkan countries, associated with attempts to give a simple and understandable explanation of the role and place of one’s own, small “compact” people in the new world order. This study attempts to generalize the concept of the Balkans in terms of a “different image”, which had a significant impact on the political processes of the region, as well as on the relations of the Balkan countries, both among themselves and with the “great” European powers. 

Balkan civilizational contact zone, Serbia, Balkans, Eastern Question, Ottoman Empire, nationalism, Versailles System, neo-Ottomanism.


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Content No. 3, 2022

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