A 19th-century politico-cultural ideology that advocated the unity of all Slavic-speaking peoples, pan-Slavism functioned as a tool of Russian influence across Central Europe and the Balkans under both the tsars and the Soviets. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, pan-Slavism has had influence in the former Eastern Bloc as most states have focused on membership in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with some, like Poland, fearful of Russian intentions. PanSlavism was used by certain Russian politicians, particularly those at the extreme right and left of the political spectrum, to advocate antiWestern policies during the breakup of Yugoslavia and the NATO bombing campaign against Serbia. Pan-Slavism has also been invoked as a rationale for the exceptionally close relations between the Russian Federation and Belarus, and for continued Russian involvement in the internal affairs of Ukraine. In a modified form, pan-Slavism is also employed by Eurasianist ideologues who stretch the meaning of the concept beyond its ethnic and etymological roots to embrace all Russophone peoples of the former Soviet Union.
   See also National identity; Russian language.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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