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Religious Origin and Political Extension of the idea of “Moscow – Third Rome”
  • Jiaqi Cao
Jiaqi Cao
Peking University

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The idea of “Moscow – Third Rome” is a unique phenomenon in Russian religious culture. It is the idea that the Russian state, represented by Moscow, is the “Third Rome” that succeeded Rome and Constantinople and has a mission to save the world. Although this idea was initially a religious doctrine, the consciousness of Russian nationalism and the universalist mission of salvation extended from this idea have been deeply embedded in the Russian national character and way of thinking through the efforts of Russian intellectuals. Since the 21st century, the thought of “Moscow – Third Rome” has been closely integrated with politics and gradually became one of the primary ideological sources of contemporary Russian geopolitical theory. The purpose of this study is to investigate the concept of “Moscow - the Third Rome” in relation to the genesis of Russian civilization. Because of that, traditional methods of historical research were used along with the theory of civilizations, the development of systems, and national archetypes. The article reconstructs the main components of the theory “Moscow—the Third Rome” and its contextualization is carried out within the framework of various periods of Russian and world history. The author concludes that the special messianic role and significance of Russia in world history may be seen as the archetype of Russian national identity.