On July 12, immediately after the presidential elections, Boris Yeltsin called for the creation of a“national idea”. He said that various stages in Russian history-monarchy, totalitarianism, perestroika - each had their own ideology, but that the current democratic path of government does not have one. He called for the new ideology to be defined within one year. One may therefore conclude, that by now it has been clear for everybody in Russia including the ruling circles, that, in writer and Nobel Prize Laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's words, ' Booty-became the new (and how paltry) Ideology'. Historically, the development of the Russian state ideology in the 19th century was linked to the Eastern Question. The resolution of this question in terms of the partition of the declining Ottoman Empire between the then Great Powers was a matter of great concern to Russians, who believed Russia the legitimate heir of Constantinople and the natural protector of the Slavonic and Orthodox population of the Ottoman Empire. Under the Soviet regime, the Balkans lost their former importance. Nor longer religious or ethnic community counted for a lot, while the previous strategic importance of the region had been greatly diminished. In the early 1990s, for many Russians the Balkan crisis became a dangerous scenario which might happen to the Russian Federation and the other former republics of the USSR. Others, however, viewed it as an opportunity for Russia to reassert her traditional influence in the Balkans and to re-establish her status and prestige on the world stage. Both these aspects should be taken into consideration when analysing the motivation of Russian initiatives seeking the resolution of the crisis such as the prevention of Yugoslavia's complete expulsion from the UN in 1992 or the deployment of Russian troops to Sarajevo in February 1994. The Russian policy towards the former Yugoslavia has produced unexpected results. Russia has not been treated by other countries as a scape-goat, as used to be during Balkan troubles in the past. However, the foreign policy has been criticized severely inside the country. It has been discussed by analysts, prominent political figures and writers. Traditionally, Russian writers were very active in public life to the extent, that many of them could be considered as ideologists too. The ideological heritage of the great Russian writers and thinkers of the past has been used intensively in recent polemics concerning a new Russian state ideology. There is no doubt this legacy will be used more actively in the years to come. Especially it applies to the views on the Eastern Question, and the Balkan Slavs in particular, which were expressed by Dostoevsky in his The Diary of a Writer, and Nikolai Danilevsky in his famous book Russia and Europe. There is another Russian thinker whose ideas are very much in vogue in Russia today. His name is Konstantin Leontiev. As Russian diplomat, he served in the Ottoman Empire from 1863 to 1874. Leontiev formulated his political, cultural and social ideas in his Byzantinism and Slavdom (1876) and The East, Russia, and Slavdom (1885-86) . The paper deals with a number of articles on Russia and the Balkans which have been published in Russian periodicals during recent two years. Having carried out a comparative study of Leontiev's views on the place Russia should assume in the Balkans and the opinions of some modern writers, the authors came to the conclusion that, first, for many Russians “the lessons of Leontiev” sill remain untaught and, second, a new state ideology is unlikely to be created in a relatively short time.