Russian President Vladimir Putin met in the Kremlin with Milorad Dodik, president of Bosnia's Republika Srpska, and praised him ahead of elections in the Bosnian Serb entity.
A Kremlin statement quoted Putin as telling Dodik at the meeting on September 18 that relations between Russia and Republika Srpska "are developing successfully."
He called their ties a bright spot amid "difficult times in international relations and in Europe" -- a reference to the Ukraine crisis.
Putin called Dodik "an experienced politician and manager."
Dodik is seeking reelection on October 12 and told a rally last month that his goal was for Republika Srpska to "become less an entity and more a state."
The 1995 pact that ended Bosnia's three-year civil war created two highly autonomous entities, the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Serb-run Republika Srpska.
Russia's sympathies lie with the Orthodox Christian Serbs.