Special Issue "The Russian Orthodox Church After the Post-Soviet Transition"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 5312

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Kristina Stoeckl
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sociology, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Interests: sociology of religion; governance of religion; Russian orthodoxy; church–state relations in Russia
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Dmitry Uzlaner
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow 119571, Russia
Interests: sociology of religion; secularization theory; postsecular society; social theory.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

For the last thirty years, there has hardly been a publication about the Russian Orthodox Church without “post-Soviet” and “post-communist” somewhere in the title. The experiences that were characteristic of the condition of the Russian Orthodox Church during the 20th century—repression, dissidence, collaboration, and emigration—were the backdrop against which developments since the end of communism were interpreted. Against these multifold experiences, the Russian Orthodox Church played different roles during the post-Soviet transition: that of a thriving faith under conditions of religious freedom, a supporter of democratization and a potential critic of the government, a cooperation partner inside a secular state, and that of a quasi-state church and nationalist promoter of the “Russian World”. In short, during the last three decades, Russian Orthodoxy has been characterized by ambivalence and multivocality, oscillating between freedom and control, civil society and the state, nationalism and transnationalism, projecting different images of itself to believers, the Russian state, global Orthodoxy, and international politics.

More recently, however, and especially by way of the constitutional amendment of the Russian Federation in 2020, the place of the Church inside the Russian state appears to have consolidated in the form of close church–state cooperation and a power-confirming and nationalist agenda of traditional values. At the same time, the support of the Church on the level of society and popular culture has been waning, with some cases of spectacular protests against the Church. The existence of a pro-Orthodox consensus among Russians seems increasingly uncertain.

This Special Issue invites analyses of current events that add new material and original data to the field, and welcomes contributions that explore the multiple and contradictory roles of the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russian society and politics in the last thirty years. Scholars are encouraged to engage with the idea that the period of post-Soviet transition for the Russian Orthodox Church is indeed “over”, and to push the boundaries of the analysis of Russian Orthodoxy beyond the categories of post-Soviet revival or desecularization. 

This open-access Special Issue is co-sponsored by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (POSEC, grant agreement no. ERC-STG-2015-676804). 

Dr. Kristina Stoeckl
Dr. Dmitry Uzlaner
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Russian Orthodoxy
  • Russian Orthodox Church
  • society
  • politics
  • post-communism
  • nationalism
  • transnationalism
  • activism
  • protest

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Framing of Abortion and Church-State Relations in Russian Orthodox Online Portals
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1084; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121084 - 09 Dec 2021
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Abstract
Over the past two decades, clerics in the Russian Orthodox Church have found a new outlet for morality policy discussions: news portals, blogs, and other sites that comprise a virtual public sphere of Russian Orthodox online media. One prominent issue discussed herein is [...] Read more.
Over the past two decades, clerics in the Russian Orthodox Church have found a new outlet for morality policy discussions: news portals, blogs, and other sites that comprise a virtual public sphere of Russian Orthodox online media. One prominent issue discussed herein is abortion in Russia, a subject that has spawned debates about possible regulation and prevention measures. This article analyzes statements regarding abortion made by clerics and others serving in the Russian Orthodox Church via Russian Orthodox online portals. Using typologies for framing strategies established through research of morality policy and church-state relations in Russia, this analysis will show that rational-instrumental frames were employed more frequently than religiously based or procedural arguments, and frames expressing affinity and disillusionment with the state were utilized more often than those evoking church-state symphony or anti-government disestablishment. In addition, it will shed light on framing strategies between online portals with varying degrees of proximity to the Moscow Patriarchate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Russian Orthodox Church After the Post-Soviet Transition)
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Article
Continuity and Change in Orthodox Christianity in Contemporary Russia: Enduring Legacies and New Developments in the Making
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1053; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121053 - 26 Nov 2021
Viewed by 718
Abstract
Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in two cities of European Russia, this article analyzes continuity and changes in Orthodox Christianity. In so doing, we emphasize property restitution, the renovation of sacred sites, and the importance of religious education in public schools and parishes. Based [...] Read more.
Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in two cities of European Russia, this article analyzes continuity and changes in Orthodox Christianity. In so doing, we emphasize property restitution, the renovation of sacred sites, and the importance of religious education in public schools and parishes. Based on that ethnographic material, we address three related research topics. First, we would like to discuss the importance of Orthodox Christianity for contemporary Russia. Second, we aim to show that an understanding of the Russian Orthodox Church as a national church underscores the local and internal differences as well as the complexities of everyday interactions. Finally, we address the notion of postsocialism and discuss its limits and potentials for the analysis of contemporary Russia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Russian Orthodox Church After the Post-Soviet Transition)
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Article
American Conservatives and the Allure of Post-Soviet Russian Orthodoxy
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1036; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121036 - 24 Nov 2021
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Abstract
This article explores the growing affinity for the post-Soviet Russian Orthodox Church by far-right Orthodox converts in the United States, highlighting how the spiritual draw to the faith is caught up in the globalizing politics of traditionalism and a transnational, ideological reimaging of [...] Read more.
This article explores the growing affinity for the post-Soviet Russian Orthodox Church by far-right Orthodox converts in the United States, highlighting how the spiritual draw to the faith is caught up in the globalizing politics of traditionalism and a transnational, ideological reimaging of the American culture wars. Employing ethnographic fieldwork from the rural United States and digital qualitative research, this study situates the post-Soviet Russian Orthodox Church in the international flows of conservativism focused on reclaiming social morals and traditional religiosity. In doing so, this article sheds light on how the post-Soviet Orthodox Church is viewed politically by a growing contingent of American religious and political actors who are turning to Russian Orthodoxy and Putin’s government during this New Cold War moment of tension between the United States and Russia. I argue that the allure of the post-Soviet Russian Orthodox Church for conservatives in the West offers us a window into how the institution is situated imaginatively within transnational politics, thereby providing us insights into the rapidly transforming culture wars fomenting globally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Russian Orthodox Church After the Post-Soviet Transition)
Article
Main Cathedral of Mutual Legitimation: The Church of the Russian Armed Forces as a Site of Making Power Meaningful
Religions 2021, 12(11), 925; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12110925 - 23 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1080
Abstract
The Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces emerged against the background of growing cooperation between the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church. A key aspect of that re-energised relationship has been the intensified engagement of State and Church leaders in practices of [...] Read more.
The Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces emerged against the background of growing cooperation between the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church. A key aspect of that re-energised relationship has been the intensified engagement of State and Church leaders in practices of mutual legitimation. This study examines the case of the new church of the Russian Armed Forces as an illustration of how the Patriarchate and the Russian Government make sense of each other’s power and positions in Russian society. Analysis of the official discourses indicates three key developments. First, both Church and State, in their own right, construct a statist and nationalist normative framework where the well-being and the greatness of “the Fatherland” is of utmost value. The two institutions legitimise each other by representing the other party as acting on behalf of this shared value. Second, the dedication of cathedral to the “Victory in the Great Patriotic War” integrates the Church into this key national narrative and simultaneously incorporates elements of the Soviet past into Russia’s “sacred memory”. Third, the involvement of the Patriarchate and the Kremlin in mutual legitimation constructs a relatively independent Church–State legitimating nexus, making popular support less necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Russian Orthodox Church After the Post-Soviet Transition)
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