The Post-Soviet Russian Orthodox Church

Politics, Culture and Greater Russia

By Katja Richters

© 2012 – Routledge

224 pages

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pub: 2014-08-15
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About the Book

In recent years, the Russian Orthodox Church has become a more prominent part of post-Soviet Russia. A number of assumptions exist regarding the Church’s relationship with the Russian state: that the Church has always been dominated by Russia’s secular elites; that the clerics have not sufficiently fought this domination and occasionally failed to act in the Church’s best interest; and that the Church was turned into a Soviet institution during the twentieth century. This book challenges these assumptions. It demonstrates that church-state relations in post-communist Russia can be seen in a much more differentiated way, and that the church is not subservient, very much having its own agenda. Yet at the same time it is sharing the state’s, and Russian society’s nationalist vision.

The book analyses the Russian Orthodox Church’s political culture, focusing on the Putin and Medvedev eras from 2000. It examines the upper echelons of the Moscow Patriarchate in relation to the governing elite and to Russian public opinion, explores the role of the church in the formation of state religious policy, and the church’s role within the Russian military. It discusses how the Moscow Patriarchate is asserting itself in former Soviet republics outside Russia, especially in Estonia, Ukraine and Belarus. It concludes by re-emphasising that, although the church often mirrors the Kremlin’s political preferences, it most definitely acts independently.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. The Bases of the Social Conception and Political Culture: Theory and Practice 3. The ROC’s Approach to Other Religious Associations: From Tradition and National Identity to 'Fundamentals of Orthodox Culture' 4. The Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Army: Sharing a Nationalist Vision 5. Political and Religious Challenges to the Moscow Patriarchate in Estonia 6. The Moscow Patriarchate’s Defence of its Canonical Territory in Ukraine 7. Church - State Relations in Belarus 8. Conclusion

About the Author

Katja Richters gained her PhD from the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UK. She currently works as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Erfurt, Germany.

About the Series

Routledge Contemporary Russia and Eastern Europe Series

The aim of this series is to publish original, high-quality work by both new and established scholars on all aspects of Russian and East European Studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC008000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General