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The Russian Orthodox Church and Contestations over History in Today’s Russia
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
2014 (English)In: Demokratizatsiya, ISSN 1074-6846, Vol. 22, no 1, 145-170 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article investigates the role that the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) plays in the politics of history in contemporary Russia. I suggest that the picture we are looking at is rather complex as the ROC is not a monolithic entity. While the ROC's top leadership appears to be united with the Kremlin in their common intent to uphold a “patriotic” and state-centered historical narrative, certain segments of the Church and the Russian secular establishment might differ in their appraisal of various episodes of the country's past. The article will demonstrate that the ROC doesn't have a unified and consolidated position on how to treat the controversial past, in particular the Soviet period. Rather, there are several church subcultures whose historical interpretations tend to clash. Yet, ultimately, it is the Patriarchy's stance that defines the official position of the Church. In this sense, the ROC hierarchy's willing participation in the Kremlin-led attempt at forging a single “true” historical canon makes church-state relations in Russia ever more problematic. Both sides stand to lose due to their excessive coming closer together. The Church's subservience to the state is likely going to cost it dearly in terms of moral stature and prestige. The state's ruling elites’ casting of Orthodoxy as a “national religion” is counter-productive, if not outright dangerous in a multicultural and poly-confessional country.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Heldref Publications , 2014. Vol. 22, no 1, 145-170 p.
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-221493OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-221493DiVA: diva2:709178
Available from: 2014-03-31 Created: 2014-03-31 Last updated: 2014-07-31Bibliographically approved

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Torbakov, Igor
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Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies
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