Description : This volume explores the relationship between new media and religion, focusing on the digital era’s impact on the Russian Orthodox Church. A believer may now enter a virtual chapel, light a candle through drag-and-drop, send an online prayer request, or worship virtual icons and relics. In recent years, however, Church leaders and public figures have become increasingly skeptical about new media. The internet, some of them argue, breaches Russia’s “spiritual sovereignty” and implants values and ideas alien to Russian culture. This collection examines how Orthodox ecclesiology has been influenced by its new digital environment, such as the intersection of virtual religious life with religious experience in the “real” church, the role of clerics on the Russian Web, and the transformation of the Orthodox notion of sobornost’ (catholicity), asking whether and how Orthodox activity on the internet can be counted as authentic religious practice.
Description : 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.
Description : Church Slavonic, one of the world’s historic sacred languages, has experienced a revival in post-Soviet Russia. Blending religious studies and sociolinguistics, this book looks at Church Slavonic in the contemporary period. It uses Slavonic in order to analyse a number of wider topics, including the renewal and factionalism of the Orthodox Church; the transformation of the Russian language; and the debates about protecting the nation from Western cults and culture.
Description : In the post-Soviet period morality became a debatable concept, open to a multitude of expressions and performances. From Russian Orthodoxy to Islam, from shamanism to Protestantism, religions of various kinds provided some of the first possible alternative moral discourses and practices after the end of the Soviet system. This influence remains strong today. Within the Russian context, religion and morality intersect in such social domains as the relief of social suffering, the interpretation of history, the construction and reconstruction of traditions, individual and social health, and business practices. The influence of religion is also apparent in the way in which the Russian Orthodox Church increasingly acts as the moral voice of the government. The wide-ranging topics in this ethnographically based volume show the broad religious influence on both discursive and everyday moralities. The contributors reveal that although religion is a significant aspect of the various assemblages of morality, much like in other parts of the world, religion in postsocialist Russia cannot be separated from the political or economic or transnational institutional aspects of morality.
Description : This volume consists of a collection of essays devoted to study of the most recent educational reform in Russia. In his first decree Boris Yeltsin proclaimed education a top priority of state policy. Yet the economic decline which accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union dealt a crippling blow to reformist aspirations, and to the existing school system itself. The public lost faith in school reform and by the mid-1990s a reaction had set in. Nevertheless, large-scale changes have been effected in finance, structure, governance and curricula. At the same time, there has been a renewed and widespread appreciation for the positive aspects of the Soviet legacy in schooling. The essays presented here compare current educational reform to reforms of the past, analyze it in a broader cultural, political and social context, and study the shifts that have occurred at the different levels of schooling 'from political decision-making and changes in school administration to the rewriting textbooks and teachers' everyday problems. The authors are both Russian educators, who have played a leading role in implementation of the reform, and Western scholars, who have been studying it from its very early stages. Together, they formulate an intricate but cohesive picture, which is in keeping with the complex nature of the reform itself. Contributors: Kara Brown, (Indiana University) * Ben Eklof (Indiana University) * Isak D. Froumin, (World Bank, Moscow) * Larry E. Holmes (University of South Alabama) * Igor Ionov, (Russian History Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences) * Viacheslav Karpov & Elena Lisovskaya, (Western Michigan University) * Vera Kaplan, (Tel Aviv University) * Stephen T. Kerr, (University of Washington) * James Muckle, (University of Nottingham) * Nadya Peterson, (Hunter College) * Scott Seregny, (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) * Alexander Shevyrev, (Moscow State University) * Janet G. Vaillant, (Harvard University)
Description : Contributors analyse the preconditions for and processes of nation-building, while the new element is the focus on values in the largest post-Soviet state, Russia.
Description : Roy Medvedev, one of the world's best-known Russian scholars and a former consultant to both Gorbachev and Yeltsin analyzes the main events that have transpired in the Russian federation since late August 1991. He looks at the plans that were meant to restructure a society in crisis but—for reasons both complex and obvious—were destined to fail. From the drastic liberalization of prices and "shock therapy" to the privatization of state owned property and Yeltsin's resignation and replacement by Vladimir Putin, this is an intricately fascinating saga of good intentions, philosophical warfare, and catastrophic miscalculations. Among the many compelling facts detailed here are Yeltsin's utter surprise—and lack of preparation—at the failed coup against Gorbachev in 1991, when power fell virtually into his lap; his failure to heed the warnings of learned advisers like Yuri Yaremenko, who knew that Western economics could not be applied to Russia; and Yeltsin's dramatic (and unprecedented) decree in 1992 allowing anyone to sell or buy anything they wished. In a sweeping conclusion covering the critical events of 1998 and 1999 as well as a detailed analysis of the 1995 and 1996 elections, Medvedev lays forth an exhaustive survey of recent political shifts, attitudes, statistics, and trends. From birth and death rates on the farm and in the city through a number of highly charged campaigns and elections to the new goal of the Communist Youth League (to become millionaires), this is a breathtakingly detailed survey of an unforgettable chapter in Russia's history.
Description : Russian Society and the Orthodox Church examines the Russian Orthodox Church's social and political role and its relationship to civil society in post-Communist Russia. It shows how Orthodox prelates, clergy and laity have shaped Russians' attitudes towards religious and ideological pluralism, which in turn have influenced the ways in which Russians understand civil society, including those of its features - pluralism and freedom of conscience - that are essential for a functioning democracy. It shows how the official church, including the Moscow Patriarchate, has impeded the development of civil society, while on the other hand the non-official church, including nonconformist clergy and lay activists, has promoted concepts central to civil society.