Religion and Russian Revolution


A New Look at the First Anti-Church Decrees of the Soviet Power

Review of: Otdelenie tserkvi ot gosudarstva i shkoly ot tserkvi v Sovetskoi Rossii. Oktiabr' 1917–1918 g. Sbornik dokumentov [Separation of the Church from the State and the Church from the School. October 1917–1918. Collection of Documents] / Otv. red. prot. Vladimir Vorob'ev, otv. sost. L.B. Miliakova. M.: Izd-vo PSTGU, 2016. — 944 s.

The Benefits of the “Cultural Turn” in Slavic Studies for the Studies of the Russian Revolution

Among the huge amount of books and articles published at the Revolution’s Hundredth anniversary, the author focuses on several volumes translated from English into Russian: Yuri Slezkine’s “The House of Government”, Mark Steinberg’s “The Russian Revolution. 1905–1921”, and Martin Malia’s “History’s Locomotives.” Comparing the authors’ approaches the author draws conclusions about their scientific and political implications. The books reflect trends in the Slavic studies over the last decades.

A Hundred Years that Troubled the Soul... The October Revolution as a Sacred Object

The Russian Revolution continues to unsettle the minds. Although it is undeniably Russian in terms of its location, agents, and tragic consequences, it is of global relevance due to its rootedness in a monotheistic interpretative framework, irrespective of the question if that framework became “secular” or “immanent.” Even if we adopt a “sober” retrospective outlook, the Russian Revolution, like its American and French counterparts, continues to organize the way we perceive history, politics, and religion.

Cultural Hegemony, Religion and the 1917 Russian Revolution

The ambition of this article is to initiate an understanding of the Russian Orthodox Christianity at the time of the revolution in a way that is different from the classical approach which is often focused on its institutional side and limited to historical facts. Its main thesis is that rather than being an obstacle, Orthodox Christianity to some extent contributed to the revolution’s success by providing familiar semantic background against which the majority of Russians interpreted, accepted and fought for the socialist ideals.

Struggling for Equal Burial: Funeral Administration in Early Soviet Union

Bolsheviks’ program of separation of Church from State involved a bunch of issues connected to the abolishment of social and confessional inequality. Funeral reform initiated by the government decree on funerals and cemeteries (1918) was a part of this program. The decree stated the abolishment of funeral classes, deprived Church from all funeral incomes and stated “equal burial for everyone.” The paper, based on the materials from State Archive of Moscow Region (GAMO), reflects the results of the atheist funeral reform in Moscow in 1920–1930s.

Wings of Revolution

This essay examines the motifs of wings and flight in public interpretive practices during the revolution, which were ubiquitous but rarely recognized. At the empirical center of this story is a once famous memorial plaque, featuring a large winged figure symbolizing the revolution, installed on the first anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution on Red Square above the graves of the martyrs of October.

Godbuilding and Authoritarianism: A Discussion of Bolshevism and Religion

The thesis that socialism and communism have some traits in com‑ mon with religion has often been argued for. Here we analyze the well‑known positions of A.V. Lunacharsky on religion, which he developed in close connection with Gorky’s God‑building, and A.A. Bogdanov’s critique of religion and religious language as a form of authoritarian ideology.

«Can a Christian Be a Socialist?» The (Ir)reconcilability of Christianity and Socialism in Revolutionary Russia

The article investigates debates about the (ir)reconcilability of Christianity and socialism among Orthodox clergy and intelligentsia in late Imperial Russia. The first part of the paper focuses on anti‑socialist texts by radical right Orthodox clergy who argued for the impossibility to reconcile Christianity and socialism, and interpreted them as rigid categories. The second part of the paper discusses various intellectual experiments by left‑wing Orthodox clergy and by Marxist intelligentsia who looked at Christianity and socialism as fluid ideas under contestation.

Antichrist, Katechon and the Russian Revolution

Today, the ideas of the Russian monarch or Russia itself as “katechon” are popular in the right‑conservative circles, and on this basis attempts are made to explain the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent events of the twentieth century as a fight against “katechon” up to his “ritual murder”. According to these views, the Freemasons and Jews were responsible for the Revolution, as they were preparing the coming of the Antichrist. What role such representations played in pre‑revolutionary and revolutionary Russia and whom did they attract?

Revolution and Civil War through the Perceptions and Actions of Muslim Clergy in Dagestan, 1917–1921

The article analyzes how the Revolution and the Civil War have been perceived by the Muslim clergy in Dagestan and how the clergy reacted. The author shows various forms of involvement of the clergy, their participation in power institutions, creation of coalitions and alliances, and their internal cleavages. The views and political agendas of the two leaders, Nazhmutdin Gotsinsky and Ali‑Hajjah Akushinsky, are further presented as major examples.