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Accepted Paper:

The economic crisis as a source of religious identity in contemporary Russian Orthodoxy  
Detelina Tocheva (CNRS/Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités)

Paper long abstract:

Twenty years after the fall of the Soviet regime, popular collective identity in European Russia continues to draw on narratives about a radical economic breakdown. The consolidation of open expressions of religious practices in the 1990s coincided with the period of the harshest economic crises. This economic hardship gave rise to specific forms of lament that have remained relevant today. The complaint about poverty resonates with some fundamental Russian Orthodox positions about the desirability of asceticism and self-restraint. Interestingly, some Orthodox communities transformed this lament into a source of positive spiritual identity. The paper focuses on a contemporary urban church in north-western Russia that a group of parishioners started rebuilding at the end of the 1990s. The narratives about inescapable material deprivation and commitment to the church have merged together and ten years later they support the collective identity of this parish community claiming outstanding religious worth.

Panel W062
Post-Soviet religion and Russia's economic crises
  Session 1