In the communist East-Central Europe and Russia, underground activities, including access to alternative spiritual and esoteric ideas and practices, mainly existed in parallel with the official culture and institutions and appeared as a form of resistance to the Soviet regime and communist ideology.
The panel addresses alternative religiosities in the communist East-Central European region and Russia, which due to Soviet control, mostly existed underground and could remain only if they acted in secret. Beside the officially established Soviet culture, connected with the Communist Party's aim to control all aspects of the public sphere, there was an unofficial cultural field that was very accepting arrival, formation, spread and expressions of diverse alternative religiosities and spiritual ideas. The disappointment with the existing narrowness of the official communist ideology and the loss of the absolute allegiance to it led to the formation and rise of unofficial socio-cultural alternatives within the system. The underground activities, including access to alternative spiritual and esoteric ideas and practices, generally existed in parallel with, or even jointly with, the official culture and institutions. In the panel, we invite both empirical and theoretical anthropological as well as interdisciplinary papers including, but not limited to the following topics: • Networks and inter-community connections • Flows of ideas within the communist East-Central Europe and Russia and from the outside • Centers and peripheries of alternative religiosity milieu in the communist East-Central European region and Russia • Politics and actions of regime towards alternative religiosity • Restrictions, repressions and survival strategies of practitioners of alternative religiosity • Milieu of alternative religiosity as a space of resistance • Relationships of communities of alternative religiosity with dominant religious traditions • Theoretical frameworks and methodological problems in research on alternative religiosity of the communist East-Central European region and Russia