Orthodox Christianity and Post-Soviet Experience
As I decide, thanks to a kind invitation by the Erfurt Series in Eastern Orthodoxy, to publish in one volume my previous studies in a slightly actualized and modified form1, I feel that it is necessary to preface this volume with a text setting up a few general “braces” that would hold the entire construction together. These “braces” are, in fact, a few core ideas and objectives that have been animating for more than a decade all the papers included here. Throughout this period, my field has been the dynamic of religious phenomena in the former Soviet lands, with a special emphasis on Russia, with the post-communist “exit” generating its own logic and unique historical experience. However, I was always trying to relate these unique developments to the global shifts that have been unfolding through the turn of the century in both the field of the religious being and the field of religious studies.
The post-Soviet turn in Russia and in other lands of Eurasia was, indeed, tectonic, unprecedented in many ways: besides political, economic and cultural breakdown, it was a reshaping of the universe of meanings, a reconstruction of basic symbolic codes. The decades that followed were the years of challenges and choices urged by massive institutional restructuring. These choices, taken by individuals and social groups, were informed, in this situation of symbolic flux, by unfixed, fluid and ← 7 | 8 → sometimes unconscious patchworks of motives and reactions. Occasionally, these patchworks were getting a more or...
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