Ritual and commemoration in contemporary Russia

State-church relationships and the vernacularization of the politics of memory

in Focaal
Author:
Tobias KöllnerOtto von Guericke University Magdeburg tobias.koellner@hotmail.de

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Since state atheism was abandoned in the 1990s, the Russian Federation entered what can be called a postsecular phase. Religion, formerly limited to the private sphere, reappeared in the public and underwent an astonishing religious revival. During the time of my fieldwork in 2006/2007, a tendency to favor the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and to facilitate its return to the public reached its climax. In this article I draw attention to how the political, the secular, and the religious are interconnected and allow for new vernacular forms of legitimating power and authority. One example is the introduction of new public holidays and public rituals. They connect local and national narratives and relate to ideas about the communality of the Russian people. They create new forms of a divine kinship, which draw heavily on religious and national symbols and merge the sacred and the profane.

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Focaal

Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology

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