Religion


Religion
   Given Karl Marx’s trenchant criticism of religion as the “opium of the masses,” it is not surprising that the Soviet state diligently promoted scientific atheism during its seven decades of existence. The Soviet Union’s four principal faiths—Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism—all suffered under Joseph Stalin’s reign, with houses of worship closed, clerics imprisoned, and funding sources blocked. Where the Kremlin could not destroy organized religion, it co-opted it, such as forcing the patriarchy to pledge its allegiance to the state and strictly controlling the education and appointment of Muslim leaders.
   Under perestroika, religious organizations began to flourish under the mantle of “informal” (neformal’nyie) cultural groups. With the end of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s monopoly on power in 1990 and the chaos associated with the dissolution of the Soviet Union a year later, many Russians turned to religion to fill the gap left by the abandonment of the secular faith of MarxismLeninism.
   In Siberia and the Russian Far East, indigenous peoples rediscovered ancestral faiths such as shamanism, animism, and Tengrism. Buddhism enjoyed a revival in Kalmykiya, Buryatiya, and Tuva, while neo-Buddhist beliefs combined with “New Age” principles, such as the Rerikh Movement, gained appeal among ethnic Russians. For other Russians seeking spirituality, neo-paganism and Vedism proved attractive.
   Of all Russia’s faiths, Islam has experienced the most dramatic revival. Across the North Caucasus and the Volga-Ural region, Russia’s traditionally Muslim ethnic minorities—including the Tatars, Bashkirs, Chechens, and others—rediscovered their Islamic roots and began to build religious connections to other parts of the Dar al-Islam, including the Middle East and South Asia. In some instances this went far beyond spirituality, with many Russian Muslims embracing Islamism in both its pragmatic and extremist forms. Judaism has also benefited from the new environment, with many Russians conducting family histories and reconnecting with their Jewish heritage.
   While the early-1990s predictions of ethnic Russians’ wholesale return to Orthodoxy failed to materialize, the church is thriving. Support from politicians, particularly Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin, and Yury Luzhkov, endowed the patriarchy with a new authority. Even the Communist Party of the Russian Federation supports the centrality of the Russian Orthodox Church in the country’s identity. Religiosity is now worn as a badge of patriotism in the contemporary Russian Federation, and is often used as a tool for establishing corporate networks and business contacts. Despite this flurry of enthusiasm for faith, a majority of Russians believe that there is no God, roughly comparable with the highly secular outlook of Western Europeans.
   See also Old Believers.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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  • Religion — religion …   Dictionary of sociology

  • RELIGION — L’ÉTYMOLOGIE du terme religion reste incertaine; elle est controversée depuis l’Antiquité. À la suite de Lactance, de Tertullien, les auteurs chrétiens se plaisent à expliquer le latin religio par les verbes ligare, religare , lier, relier. La… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Religion — • The voluntary subjection of oneself to God Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Religion     Religion     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • religion — RELIGION. s. f. Culte qu on rend à la Divinité, suivant la creance que l on en a. La Religion Juifve. la Religion Chrestienne. la bonne, la fausse Religion. la Religion de Mahomet. professer une Religion. faire profession d une Religion. faire… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Religion — Re*li gion (r[ e]*l[i^]j [u^]n), n. [F., from L. religio; cf. religens pious, revering the gods, Gr. ale gein to heed, have a care. Cf. {Neglect}.] 1. The outward act or form by which men indicate their recognition of the existence of a god or of …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • religión — sustantivo femenino 1. Área: religión Conjunto de creencias y prácticas que ponen en relación al hombre con la divinidad. religión budista. religión católica. religión cristiana. religión judía. religión monoteísta. religión musulmana. religión… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • Religion — Sf std. (16. Jh.) Entlehnung. Im Frühneuhochdeutschen entlehnt aus l. religio ( ōnis) (auch: gewissenhafte Berücksichtigung, Sorgfalt ), zu l. relegere bedenken, achtgeben . Gemeint ist ursprünglich die gewissenhafte Sorgfalt in der Beachtung von …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • religion — religion, denomination, sect, cult, communion, faith, creed, persuasion, church can all denote a system of religious belief and worship or the body of persons who accept such a system. Religion, the usual uncolored term, may apply to a system (as …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • religion — Religion, Profession de religion, Hierodulia, B. Faire profession de religion, In manum conuenire antistitis, In mancipio antistitis esse coepisse, B. Diverses religions, Aliae atque aliae religiones. Estimant que c estoit contre la religion et… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • religión — (Del lat. religĭo, ōnis). 1. f. Conjunto de creencias o dogmas acerca de la divinidad, de sentimientos de veneración y temor hacia ella, de normas morales para la conducta individual y social y de prácticas rituales, principalmente la oración y… …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • religion — [ri lij′ən] n. [ME religioun < OFr or L: OFr religion < L religio, reverence for the gods, holiness, in LL(Ec), a system of religious belief < ? religare, to bind back < re , back + ligare, to bind, bind together; or < ? re + IE… …   English World dictionary