Traditional Religions of the Desecularizing State

Buddhism, Christianity, and Shamanism in Post-Soviet Buriatia

Over the second half of the twentieth century Buddhism and Christianity developed from limitedly tolerated practices that contradicted Soviet modernity to the pillars of post-Soviet nation building acquiring the legal status of “traditional religions.” Shamanism was not granted similar recognition. Exploring the concept of “traditional religions,” the study addresses post-Soviet doctrinal developments in relations between religion and state and interactions between different religious communities and corresponding organizations in the Republic of Buriatia.

The organizations in focus include the state-sponsored Orthodox Christian Buriat Metropolis, the Buddhist Traditional Sangha of Russia, as well as independent Buddhist, Shamanist, and Christian organizations. The key research questions include the normative understandings of the relations between Christianity, Buddhism, and Shamanism and the state by different actors and their development, the interpretations of the “traditional” role of the named religions in Russian history, and their input into the current desecularizing and “traditionalizing” efforts of the Russian government.

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Foto von Dr. Ivan Sablin

Dr. Ivan Sablin