The Status of and Challenges to Religious Freedom in Russia

Roman Lunkin

in The Future of Religious Freedom

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199930890
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980581 | DOI:
The Status of and Challenges to Religious Freedom in Russia

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This chapter catalogues the torturous path of the treatment of religion in post-communist Russia. It begins with the implementation of a new legal regime of broad religious freedom during the period of Perestroika and Glasnost at the end of the Soviet era, which endured through the religious freedom of 1990 in the new Russian Federation. It then demonstrates how authorities of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) joined with the ruling political elite to suppress the freedom of religious competitors. New laws restricted the activities of religious minorities, but did not stem the growing religious pluralism in Russia. Thus efforts by Vladimir Putin to gain legitimacy for authoritarian measures through privileges accorded the ROC produced a backlash and forged alliances of religious minorities and the intelligentsia that reinforced religious freedom as a value in Russia. New demographic evidence shows that religious pluralism is gaining ground and fuelling hopeful democratic impulses.

Keywords: Russian Orthodox Church; Post-communist Russia; religious minorities; Vladimir Putin; Russian religious law of 1997; Medvedev policy on religion; religious pluralism; religious demographics; Patriarch Krill

Chapter.  10467 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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