Power and the Sacred in Revolutionary Russia: Religious Activists in the Village

Overview

After the 1917 Revolution in Russia, the Bosheviks launched a massive assault on religion. Although we know a great deal about how the Bolsheviks went about doing this—propaganda, persecution of clergy and laity, seizing church property—scholars have not devoted much attention to the other side of the story: the people who were being persecuted and how they responded to their persecutors.

Glennys Young shows how ordinary Russian peasants devised ways of asserting their religious...

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Overview

After the 1917 Revolution in Russia, the Bosheviks launched a massive assault on religion. Although we know a great deal about how the Bolsheviks went about doing this—propaganda, persecution of clergy and laity, seizing church property—scholars have not devoted much attention to the other side of the story: the people who were being persecuted and how they responded to their persecutors.

Glennys Young shows how ordinary Russian peasants devised ways of asserting their religious faith during the difficult period of New Economic Policy, 1921–28, when the Party-state was ideologically obsessed with eradicating religion. Faced with persecution, torture, and the creation of antireligious organizations such as the League of the Godless, Orthodox clergy and laity organized themselves against the Bolsheviks. They revived factional politics, even using the village soviets, the intended cornerstone of Soviet power in the countryside, to defend their religious interests. When they achieved some degree of success in their resistance, the Bosheviks were forced to respond and adapt their strategies—a conclusion that scholars have not put forward previously.

Based on extensive research in archives and published sources, Young's book will force historians of Soviet Russia to confront religious issues as central to rural politics. Her work also draws upon cultural anthropology and theories of peasant politics, making it of great interest to any scholars studying the processes of secularization and desacralization in other cultures.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
With the goal of balancing the extensive study of Soviet suppression of religion, Young history and international studies, U. of Washington pulls from archives and published sources the story of resistance by Orthodox clergy and laity. She focuses on the most intense suppression in 1921-28 and shows how the proponents of religion revived factional politics and usurped used the government's own village soviets with enough success that the communists had to change their tactics. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271028378
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 8/26/2008
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Glennys Young is Assistant Professor of History and International Studies at the University of Washington.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Glossary
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 Ironic Beginnings 11
2 Perplexing Paradoxes 49
3 Burnt by the Heavens 79
4 Circling the Heavens 111
5 Unexpected Resilience 147
6 Parish Democracy 193
7 Keeping the Parish Alive 211
8 Icons of Power 233
9 Fashioning the Enemy 253
Conclusion 273
Select Bibliography 281
Index 299
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