Contested Souls: Christianisation, Millenarianism and Sentiments of Belonging on Indigenous Yamal, Russia

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Religious revival has consistently shown itself to be a central characteristic of broader ideological shifts in post-Soviet Russia. This article discusses how new religious currents – Orthodox Christianity and a Protestant denomination condemned by the Church – affected rural indigenous dwellers on Yamal at the turn of the millennium. It contends that rather than simply filling a post-Soviet ideological vacuum, as is often suggested in mass media and social scientific literature, new religious discourses challenged and resurrected native traditions for new purposes as well as revoked certain Soviet images and social forms. People’s reliance on semantic memory in diverse and mutually hostile religious frameworks overrides a distinction between innovative religious movements characterised by evocative images and a doctrinal mode of religiosity based on routinised forms of worship and ‘general knowledge’ (cf. Whitehouse 2000). While sharing this memory, indigenous converts of different denominations may profess millenarian attitudes that coexist with both ‘syncretic’ dispositions and the complete negation of native tradition.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEtudes Mongoles et Siberiennes, Centrasiatiques et Tibetaines
Pages (from-to)2-16
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Millenarianism and Religious Innovation in North Asia

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