Catherine Wanner on Religion in Russia
Date: July 26th, 2010
How successful were the leaders of the Soviet Union in eradicating religion? Are the countries of the former Soviet Union experience a religious revival? Catherine Wanner, associate professor of history, anthropology, and religious studies at the Pennsylvania State University, recounts the history of religion in Russia and the Ukraine from the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 to present. The Soviet Union’s policies aimed at secularizing society are discussed — from suppression to educational efforts to atheist organizations. Despite the brutal repression of churches (particularly the Russian Orthodox Church), Prof. Wanner shows how rulers such as Stalin, Brezhnev, and Gorbachev pursued rather pragmatic policies toward religious groups at times. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the general policies toward religion changed, initially allowing a number of missionary groups to enter. However, in 1997 a new law in Russia restricted what various religious groups could do. Prof. Wanner shares her thoughts on the Ukraine throughout the podcast as well. Find out whether these two countries are experiencing a religious rennaissance and what factors may be affecting the growth of belief and the future of disbelief. Recorded: May 11, 2010.
Prof. Catherine Wanner’s website.
Communities of the Converted: Ukranians and Global Evangelism by Catherine Wanner.
Burden of Dreams: History and Identity in Post-Soviet Ukraine by Catherine Wanner.
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