Alternative Spiritualities in Russia during the Conflict in Ukraine

Created 2022-01-19 #publication
Published in: Religion During the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict. Routledge, 2019 Read on the external website

The chapter examines ideological patterns concerning minority religious groups in Russia during the conflict in Ukraine and reactions of religious minorities to the conflict. The author indicates that statements of Russian government-funded media and Russian Orthodox Church tend to describe affiliation with religious minorities in a negative way as a part of the image of the enemy as opposed to normative Russian identity.

Religious minorities are often portrayed as having hidden agenda and acting as agents of foreign influence, specifically to ignite revolutionary actions and to undermine social stability in different countries, including Ukraine and Russia. The history of these narratives is rooted both in Soviet criticism of religion and in ideas of American anti-cult movement transmitted in Russia during late 1980s and 1990s.

At the same time, minority groups themselves have different opinions concerning the situation in Ukraine. They demonstrate the variety of perspectives on the actions of Russian government during the conflict from critical to sympathetic. However, because even sympathetic minority groups and individuals tend to act outside of established hierarchical structures, their actions might be perceived as a threat regardless the specific content of their ideas.

Book reviews

The book is a much-needed English introduction to a thorny set of religious, political, juridical, and related problems concerning the Eastern Ukrainian conflict [1].

  1. By Teuvo Laitila in Journal of Contemporary Religion. Volume 36, 2021.

Insider and the Academia: the Past and the Future of “Going Native in Reverse” in the Study of Esotericism

Created 2022-02-15 #publication

The text analyzes the insider-outsider problem in the study of esotericism. The author argues that a position of an insider who turns to rational reflection concerning esotericism through academic training provides a unique insight essential for the study of esotericism. Showing that the line between the insider and the outsider in the case of Western esotericism was always thin, the author argues that we often cannot plausibly separate an “insider” from an “outsider” thus making the opposition problematic.


Cosmic Feminine in “Synthetic Esoteric Philosophy” of Vladimir Shmakov

Created 2022-01-24 #publication

The paper discusses a concept of divine feminine in texts of a Russian esoteric writer Vladimir Shmakov with an emphasis on a concept of Sophia and interactions between Russian Orthodox religious philosophers and esoteric thinkers.