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Photo: “Православный храм в честь иконы Божией матери Отрада и утешение“, by Liilia Moroz licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. Hue modified from the original

Shcherbak, Andrey, and Maria Ukhvatova. “The Symphony is Over? The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Russian Orthodox Church–State Relations.” Problems of Post-Communism (2022): 1-13.


The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have paused the alliance of the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church. When the government announced lockdown measures and demanded that all churches cease services with the public, not all priests agreed to comply. The church-state crisis manifested in two divisions: between the Church and the state, between pragmatists and fundamentalists. We argue that although these cleavages posed a threat to the Patriarchate’s power, the Church managed to maintain the loyalty of most believers. Using individual-level data from the Values in Crisis project, the authors show that the ROC proved its loyalty to the Kremlin.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.