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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

Köllner, Tobias. Religion and politics in contemporary Russia: Beyond the binary of power and authority. Routledge, 2020.


Based on extensive original research at the local level, this book explores the relationship between Russian Orthodoxy and politics in contemporary Russia. It reveals close personal links between politicians at the local, regional and national levels and their counterparts at the equivalent level in the Russian Orthodox Church – priests and monks, bishops and archbishops – who are extensively consulted about political decisions. It outlines a convergence of conservative ideology between politicians and clerics and also highlights that, despite working closely together, there are nevertheless many tensions. The book examines in detail particular areas of cooperation and tension: reform to religious education and a growing emphasis on traditional moral values, the restitution of former church property and the introduction of new festive days. Overall, the book concludes that there is much uncertainty, ambiguity and great local variation.

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • The relation between Russian Orthodoxy and politics in Russian history
  • Russian Orthodoxy, religious education and the growing importance of patriotism
  • A post-socialist palimpsest
  • The newly established festive Day of Family, Love and Faithfulness and the Saints Peter and Fevroniia
  • Nationalism, conservatism and militarism in post-Soviet Russian Orthodoxy and politics
  • Orthodox religion and politics in contemporary Russia

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.