God Is Back In Belarus

Unexpected religious revival in the post-Soviet space?

For blog

Collective prayer of Evangelical Christians in Minsk, 2007. Source: nn.by

In the 1990s, the former Soviet republics found themselves in completely new social realities. Interestingly, despite the decades of atheization, some sort of religious revival took place throughout the whole post-Soviet space.

Millions of Homo Sovieticus type were seeking God. There are different explanations for this phenomenon.

Some scholars note that this happened due to the ideological vacuum in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s demise. Others emphasise that a new integrative force, like religion, for societies was simply needed.
Definitely, studying religion and societies remains worthwhile today. Interesting dynamics are currently taking place in the former Soviet countries – where religion had been practically suppressed for decades. For example, the largest Orthodox Church in Belarus, is losing many of its members, while Protestant churches are clearly mushrooming throughout the country.

Peoples’ narratives can teach us a lot

It is also interesting to see if/how churches involve with civil society. Do they engage with politics, advocate for discriminated groups, support political, civil and economic activism? Does it vary among Protestant denominations? Does membership in a certain church influence the formation of values and attitudes at all? If yes, how?

Also,  I would like to see whether the religious dynamics involving Protestant movements in the global South America are mirrored here in the post-Soviet space,  where religion was supposed to have been eliminated completely.

These are some of the research questions that I seeking to answer in my fieldwork. It draws on ethnography and includes in-depth interviews with churchgoers, but also participant observation. I believe I can learn the most from people’s (my respondents) narratives.

So many interesting issues to study. Wish me good luck with my research!

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