Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Regional Protests in Russia Strikingly Lack a Religious Component, Shtepa Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 31 – Protests have taken place in many regions of the Russian Federation over the last few years, regionalist Vadim Shtepa says; but it is “striking” that even in regions many are included to describe as Muslim or Buddhist, these protests have not had a religious character.

            According to the editor of the Tallinn-based Region.Expert portal, the reasons for this are two-fold. On the one hand, he suggests, “religion always appeals to the past” and in the Russian context that means to the empire. And on the other, religious leaders in Russia are all too often simply servants of the powers that be (region.expert/religions/).

            “Regionalist consciousness,” Shtepa says, “must be a world view that stands as an alternative to the present religious and imperial archaic thought” that characterizes so many. Unfortunately, most religious leaders inside the Russian Federation are thus on the other side of this divide.

            That doesn’t mean that regionalists are enemies of religion or favor atheism, the regionalist writer says. It only means that regionalists believe that religion is a private affair of each individual” and therefore it also means that regionalists are against defining regions in terms of which faith is dominant.

            Instead, he says, “all regions are secular, and their residents are free to follow the religion of their choice or not to follow any at all.”

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