Religion in Political Construction of Modernity: Editorial Introduction

Mchedlova M.M.



RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(4):541-546
pages 541-546 views


Social and Political Consequences of the Pandemic for the Russian Orthodox Church

Lunkin R.N.


In the article analyzed the social and political consequences of pandemic of coronavirus for the Russian Orthodox Church in the context of the reaction of different European churches on the quarantine rules and critics towards the church inside Russia. The author used the structural-functional and institutional approaches for the evaluation of the activity of the Russian Orthodox Church, was analyzed the sources of mass-media and the public claims of the clergy. In the article was made a conclusion that Orthodox Church expressed itself during the struggle with coronavirus as national civic institute where could be represented various even polar views. Also the parish activity leads to the formation of the democratic society affiliated with the Church and the role of that phenomenon have to be explored in a future. The coronacrisis makes open the inner potential of the civic activity and different forms of the social service in Russian Church. In the same time pandemic provoked the development of the volunteer activity in the around-church environment and also in the non-church circles among the young people and the generation of 40th age where the idea of the social responsibility for themselves and people around and the significance of the civil rights was one of the popular ideas till 2019. The conditions of the self-isolation also forced the clergy to struggle for their parishioners and once again renovate the role of the church in the society and in the cyber space.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(4):547-558
pages 547-558 views

State-Confessional Relations in Russia in a Pandemic: Challenges and Answers

Pochta Y.M.


The article discusses the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the rhetoric of Russian representatives of traditional religions (Islam and Orthodoxy). As a context of this process, the author defines the contradictory trends taking place in society: trust / distrust of the state and religious institutions; strengthening / weakening of rationalism and trust in science, in particular medicine. The author used the concept of “biopolitics” by Michel Foucault, the concept of “anthropocentric authoritarianism” by David Chandler, the concept of the crisis of “prevailing globalization” by Jean Baudrillard as a methodology. In general, according to the author, despite the manifestations of fundamentalism in Orthodoxy, religious leaders supported the state’s position to quarantine and restrict the access of believers to churches, did not reject the scientific explanation for the pandemic, and proceeded from ideas about the social responsibility of the church, public solidarity, and the general fate of the entire population of Russia. At the same time, in the situation of an indefinitely long pandemic and the associated economic crisis, traditional religious structures have to find a middle path between modernists and fundamentalists in their ranks, as well as develop their own position in relation to the inevitable strengthening of state control over citizens.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(4):559-578
pages 559-578 views


Nation and Religion: towards Definition of Religious Nationalism

Sitnikov A.V.


The aim of the article is to study the phenomenon of religious nationalism, i.e. cases when religion and nationalism are closely related and reinforce each other, and religious identity becomes an important and integral part of national identity. The author aims to analyze the political context of cases of religious nationalism in European countries, to describe their essential features and conditions of occurrence, and also to answer the question: are there any political reasons for religious nationalism? Considering the phenomenon of nationalism in the framework of the constructivist approach, the author also employs the methods of comparative analysis, using material from such countries as Ireland, Poland, Greece, the countries of the former Yugoslavia, as well as the Russian case taking place in the Chechen Republic. Summarizing these cases, the author describes the conditions for the emergence of an “alliance” of religion and nationalism. Firstly, it is a religious difference between neighboring communities. Secondly, it is a conflict between them, which contains a threat to identity. In these cases, religion becomes an important marker that distinguishes communities from each other, and begins to perform non-religious functions: the affirmation of national identity, ethnic pride, national honor, protection of sovereignty, and culture. Religious nationalism always stimulates growth of religious commitment of a nation, in which the number of believers may reach 90 percent. But this commitment is not individual, it is not based on a personal choice of faith, but collective and obligatory. Religious affiliation is dictated by loyalty to the nation.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(4):579-589
pages 579-589 views

Simulative Reality as a Challenge for National Identity: Theory and Russian Political Practices

Titov V.V.


The purpose of the study is a political and theoretical analysis of the phenomenon of simulated reality, its impact on the transformation of national-state identity, understood as a macro-political construct - an integrated image of “us”, “ours”, the dynamics of which are determined both by the logic of development of a specific national political system and by the wide a range of historical and cultural-psychological factors. The author defines a simulated political reality as a multidimensional space of political simulacra in their interaction and transformation. The mobility of the information landscape of modern Russian society leads to the construction of amorphous and unstable identities that do not have a deep value-semantic foundation and are based on emotional and symbolic content. The indicated identities, which are built around a social fashion - virtual communities of interest - successfully compete with the attitudes of Russian national identity and reduce its significance. In particular, this trend characterizes the self-identification of young Russians - representatives of generations of “millennials” and “digital natives”. The specifics of the development of the Runet’s digital space is not the main reason, but in many respects contributes to the devaluation of the image of the past, and also acts as one of the information-psychological drivers of the crisis of the image of the future.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(4):590-602
pages 590-602 views

The Role of the Elites in Choosing the Foreign Policy Priorities of the Baltic States

Smirnov V.A.


The author analyzed the role of the elites of the Baltic countries in the choice of foreign policy priorities in the period after the declaration of independence. The process of determining the course towards the Euro-Atlantic is inscribed in the sub-regional context, taking into account the current Russian-Baltic political interaction. The study of power groups was carried out on the basis of an examination of large-scale socio-political transformations along with an analysis of individual practices. A comprehensive study of the transformation of the political elites of Baltic states as small countries, involves consideration of both the domestic and foreign policy aspects. The thesis is put forward that, despite a number of differences in the Baltic states, since the 1990s there were similar processes of transformation of political elites. The elite formation was due to the principle of state continuity as continuity with the pre-war regimes of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and as a break with the Soviet period, including the EuroAtlantic course as the key priority of the foreign policy. The consolidation of deep divisions in the societies of the Baltic states - ethnic, linguistic, political - was the result of the elite struggle for power in the 1990s. After the implementation of the idea of «Back to the West» the elites of the Baltic states replaced it with a «Russian threat», which made it possible to postpone overcoming internal divisions fraught with weakening of their power.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(4):603-616
pages 603-616 views

European Identity between Religiousness and Secularity

Klimova G.S.


The role of religion in the structure of European identity was not on the top of agenda before the discussion of the Constitution project, but in the light of the intensive migration and Brexit this question appears to be more and more important. The issue of the interconnection between religion and European identity has several dimensions: the role of believing and belonging as well as Christianity and it forms in construction and functioning of European identity and feeling of Europeanness. The correlation analysis of Eurobarometer data (2009-2019), European Value Study (2d and 3d waves) and World Value Survey (1st-6th waves) data allows us to prove that, being secular in its roots, European identity has intense ties with religiousness. Religion appears to be a factor of European identity not within any confession, but more as a faith. Nevertheless, correlation analysis also demonstrates differences in the influence of Christian confessions on the one’s self-identification as European, which allows to look wider at the religion function in European Identity and claimed European values (mainly of secular and Enlightenment origin) in historical retrospective. This means that religion perspective not only reopens the discussion of the substance of being European, but also is one of key approaches to the urgent issues of peaceful group coexistence within European Union.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(4):617-633
pages 617-633 views

Approaches to Managing Ethnoreligious Diversity: the Case of the City-State Singapore

Lavrov I.R., Kharitonova O.G.


The article examines the problem of finding an appropriate power-sharing model for a divided society with cleavages along religious, linguistic, cultural and ethnic lines. Two key approaches to the institutional management of ethnoreligious diversity, consociationalism and centripetalism, are studied. The theoretical framework then applied to the city-state Singapore, a secular nation-state with a dominant ethnic group. The article states that the individual ethno-religious segments aware of their socio-political role can not be detected in the nation-state, whose citizens lack clear ethnic and religious identification, as a result of the “culturally neutral citizenship” concept application. The authors conclude that a centripetalist approach can theoretically be applicable to Singapore as the role of the unifying centre is played by the PAP, representing all ethnic groups and religions. However, the city-state could be threatened by conflicts between different segments due to religious self-radicalization, and these conflicts could be prevented through the use of consociational mechanisms.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(4):634-646
pages 634-646 views


The Politicization of Society and the Religious Issues in Modern Russia

Pinkevich V.K.


The purpose of the article is to trace the connection between the change in the religious policy of the state and the anti-clerical protests of the 2016-2020s. Statements against Church restitution and the construction of churches have caused extensive discussion, which has given rise to a number of contradictory, sometimes mutually exclusive interpretations. According to the author, the reason for these protests was not private reasons, but deeper reasons related to the religious policy of the state. The author pays special attention to changes in religious legislation, which led to increased control over the private life of citizens and infringement of the right to freedom of ideological choice. The article points out that the religious issue has divided Russian society: the ruling class on the one hand, and a significant part of citizens on the other, have become increasingly different in understanding the place and role of religion in the life of the country. According to the author, the protests in Yekaterinburg, St. Petersburg, and Moscow were special cases of numerous manifestations of politicization of society and growing dissatisfaction with the state of state-confessional relations in modern Russia. The author concludes that the degree of conflict, the high level of solidarity actions, a diverse and resonant series of events, as well as the level of ideological discussion allow us to classify these events as political and plebiscite.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(4):647-663
pages 647-663 views

Religion in the Social and Political Life of Modern Russia: a Review of the Monography “Religion in Modern Russia: Contexts and Discussions”

Amelin V.N., Hovhannisyan A.L.


The review reveals the main topics described in the monograph "Religion in modern Russia: contexts and discussions", published in 2019. The review examines the role of religion in the modern social and political life of Russia, the development of relations between the religious organizations and Russian state and society, the special features of the inter-religious dialogue in Russia, as well as the theoretical framework for studying the relationship between religion and the public sphere in the modern world. Modern political science pays mounting attention to the socio-cultural dimension and cultural and civilizational aspects of politics, overcoming the paradigm of modernity and the idea of linearity of political processes. Religion begins to act as one of the most important factors influencing the sphere of politics. In the current situation, when political processes are inherently post-secular, while the methods of describing them are still secular, it becomes necessary to develop new theoretical and methodological tools for studying the relationship between religion and politics. The review touches upon a possible theoretical framework for describing the role of religion in contemporary politics. The authors also pay attention to the role of religion in the formation of group identity, the socially significant functions of religious organizations, the role of religion in transmitting the most important values to wide sections of society. The review pays special attention to the problems of interreligious relations, as well as the relationship between religion and politics in Russia, emphasizes the important role of religion in resolving a number of problems in Russian society, where, in the context of the historically established coexistence of various religions and confessions, building interreligious and interconfessional dialogue is particularly important.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(4):664-677
pages 664-677 views

The Relationship between Islamic Structures and the State: the Case of Tatarstan

Guzelbaeva G.Y.


The paper focuses on the relationships that have developed over the past 30 years of the post-secularity period between the state and Islamic structures and communities using the example of the Republic of Tatarstan as a region with a significant Muslim population. Based on the data of 14 in-depth interviews with the experts, imams and residents of Tatarstan, it is shown that the secular power controls the Islamic community and the Spiritual Administration of Muslims and plays a dominant role in the interaction between the state and Islamic organizations. The modern processes of re-Islamization are associated with the risks caused by Islamic globalization which may lead to the loss of regional Islamic tradition and threaten the stability of the Republic. The state has strengthened control over the religious sphere in this context and has charged the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Republic of Tatarstan with an important task of neutralizing and preventing extremism. The main ways to overcome radicalization of believers are educational activities with special attention paid to young people and work for training Muslim clergy. The paper also analyzes whether it is possible to observe the principle of secularism. Special attention is paid to the description of the two main parts that make up the Muslim Ummah of Tatarstan, their different attitudes to the issue of the state intervention in the affairs of Islam and the reaction that they received from the state and official Islamic organizations. The Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Tatarstan is forced to respond to the demands of not only the state, but also ordinary Muslims. However, it can hardly cope with the request to be a buffer between the secular authorities and the Islamic community.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(4):678-689
pages 678-689 views


The Transformation of Radical Islam in a Post-Industrial Society

Demidenko S.V., Kutuzova A.A.


In a post-industrial society, radical Islam has undergone significant evolutionary changes, that contributed to its transformation from a religious ideology to a political one. The key element of the updated doctrine was the idea of creating a world Islamic state - caliphate - through global jihad. This article explores a new stage in the history of the phenomenon of Islamic radicalism, which has developed outside the Muslim world, where it has acquired features of a specific subculture. Global jihad is gaining popularity among young Muslims in Europe, the US, and Southeast Asia. A variety of cultural manifestations of Islamism, united by the term «jihadi-cool», form an attractive image of a Salafist-jihadists through a special manner of clothing, new types of music (jihad rap and jihad rock), etc. Members of this subculture tend to join terrorist organizations, spread radical ideas among young people and attract new supporters. One of the most important causes of the radicalization of Muslims in Europe and the Americas is considered to be the complex socio-economic and cultural preconditions created by Western policies towards the States of the Middle East and the local Muslim diaspora. As part of the research, a historical-genetic analysis of the evolutionary transformations of Islamic radicalism has been conducted. The statistical method has been used to track the number of terrorist acts in the EU and the USA. Content analysis has been applied in the article in order to examine lyrics of jihad-rap musical compositions. The interdependence of jihad-rap popularity and the general interest in the ideology of jihad has been assessed based on the analysis of statistics of search queries. Biographical methods have been used to study the relationship between belonging to a jihadist subculture and joining radical Islamic organizations. The results of the study demonstrate, first of all, the high adaptability of Islamic radicalism to the changing conditions of the global world. Secondly, they indicate the specific evolution of a phenomenon that gradually overcomes sectarian differences. And third, they note increasing prevalence of this destructive doctrine in Europe, USA, South and Southeast Asia. All the results confirm that Islamic radicalism is not a local phenomenon, but a real threat to global political stability.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(4):690-712
pages 690-712 views

Islamic Terrorism in the Middle East and its Impact on Global Security

Issaev L.M., Aisin M.B., Medvedev I.A., Korotayev A.V.


This paper examines the impact of the increase in terrorist activity in the Middle East after the Arab Spring on the terrorist threat in other parts of the world. The aim of the work is to clarify, using quantitative methods, the factors, mechanisms and scale of the spread of Islamist terrorism from the Middle East. A qualitative study of time series with partial formalization is used to identify time lags between the rise of Islamist terrorism in the Middle East and its intensification in other parts of the world. It has been demonstrated that the rapid growth in the number of terrorist attacks recorded in the world after 2010 was primarily due to the explosive growth of Islamist terrorist activity in the “Afrasian” zone of instability in general and in the Middle East in particular. There is considerable evidence to suggest that this spurred terrorist activity after 2013 in the U.S., Western Europe, Turkey and Russia. The analysis shows that the “Islamic State” (ISIS) and its affiliates (prohibited in Russian Federation) have acted as the main export agent of terrorism to these countries and regions in an attempt to retaliate military strikes carried out by foreign powers in the Middle East. Among these foreign countries, Turkey was particularly hard hit by the increase in terrorist activities - the level of terrorist activity in Turkey between 2013 and 2014 grew 14 times. In the United States and Western Europe, the onslaught of Islamist terrorism has been accompanied by a threefold increase in the number of terrorist attacks recorded. A similar scale of the Middle East terrorist echo was observed in the Russian Federation. The ISIS efforts to expand and develop terrorist networks in Russia also resulted in the tripling of a number of terrorist attacks in this country. However, it would be wrong to exaggerate the scale of the Middle East terrorist “echo” in Russia. The previous waves of the terrorist threat between 2002 and 2004, as well as the second half of the 2000s (an echo effect of the Chechen wars) were much larger.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(4):713-730
pages 713-730 views

Islam and Politics in Indonesia

Setiawan R., Esti M., Sidorov V.V.


The Republic of Indonesia is characterized by ethnic and religious diversity. Islam is the most widespread religion in Indonesia and most of the Indonesian population is Muslim. Indonesian society is based on the principles of religious tolerance. The equality of people is the most important socio-political value of the Indonesian society, which guarantees an equality for allpeople, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or social class. Religion can be the foundation that can strengthen the country and become the foundation for development. At the same time, religion may not be the official state ideology. We study the relationship between religion and state in Indonesia. What problems arise in the relationship between religion and the state? This study aims to find out how Islam and politics in Indonesia are in harmony with the ideology of the Indonesian nation and how religious values can support moral foundations of Indonesian politics. We used analyze secondary sociological data and studied researches of the largest Indonesian academics on the problems of the relationship between religion and politics. We used the method of library research with abstracting and collecting data. A new set of scientific sources in the Indonesian language is being introduced into scientific circulation. The results of the study showed that Indonesia is not a democracy based on the principles of democratic processes of Western Europe. The peculiarity of Indonesia lies in the interaction of religious values and the politics. Indonesian politics is characterized by religious tolerance. At the same time, religious and cultural values are incorporated into the political practices of Indonesia in the form of moral and ethical guidelines. Thus, Indonesia is not a religious or secular country, but a country where religious values are the moral and ethical main ideology of state development.
RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(4):731-740
pages 731-740 views

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