Faith and fatherland: Russia's Christian warriors

Faith and fatherland: Russia's Christian warriors

Monday, 4 May 2015 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Venue: 
Nissan Lecture Theatre
Speaker(s): 
John Garrard & Carol Garrard (Arizona)
Convenor: 
Oliver Ready (St Antony's)
Series: 
Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre Monday Seminar

There is nothing surprising about the rise of religiosity in a nation that for eight decades had been subjected to militant state-enforced atheism.  But when Putin cast Russia's takeover of the Crimea in Orthodox terms, claiming that the Crimea is as important to Russians as the Temple Mount of Jerusalem is to Jews since Grand Prince Vladimir the Great, who Christianized Kievan Rus, was baptized there in 988 A.D, the symbiosis between Putin and Orthodoxy becomes of urgent importance. That he justifies military policy in the Crimea by alluding to a 10th century event--rather than stating that the Black Sea fleet needs Sevastapol as its port-- eerily fulfills the statement in our last book, Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent, that the memory of Russia's thousand years of Orthodoxy is "the hidden mainstream coloring Russian domestic behavior and shaping Russian policies abroad."  That book was not the end of the story:  the revived Russian Orthodox Church has sought to identify Russian patriotism with Russian Orthodoxy.  What is happening now, with the Russian army deployed outside the bounds of the Russian Federation?

John Garrard (Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies, University of Arizona) and his wife Carol Garrard are the authors of Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent: Faith & Power in the New Russia (Princeton U. Press, U.S. publication 2008, Oxford, 2009.)  An earlier book, The Life & Fate of Vasily Grossman, won the Italian national prize for history/biography in 2009.  John Garrard's first post-doctoral fellowship after gaining his Ph.D. from Columbia University was in 1967-68 at St. Antony's College, under the sponsorship of Max Hayward.

This is an advanced seminar series supported by the Management Committee of Russian and East European Studies and the Harry Shukman Seminar Fund (created in Harry’s memory by Fay and Geoffrey Elliott). All are welcome.