Islam and the Russian Orthodox Church in Post-Soviet Russia

Elena Pinyugina


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One can observe three main rends in relationship of the Russian Orthodox Church with leading regional Muslim organizations in Russia: tolerance, competition, cooperation. The specific form of tolerance between Islam and Orthodox Church is based on Russian imperial tradition. Today Russian state requires tolerance in public activities, in lieu of financial assistance granted to so-called «traditional religions in Russia». As a result leaders of Russian Christians and Muslims accept «unofficial borders» in their missionary work. Both religions are going to extending their influence in public sphere. Both religions try to develop mechanism of consultation with local and federal authorities. In addition, Orthodox and Muslim organizations cooperate to get tax privileges. They also cooperate in their struggle against secularism, sexual freedom, juvenile justice, methomania and drugs. These trends do not guarantee tolerance and peaceful co-existence in the future. A common Soviet past of leading religious actors eased their antagonism but it doesn’t play significant role for most of influential young religious leaders grown up in the post-Soviet times.


post-Soviet Russia; interfaith dialogue; tolerance; competition; Soviet heritage; Russian Orthodox Church; proselytism