Shimmering Secularism:
Religion in Russian Public Space

Malakhov V.S.,

Director of the Centre for Political Theory and Applied Political Science, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration,

elibrary_id: 223604 |

Letnyakov D.E.,

Researcher at the Centre for Political Theory and Applied Political Science, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration,

elibrary_id: 588916 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2020.01.10
Rubric: Russia Today

For citation:

Malakhov V.S., Letnyakov D.E. Shimmering Secularism: Religion in Russian Public Space. – Polis. Political Studies. 2020. No. 1. P. 135-149. (In Russ.).


Those who express concern about “desecularization” of the Russian state seem to ignore the phenomenon of systemic hypocrisy, characteristic for the activity of organizations in general and of authorities in particular. The issue is, first, that there is an unavoidable gap between the public selfpresentation of the organization (“symbolic politics”) and its practical actions (“real politics”). Second, systemic hypocrisy manifests itself in the fact that separate parts of the organization (in our context – various state institutions) act in different directions. At the level of public self-presentation the Russian state, in fact, avoids a clear positioning with regard to its own secularity. Two discursive regimes coexist in official rhetoric: on the one hand, the state proclaims its commitment to secularism, on the other hand, it distances itself from “Western” secularism. The state periodically calls into play one discursive regime, turning off the second, and vice versa. However, these manipulations do not have institutional consequences. 

desecularization, clericalization, systemic hypocrisy, symbolic politics, state, church, religion, Russia.


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Content No. 1, 2020

See also:

Habermas J.,
Religion, law and politics. – On political justice in a multicultural World-Society. – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No2

Zubov A.B.,
Christians and Politics: Persecuting Church and Persecuted Church. Why Will All Who Seek Living in Christ, Will Be Persecuted?. – Polis. Political Studies. 2008. No2

Editorial Introduction,
Manuscripts Don’t Burn! Introduction to the Rubric “Symbolic Politics”. – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No4

Malinova O.Yu.,
Symbolic politics and the constructing of macro-political identity in post-soviet Russia. – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No2

Chimiris Ye.S., Dontzev S.P.,
The church and modernization in Russia: in search of new value foundations. – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No6



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