Belousov Sergey

State authorities, clergy and parish councils of Russian Orthodox Church in Kalmykia in 1957–1984

Belousov Sergey (2018) "State authorities, clergy and parish councils of Russian Orthodox Church in Kalmykia in 1957–1984 ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2018, vol. 81, pp. 105-117 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII201881.105-117


This article examines the problem of interaction between state authorities and the governing bodies of the Russian Orthodox Church in Kalmykia in the period of 1957– 1984. The author analyses the state of religious aff airs, the development of relations both between state authorities and Orthodox Church organisations on the one hand, and between the clergy and church authorities on the other. The factors that infl uenced these relations are discussed as well. Another task is to reconstruct the socio-demographic situation of the Orthodox clergy and members of parish councils, as well as to identify and analyse the behavioural strategies of the Orthodox clergy. The article draws on materials of the State Archive of the Russian Federation and the National Archive of Republic of Kalmykia, most of materials being made public for the fi rst time. The study of the religious situation in 1957–1984 has showed that in spite of the strong atheistic propaganda, a certain part of population in Kalmykia steadfastly preserved the Orthodox rites. The main proportion of believers, of regular church-goers and members of local organs of church self-administration was made up by elderly people, mainly women, whereas middle-aged and young people were few. State authorities did not aim to eliminate the existing Orthodox houses of worship, but at the same time suppressed any attempts of believers to set up new churches and parishes. The author of the article comes to the conclusion that the main component of the religious policies was the weakening of the infl uence of the clergy on church-goers and increased supervision of religious life. In these circumstances, the Orthodox clergy in their relations with authorities employed either the strategy of adaptation or confrontation. Confl icts between members of the clergy and church authorities on the one hand and state authorities on the other usually arose on economic grounds and did not have a political character.


Kalmykia, Russian Orthodox Church, church-state relations, Soviet religious policies, Commissioner for Religious Aff airs, clergy, parish, church government, strategy of behaviour, I. S. Shandrygin, V. V. Partolin


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Information about the author

Belousov Sergey

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in History;
Place of work: Kalmyk Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences; 8 Ilishkina Str., Elista 358009, Russian Federation;
Post: Associate Professor, Senior Research Fellow;
ORCID: 0000-0001-7614-3516;
Email: sbelousovelista@mail.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.