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2006/07 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SLAV3042 Religion in Russia, 1900-1953

10 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr Jonathan Sutton

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2006/07

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

The module is open to students in Levels 2 and 3; and there are no prerequisites. The objective of this module is to introduce to students the distinctive features of religious life and institutions in Russia through studying one key century in its history.Syllabus: The main features of religious life in Russia before the Revolution of 1917, religious, political and cultural; Bolshevik/Soviet legislation on religion under Lenin and Stalin; church-state relations; aspects of religious persecution; religion and nationalism.Teaching will take the form of lectures and seminars.Assessment comprises assessed written course work totalling 1,500 words (40%) plus one 1-hour examination (60%).


On completion of this module, students will be able to understand major issues relating to religion in Russia/the Soviet Union to the end of the Stalin years (1900-1953). They will understand variations in official policy on religion, variations in church-state relations and also fundamental issues regarding religious persecution and resistance to persecution.


This module explains the significance of religion in Russia/the Soviet Union in the first half of the twentieth century (more precisely, until Stalin's death in 1953). The module examines church-state relations before the 1917 Revolution and the subsequent change in religion's status. It examines the following areas in detail: the nature of the confrontation between Stalinist atheism and religious belief; the impact of different leadership styles on religious policy (under Tsar Nicholas II, Lenin and Stalin respectively); the debates in the Soviet Union regarding religion (1920s) and the institutions co-opted in the struggle against religion; the treatment of particular Churches on Soviet territory, comparisons and variations between them. All of the above material serves to shed light on present-day Russia's religious and more broadly cultural and political legacy. Without an understanding of these matters, it is difficult to understand the nature of 'post-Soviet' Russia or the forces shaping it.

Teaching methods

Lectures: 14 x 1 hour; Seminars: 6 x 1 hour

Methods of assessment

1 x 1500 word essay (40%); 1 x 1.5 hour examination (60%)

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 15/01/2008


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