№ 2, 2020
The article is devoted to the analysis of the practices of interaction between the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church in East Asia in the post-Soviet period. The nature of this interaction, as the author believes, is largely determined by the concept of “compatriots” — a single transnational community of people who live outside the territorial borders of the Russian Federation, but form a unified whole with Russia. Within the framework of this concept, Orthodoxy is considered to be the most important characteristic that ensures solidarity of this community and its common cultural space with Russia. By supporting actions of the Russian Orthodox Church in the region, the Russian state hopes to strengthen its own position in the region. However, the real influence of the Russian Orthodox Church on the native representatives of the Russian culture who live there shakes these hopes.
According to the author, the Russian state and the Church, by having exclusively focused on the concept of “compatriots” and putting a sign of equality between Russians and Orthodox Christians, have seriously limited the possible returns on the efforts they make to increase their weight in the Asian region. By appealing to the Orthodox community and emphasizing its existence beyond the political borders, both sides declare it a national com- munity. Meanwhile, micro-communities of people with Russian roots scattered throughout East Asia do not form a stable transnational community, held together by religion, which could play a significant role at the regional level. As a result, when the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church focus on building a dialogue with the transnational community of compatriots, they de facto interact with disparate structures that are quite different from each other in social, economic and cultural terms.
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