Honest Workers vs. Dissidents: Self-Presentation of Evangelical Christians in the Late Soviet Union
Honest Workers vs. Dissidents: Self-Presentation of Evangelical Christians in the Late Soviet Union
Annotation
PII
S207987840002379-5-1
DOI
10.18254/S0002379-5-1
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Authors
Nadezhda Belyakova 
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Vera Kliueva
Affiliation:
Institute of Northern Development Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute)
Address: Russian Federation, Tumen
Abstract
The article deals with the process of formation of the identity of late Protestants (Evangelical Christians, Baptists and Pentecostals), which combines both religious and specific “Soviet” features. The article argues that the Soviet ideology had a great influence on the formation of their identity. At the same time, it refused to classify believers as honest and conscious citizens. Believers were marked as “others”. Most believers positioned themselves as Soviet citizens, accepting the political system of the Soviet Union and socialist values, but having their own opinions about religion and its role in everyday life. The key value of the Soviet society was the right (and the honorable duty) to labour. Accordingly, in respect of people labeled as “other” (in the study period was a common euphemism for “dissenters”) were often accused of parasitism. One of the notable categories of such “dissidents” in the late Soviet Union were Evangelical believers, who were also religious dissidents in the literal sense of the word. How did believers find the possibility of professional and creative implementation, as well as their financial support in an authoritarian state? To what extent did the traditional “Protestant ethics” (M. Weber) determine the values of the Soviet evangelicals in the socialist context? How did representatives of Evangelical communities fit into the complex social structure characterized as a system of "small transactions" of the Brezhnev’s USSR? In this study, we aim to show the position of the believers themselves, who willingly talk about their conscientious work, emphasizing the ethics of their positions and contrasting themselves with the authorities and the official discourse. At the same time, a set of strict ethical rules in everyday life made Evangelical believers popular employees in the Soviet infrastructure. We argue that during the Brezhnev’s period, the marginalization of believers at the ideological level and the restriction of access to intellectual and managerial resources were to some extent offset by their material wealth and access to certain scarce material resources and professions.
Keywords
History of Belief in the USSR, free churches in USSR, the Soviet workers, work in the USSR, work ethic, Christian ethic, communistic morals, rare (demand) specialty
Received
29.03.2018
Publication date
31.08.2018
Number of characters
49221
Number of purchasers
18
Views
755
Readers community rating
0.0 (0 votes)
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