The Religious Situation in the New Cities of the USSR in the Mid-1950s – Mid-1960s in the Memory of Todays’ Women
[Religioznaia situatsiia v novykh gorodakh SSSR serediny 1950 – serediny 1960-kh godov v sovremennoi zhenskoi pamiati]
Type of publication: Research Article
Orthodox religion, city, social history, women’s history, oral history, history of USSR, history of religion, family biography
The article examines the problem of preserving Orthodox values in the “godless cities” of the USSR, which arose in the 1950–60s: the Omsk Town of Oilmen, the Bashkir Salavat, and Angarsk of the Irkutsk region. It is principally drawn on unstructured biographical interviews conducted among the cities’ residents during the 2010s. Discussing the changes in attitudes towards religion in the post-war country, we pose a question: Were the Orthodox family values preserved in the new cities created in the wave of tackling the social issue of housing in a long-standing atmosphere of atheization? If so, what was the role of women (was it substantial or insignificant?) in the preservation of these spiritual foundations? We argue that in the new urban space, created as an exemplary one during the “Khrushchev thaw”, the main keepers of Orthodox traditions were older women, “grandmothers”. Among the factors hindering the preservation of these traditions, there were the lack of understanding thereof by younger generations, their unwillingness to learn the foundations of Christian faith and their inability to accept older norms or formulate the reasons for the preservation of traditions in their families. By the beginning of the Brezhnev stagnation era, Orthodox traditions in the families of new cities took on the form of formal attributes of belonging to those professing the Orthodox faith.
Funding InformationThis research was supported by the following institutions and grants: Russian Science Foundation, https://doi.org/10.13039/501100006769 [grant no. 22-28-01428]
Pushkareva, N.L., and A.V. Zhidchenko. 2022. Religioznaia situatsiia v novykh gorodakh SSSR serediny 1950 – serediny 1960-kh godov v sovremennoi zhenskoi pamiati [The Religious Situation in the New Cities of the USSR in the Mid-1950s – Mid-1960s in the Memory of Todays’ Women]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 3: 219–236. https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541522030125 EDN: HWOFEW
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