The end of the Soviet regime has reverberated with an unexpected echo – the rise of Russian Orthodox Church. Flying in the face of conventional social science theory, which sees modernization as undermining the plausibility of religion, the Russian Orthodox Church has grown at the same time that the Russian government has been promoting sweeping social and economic modernization. While most Western observers see the two as mutually exclusive, apparently many in Russia do not. This essay looks at how the Russian government’s modernization agenda fits with the social agenda of the Russian Orthodox Church. It then looks at the passionate re-sponse the Church has evoked during the most recent election season. Finally, it looks at the prospects for a modernization that is not secular.
ISPI e Università Ca' Foscari di Venezia