The “Lived Religion” of Evangelical Christian-Baptist Women in Soviet Siberia (1945–1991)

April L. French

Abstract


This article draws upon oral history interviews of Evangelical Christians-Baptists (ECB) in Siberia to examine the lived religion of evangelical women from 1945 to 1991. The author conducted 41 interviews of 52 subjects, most of whom had participated in the ECB congregations of four provinces – Omsk Oblast, Novosibirsk Oblast, Krasnoyarsk Krai, and Irkutsk Oblast – during the Soviet period. By investigating the way ECB believers construct and interpret their experience of the Soviet period and the stories they tell of how faith informed women’s lives and identities at home, in their congregations, and in the Soviet workplace, this article argues that ECB women played a vital role in preserving the faith of their families and congregations within a secularist state that saw them as dangerous sectarians. In this respect, the article examines the particular subcultural pressures that ECB women experienced and their roles in active leadership within their congregations. In addition, the article reconstructs the stories of two women – one from Krasnoyarsk and one from Omsk – in order to demonstrate that some ECB women’s religious convictions were strengthened and confirmed just as much by their daily interactions with ardent atheists or Soviet and party functionaries as it was by relationships within their co-religionists.


Keywords


Evangelical Christians-Baptists; women; oral history; Soviet history; Siberia; lived religion

References


Beliakova, N., Dobson, M. (2016). Protestant Women in the Late Soviet Era: Gender, Authority, and Dissent. In Canadian Slavonic Papers. Vol. 52. No. 2, pp. 117–140.

Belyakova, N. A. Klyueva, V. P. (2016). Dukhovnye poiski evangel’skikh veruyushchikh v poslevoennom SSSR [The Spiritual Explorations of Evangelical Believers in Post-War USSR]. In Dialog so vremenem. No. 55, pp. 311–329.

Belyakova, N. A., Dobson, M. (2015). Zhenshchiny v evangel’skikh obshchinakh v poslevoennom SSSR. 1940–1980-e gg. Issledovanie i istochniki [Women in the Evangelical Congregations of Post-War USSR, 1940‒1980s]. Moscow, Indrik. 511 p.

Coleman, H. J. (2005). Russian Baptists and Spiritual Revolution, 1905‒1929. Bloomington, Indiana Univ. Press. 305 p.

Dobson, M. (2014). Child Sacrifice in the Soviet Press: Sensationalism and the ‘Sectarian’ in the Post-Stalin Era. In The Russian Rev. Vol. 73, pp. 237–259.

Golubovich, V. I. (Ed.). (1960). My byli baptistami [We Used to be Baptists]. Moscow, ROSSPEN. 111 p.

Grigor’eva, L. I. (2013). ‘V religiovedenie ya niotkuda ne prikhodila. Ya v nem rodilas’, sformirovalas’ i vyrosla’: Interv’yu s Lyudmiloi Il’inichnoi Grigor’evoi [‘I Did not Arrive at Religious Studies from Anywhere. I Was Born, Shaped, and Raised within Them: An Interview with Lyudmila Il’inichna Grigor’eva]. In Teleskop. No. 5‒6. URL: www.socioprognoz.ru/files/File/1/grigorieva.pdf (mode of access: 14.07.2017).

Hall, D. D. (Ed.). (1997). Lived Religion in America: Toward a History of Practice. Princeton, Princeton Univ. Press. 254 p.

IAOO [State Historical Archive of Omsk Oblast]. Stock R-2603. List 1. Dos. 43, 49. Istoriya Evangel’skikh khristian-baptistov v SSSR [The History of the Evangelical Christians-Baptists in the USSR]. (1989). Moscow, Vsesoyuznyi sovet evangel’skikh khristian-baptistov. 624 p.

Karetnikova, M. S. (Ed.). (1999‒2009). Al’manakh po istorii Russkogo Baptizma v 4 vyp. [Almanac on the History of the Baptist Faith in Russia. 4 Issues.]. St Petersburg, Bibliya dlya vsekh. Iss. 1. 313 p. Iss. 2. 431 p. Iss. 3. 352 p. Iss. 4. 302 p.

Kondrashina E. (2014). Zhenshchiny v obshchinnoi zhizni protestantskikh tserkvei v SSSR (1945–1991 gg.) [Women in the Congregational Life of Protestant Churches in the USSR (1945–1991)]. In Gosudarstvo, religiya i tserkov’ v Rossii i za rubezhom. Vol. 32. Iss. 1, pp. 151–171.

Kononenko, Yu. (1998). Mozhet li devushka rukovodit’ molodezh’yu? [Can a Young Woman Lead Youth?]. In 95 let Tserkvi evangel’skikh khristian-baptistov v Novosibirske [95 Years of the ECB Church in Novosibirsk]. Novosibirsk, Posokh, p. 33.

Luehrmann, S. (2011). Secularism Soviet Style: Teaching Atheism and Religion in a Volga Republic. Bloomington, Indiana Univ. Press. 276 p.

Nikol’skaya, T. K. (2002). Russkii protestantizm i gosudarstvennaya vlast’ v 1905–1991godakh [Russian Protestantism and State Power in 1905–1991]. St Petersburg, Izdatel’stvo Evropeiskogo universiteta. 356 p.

Orsi, R. (2002). The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880–1950. N. Haven, Yale Univ. Press. 287 p.

Prokhorov, C. (2013). Russian Baptists and Orthodoxy, 1960-1990: A Comparative Study of Theology, Liturgy, and Traditions. Carlisle, Langham Monographs. 487 p.

Prokhorov, K. (Ed.). (2010). Podvig very: unikal’nye svidetel’stva o zhizni khristian v SSSR [Feats of Faith: Unique Testimonials of the Lives of Christians in the USSR]. Omsk, Nauka. 400 p.

Raleigh, D. J. (2012). Soviet Baby Boomers: An Oral History of Russia’s Cold War Generation. N. Y., Oxford Univ. Press. 420 p.

Rodstvenniki uznikov Zapadnoi Sibiri [Relatives of Prisoners of Western Siberia.]. (1968). Zayavlenie Predsedatelyu Soveta Ministrov t. Kosyginu (8 avgusta) [Declaration to the Chair of the Council of Ministers, Comrade Kosygin from Relatives of Prisoners from Western Siberia (8 August)]. In Keston Center for Religion, Politics, and Society. SU-Ini-6-8-S. 3 p.

Savinskii, S. N. (2001). Istoriya Evangel’skikh khristian-baptistov Ukrainy, Rossii, Belorussii v 2 t. [The History of the Evangelical Christians-Baptists of Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. 2 Vols.]. St Petersburg, Bibliya dlya vsekh. Vol. 2. 1917–1967 gg. 440 p.

Sawatsky, W. (1981). Soviet Evangelicals since World War II. Scottdale, Pennsylvania, Herald Press. 528 p.

Smolkin-Rothrock, V. (2014). ‘The Confession of an Atheist Who Became a Scholar of Religion’: Nikolai Semenovich Gordienko’s Last Interview. In Kritika. Vol. 15. No. 3, pp. 597–620.

Smolkin-Rotrok, V. (2013). Interv’yu s professorom Nikolaem Semenovichem Gordienko [An Interview with Professor Nikolai Semenovich Gordienko]. In Smirnov, M. Yu. (Ed.). Put’ uchenogo: Nikolai Semenovich Gordienko [A Scholar’s Way: Nikolai Semenovich Gordienko]. Moscow, Osobaya kniga, pp. 25–61.

Williams, S. C. (1996). The Problem of Belief: The Place of Oral History in the Study of Popular Religion. In Oral History. Vol. 24. No. 2, pp. 27–34.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2018.2.306

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


ISSN 2311-911X (Print)
ISSN 2313-6871 (Online)

 

BASE Search eLibrary WorldCat