(Welcome, vistors from The Wild Hunt. Stick around, click a few links.)
A Russian Orthodox priest is murdered in his Moscow church, and suspicion falls both on Muslims and on Russian Pagans.
But note the titles of his books.
We know too much about people who shout “Allah Akbar” and then pull the trigger, but why the Pagans? Why bring them into the discussion?
Paganism in Russia is somewhat like what my Anglosphere readers are used to, but there are significant differences. Russian Pagans are more likely to have their own line of “blood and soil” rhetoric and to claim that they represent the true spirituality of their people, which puts them in direct conflict with the Orthodox Church, which itself has made that same claim since the 10th century.
The Russian anthropologist Victor Shnirelman is one scholar who has written a lot of on the topic. Being Jewish (as I understand), he is particularly sensitive to whiffs of antisemitism, as in this article, “Russian Neopagan Myths and Antisemitism.”
The Pomegranate has published several articles on Russian and other Eastern European Paganisms. Abstracts are available online.
Kaarina Aitamurto, “Russian Paganism and the Issue of Nationalism: A Case Study of the Circle of Pagan Tradition,” 8:2 (2006) 184-210.
Adrian Ivakhiv, “Nature and Ethnicity in East European Paganism: An Environmental Ethic of the Religious Right?” 17:2 (2005) 194-225.
Victor Shnirelman, “Ancestral Wisdom and Ethnic Nationalism: A View from Eastern Europe,” 9:1 (2007) 41-61.