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Jeanne Kormina, Dr.

Professor of Anthropology and Religious Studies

National Research University Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg

Born in 1971 in Sverdlovskaya oblast', USSR
Studied History at Ural State University, Yekaterinburg and Anthropology at the European University at St. Petersburg


Ancestors and Ghosts: the Soviet Past in the Russian Religious Imagination

Contemporary Russian society - political elites, social activists, and common people - works constantly and persistently with the public memory of the Soviet past. One of the central projects in this field concerns practices of commemoration and material aspects of dealing with relics of the victims of the Soviet regime. The exemplar personages of this "usable past" are the last Russian tsar's family, killed by the Bolsheviks in July 1918, found near Ekaterinburg in 1991 and canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as saints in 2000. Despite this canonization, the Russian Orthodox Church has not recognized the authenticity of the "Ekaterinburg remains". This situation of uncertainty opens doors for creating conspiracy theories and other mythologies in which the Soviet past is re-imagined in all ways possible. The political dispute over the Romanovs' deaths and public debates on the posthumous destiny of their remains reveal some key points of political imagination in Russia today, as well as a surprising combination of secular and religious arguments. How are we to interpret this event? Was it a political act and the beginning of the Great Terror or a mystical event? Who were the murdered – victims who still cry for worldly justice or maybe the holy saviours of the nation that will resurge after a collective prayer of repentance? The project focuses on debates about the authenticity of the Romanovs' remains and analyses different "regimes of truth" supported by the opponents.

Recommended Reading

Kormina, Jeanne (with Sonja Luehrmann). "The Social Nature of Prayer in a Church of the Unchurched: Russian Orthodox Christianity from its Edges." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 86, 2 (2018): 393-424.
-. "Inhabiting Orthodox Russia: Religious Nomadism and the Puzzle of Belonging." In Praying with the Senses: Contemporary Eastern Orthodox Spirituality in Practice, edited by Sonja Luehrmann, 143-162. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2018.
-. "Canonizing Soviet Pasts in Contemporary Russia: The Case of Saint Matrona of Moscow." In A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion, edited by Janice Boddy and Michael Lambek, 409-424. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2013.

Publikationen aus der Fellowbibliothek

Kormina, Jeanne ( Bloomington, Indiana, 2018)
Inhabiting Orthodox Russia : religious nomadism and the puzzle of belonging

Kormina, Jeanne ( Chichester [u.a.], 2013)
Canonizing Soviet pasts in contemporary Russia : the case of Saint Matrona of Moscow

Kormina, Jeanne ( Paris, 2013)
Russian saint under construction : portraits and icons of Starets Nikolay