The orthodox landscape in Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk) before the Word War II: historical and statistical analysis

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2019, Vol. 5. №2

The orthodox landscape in Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk) before the Word War II: historical and statistical analysis

For citation: Bakharev D. S., Glavatskaya E. M. 2019. “The Orthodox landscape in Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk) before the World War II: historical and statistical analysis”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 5, no 2, pp. 133-152. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2019-5-2-133-152

About the authors:

Dmitry S. Bakharev, Researcher, Institute of History and Archeology, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Ekaterinburg); eLibrary AuthorID,

Elena M. Glavatskaya, Dr. Sci. (Hist.), Chief Researcher, Institute of History and Archeology, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Ekaterinburg); Professor, Department of Archeology and Ethnology, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin (Ekaterinburg); eLibrary AuthorID, ORCID, ScopusID,


This article focuses on the decline of the Russian Orthodox Church landscape during the period 1917-1941 in one of the key Russian provincial cities — Ekaterinburg (named Sverdlovsk in 1924). It was during this period that the Soviet state carried out the most comprehensive attacks on religion, closing churches, destroying religious organizations and their buildings as well as persecuting religious leaders. We use the “religious landscape” concept to analyze the evolution of the religious situation in the city. However, we studied not only the main markers of religion in Ekaterinburg, but also the number of parishioners and the frequency of everyday religious rites. The study is based on documents extracted from the local archives and statistical aggregates. This allowed us to reconstruct the decline of the Orthodox landscape and its main features in three different periods between 1917 and 1941. We argue that the Bolsheviks’ anti-religious measures in the 1920s should be considered as part of the general European secularization, which started before 1917. The data obtained give grounds to put forward a hypothesis about the weak effect of the Bolsheviks’ measures regarding the Orthodox Church nucleus — its active parishioners, for about 25% of the city’s population kept practicing the main religious rites until the mid-1930s.


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