Colonizing Russia’s Promised Land: Orthodoxy and Community on the Siberian Steppe
The movement of millions of settlers to Siberia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries marked one of the most ambitious undertakings pursued by the tsarist state. Colonizing Russia’s Promised Land examines how Russian Orthodoxy acted as a basic building block for constructing Russian settler communities in current-day southern Siberia and northern Kazakhstan. Russian state officials aspired to lay claim to land that was politically under their authority, but remained culturally unfamiliar. By exploring the formation and evolution of Omsk diocese – a settlement mission – Colonizing Russia’s Promised Land reveals how the migration of settlers expanded the role of Orthodoxy as a cultural force in transforming Russia’s imperial periphery by "russifying" the land and marginalizing the Indigenous Kazakh population.
In the first study exploring the role of Orthodoxy in settler colonialism, Aileen Friesen shows how settlers, clergymen, and state officials viewed the recreation of Orthodox parish life as practised in European Russia as fundamental to the establishment of settler communities, and to the success of colonization. Friesen uniquely gives peasant settlers a voice in this discussion, as they expressed their religious aspirations and fears to priests and tsarist officials. Despite this agreement, tensions existed not only among settlers, but also within the Orthodox Church as these groups struggled to define what constituted the Russian Orthodox faith and culture.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 240 pages
- Illustrations: 10
- Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.0in x 9.2in
"Aileen E. Friesen is to be credited for engaging studies of empire broadly as well as comparative religious aspects of empire‐building more specifically."
Christine D. Worobec, Department of History, Northern Illinois University
"This groundbreaking study of settler colonialism uncovers its failure in the myriad of disagreements among peasant settlers as well as clergymen as to what constituted the Russian Orthodox faith they sought to transplant to Siberia."
Laurie Manchester, Department of History, Arizona State University
Author InformationAileen E. Friesen is an assistant professor and Co-director of the Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg.
Table of contents
List of Figures
1 A Settler Diocese
2 Churches as a National Project
3 Parishes under Construction
4 The Politics of Pastoring
5 Living and Dying among Strangers
6 An Anthill of Baptists in a Land of Muslims
Subjects and Courses