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Religion, Conflict, and Stability in the Former Soviet Union

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Technical Report

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RAND Corporation Santa Monica United States

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Considerable scholarly work across disciplines has sought to understand the roots of conflicts that have plagued the former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, but it has rarely focused on religion as an important factor. Instead, analysts have often cited the Soviet legacy of forced unification, linguistic and cultural assimilation, and arbitrarily drawn borders between the republics to explain regional volatility. The shared atheistic Soviet past and, as a consequence, presumed low religiosity across most of the former republics also may have led researchers to dismiss religion as a meaningful actor in stability and conflict in the former Soviet Union FSU. However, the remarkable religious revitalization in most post-Soviet states in recent years demands a closer look at religion and its potentially important role in regional stability and instability across this highly varied region. To improve understanding of the manner in which religion has affected conflict and stability in the FSU, this volume develops both a nuanced examination of specific post-Soviet countries and an identification of common trends across the region.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Humanities and History

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