The Impact of Political and Cultural Trends on the Spread of Buddhism in Russia

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Daria Mikheeva


Buddhism in Russia was known as a traditional religion of several ethnic minorities
from the 17th century A.D. and since then has been influenced by complex cultural and
political processes. Not least, religion in Buddhist regions and interest in Buddhism among
people from non-Buddhist backgrounds throughout history was heavily influenced, if not
defined, by the state. This article examines how Buddhism is represented within the framework
of multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state, and which trends in cultural and political life
had the major influence that shaped its modern appearance. While territorial expansion
and political agenda in the East had encouraged oriental studies and brought first research
dedicated to the Buddhist teaching and culture, the hardline anti-religious policy during the
times of the Soviet Union led to the suspension of Buddhism-related research and destruction of
the traditional Buddhist culture in the three Buddhist regions of Buryatia, Kalmykia, and Tuva.
For three decades now, the country is experiencing a period of religious revival, which
involves not only traditional religions but a diversity of religious groups that historically
have never existed within Russian borders.


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How to Cite
Mikheeva, D. (2019). The Impact of Political and Cultural Trends on the Spread of Buddhism in Russia. The Journal of International Association of Buddhist Universities (JIABU), 12(1), 142–149. Retrieved from
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