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General Issues



The Russian subcontinent with its massive landmass and diverse ethnicities has a long history of political upheaval that has continued up to recent history.  Religion has never been far from the national ethos even if it was forced underground during the Soviet era.   Most prominently, the Russian Orthodox Church has had a long history and a close connection with Russian politics since Vladimir the Great, Grand Prince of Kiev from 980-1015 in a quest to find true faith on earth believed he had found it in the Orthodoxy of Constantinople and had himself and his nation baptized into the Orthodox faith.  Today, with the Balkanization of the Empire, ethnic groups and those of faith other than orthodoxy are testing the limits of their long dormant religious freedom.  This renewed religious freedom coupled with an increasing demand from Russia?s marginalized populations for tolerance and more political backing for human rights is challenging traditional orthodox beliefs and changing the shape of civil society in the Russia of today.



Image: St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, Moscow.